Last week I mentioned that Lenovo's technical support wouldn't accept a minidump to help me debug a Windows failure on a new ThinkCentre A61 tower (see Debugging Windows crashes with minidumps? Not at Lenovo). Now I know why. Lenovo does not support Windows.
Note: Normally, when a computer is purchased with Windows pre-installed, tech support for Windows is provided by the computer manufacturer, not by Microsoft. To get Microsoft support for Windows requires a retail purchase of the operating system. Someone commented below that anyone can call Microsoft for paid technical support with Windows. I haven't tried this. (added March 1, 2008)
I was told by a Lenovo technician that their software support is limited to Lenovo ThinkVantage software. If they feel like it, they may help you download a driver, but they won't stay on the phone and won't walk you through installing the driver. So who will? Lenovo Experts Live will. For a price.
As far as I know this is not a time related issue. The computer I called for help with, was new. The Lenovo Experts Live website says nothing about their taking over after an initial period where software support is free. In fact, it says nothing about the services that are provided free with a new Lenovo computer vs. the services you have to pay for.
In their own words:
"Lenovo Experts Live is designed to provide you 100% U.S. based technical service to your hardware and software issues, how-to questions, and problems. Whether you're under warranty but have questions on issues not covered, or you're out-of-warranty but still need help, Lenovo has experts to address your technical problems ... Whether you have a networking issue, a software 'how to' question, a virus or spyware problem, or need help setting up your home office peripherals, Lenovo experts can help."
Providing software technical support is expensive and time consuming. It is, perhaps, unrealistic to expect it included for free in the price of a personal computer. If low end computers don't include technical support as a way of keeping the price down, fair enough. But hardware manufacturers should be honest and up-front about it.
Finally, Lenovo Experts Live does not inspire confidence when the web page they link to, that supposedly provides a list of their services, does no such thing.
Update. February 29, 2008. Lenovo makes it difficult to reach their tech support. Could this be designed to steer people to the paid support? You decide:
If you call Lenovo for tech support, instead of getting connected or placed in a queue, you're given a different phone number to call 800-426-7378. This is an IBM phone number. Mostly. The main voice menu only has choices for IBM, nothing for Lenovo.
Getting started requires choosing between hardware support or software support. Pinpointing the source of a problem as either hardware or software can be very difficult. Unless the computer is smoking, this can be an impossible choice to make, both for techies and non-techies.
But, no matter which way a Lenovo customer starts out, there are many voice menu options standing between them and Lenovo tech support. At one point, I made a wrong choice in the maze of menus. I ended up speaking to a polite, patient man who spoke perfect English, yet we had a total disconnect. Finally, he asked if I was calling about an IBM computer. I wasn't. He worked for IBM. Oops.
Lenovo is a huge company. They can't get their own phone number?