back to article PC superstore unhinged by Linux

For all you car aficionados out there, how's this for an operating system analogy from PC World? Installing Linux onto a laptop sold by the computer retail behemoth is like putting a Ford engine into a BMW, apparently. Earlier this week a mysterious PC World customer, known only by the name of Tikka, posted a story to …


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  1. Edward Noad

    Windows Marketing At It's Best

    How's this for search results:

    Search results for: "linux"

    PC World Recommends Windows Vista® Home Premium

    Followed by the actual results, which don't include any Linux products. I wonder how much MS paid for that little *ahem* slip-up? Or is it irony at a base level?

  2. yeah, right.

    I'd reverse the analogy myself.

    Actually, my experience is that installing Linux is like installing a Porche engine into an old VW Bug. Anything I can do to significantly decrease response time and increase my control over a machine is good news to me.

    Then again, I don't shop at PC World or shops of that ilk anymore. It's definitely a truism that their staff wouldn't know squat about computers even if you rammed one up their arrogant behinds. All they know is how to sell extended warranties and unsuitable toys.

  3. John Latham

    Putting Linux on an PC world laptop is like...

    ...putting a Ford (GT) engine into a BMW (316i).

    It might go faster, but why would you bother?


  4. DaveT

    apart from anything else...

    Leaving aside the inaccuracy of that ludicrous analogy, surely it depends on which BMW and which Ford engine. I'd quite like an E30 3 series with a stonking great pushrod Ford V8 under the bonnet for instance.

    I'm sure Ford aren't particularly happy with the comparison either.

  5. Madge Silver badge

    But the disk..

    Most service places if it is not 110% obvious a HW problem (i.e. no pickaxe stuck in screen) will format the disk and re-install. Or even fit a new disk and not even install.

    So really backup before leaving anything in for repair and make sure you have re-install disks & licence keys for everything, Linux is the least of the problems.

  6. Simon Greenwood

    Hmm, what's that in the corner of the software racks?

    Looks like a copy of SuSE Linux to me, for a mere £80.

    And I wouldn't called Windows Vista Home a BMW engine, more like a Ford Ka, with no user serviceable parts inside.

  7. Tom

    So they want to tell me what software I can run?

    Surely the point of a computer is to run software.

    I dont see how you can sell someone a computer and then say - 'you can only run these programs on it'.

    And what happens to your Windows box when an online update wipes it out?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    and putting vista on your laptop is like taking a shit in your sandwich and then eating it.

    stick with XP people, don't take a shit in your sandwich.

  9. Gabor Laszlo

    And since they sell Windows-infested boxes...

    expect nothing else.

    And the correct analogy is this:

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    Here's another one for you:-

    "Expecting a decent computer from DSGi is like expecting haute cuisine from Pizza Hut".

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. russell

    60 Million Customers?

    Isn't that roughly every single person in the UK?

    They might need to re-think that as I know at least 5 people who have never been into one of their stores or indeed probably ever will.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What BMW, and what Ford?

    A 3-series could do for a good engine at some point. Most anything in Ford's entire worldwide lineup, but in particular that stuff they sell the Australians as 'cars' but are actually 'Satan's chariots' would be an appropriate engine donor.

    Now, buying an M5 and putting in a base Focus North American motor would be a bad idea all around.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ford vs BMW

    Being a fan of BMW, Ford and Linux, I had to make a comment. I was upset at first but realized this was a compliment not an insult. For instance, drop a Ford 427 SOHC (Single Over Head Cam) in a 7 Series BMW and see what you get. It will be rude and crude but with 600+ reliable horsepower, who cares.

    Linux is like Ford in this example. It can be rude and crude but when tuned correctly for your needs, it runs fast and reliable, so who cares.

  15. Fragula The Furry

    PC World support

    I'll beleive that when I see it, having been a few times to visit PC world, to explain to staff that the 486DX4/100 they had sold to one single mother was not a actually the Pentium she had payed for (they replaced it with a P75) and that an on-motherboard game port did not constitute the working MIDI interface.that had been the point of relevance of a specific machine to to another, elderly, customer, who only wanted a computer to use with his MIDI-equipped home organ. (they eventually provided the relevant adaptor, but tried for ages to screw an extra fifteen quid out of the aged customer.)

    Offline, the "Tech guys" portray themselves as a good lot, but bound by the rules of what seems to be a rabidly anti-customer-support management.

    As I'm shopping for a high-end laptop myself at the mo, I'll be sure to give PC-world a miss!

    No change then.

  16. David Harper

    This is why I'd never buy a computer from PC World

    Happily, here in Cambridge, we have an excellent company called World of Computers, which is staffed by real IT professionals who don't bat an eyelid when you take one of their machines in for a hardware upgrade and tell them: "By the way, it runs Fedora Core 6, not Windows." Not only are they happy to install new hardware in the machine, but they will boot it up and check that the new hardware works correctly under Linux before handing the machine back to you.

  17. Neil

    Pizza Hut

    Hey, don't insult Pizza Hut. I've been there many times, and had many enjoyable experiences by competent staff. This doesn't compare in the slightest to any visit to Pc-World.

  18. Matthew Ward

    Search Results

    Just to clarify, the Maxtor external hard drive and Home & Student edition of Microsoft Office 2007 are just a generic bit of promotional advertising that are returned at the top of all search results, no matter the term. If you search for anything else, they'll still come up at the top of the page.

    The actual results for the search time "Linux" are a ZOOM 3049 56k V.92 External Modem. Hell knows why.

    The general rule here is don't buy anything from PC World. Ever.

  19. Anton Ivanov

    The PCW sudden change of heart is the interesting bit

    The tread on Slashdot contains multiple instances of detailed instructions on how to use Trading Standards to fight with a rogue trader who tries to revoke your rights as a consumer. I suspect this is the primary reason behind their sudden 180 degrees turn. All the rest is just PR dross.

  20. Giles Jones Gold badge

    They sell Linux

    PC World sell boxed Linux, I even (stupidly) bought Mandrake there once.

    So if they think it's good enough to sell, why do they treat it like it is some second rate OS which breaks stuff?

    Even is running on Apache, so they don't mind open source so long as it's making them a buck or two.

  21. Michael

    As a former Tech Guys (then known as "PC ServiceCall") employee...

    ... I have to say *I* used to be baffled by this "we can't support your machine if you've replaced the operating system" policy. Sure, I could understand that the student I spoke with who had replaced his pre-installed version of XP Home (which worked fine) with a *pirated* copy of XP Professional (because his student friends told him to), would have a slight problem. However, what on earth does a different operating system have to do with a broken hinge?!?!

  22. Russell Preece

    @ But the disk...

    I agree, all they do is reformat! We had a PC in recently which had been taken to PC World with a system32/config hive error (easily fixable, and with other data still on the disk!) and the guys had just whacked an XP disc in and started to reformat and reinstall. Our customer had already told them not to do anything until he had given the go ahead, and just as they had started the setup he called them to say he was taking it for a second opinion (us). They obviously just turned the machine off mid-format as we could only *just* recover some of the data that was left, but with no filenames (MFT gone).

    I did press our customer to complain/sue but he was just happy he got a few documents back...

    Worst thing is they give independent computer outlets like ourselves a bad rep!

  23. Sean O'Dea

    Legally tricky

    I'm no lawyer but would have thought this puts them on tricky ground. By making the use of Windows a condition of their warranty they could possibly find themselves having to warranty software that the original manufacturer doesn't. It would take a court to decide but most courts don't like product vendors who try to take advantage of both sides of a situation and would take a dim view of a warranty that's dependant on a component that itself has no warranty.

    If I were a hardware vendor the last thing I would want to be doing is associating Windows with any kind of warranty as you're warrantying product as "free from defects" which is suicidal as it's always going to be possible to find it unfit for purpose.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shameless plug

    My company will work on any laptop, bought anywhere, running any software. Give me a lookup if you're ever in Colorado, mate. ;-)

  25. Torben Mogensen

    Anything to avoid warranty expenses

    Some shops have a tendency to use any excuse to avoid expenses related to warranty. A very common approach is persuading the customer to pay for an insurance that doesn't provide (much) more coverage than warranty would do for free. Another is using ridiculous excuses to void warranty, hoping the customer will fall for it and pay for a repair or replacement they should have had for free. Or sending the item to a repair shop that doesn't really solve the problem, and then refusing to replace it with a new item, but instead insisting on keeping sending it to repairs that don't help.

    This story sounds like one of these bad excuses to avoid expenses, so it doesn't really say anything about PC World being clueless, but more about dodgy business practices.

