System76 Laptop Repair Experience

Earlier this month (November 2nd) my laptop suffered a shock that caused the screen to flicker and lock up.  I was unsure how to deal with it on my own.  Also, the VGA port was bad; ie, I had no red on my second monitor.  Also, I had no compiz when the second monitor was plugged in; my graphics card is compiz-compatible.

Anyway, I tried a couple of things to “fix” it, namely, opening the case and looking around to see if there were any loose connections or issues with cards or RAM.  Seeing none, I proceeded to email System76 from my netbook and tell them about my issue.

I got an email back right away from Tom Aaron suggesting that I re-seat my RAM and hard drive.  I did this, and it didn’t resolve anything, so I sent him another email.  The next day I get another email from him telling me to fill out a form online.  I do this right away.  The next day, I get an email stating that my laptop will have to be sent in for repair.  I got a shipping label to print out.  I couldn’t get to UPS until Friday, so that’s when it was sent.  I paid the extra for the laptop packaging (~$30 or so).

So, now my laptop is in transit (took about a week) and I’m working on the netbook.  I pull the battery, plug it in, plug in my monitor (thank gods my VGA port works on this computer) and I do job searches, emails, IMs, irc and the like.  (Note: The Starling is an awesome little computer.  If you want or need a small computer for portability, ebooks, music, etc, I recommend it highly.)

Anyway, it arrives on the following Wednesday and I presume the techs start working on it. On Friday, I get an email from Tom stating that they replaced my motherboard (some sort of bad module I guess) and that I had some bad sectors on my hard drive.  Since I’d done a backup just days before this incident, I authorized the hard drive replacement.

Then I heard nothing.  And nothing.  Finally, I emailed Tom again asking if there were any other issues.  He tracked down my computer, got me a UPS tracking number and sent it along.  Turns out, they had shipped it on the 19th, and I was due to recieve the package on the 24th!  I’m glad I got the info about it.  Anyway, I recieved my computer without incident on the 24th.  It was cold, so I let it warm up a little bit before booting.  Cleaned up my workspace and put my computer on the desk where it had been sorely missed… and… booted it up!  It worked just fine!

I tested compiz, wireless, the monitor (works with compiz!), all my periphials, and wired internet.  Everything was working just fine, so I started installing the apps I needed.

Everything works just fine now.

I wholeheartedly recommend System76.  Their order process is painless and the repair process is hassle free.  I wasn’t treated like I was stupid (don’t laugh, it’s happened before), I was given suggestions to fix the problem, and when that didn’t work, my issue was taken care of right away.  Anyone who needs a new computer (and doesn’t mind running Ubuntu) should get a System76 laptop.  Seriously.  Get one, you won’t be disappointed!

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8 thoughts on “System76 Laptop Repair Experience”

  1. Wow that is cool, excellent job on System76. I was planning on getting their ultra thin one, but last Thursday I happen to be at my local Best Buy and found a Acer for $329 I wasn’t going to pick it up but my father said he would give me $200 towards it so I did, it’s good notebook for everyday use, so I decided once my HP get too old then I shall replace it with a System76 notebook as my Acer is going to be a Win7 notebook. :)

    1. That’s very cool.

      I’ve seen pictures of the Lemur (the ultra-thin one you were talking about) and I had to mop up drool from my desk! It’s very slick looking.

      The Pangolian is a very good machine. It’s a good compromise between low cost and high performance (ie, a good value). I think I got a better value on this machine than I would have on a Best Buy machine, just because all the hardware *just works* with Ubuntu and I don’t have to fight with it. That’s half the battle, right there!

      Enjoy that Acer! I look forward to a review of whatever System 76 machine you get.


      1. Oh definitely, I am planning on finally getting my own website to put my face up on the web so to say. So I will be doing just that once I get my system. Also I love new MacBook Pros, but they are just bit too much money (I know they are good hardware) but that doesn’t mean Apple has to charge an arm and leg for them.

        1. You’re not only paying for the hardware, but also OSX. I’m not a fan of OSX, even though I kind of use a similar theme for Ubuntu.

          I think they’re overpriced, but then again, I’ve never had an alienware machine or anything. Most of my computing has been done on mid-level hardware that gets the job done.

          What type of website? Blog? WordPress and Blogger are both very easy to set up. :)


          1. It will be my personal site to host my resume, and basic stuff nothing too fancy. :D Yes wordpress is very easy, I am going to be using wordpress as underlaying technology for my masters project.

  2. I had almost an identical story about System76. I kept having to reset date and time and then my system was frequently doing disk checks. I never shut down incorrectly. One X would not start.

    I sent the system off and it was back so quickly, I couldn’t believe it. The motherboard had to be replaced as well.

    To me, a company is only good when something goes wrong, and that is why I would buy again, and why we replaced one of our Linux test systems with a System76 Ubuntu system.

    1. Nice to hear.

      I’ve heard so many bad things about companies (Dell, anyone?) that I knew I didn’t want to deal with a large, faceless corporation. System76 is a small company, and their turn-around is very quick, except maybe in a machine changeover (like from the Panp5 (my machine) and the Panp6). This is to be expected, I think.

      Glad to hear your system got fixed quickly.

      I agree with your last paragraph. “To me, a company is only good when something goes wrong…” So true! A company that gives you the run-around is no company you want to deal with.


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