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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | After The Purchase | Problems With Your System ]

Defective or Damaged Items

As I've mentioned in a few places, it's much more common for hardware to develop faults soon after it starts to be used than months later on. Therefore, it's not too uncommon for you to encounter a bad component or peripheral in your system not long after you begin using it. If the part that is defective isn't one that is critical to keeping the PC running, you may be able to address the failure of the component itself while continuing to use the machine. For example, you may have a discolored area on your monitor, or your printer may have a problem, or perhaps one of the function keys on the keyboard is "sticking".

If something like this occurs to you, contact the system manufacturer immediately and explain the situation. Most good vendors, in this situation, will conclude that the part was a "lemon" and will offer to replace it for you immediately. If the part isn't causing the system to be unusable, trying to replace the bad component is to your advantage: it will save you hassle compared to packing up the entire PC and sending it back.

You may also occasionally have an individual component--i.e., something that is not part of a whole PC system, such as a scanner or an external drive-- that arrives to you immediately defective, or becomes defective while you are still within 30 days of the date of purchase. In this event, most vendors will allow you to return the item for exchange for another identical unit. This is your best course of action, because you will get a new unit instead of waiting for the manufacturer to repair the old one.

Tip: Before concluding that a component is defective, try downloading a new driver for it from its manufacturer's web sites. The proper operation of many components in a Windows environment depends as much on the driver as it does on the hardware itself.

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