  26. Sam

    True Story

    Whilst at the check out at PC world buying some DVD R's the (old) lady was having some problems getting the product to scan and complete my purchase for me.

    She looked at me and said:

    "I hate computers I do"

  27. Jason



    What is...PCWorld...service?

    Honestly, are you lot trying to con me into believing that everytime I walk into a PCWorld cavern there are actually people there to serve you??!?!?

    Honestly, you'll tell me the junk they sell also has (accurate) prices on them next...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course if you buy a jaguar

    You have probably got a Ford engine in it anyway (or even worse a Ford/PSA collaboration engine)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are the weakest link

    Ok, wiping PC World off my list of intelligent life, er, knowledgeable IT professionals.

  30. Peter Casey

    ... The experts at PC World

    Bit of a crazy story really, but glad its all sorted now.

    How can they justify telling a customer that because he/she changed the software, that they will not fix a crack/breakage - maybe if the damage was customer induced/neglect, then the store has the right to not fix the fault under warranty (it still wouldn't make the warranty void....

    Maybe if the wireless card wasn't working then the work wouldn't have been carried out under warranty, but being told that the warranty is _void_ is just bizarre.

  31. Nano nano

    Pizza preferences

    I gave up on PH when they said "we don't have any deep-pan bases in" - erm, don't you just roll them out ?! Obviously not. Get 'em from the lorry.

    And then comparing the floury pizza base I was given with my recollection of pizzas in Italy.

    Why does no-one in the UK use thinly sliced ham like in Italy instead of that chopped up spam ?

    Sorry, no Linux angle there ...

  32. Richard Vivash

    Not Only Linux

    What a crock. Every machine I've dual booted XP/Ubuntu has run twice as fast in Ubuntu.

    It's not only Linux they don't like though. I recently purchased a MacBook in PC World (it was the only place with them in stock - honest!) and the salesman spent all his time trying to persuade me that I really wanted a Vista laptop.

    He explained how unreliable and prone to problems the Apple was, that the software was difficult to maintain and if anything went wrong with the OS I'd be stuck. He basically said that PC World would wash their hands of any support responsibility once I'd left the store.

    I then explained that even if I did buy a Vista machine it would be reformatted to Linux within half an hour and that as I've managed perfectly well to run Linux on home built machines for the last 7 years, I could probably cope with the BSD core of OSX.

    At this point he raised an eyebrow, passed me off to the nearest Saturday lad and walked away... Nice.

    There's service for you!

  33. Gilbert Wham

    As has been pointed out...

    ...there's bugger-all wrong with Ford engines. ESPECIALLY a 427 cammer. I dunno about the Porsche engine/VW analogy though, whilst it would increase response times, I am inclined to think control issues would rear their ugly heads...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John Latham

    Why? Probably for exactly the same reason I have Linux on mine... Fast, stable, secure, oh and the wep key sniffing programs run so much better under linux!

    The big question must be, why is a linux geek buying hardware from PC World!

  35. Bumhug

    Surely its just less hassel to reinstall?

    Laptop would of come with a recovery disk, so just ghost an image of drive, insert cd and stick xp on and take back to get fixed. Sure can become some consumer hero looking for 15 minutes of fame but doesnt get your laptop fixed any quicker does it?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows > Linux

    I don't see the bug fuss about PC World avoiding Linux. Their 'newbie' customers will have a much better and easier time with Windows than ANY Linux distro.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    At one point PC World actually stocked a computer that came preinstalled with Linux. It was one of the worst computers they sold, not because it had Linux, a small desktop cased Patriot. They also sold the same model with Windows (ME I think) but it was so under specified that to reinstall some of the software that came on the windows model you actually had to add more memory.

    I seem to remember it was something like a 400Mhz CPU with 32 or 64MB of RAM.

  38. christopher

    Personal Computer World.

    Can't be very personal if one can't switch O.S.'s. I reckon the guy in the shop made an honest mistake..however this indicates a culture in which warranty turndowns are the norm. From my experience of PC World in Glasgow I found their repairs to be good..even on several occasions repairing things that would normally be chargable for free. Turning on the charm does help slightly & trying to find staff at the service counter is another hurdle but hey. Thats another story. :D

  39. Andy Worth

    Taking your PC to PC World for repair is like........

    .....taking your car to the monkey enclosure at the zoo to get a new exhaust and tyres fitted.

    Except that if there were enough monkeys, they might at least stand a chance at getting part-way through the job.

  40. Leo Davidson

    Who said the analogy?

    The opening paragraph makes it sound like the analogy is a quote from someone at PC World:

    "how's this for an operating system analogy from PC World? Installing Linux onto a laptop sold by the computer retail behemoth is like putting a Ford engine into a BMW, apparently."

    However, the quote is not mentioned in the story that you link to -- the words Ford and BMW do not appear anywhere on the page -- so where did it come from? Did PC World actually say it? If they did why isn't there a link to some kind of evidence?

    As far as the rest of the story goes, I agree that it sucks for them to refuse to repair a hardware error because Linux was installed although I don't see the relevance of mentioning that they don't sell Linux on their website (so what? it doesn't make their stance better or worse).

  41. Jason Clery


    Stick a GT40 engine in a chassis without the gearbox and the rest of the goodies and see where it gets you.

    A better analogy would be:

    Its like putting a ford GT40 engine ina BMW, but then having to make your own gearbox, grow your own trees for the tyre rubber, mine your own metal for the alloy wheels, etc.

    "Linux is like Ford in this example. It can be rude and crude but when tuned correctly for your needs, it runs fast and reliable, so who cares."

    Not a bad analogy. Basically to get what you need out of it, you need to be a bit of mechanic. No good for anyone who does not want to piss about under the hood and spend hours tweaking it, and buying lots of Snap-on tools, etc.

  42. Curtis W. Rendon

    Windows < Linux

    If the newbies were on Linux, OSX, *BSD they wouldn't learn those bad M$ habits, and would learn what a f*up m$ is.

  43. Niall Wallace

    Ford Engine into a BMW great Idea!

    What an analogy!

    Yes I would like a nice old ford engine in a BMW too. Forget all the modern crap on a Beamer engine that limits what you can do to it, take a stock pinto/crossflow/kent/CVH and tune it to where you want it.

    A Ford engine may not be open source but they are certainly massivley modifiable

    Loads of companies around that will tune your Ford engine for you as well a bit like all those different Distros.

    All the comfort of and performance of a Beamer M5 without all the arsing around with the computer to get it into super quick mode :-)

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Windows > Linux

    Yes yes, Windows is easier to use for those who can't be arsed learning about computers than Linux is yada-blah.

    Here's some news for all those that persist in this argument..

    An electric wheelchair is easier to use for those who can't be arsed learning to drive than a Range-Rover is - but that does not make it 'better' for driving down the highway.

    The result of the ignorant using inadequate equipment because it's 'easier' is likely to be the same in both cases - a nasty and painful crash.

    How's that for an analogy?

  45. James Le Cuirot

    While buying a printer at PC World...

    "Would you like to sign up for our PC repair service?"

    "I don't think your guys would have a clue what to do with my PC."

    "They're pretty good!"

    "No really..."

    I so wish I'd taken that conversation further. XD

  46. Peter

    @You are the weakest link

    They were on it in the first place??

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You shouldn't be surprised

    This is PC World you're talking about. I went there to buy parts to build a computer (I know stupid me) and the "proud" member of staff boasts that they don't have all the compatible components at the component store.

    Have you noticed how long their complaints / returns queue always is? And their stores seem to be mostly empty.

    And to add Linux to it all...sheesh don't ask them, ask your tech savvy neighbour who probably knows more than PC World and their management put together.

  48. Matt

    Not an Isolated incident.

    No surprise, PCWorld don't like admitting anything and replacing their faulty goods even less.

    I had the same response when I tried to get a replacement on a 2 month old laptop that had gone faulty (Dead pixels, Intermittent Power failure, Mains adapter socket not always registering it had been connected to charge, fscked keyboard..... i.e all hardware related)

    Initially as I had linux on I was told that they don't deal with "Alien Software". Asked them if it was really made by aliens as that would be worth a fortune. And got told that ANY SOFTWARE INSTALLED invalidates their warranty.

    One Arguement in store and a visit to Trading Standards made no difference whatsoever...... PCWorld refused to budge. A quick call to Head office for their legal department and a half hour arguement over the Sales Of Goods Act and I managed to get a replacement the next day. After resetting it with the VISTA CD of course.

    It shouldn't be this hard to get faulty hardware replaced, it should be checked INSTORE and sorted within a day or two.

    Strangely they have now put up signs saying 28 day refund or it gets repaired, which is still against SOGA.

