For those of you following my Tecra M4 repair saga, UPS picked up my M4 on Friday and returned it today. That's a 3 working day turn-around. Impressive!

Interestingly, it did not go to a Toshiba Repair Depot. According to  a reader of my blog, Sean, and the UPS tag, it went to a UPS repair depot. I was very concerned to hear this, but my M4 is back and I'm thankful for that. Before I brag too much about the repair service, though, all is not dust free in tablet-land.

20060628 - Eric's Tecra M4, back from repair, with same dust under screen-a.jpg

Upon opening the box it was immediately obvious to me that they did not fix my screen dust problem, nor did they read my detailed letter, which was taped to the unit. They apparently did not read, the service request from Toshiba, either. How do I know this? The work order, included with the laptop lists only one problem: bad screen.

According to the service summary, they only replaced the motherboard. Still, at least I got my Tecra M4 back from repair quickly, unlike so many who have blogged or written to report turn-around times of 4-8 weeks. I feel lucky.

I tested the unit, using a spare cloned hard drive. Great news!  So far, very little fan noise - even with cpu-intensive tasks. (I hope this lasts; it's wonderfully quiet.) SD Card slot now works. No squeal that I can detect. So, it appears that Toshiba (UPS) repaired 4 out of the 5 reported problems, with only 92 minutes to describe these to them and 1 week of being without my Tablet. (Oh, and I have to reload my hard drive and remove the Toshiba provided spamware - anltehr 12-14 hours).

So, other than the big specs of dust, the unit appears to work.  I'll have to test it more carefully over the next week or so.

Now, I have a dilema: do I ship it back to Toshiba to attempt the get the screen repaired, and risk not having it ready to show key corporate clients next week,or should I just be thankful that I got my M4 back at all.

Busy day tomorrow. I've not forgotten about the Resultsmanager blog; Nick and I will podcast again soon.

Discussion/Comments (19):

Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

I would vote to keep it for your meeting and then contact Toshiba. The dust problem from your screenshot does look pretty bad, but at least the tablet is working otherwise.

Keeping it for the time being also will allow you to make sure everything is really working properly. Better to catch as much as you can before you try to get the dust problem fixed than to miss failures.

As for my status my tablet has been received at Toshiba HQ. The person I am in contact there seems very willing to make sure everything is in order, so hopefully my case will be resolved this time around too.

I just want to get back to that happy stage too, as I really did enjoy using my M4 and regret having the bad luck I've had so far getting it fixed. It is a nice machine, and still one of the best configured tablets out there.

Posted at 06/29/2006 10:30:17 by Sean

re: Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

Sean, I'll offer you some words of encouragement. The repaired Tecra is MUCH quieter, and other than the dust, the other items appear to be resolved. So, while I am very disappointed that the Toshiba Techs do not read the support tickets or notices attached to the computer, I am thankful that I have a working unit that is quieter.

I agree, the M4 is a very nice tablet. I look forward to using mine, again, too.


Posted at 06/29/2006 10:36:14 by Eric Mack

Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

Any word on whether or not the dust is under a plastic screen protector, like the one that M200 users often end up removing themselves and replacing with an aftermarket protector?

Posted at 06/29/2006 12:54:44 by Benjamin Ries

Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

Hey, Eric - I heard about the deal laptop companies have with UPS (I believe it was Seth Godin) but it makes a ton of sense - since so much goes through them why not put the techs right there!

Thanks for the posts.

Posted at 06/29/2006 19:50:28 by Matthew Cornell

Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

I found out something interesting...

{ Link }

F rating with the BBB, 400 unanswered complaints out of 614, top complaints are about overheating, malfunctioning notebooks, and sending in notebook multiple times for the same repair.

Posted at 06/30/2006 10:18:06 by Sean

Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

You can remove the dust from under your screen fairly easily, actually:

1) Remove the black triangle-shaped stickers from the top corners of your screen (you may need to use a pin to pry them off)

2) Remove the four grey, rounded-square stickers on the botton portion of your screen, in the same way, keeping the stickers in a place where they won't lose their 'stick'

3) Unscrew all six screws, and carefully pry off the entire top portion of the screen panel (the panel's edge is located on the sides of the monitor (basically cutting your entire monitor in half)). It takes a little effort, but if you're careful you won't damage anything.

4) Take a can of air spray and spray all dust out, or use a cloth if you prefer.

Then follow the same directions backwards to reassemble. I've done this several times with success; the whole process takes 15 minutes or less for me. Dust gone, no problem.

Of course, with your repair time, you could probably go to that UPS center yourself and just have them do it while you watch.

Posted at 07/01/2006 10:55:58 by Marcus C.

How to remove dust from under the Tablet PC Screen

Thanks Marcus, I'm aware of these steps. If my unit were not still under warranty, I'd do it myself. Since I've paid for a warranty and since Toshiba came through, for me at least, I do not plan to do anything that would risk violating my warranty.

Still, I'll post these on my blog, in case they will be of help to fellow Tablet PC users.

Posted at 07/01/2006 11:36:39 by Eric Mack

re: Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

The dust is under the screen protector. Looks like an easy fix, but since my unit is under warranty I do not plan to attempt it.

