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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Hard Disk Performance, Quality and Reliability | Hard Disk Quality and Reliability | Hard Disk Warranty and Disaster Recovery Issues ]
Third Party Warranty Support
As if the matter of warranty coverage weren't confusing enough, some companies have added to the brew by outsourcing support for some of their drives. This is usually done for older product lines that the company does not want to continue having to provide support for. Checking with the technical support department will usually let you find out if a drive you own has support provided for it by a third party. I am not aware of any companies presently doing this for newer drives; it is usually for obsolete hardware (which I suppose wouldn't be covered by warranty any more, making this more of a general service and support issue; it's still a good thing to know about if you plan to hold on to your drive past the warranty period.)
Another case where this issue comes into play is if a company goes out of business. Hard disk manufacturers do go under from time to time. Usually they don't just fold and "disappear" but rather are bought out by another company. When this happens, the buying company normally inherits the warranty and support load for the drives made by the company they are buying. However, sometimes these are outsourced to still another company. Also, a buyout can result in any number of changes relative to the warranty status and policies of the old company, so be sure to check into the matter if this happens to a company whose drives you are using.