  49. Arclight

    I find it a bit strange....

    ....that some one who understands PC's enough to be able/want to use Linux would ever step foot in PCWorld.

    Its just a re-branded Currys/Dixons, and I have yet to see anything in there that is better value than any online store.

  50. Eddy Ito

    Nice insult all the way round

    So let me get this straight. Just how many BMWs have their doors fall off in the first place? I would think BMW would be rather insulted at the comparison to an unhinged laptop.

  51. david mccormick

    PC World Staff

    I bought my current graphics card at PC world (only because it is literally 400m from my front door.) If anybody would like a laugh, I can highly recommend asking questions of the sales staff, at one stage the guy was corrected by the security guard, as the salesman had said radeon 1950's supported dx10 because they had vista ready stickers on. After that I bought an 8800gts and left.

  52. Scott Wheeler

    Less paranoia please!

    Alternatives: a) this is one person off on a frolic of their own; b) PC World is run by the Lizard Alliance and is out to get customers.

    I favour a): I use PC World in Reading a lot, mainly because there's never been a fuss over returning faulty equipment. I've never had reason to find out how good their technical advice is, but the staff have always been polite and not pushy.

  53. John Stag

    Will Ford sue them for this?

    Will Ford sue them for this insult?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ford ?

    one of these perhaps......

  55. Nick

    This is some kind of groundbreaking news?

    As an ex-pcw support employee, this doesn't surprise me. Try and turn the customer upside down and shake them hard to see what falls out is the standard practice from a fair few of the management staff I encountered at the time.

    I'm intrigued though how a hardware fault can be caused by software, but then I've also experienced similar problems with smelly delly.

    Me - "This computer won't boot anymore, sounds like the heads have crashed - they're making a clicking noise"

    Dell - "Have you tried reinstalling the operating system?"

    Me - "No, the disk is entirely inaccessible, given that the heads have crashed."

    Dell - "Can you power off and on the computer".

    Me - "Well, I've already tried that and the harddrive is still clicking"

    Dell - "Have you run a BIOS update on the machine?"

    Me - "How does a software fix repair failed hardware?"

    Dell - "Sorry sir, until you've done that, we can't do anything else"


    So, how did I get to work in IT? By having to repair the problems that the support-otomotons script doesn't cater for.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So one idiot represents the whole company?

    I was in a PC World store last week, and was very surprised when the staff member not only recommended Linux (i told him I was planning on running Apache on Windows) but also stated why Linux was better, he even showed me a book "Linux Bible" which came with about 5 distros on the CD. He even asked how I was structuring my PHP code and seemed adiment that I should use Linux over Windows because I could get all my patches with one command.

    I want to run IIS too, which is why I wanted Windows btw :)

    Surely if we wanted all their staff to be this good we'd have to pay for their wages on the prices, so we'd still be moaning?

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once Upon A Time (A story about PCW's Pre-Delivery Checking service)

    Once Upon A Time one of my clients, who is very particular about deadlines, wanted a new pc. It was Thursday morning, and he wanted it by 10am next day. So he despatched me to PC World Staples Corner with a chap who had wheels and the company credit card. First problem was that all pc's had Vista on them (this was some months ago btw). Every sales assistant made themselves appear busy as soon as the word "XP" was uttered. Finally found a salesperson who was extreemely helpful (turned out that he was not an employee of PCW but worked for one of the concessions there). He said to go to the Business Section over there (Doh, why didn't I think of that?). Bloke in there, very helpful, said No we don't recommend Vista, XP is all we'll sell you. So far so good. Got the spec and everything sorted out, then he said "Do you want us to make absolutely sure everything is fine with your pc before we deliver it? We will unwrap it, plug it in, give it a thorough once over. Will cost £10". I knew that my client would definitely approve that - £10 for that kind of peace of mind, so I agreed. So they guaranteed delivery by 10am next day.

    We were on the phone to them the following day... Only part-shipment arrived... Monitor and an Ethernet cable, but where's the Important Bit??

    "I'm sorry sir, but your pc failed the pre-delivery QA inspection."

    So you didn't think to immediately take another one off the shelf and try that???

    Obviously not. So we had to wait till Monday for the system unit to arrive.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When is a Tech Guy not a Tech Guy.............

    I used to work for PCServiceCall..... There's a large difference between 'in store' Tech Guys and the people who work in the Nottingham call centre.

    In store 'Tech Guys' are employed by DSGi, Call center bods are employed by 'Crapita'. The in store bods are NOT allowed to talk to the laptop repair shop, they must go through the Crapita call centre who liaise with the repair shop in Mansfield.

    In store Tech Guys are basically allowed to stick a disk in a machine and run a 'Health-Check' program which usually ends up with the machine in a worse state that before the junk was ran.......

    Sometimes they might try a hand at fixing a machine, in this case they'll call the Crapita call centre and go through exactly the same diags as a normal punter.....

    It's attitude city, when I was there it was 'us' v's 'them' - I still have friends who work there and the situation has degraded not improved......

    Anyways the point is that the in store guy didn't have the authorization to accept OR reject the repair, there is still a fuzzy line between the call center and the laptop workshop over who's say it is, The phone people basically tell the punter (or store staff pass the message on) if the repair is 'likely' to be chargable or not.

    In this case the people with the power to decide on this repair are the workshop, not the in store tech guy or a Crapita call bod - the bod would book and the workshop would decide - the in store bloke had no business spouting any brown stuff at the customer.

    As they say a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, that sums up in store 'Tech Guys'. The call center isn't much better but at least there are some decent tech bods working there (but there are less and less by the day since Crapita took over).

    Funny thing is that the Crapita hardware lines are staffed by the incompetent 'new starters', most of the decent staff work on the software lines and email support...... premium software line = less calls, hardware lines = nightmare.

    Now onto the 'classic' When I was there (Hello Team 1) we all got yanked into a disciplinary because we fooled one of our team into thinking he'd turned off the internet..........

    The bloke sat next to him told him to go to, Then when he pressed the button we all started complaining that websites wouldn't load........... He was TOTALLY convinced he's shutdown the entire net. Quality staff there in Nottingham!

    The bloke running the disciplinary (good boss btw) was trying soooooo hard not to laugh but apparently what we'd done was considered as 'victimization'.........

  59. Shane Sturrock

    This is nothing new

    6 years ago I bought a Compaq Presario laptop from PC World, took it home, installed Linux and got down to work. Shortly afterwards, several keys stopped working so I took it back. I had the machine suspended so I could flip open the lid and show them the problem quickly. They refused to consider that there was a hardware problem until I shut it down and rebooted it into Windows XP which of course had the same problem. They agreed to replace the machine at that point so I booted back into Linux and shredded the whole disc (XP too) although there was nothing of any value on it.

    The last thing I bought from PC World was my iBook G4 (extremely reliable, still works fine 4 years on) and I remember at the time the salesman trying to persuade me to buy a Windows laptop because OS X was hard to use. Where do they get these people?

  60. christopher

    RE:This is some kind of groundbreaking news?

    When a tech asks you "have your tried re-installing your operating system" it should be well within your expertise to answer with a "yes" instead of a "no".

    Honestly! Your liberal use of incorrect industry terminology to describe a hardware failure also causes a problem for tech's.

    The I.T. support departments in PC World,Dell,HP,Currys would do little harm in supplying online training for customers educating them in proper troubleshooting techniques. It would probably save them time in dealing with mis-informed customers.

    Me - "This computer won't boot anymore, sounds like the heads have crashed - they're making a clicking noise"

    Tech - "The heads have crashed? Have you got collision insurance?"

    Me - "No, the disk is entirely inaccessible, given that the heads have crashed."

    Tech - "Inaccessible crash you say? Have you tried calling mountain rescue?"

    Me - "Well, I've already tried that and the harddrive is still clicking"

    Tech - "Is it trying to communicate with you? Maybe it(the SB controller) needs a BIOS update? "

    Me - "How does a software fix repair failed hardware?"

    Tech - "A BIOS flash isn't the same as a software say you used to work for PCW?"


  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a Former Acer Techie...


    As a former Acer techie in the Uk, Acer haven't a problem repairing any hardware defects, since its covered under the limited warranty of the user, however, had the end user decided to read their warranty which came with their trusted notebook, they would have realised that it could be done easily directly.

    However, Acer don't guarantee any works carried out by any two bit company, such as PC world, since none of their "Tech Guys" actually know what they are doing.

    (I personally applied for a job when desperate, and was turned down for having "Too much knowledge" <In other words, wanting a fresh school leaver, with no actual knowledge about anything relating to PCs whatsoever, other than how to turn it on> so I finally got a job with Acer).