Posted at 07/01/2006 11:37:06 by Eric Mack

re: Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

Matthew, I was concerned when I learned that my laptop went to UPS, but I have to say that this experience went smoothly. Kudos to UPS and Toshiba!

Posted at 07/01/2006 11:39:57 by Eric Mack

Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

Tecra M4 Overheats, suddenly shuts down, can not rest on lap. If this is cronic with M4 why wont toshiba omit it? And which table model would be better? Unfortunately I can only get another toshiba if they credit mine for return.

Posted at 02/08/2007 9:14:37 by Al

Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

Toshiba is a terrible company at fixing warranty complaints. I own a Tecra tablet M7 which has the same dust problem. The dust gets under the screen due to a faulty latch design on the top. Toshiba has admitted that this is a problem but yet refuses to do anything about it and states that it is a common problem among laptop computers. Despite having a three year warranty on the machine they will not do anything to help resolve my issue. If anyone has had similar issues with the Tecra M7 contact me because I plan to begin the process of arbitrating the warranty and a class action would help.


Posted at 02/05/2008 23:04:25 by Paul

re: Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

It's too bad that Toshiba does not appear to read the blogs. I stopped blogging about Toshiba over a year ago and still I receive 1-3 complaints a week from unhappy toshiba customers...

Posted at 02/08/2008 15:04:31 by Eric Mack

Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

I dont want to give my name, however I am a supervisor over one of the Toshiba call centers. I want you to know that I am reading your blogs. While I may only be one person in the midst of all of this, I am very commited to making sure that the customers I deal with are satisfied. Of course like anything else hands get tied from time to time and am unable to do so.

I just wanted you guys on this blog to know that one person at least from Toshiba is reading blogs and seeing what customers are saying. This is usually the only way I can really get a feel for what needs to be changed etc...

I can tell you that the UPS depot model is vastly improved, and there are some really good people in charge over there now. I wish I could say we have a 100% ability to solve each technical issue that arrives there.

As far as the dust in the screen issue goes. It is my understanding that tablets with this issue that make it to the depot are fixed. You will probably see the issue again over time. This is due to the way the screen cover attaches to the top cover of the laptop. Its simply plastic to plastic connection.

We have cleaned several of them before and the way its done is by removing the screen cover and cleaning it with an anti static solution. Then blowing the dust from the screen and carefully placing the screen cover back on the laptop.

Anyways im glad that I stopped by this blog. I would hope to eventually not see a blog about Toshiba in this manner, and will strive to keep customer satisfaction #1.

Someone who cares at Toshiba...

Posted at 04/09/2008 20:18:27 by Uknown

re: Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

Thank you for responding!

Unfortunately, at this time, I advise all of my friends and enterprise corporate clients to avoid Toshiba Products.

I will share your post.

You may want to see these posts:

And, please, please, share these with anyone at Toshiba that you think would listen.

I have a $5000 Toshiba that makes me so mad - it sits on my desk, unused for 2 years with the same two problems I had on day one:

1. Excessive Fan Noise

2. CPU runs at full throttle all the time

I don't think I could recommend Toshiba again with these problems.

I would be happy to speak with you.


Posted at 04/09/2008 21:06:20 by Eric Mack

Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days


Can you provide me with an email address where I can write to you? I dont want to promise anything... however I would like to write back n forth to see what I can do..

I am very intrested reversing the current conception that many of your readers have.. as im sure you may now the buisness eviroment can be tricky so I dont want to do anything to jepordize my current position.

With that being said I do have some direct contacts within the field and maybe able to help.

Let me know what you think?

Posted at 04/10/2008 18:57:03 by Uknown

re: Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

My web response will come to you by e-mail. You are welcome to contact me by email.


Posted at 04/10/2008 22:08:55 by Eric Mack

re: Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

Dear Toshiba support: I have not heard back from you, whoever you are - despite my responses to this post and your email. I would like to hear from you and resolve these issues. Until then, my only option is to share the details of my unfortunate experience and the 100+ people that have written to me and to advise clients to think very carefully before ever purchasing Toshiba hardware. You may reach me via the web or my email, which you have. Eric

Posted at 04/30/2008 13:27:56 by Eric Mack

Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

Oh, if dust were my only problem. Like clockwork, the video on my M4 fails every 12 months. This time, two weeks after my 3-yr warranty expired. Now I'm being asked to pay for a repair that I know will return in twelve months. For what I'm being asked to pay for a repair I could buy a new Dell. It's obvious that the M4 has a heat problem although the call center denies any knowledge of such an issue. Having worked as a Reliability Engineer for many years I know a problem when I see it. It seems as though Toshiba's response is to deny and delay until their warranty exposure is over.

Posted at 08/28/2008 8:19:05 by Gary

re: Toshiba grants 4 out of 5 wishes in only 3 days

Gary, I've moved on, Using Lenovo all the way. Wasted too much of my time and $ with Toshiba. I routinely forwarded them the complaints from this site. It's sad, but they do not appear to care. Good luck.

Posted at 08/29/2008 14:53:06 by Eric Mack

Discussion for this entry is now closed.