    Acer, also don't care what OS your running on your systems, since its your option to do this, hell, if you want to run 3.2 on your system, whos stopping you?! You bought it, you use it, not Acer!

    So, PC world, another one against you...

    However, the only thing against this, is if the fault is deemed Software related, then Acer will ask you to reimage the hdd with either the disks provided, burnt off on original boot up, or using the "One Button Recovery Mode", if the engineers see you have failed to do this, then they will recover your system firstly, and if this still doesn't work, then they'll continue replacing hardware (so again, back up your shitz before sending).

    Also, PC world should completely stop offering services / repairs and upgrades, since all you'll get is a formatted system handed back to you, with very little explaination.

    I once asked PC world for Printer Memory, and all they could continuously show me, was PC Ram, or Printer Ink. Of course I was only winding them up, and ended up buying a nice set of 2.1 speakers from them at £15, but still! They shouldn't hire retards.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't have a clue

    I was informed by one of the "technical sales" guys in our local PC World that Vista is based on Linux...

    This was when I tried to find a copy of SuSE in the store (having bought it previously there) because I was having problems with my broadband and couldn't therefore download it. I told him I was looking for SuSE because I wanted to remove Vista from a recently purchased (from there) laptop because Vista is useless (having tried it for several weeks). I was told that Vista is the future, it's all they stock now and, anyway, it's based on Linux so you're getting the best of both worlds.

    I just informed him of his error, and walked out of the door laughing....

  63. David Harper

    More PC World idiocy

    I once bought a £25 keyboard at PC World, and the checkout person asked me whether I'd like to buy a £15 three-year extended warranty for it.

    PC World -- providing career opportunities for people who aren't quite smart enough to stack shelves at Tesco.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Regardless of which...

    ... cracked hinges are most usually not covered by warranty only where there is no sign of a cause (for ex if the lid's been smashed down or something) - occasionally over tightened screws can cause this.

    Unlikely Linux has caused this - i think the story is confused slightly, really. As for the warranty situation - the machine is warranted for one year against defects caused by poor manufacture eg a hard drive failure. It is likely the fault will need to be investigated using the OS supplied with the PC - Linux does not void the warranty, but it might make it more difficult to achieve a warranty repair (normally, you would be required to install the supplied OS for any diags on the machine, in any case it might be probable to reinstall even if you are using the supplied OS to eliminate software - for example if you have no sound but have installed Linux it may be the sound driver for Linux is the problem not the hardware of the PC so it would be tested on a clean Windows install as imaged at the factory to prove it's a driver or whatever).

    The situation with SOGA actually protects less than you think - in that outside the six month period of reversed burden of proof (within which, it is down to the retailer to prove it wasn't faulty at time of purchase) it is down to the buyer to get a qualified engineer's report to prove that the item was faulty when purchased - if it is considered so, any costs are refunded doing so as well as a free repair under SOGA - the store does have the right to send it off for assessment in this case to the TechGuys workshop to investigate the cause of the fault and repair it, or prove it was caused by misuse in which case if the laptop is one week or ten years old it's not covered either by SOGA or by the warranty on the machine.

    No point in slagging off PCW, any retailer, Linux, Windows or anything else.

  65. Voice of Reason

    I shop at PC world because...

    ...sometimes they have some really good discounted prices, specially when they're trying to dump kit they have overstocked and is getting a tad out of date. And, you don't have to wait for deliveries then drive across town to the shittylink or parcelfarce depot to collect the stuff you paid £5 or more postage for.

    To the OS Jihadis - I use both Windows and Linux for each of their relevant strengths. The only people who need their heads tested are the Apple Fanboiz, regardless of the merits of OS X, why the hell would you pay such a ridiculously inflated price for what is generic PC hardware these days.

  66. Neil Lucock

    Linux desktop

    Their Linux desktop had a Via motherboard chip (low power and performance) and they wanted £200+ for them. I offered £50 and the saleman agreed (I went back the next week and had the other at the same price).

    They had a "friendly" custom front end to Linux (really pointless and badly made). I put a bit more RAM in, put FreeBSD on it and used it for a few years, then gave it to someone. I gave the other to my brother-in-law after a format and install (SuSE?)

    The sales staff had no training on the OS, they told me it had been intended to sell it to newsagents and small shop owners as a cheap machine for accounts.

    For £50 it was OK once formatted.


  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well if they don't understand Linux,

    they won't be able to find the customer's porn stash will they?

  68. Penguin Worrier

    It WAS a Linux related fault...

    ... the guy probably got pissed off trying to get the video / audio / wifi / modem / bluetooth or some other such hardware lacking linux driver support working and chucked it at a wall, breaking the screen hinge.

    I'm with PC World on this one, Linux is a right load of shite!

    Yeah, if you've got nothing better to do with your life than recompile kernels and other such fucking about, then go-ahead, knock yourself out. Personally, I can't be arsed.

    As for open source software? Why bother? Thanks to Russian and Chinese hackers, I've got access to proper commercial software packages that have been built with multi-million dollar development budgets - all for free.

    Linux? MY ARSE!!

  69. Nicholas Wilson

    The TechGuys and PC World Nottingham

    I also worked for the for The TechGuys call centre and can tell you that not only are the call centre staff and store TechGuys completely different but I can remember being told that we had been banned from PC World Nottingham! It turned out that an entire team from the call centre (Team 3 as I recall) had chosen to spend part of their DSGi funded "team day" following PC World Nottingham staff and their customers around the store pointing out every mistake the staff made.... I'm not entirely sure how they all still had their voices the next day, they must've been pretty hoarse from that much talking!

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Never mind the what, what and what. BMW = good. Ford = shit. Nothing more to it.

  71. Jon

    Sell or you will be frowned upon, nevermind the repairs...

    I used to work for one of the busiest PCW stores in the UK (Junction 9 M6) I started out quite happily as christmas staff, and after being pushed and told I was good at doing technical jobs (I am qualified - although it was wasted at pc world)

    I found myself in a world of not being able to see a repair through... Not being able to complete healthchecks on time (stick a disc in and run it my ass - they still hadnt got it workin when i left!)

    Amongst my technical duties was ensuring that the place looked tidy despite being a working area, dealing with typical dumbass questions at the counter from people who should quite frankly not be allowed within 500 ft of a computer, missing my lunch break and ensuring everyone else had theirs on time, doing meet and greet (MEET AND FUCKING GREET HELLO WELCOME TO THE STORE) for 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours if the sales people couldnt be arsed doing it, and also selling PC's and advising salespeople on "whether this pc is capable of playing games".

    I occassionally picked up a screwdriver, but usually had to quickly put it back in its protective sleeve before the managers noticed id actually been doing my job, or face the wrath for not being a multitasking person, god forbid I should sit down whilst I am installing a graphics card in a £200 machine sold to someone to play Doom 3 and Quake 4 at 300fps, rant over.

    PC world sucks, they sell 15p USB cables to the public at £15 a pop, and I still have access to reports that I really shouldnt have access to showing the cost price of every item they sell, its appalling. Ask for discount.

    Screw PC World!!!

  72. Sabahattin Gucukoglu

    Dodgy Practices

    I had a custom-speced Mesh laptop, a real powerhouse and paperweight combined. When it's display got a bit too loose for comfort, I sent it in (under warranty, of course) with a prepackaged mobile AMD that I asked for them to install. Sure enough, they called me up to give me a long list of what wasn't wrong with it in frighteningly graphic detail (I don't think the guy was a tech but he'd obviously been reading a script because it almost sounded like complete nonsense, although I'm not in hardware and don't know nearly enough about the internals of these boards in these things but I did do as much research with the motherboard's documentation as possible and it didn't fit - among other things he'd given me the wrong spec for the RAM) and he told me that I could either pay £600 for the repair, £120 for a return delivery including the dismantled machine or just let them bung it on the heap for destruction. At the time it was my fastest machine, so I was a bit torn. I gave it a bit of thought, called back an hour later convinced (after talking to a few more knowledgeable friends of mine, some of whom had seen the monstrosity in question) that I was clearly being ripped off, and told the attractive-sounding lady to kindly tell her manager to stuff my laptop where monkeys shove bad nuts. I will, of course, never by from Mesh again. I know they're quite well-renowned for their quite-alright desktops, but they've already brewed their hatred in me for them and for all companies like them and for all the employees who care more for their pockets than customer satisfaction. A pity, because the smaller shops and one-man ventures never seem to get the publicity they deserve for doing just that, and not finding any excuse to quit on the job for pay at any opportunity. I think PC World is the worst example of that nowadays, although ironically my best machine, my server of Vintage Linux class C98 era, is working to this day in fine form. I also know Mesh have been investigated for this practice, so I'm clearly not wrong about it. Between times, I have in my area seen compitent guys just doing their thing and doing it well for me and at good rates, and now my desktops get the occasional service they need from people I can trust. And now, apart from the crappy quality of today's hard disks, I'm happy with the desktops of three distinct ages sitting atop my desk connected to a KVM and giving me power beyond my wildest dreams. Well, alright, my second wildest dreams ... ;-) I still don't know who to trust in the making of laptops, though. If Dell is quality, do I have to talk to their technical support at all? I don't think I'll do custom-made again ...



  73. Sabahattin Gucukoglu

    Dodgy Practices, Continued

    Forgot to mention: yep, Linux and Windoze represented, with a spare that has partitions ready and waiting to host both. Amd64 (awaiting something again), Pentium IV, Pentium II. You've got just one guess which of these machines runs Linux exclusively. Tip: it's a server. A server made by PC World. :-)

    And isn't it funny how many anonymous postings this thread has managed to accumulate? :-)



  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    serves him right

    for shopping at PC World. Clueless morons trying to sell things at ridiculously inflated prices.

  75. Martin Owens

    I've always said...

    Software criminals are the hardest to convert to Linux of any group of people as can be seen my Mr Worrier's fantastic thesis on how much you don't know about linux in 2 column inches.

  76. Nicholas Wilson

    Re: It WAS a Linux related fault...

    Penguin Worrier, you do realise you just admitted to:

    1: Copyright theft

    2: Being unable to get Video, Audio, WiFi, Modem, Bluetooth Etc. working under Linux

    3: having only a passing familiarity with the English language

    4: Being unable to make what you think is a point without resorting to profanity

    You should apply for a job with PC World immediately, You're DSGi material!

  77. pcscvictim

    I don't usually agree with flaming but....

    I was going to point out how little Penguin Worrier understands linux but then he used the f word and told the world he's a thief so that's OK then!?!? Mr Worrier you really are PC World material!

    Although I do appreciate that anything DSGi arouses strong emotions, often from employees and especially former employees, this is a public forum and Mr Worrier isn't the only one using foul language, let's keep it family friendly please.

  78. Tim Bates

    Re: As has been pointed out...

    "I dunno about the Porsche engine/VW analogy though, whilst it would increase response times, I am inclined to think control issues would rear their ugly heads..."

    Yeah, but it was an Acer laptop, so the build quality of the control devices probably lead to control issues anyway.

    Porsche engine in a VW Beetle is a pretty damn close match in this case :-)

  79. AndyB

    Penguin Worrier

    "Thanks to Russian and Chinese hackers, I've got access to proper commercial software packages that have been built with multi-million dollar development budgets - all for free."

    You DO realise the risk that 'warez' poses to you computer don't you? A good proportion of it is infected with keyloggers and other spyware with the sole aim of getting hold of your personal details.

    I sincerely hope that said Russians and Chinese warez DO report all of your bank details back to their masters and they strip you of every penny you own.

    What an absolute asshole!

    Actually, you're not an asshole. Assholes are useful. You're more akin to what comes out of one.

  80. Andy Benn


    Even more strange considering that PC World have sold laptops and desktops with Linux installed on them by default in the past

  81. Daniel

    Can we have that quote in contex?

    The story doesn't specifically name anyone from PC World as saying this, so is it just an attempt to troll for comments?

    Given their relative market share, I'd say surely the analogy should be the other way around, although, because idiots like 'Penguin Worrier' still seem to think that the average Linux user might have compiled their kernel (or indeed anything) from source code, then perhaps the analogy would be better if it was to say it was like taking a stock-standard Mondeo and fitting a hand-built, custom V-8 supercharged nitrous engine, with a big shiny bit that sticks out throught the top of the bonnet in it, lik that thing Mad Max used to drive.

    No one actually compiles anything from source, on the average Linux box, however, so it's actually a false analogy, intended to maintain the myth that Linux is some sort of backroom boffin's operating system. Much as I'd like to think I was some sort of boffin, I actually recognise that I'm about as intelligent as Penguin Worrier, over there - just better informed about the world, and less scared of what I don't know about.

  82. Mark Daniels

    PCWorld : Like a normal shop only not........

    this is a bit rich coming from PCWorld.

    PCWorld, the concept of IT shopping is great, until you actually get there and you realise, the execution is, er, shocking.

    I'm not going to get into a Linux / MS debate [but Linux IS better] but this 'linux is crap' attitude from PCWorld is symptomatic of the closed off mindset that allows MS to keep it's near 100% retail monopoly.

    PCWorld : pah.

  83. Dr. Mouse


    If "Tikka" uses Linux, then he is either a techie or one of the "new breed" Linux desktop users (those who can see it's faster, more reliable, and is not only free but has all the apps you need, also free, installable at the touch of a button). If he falls into the latter group, he can be forgiven.

    If he is a techie, he is a stupid techie. Everyone knows that PCW pull stunts like this, and that they dont know anything about computers. He would therefore not be a techie, but one of those users who think they are techies. You know, the ones who would try to tell BOFH what's wrong with something, and would trip and bang their head on the corner of a computer case 64 times :)

  84. Simon Greenwood

    There's one thing that I've found that PCWorld are good for

    At the risk of starting an avalanche, they sell end of line Apple hardware at ridiculously low prices. I got a PowerPC Mac Mini for peanuts when the Intel models came out, and a 12" 866Mhz Powerbook for slightly larger peanuts because it was a clearance model. Having said that, the sales assistant insisted that the instore techs rebuilt the Powerbook before they gave it to me as it had been on display, despite my assurances that I could do it myself. When I picked it up, it had been rebuilt, with a user account of 'mrgreenwood' - I suppose the concept of user accounts was all rather unfamiliar to them.

  85. Neil Jones

    From Disgusted on Middle England

    As well as the normal personal experiences of PCW comptence (Do you sell network hubs? Er, I think we've got some USB hubs...) my most memorable impression of the group was being in a queue in Dixons behind an elderly gentleman who was trying to return an MP3 player, which the staff were refusing to accomodate owing to the fact that it was not faulty and had been opened and apparently used. From what I could ascertain, the man was virtually blind and listended to a lot of audio books. Having heard about these new fangled mp3 players he'd gone into Dixons to learn a bit more (you feel sorry for the guy already, don't you). He'd later left the store with a shiny new MP3 player, only problem was the technical expert hadn't thought of mentioning you actually needed a computer to connect it to, which the gentleman didn't have. I walked out in disgust.

  86. Noogie Brown

    Pizza Hut

    I installed pizza hut once on my laptop... Or was in ubuntu on my pizza. Or a BMW engine on my pizza hut. Fastest pizza in the west.

  87. Neil

    All the analogies are wrong so far

    This one is correct:

    It's like Ford not fixing your engine because you had the radio set to Radio 2, and they only support Radio 1.

  88. Steve


    Family friendly ? Pissflaps.

  89. David S

    that analogy again...

    Neal Stephenson did the analogy thing best in his essay "In the Beginning was the Command Line" (reproduced here: ) - scroll down to "MGBs, Tanks and Batmobiles"

    As for the "newbies love windows" thing: After both XP and the OS Recovery Partition failed on my wife's PC-World-bought machine, and I refused to pay them £50 for replacement install media (£50 for software we already owned, the robbing ^"£&*^s) I installed Ubuntu and the machine's back up and running and our kids (and, more importantly, my technophobe-but-I-love-her wife) are happily using it to do everything they used to do and more, with less trouble and better performance than they ever had under XP. For free. My flabber is still gasted to this day...

    And would anyone like to hazard a guess as to how much crudware has installed itself on the machine in question in the intervening few months? Anyone?

  90. John

    I got my 1st copy of Linux from PC world

    Back in the old days of 56k dial up in 1999 I bought my first copy of SUSE Linux 6.1 from PC world!! Last time I was in there you could still buy various Linux's in their boxes.

    At my work (Particle physics) all high performance computing is done on Linux. Ask IBM what they run on their supercomputers?

    At home I have, amongst others, an old AMD 800 MHz which takes 10 minutes to boot XP, want to open word - you might as well put the kettle on. Running Linux it is fast and reliable and will probably go and go for years yet.

    Sure, Vista needs a BMW engine to crawl along at 30 mph, if so then Linux is a Ferrari. My old AMD box is a write off in XP, but in Linux its a reliable runner that will get you from A to B without breaking down and you won't get car-jacked in the process.

  91. Bill Coleman

    gotta love that anology

    OS = car engine, wtf?

    Why not just talk in real terms? I mean, you are working in PC world and a guy comes in with a laptop running on a linux variant. do you (a) condescend to him using various anologies " see, a computer is like a car..." or (b) recognise a geek as a geek and explain in real why you cant support hardware controlled by non-standard OSs?

    ...Which I do understand to an extent - the wrong sequence of instructions could cause undue stress on components and there are so many flavours of *n*x and home brews or various cores and kernels out there - how could you possibly keep track of which ones have stable disk r/w management, which ones mess up the power management. And if you go down that road then you've got overclocked processors with cooling systems never intended to support them and allsorts of hot rod sw/hw combinations put together by geeks of varying skill levels! I have to grudgingly admit that I can see where PC world is coming from here! - but that said, common - a broken hinge???

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Veracity of this story?

    Mmmm, none it appears.

    So will the El Reg be following more unsubstanTiated forum postings about companies we all know and hate?

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC World and Apple

    The car engine/OS analogies are making me want to stab people.

    However: Richard Vivash posts about buying an Apple from PC World. I remember that nearly every Mac I've had from PC World has been defective or troublesome in some way, and we can thank DSG and Apple for that.

    My first iMac had a misaligned case.

    My 12" PowerBook had a fault no-one could work out.

    My first eMac had a faulty screen.

    Every other reseller I've used has been fine - I like Jigsaw, but I've used main dealers and Cancom (for new stuff, their refurbs are horrifically overpriced) before.

    The partial answer to this was that PC World often sells Apple "B" stock as new. They want the B stock because they want a higher margin - Apple clearly don't see PC World as that valuable, as I'm sure they would be more helpful given better retail support - and as such, I will never buy an Apple product from DSG (which extends to buying iPods in Comet instead of Currys - I find Comet's staff more helpful anyway).

    If you want an Apple, try John Lewis if you're not going to buy online or in an Apple store. They have excellent warranty backup - the sales staff aren't great but the products are fine, so if you know what you want, they're a good point of purchase.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Getting Tired ???

    "The tread on Slashdot ... "

    Ah, but was that from the Ford, or from the BMW ? Or are they both equally full of hot air ?

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @60 million customers?

    That's one million customers who've returned 60 times trying to get their money back.

  96. Ex Pat


    Time for a snooze I think. All the Linux geeks are posting here and putting me to sleep. Why are they so anal about crappy Linux? Who really cares whether they use it or not?

    A nice example is the person (anonymous of course, who would want to put their name on a post supporting Linux?) who wrote "I'd reverse the analogy myself". My goodness man, go get a girlfriend and drink some beer.

    By the way, Linux is utter utter rubbish and is for fat sweaty bearded nerds with glasses like Clark Kent.

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some PCW techs are not all that bad :-) Honest!

    Needed a motherboard and some other bits urgently and went to my local PCW and got all I needed. Came back to the office and built it - "beep beep beep" some messing about and it looked like the stick of RAM or the m/b, so a trip back to the store with it all in the case and explained to the instore tech the situation - he "actually" understood what I was going on about. Then the moment he saw the light! He went off and got another board and stick of ram and said, lets plug it in and try the ram first if not swap out the board. Well I nearly shit my pants! Someone in PCW who could do something. So we swapped the ram "beep beep", a few tools and some bits later and the board swapped out and working with the original ram - even did it on a little table by the techy area. No one seemed to notice (or care) and it was all fixed on the spot. (Well I had to do some of the donkey work!). So I think if you find the right person who has a clue and cares just a little then you could be in luck.

    Oh and a BMW m30 6 all day long. Really ALL DAY!

  98. PaddyR

    Been done

    a guy in edinburgh drives a BMW E30 tourer (estate) with a 282HP ford cosworth engine in it, vroom, vroom.

    I went to PC World once.........once

  99. Luke Wells

    What was a linux user doing in PC World?

    I thought the average linux user would be more "tech" or "PC savvy" and would know that you can buy cheaper/better PC gear from pretty much anywhere else.

    I've been in IT for years, I'm a programmer and have built and repaired more PC's that I can remember.

    The one time in my life that I have been into PC World (as I needed parts desperatly) the PC World sales adviser (who wouldn't just let me buy what I KNEW I needed) was talking to me like I was a retarded 6 year old.

    if you are planning on installing linux on your PC / Laptop, then surely you would buy it from somewhere reputable

  100. Ron Eve


    Friend of mine in the car trade told me that Ford stands for 'Fix Or Repair Daily'. Oh wait. That's Windows too, isn't it...?

  101. andy gibson

    @ Luke Wells

    You do raise a valid point about anyone tech savvy not using PC World. But if it's a branded product (Sony, Acer, HP etc.) and it's cheaper than anywhere else, surely logic and common sense kick in and tell you to save money rather than pride?

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Installing Windows Vista on a PC is... taking the engine, dash, steering wheel, and seats of of a car, replacing the windscreen with a fancy shiny new one that looked like the old one, installing a HUD that shows some numbers that don't actually mean anything, and then setting the whole car on fire after 2 hours, with a BFOD (Blue Flame Of Death :)

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have read another forum regarding this issue, and the guys name was Morris...hmmm, but still, the point is that installing Linux ( or any other OS ) should not void the warranty on hardware. Did PC World put this in a clause when they sold the device? I don't think so!

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC World is just great!

    I would willing sell my house (and family) to help PC World. They're just wonderful. All you communists should stop knocking big businesses and realise they're with all of their customers all the way ...


  105. Anthony Hulse


    "Linux? MY ARSE!!"

    Will it run a standard distro or must we compile a kernel especially?

  106. Law

    @ ZZzzzzz

    "By the way, Linux is utter utter rubbish and is for fat sweaty bearded nerds with glasses like Clark Kent."

    My god - it's like he watching the security camera point right at my desk!! It must have been recently though, I literally only just got my "clark" glasses this week....

    In my defence, I only really started using linux properly this year since I tried a cracked copy of Vista and almost threw up my 10cups of coffee all over my spiderman-figurine collection!!

    FYI, PC World is crap... has been since forever. I bought a laptop a couple of years back from there, it was an acer (I know I know...), the thing kept freezing for a second at a time, when it froze it didn't register any keypresses.... because I bought the thing for programming and ANY missing characters causes problems I took it back... they told me to p*ss off, and they couldn't do jack for it. So I took it home, threw it into the pond. Rang up their warranty/repaire people and told them I had an accident.... within a week I got lots of nice vouchers to replace my substandard laptop... this time i got a fujitsu seimans.... best laptop ever...

    My next will be an Apple I think... linux is great and all, but I want to compare all 3 properly. Not just be a uninformed tosser like our friend Ex-Pat! :)

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC World Rocks...not!

    I have asked both via the DSG web site and the store what's they do for the 50 point PC health check.

    No-one could tell me.

    I also asked if they would repair a laptop running Linux and they said "what's that"?

  108. Paul

    Is anyone actually surprised?

    Seriously, this is PC World we're talking about here.

    You might, if all the stars and planets align, and the wind blows in just the right direction, get lucky and find a tech or salesperson who actually knows *something* about computers, but when you walk in there you're pretty much walking into a clue-free zone. I suspect the only training they give their floor staff is on how to sell those stupid extended warranties for any piece of hardware (I bought a mouse there once before I knew better, and they tried to sell me extended warranty. On a 15 quid mouse, for pity's sake! My response wasn't very polite, I must confess.)

    I've no reason to believe their techs receive any better training. I wouldn't bring a PC there for repair under any circumstances!

    As a Linux user I'm not remotely offended by this, and the only surprise is that a Linux user would set foot in somewhere like PC World in the first place.

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    PC World know they're wrong on this one - not because of Linux, but because of the consumer's rights under the Sale of Goods Act which uses a legal term called 'strict liability' - essentially, PC World have to prove that there was no manufacturing defect with the machine.

    The consequences for a company found to breach SoGA are deliciously many, varied and nasty.

    If you have trouble with a product breaking or being defective, take it back to the retailer (with whom you have the contract - not the manufacturer), if they object, mention SoGA and trading standards.

    I just got a out of warranty Toshiba TV repaired gratis because of a manufacturing fault with the HDMI card. Toshiba, unlike PC World, were completely professional about the whole situation.

  110. MikeWW

    Further Evidence

    1) Friend's brother-in-law goes into PC World.

    "I want a computer that will play this game my daughter is buying me for Christmas".

    Salesman: "You want this one expensive one here, it will cost you this ££££"


    Rings PC Service Call at first opportunity after Christmas Day - game won't work.

    "Of course it won't sir. The graphics card isn't powerful enough"

    2) Sister-in-law buys new router but it doesn't work at all.

    PC World guy "It's because it has the Super G wireless access point built in. That doesn't work with AOL" (I know - level of S-i-L's inteligence indicated by PCW & AOL!)

    3) I also worked with someone who had previously worked at PC Service Call in Nottingham. He claims they were banned from PCW because they confused staff by asking for "a bag of IRQs" and then watching them go and 'ask someone else' or 'check the stockroom'.

  111. Stephen Gray

    @ Zzzzzz By Ex Pat

    What do you think allows you to surf the net fuckwit? LINUX

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Check the checkout

    last time I had the misfortune to go into PCWorld, the checkout software appeared to be running a version of Nix.

  113. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Acer cases

    When I read the original article I wondered if this might be an Acer laptop. Between me and my parents we've got 3. Different spec from the same year, but with identical cases. All started with tiny hairline cracks, always above the back-left hinge, then suddenly massive splits in the case that destroy the screen. Told by tech. support at Acer that it was from 'opening and closing the laptops'. Never again.

  114. Tom

    PC world == shite

    When I was younger they refused to give me a job because I had long hair (I'm a bloke). Best thing that ever happened to me.

    Never heard a good word said about them since.

  115. Kwac

    Re: Windows marketing "Search results for: "linux"

    "PC World Recommends Windows Vista® Home Premium"

    All dealers do this in adverts - they were (don't know if they still are) required to do it or they didn't get the MS products which they were obliged to install on every computer sold.

    As Linus Torvalds said "Bill Gates can't tell me anything about computers, and I can't tell him anything about business".

  116. Daniel Ballado-Torres


    Hm... reminds me of yesterday's situation with a friend of mine. He was having trouble with the DSL modem, and called the ISP to get the thing working. He bluffed his way through the "Windows" setup (he was running Linux) and even smoked up an "Error" message for the guys. They fiddled with the line, and the modem started working! Just as he was about to hang, he told them "HA HA, I was using Linux!". The "huh?" from the tech support guys before he hung up was priceless.

  117. Chris Puttick

    If only...

    ...the spokesperson had said "buying a Jaguar and squeezing a Ford engine in" they would have perfectly illustrated PC World's problems...

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ When is a Tech Guy not a Tech Guy.............

    Didn't know how to restart the Internet.

    Maybe he assumed there was a button marked "Start".

  119. JC

    Simple Solution, Fire the Tech

    Fire the Tech, this was an idiot who is undeserving of a job, it can't possibly be the company policy that a purely hardware defect or failure has anything to do with having Linux or some other OS instead of Windows.

    Well, then again maybe some loon did try to circulate such a memo, and should also be fired.

    The thing to remember is that your point of contact with a company is supposed to be a rep. for the company but is (sometimes, unfortunately) a human being. If that human made good judgement calls would they even be in a retail store return tech position?

  120. Dave

    Doesn't Surprise me

    Wanted to buy a laptop at PC world

    Was told that I needed to buy a new version of MS office as I wasn't allowed to install it on the new machine. Ignored that, found an acceptable one, and was about to pay for it when the hard sell on the warranty came in.

    Was basically told buy the warranty, or we will refuse to look at your machine, even if there is a hardware fault covered by the SOGA.

    Credit card back in wallet, walked out, not gone back

  121. Daniel

    PCW Employee

    Right Then, i realise im probably gonna get the sh**te ripped outta me for this...

    Anyway I am and have been an employee of PCWorld for about 3 years, i am a student so i only work part time. I am one of the techies at the store. Now majority of this is negative comments although i do genuinely want to know how many of you are talking from personal experience because this seems to me like the whole "vista scenario" of well my mate says its crap and i read.....

    Basically PCWorld is far from perfect and i am in no way defending many of their actions. But PCWorld warranty doesnt apply to software, hence software isnt covered by warranty, you screw your operating system, you fix it!

    The fact he had installed linux shouldnt have come into it.


    I have also experienced some of the "very special" people who work within the company and have expressed my views on many opinions which has landed me in a great deal of trouble.

    The point of this post is that we're not all incompetant fools, infact the PCWorld which i work at located in Hull is actually pretty good for service. Some people will complain about us, some will praise us. But as with all retail sales, thats how things go. All i will say is that if you come in with you "im superior" attitude you will get nowhere, we can refuse refunds (against the SOGA, you say?) well no it isnt because we can refuse to deal with any customer who is rude to us, we are employed to serve, not take sh**t from some trumped up "IT techie" who believes he knows more than he does.

    If someone comes in to ask me a question i will gladly serve them to the best of my capability. No i am not perfect, but amongst our tech team, we have one weak link (dont come in on a wednesday morning).

    Oh and all of you spouting this sales of goods act rubbish, WE DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE YOU A REFUND AFTER 28 DAYS, we are well within our rights to repair the fault.

    And to the guy who worked for "the tech guys" call centre, i have on many occasions had a good chat with some of your software supports, of which many know what they're doing, and some do not. like in all things it isnt always black and white, you and i both know you dont talk through the tests with all the pcw tech guys because some of us actually know enough to diagnose a PC.

    The problem with PCWorld is the complete lack of touch with the computer industry. Theyre investing in stupid pilot schemes, releasing videos on youtube and generally making a ballsup of their hiring process. (For the job i was not asked a single technical question). Their recent brain wave is a knowledge training scheme which again is flawed because it is designed by head office who have the technical knowhow of a small shrew. e.g. this is a question posed for a "knowledge test"

    What are three common features of a PDA




    FM Radio

    Apparently FM radio is a common one and email is not. Nuff said.

    Any questions email me:

  122. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The Sales of Goods Act gets so widely miss quoted by customers it ridiculous.

    Any way, the only grounds to have requested the original Windows infected state of the machine would have been if there had been graphic related issues. In which case it would be perfectly reasonable to expect the machine to be restored to factory settings. Now given this on top of a non-existent DOA period and severely lacking support for Acer products (ask your small indies about Acer) then you start to see why big retailers (Currys/Comet/PC World etc.) are all becoming more fussy.

    Before victimised Linux fans come down too hard on the rational behind it, the same approach is applied to Windows if versions are changed from the shipped version (Vista OEM Upgrades exempt naturally).

    Unfortunately given sales people are human they require motivation to learn and be knowledgeable about the products. No amount of training is going to overcome a 16 yr old working 8 hours a week not wanting or caring about the product. Stick them in a super market and no one would ever notice their lack of motivation or commitment to the job. Put them in a position where they have to put the pieces together and go the extra mile and that's when you see the difference.

    We all remember the bad experiences more than the good. And despite what most people think, Comet, Currys & PC World are all commission free. They get biggest team bonuses from high customer service scores, i.e. trying to keep as many people happy as possible.

  123. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That's... nice, really.

    But seriously, your friend is a loser if he thought he'd caused the guy any grief. He probably went 'Huh?' because your friend apparently just blurted out 'HAHA I WAS USING LINUX!!!' at thrice the volume that a normal person speaks at. I guarantee that the entire office likely laughed at your friend's ridiculous behaviour after the call.

  124. t3h

    Bad comparison on two counts

    The "Ford engine in a BMW" comparison is bad enough. Saying that the Acer laptop is a BMW, on the other hand, is FAR worse...

  125. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Linux but another PCW cock up.....

    Perhaps there is a better thread somewhere for this but.......

    About six weeks ago, I bought a Linksys CIT200 skype phone for my kids to keep in touch with me (they are in UK, I now live in Aus). In the local PCW there was an entire wall of these Linksys phones, and they were an ok price. Now, having been caught out before, I asked one of the assistants whether the phone was compatible with Vista. "Of course sir". Logical really, given that ALL the wintel pcs/laptops in that PCW had Vista, like it or lump it. (Sorry, have to admit I bought a Vista desktop for the kids - unashamed product testing by stealth!). Took it back to the kids place, tried to install it, and surprise surprise, its not supported by Vista, and Linksys have no plans to do so.

    How the hell can PCW be pushing a skype phone that doesn't work with Vista, when they will only sell Vista pc's/laptops (Macs notwithstanding)?

    Same deal with webcams too I noticed, on a later visit.

    Anyway, I just checked their on line store - no more CIT200; an admission of guilt?

  126. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The problem with PCWorld is the complete lack of touch with the computer industry."

    I couldn't agree more.

    The notion of "experts" at PCWorld always makes me laugh. Anybody worth their IT salt will not be working down at PCWorld. If I buy anything there (and it's rarely), I don't bother talking to the sales people. They wouldn't know a serial bus from a Routemaster.

    From what I've heard, the majority of their techies aren't much better.

  127. Martin Huizing

    How about this?

    Search results for: "linux"

    PC World Recommends Windows Vista® Home Premium

  128. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP did the same to me

    Right after buying a HP desktop computer I've installed Debian GNU/Linux on it. A few months later, the hard disk stopped working so I had to call the help desk in India. After a while trying to let them understand that the disk was f*ed they told me to run some tests. When I told them I could not because I had Linux on it they refused to replace the disk because installing Linux voided the warranty!

    I was so fed up!! I called the a couple of days later saying that I could not run the tests because I had a 'No disk found' message from the BIOS and two days later I had a new disk on my doorstep :)

  129. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not all Staff....

    Not all Staff working for pcworld are complete and utter idiots

    personally am willing to bet that the store in question was one of a couple of stores (one of which is staples corner) which have a bad rep even among pcworlds.

    it doesnt help that the call center has changed hands, the technical test for the job has been well not dropped but dumbed down, when i joined it at least had questions like "what is this slot called" with a circled slot on a motherboard. now the test has questions like "what is the latest version of windows", training has been cut from 5 weeks to 3/4. training when you move up grades has been dropped (you used to have to pass MCSE and A+ before you could move to the top grade, now its pretty much the windows question above)

    the store staff and many of the engineers for desktops are a joke...

    if elreg would like the full story once i leave ill be happy to explain the drops in quality and staff moral along with stories of poor diags/customer fools when i chew through the chains on the desk

  130. david mccormick

    Re: warranty

    In order not to mis-quote the sale of goods act, here it is

    "(1) In section 14 of the [1979 c. 54.] Sale of Goods Act 1979 (implied terms about quality or fitness) for subsection (2) there is substituted—

    “(2) Where the seller sells goods in the course of a business, there is an implied term that the goods supplied under the contract are of satisfactory quality.

    (2A) For the purposes of this Act, goods are of satisfactory quality if they meet the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking account of any description of the goods, the price (if relevant) and all the other relevant circumstances.

    (2B) For the purposes of this Act, the quality of goods includes their state and condition and the following (among others) are in appropriate cases aspects of the quality of goods—

    (a) fitness for all the purposes for which goods of the kind in question are commonly supplied,

    (b) appearance and finish,

    (c) freedom from minor defects,

    (d) safety, and

    (e) durability"

    It seems reasonable that you can replace the OS on a computer as that is why there are different ones (and PC world once sold other ones). If durability is in question i.e the hinge is weak or faulty, then the warranty should be honoured.

  131. Penguin Worrier

    analogy more like this...

    Putting a Ford engine in a BMW is like installing Linux on an Apple Mac.

    That is, pointlessly replacing one of the components in an over-priced system bought only by knob-gobblers with more money than sense who are more interested in brand styling than anything else.

  132. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Call Acer?...

    ... direct on 0870 853 1000 and arrange a collect & return to Acer's own repair shop. All charges paid by Acer. Anyone who shops at PC World these days deserves exactly what they get.

  133. Damien

    Another analogy ...

    Isn't installing Linux on a laptop kinda like installing Linux on a BMW 7 series with iDrive?,39042972,39130270,00.htm

  134. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny that analogy...

    If PC World sold cars, then you could probably buy a Ford (Ka) for the same price that other dealers sell Porsches.

  135. Danny Traynor

    Free Laptop with Orange

    Was in PC World recently with a mate who's just moved into his own flat and wanted a computer and broadband. Was happy with the 2gb Orange service so we went to look at the laptops. PCWorld had on display a machine that I was sure would be suitable for his needs and was only £50 on top of the Orange contract. Needless to say, that machine wasn't in stock but they did have 'this other one over here' which was £80 extra and had a higher model number.

    Said friend would have bought it on the spot but the helpful member of staff forgot to mention that it had

    a) half the amount of ram (and running Vista as well, mental!)

    b) had a slower processor

    c) had a smaller harddrive (40gb vs 80gb)

    We were told in no uncertain terms that the higher spec laptop would never be back in stock (if indeed, it ever was in stock) and we'd have to buy this one.

    Anyway, we went next door and bought the higher spec one for the advertised price. I'll never shop there again, bunch of bloody chancers the lot of them.

  136. Ex Pat

    @Stephen Gray

    Erm, Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 7 and my ADSL connection. That is what allows me to surf the web. So, instead of being a complete tosser, why don't you go bore someone else with your Linux tripe. See you next tuesday.

  137. Chris Fox

    They are still refusing to fix the hinge!

    If you look at Tikka's website, you will see that PCW have still been refusing to fix the hinge even after DSG's public statement about this.

    It is ridiculous and irrelevant to say people should know better than to shop at PCW, or run Linux, or to rely on PCW support. The issue is really very simple: DSG's practices are in breach the statutory and regulatory obligations governing the retail trade. This should not be tolerated.

    Personally, I am troubled by the fact that regulatory authorities seem to have very small teeth when it comes to discouraging repeated and systematic breaches of the rules. Their role is often appears to be one of offering support to individuals who have the time and patience to threaten small claims cases, rather than fixing the problem at source once and for all.

  138. Simon


    I had a problem the other day with one of my clients brand new laptop (pre-loaded with windoze vista).. I was tring to re-install this PC with XP, After taking the PC back because it was impossible to do an XP installation install without having to build my own recovery cd etc, they told us that the PC's warranty had been Voided because it didn't have Vista installed.. great news for me, my client happened to be a solicitor and took immediate action.

    As a re-seller of Hardware, there has to be a clear Hardware Warranty which can not be bundled with the software that was pre-loaded. The software comes with no warranty.... do you not think MS would have gone down the pan years ago if this was the case. WAKE UP GUYS! MS is for people who want to throw there money into Billion$ companies who dont care about good software just the £$€ signs.....

    Welcome to the Open-source revolution. (about time)

  139. Krystan Honour

    Ex sales now a dev

    During university i used to work at pc world. I also worked there full time for 1 year before that. This was from 1996-1999.

    I was one of those people who actually knew what I was talking about, as did a number of the people in tech support (now known as the 'tech guys').

    I had a really bad issue with the attitude of PC WORLD and that was that sales counted above all else. Sure customer service was an issue but if you didn't sell you didn't keep your job and the 'coverplan' extended guarantee was focused on very heavily. In those days pc world were selling p75s for 1.5k and then another service plan for say £450, they were absolutely laffing.

    The problem I had was that when I tried to explain to some people about ram compatibility, or linux operating systems (yes they sold them), or give them general advice on what they actually needed (as opposed to what pc world wanted to sell them), I was pulled up and told 'we don't really like people with technical ability to be employed here'.

    In fact I was told to keep away from customers and in the end just turned up to collect a wage but I always pride myself that I always tried to sell people what they needed as opposed to what they didn't need.

    PC WORLD are what they are, they are a profit orientated retail outlet and care little for the technicals. They have also realised this mistake too late as the ticket prices have fallen, they have scrapped commission selling and a lot of people left because the wages are so poor.

    They are now realising that customer service was oh so important as peolpe are now more tech savvy and know much more than in 1996 about pcs. The trouble is the damage has already been done to their reputation and is probably undoable.

    All because they tried to run it like a branch of dixons, which was always a mistake.

  140. David Perry

    A good thing (yes shock horror) about PC world is...

    < good bit >

    ..that you can get their online pricing and pick up the thing in store! I buy most of my PC parts and spares for me or other people from and only ever had one problem (they sent me 3 routers instead of 1, and didn't charge me extra yay). But if I want something in a hurry, like that day, it's good to know an hour after ordering, if it's in stock, I can boogie over and collect it in person.

    < /good bit >

    < bad bit >

    However I won't disagree with the attitude of the staff advising (if you can call it that) customers. When I was helping choose my sisters first laptop 3 years ago, I saw one particular unit that looked like a good choice - I had a query, however, over works suite 2000. Collared the nearest smiling person in purple shirt, and asked him "do you know if works suite 2000 comes with proper word 2000 instead of the pansy on-board works word processing component" - I expected a two part answer, a) did he know the answer or not, and b) if he knew the answer, what it was. All I got was "I work here" and an arrogant grin - tempted to swear at him for his unfounded arrogance - I said "that doesn't impress me - either you go and find the answer or I tell your supervisor you shouldn't have a job here, and I know more than most of you put together". I'd imagine most readers of this fine e-zine know more than most pc world staff - here's the funny thing, I was rejected when I went for a job with them when I was 17! Might apply again for a non-sales role just for a giggle to see if I get any further now I'm 24...

    < /bad bit >

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