Lenovo Passes the Black Screen Malware Buck to the Tune of $129

I admit to not being the most technologically-literate person. Computers, electronics, technology, whatever, whatever. It’s not my thing. On/Off button – that I can handle. The basics. I am not interested in much else. I am the type of person who solely uses her smartphone to make calls, send text messages and listen to NPR on my way to work. Beyond Facebook and Instagram – forget about apps.

FREE Research Report: How to Chose Procurement Technology That “Grows With You”

But despite the limited technology knowledge I have chosen to acquire, I do know one thing: when you buy a brand new laptop, it’s supposed to work. It is supposed to operate without incident for a period of time that is longer than 30 days. It should not require a 3-hour call on a Friday afternoon with technical support personnel (despite how friendly and knowledgeable they may be).

You can see where this is going…

The Spend Matters team recently purchased a new Lenovo G50-70 laptop to run our webinars on. We are a Mac company for just about everything else. We purchased this laptop a little over a month ago, and shame on us, let it sit on the shelf for a while until we took the time to load the programs we needed on it.

But, last week I dusted it off and opened it up, expecting to be able to load Microsoft Office, with all the bells and whistles, without incident. Wishful thinking. I purchased and downloaded the suite of Office programs, and the computer restarted to finish installing everything. So far so good.

Black Screen of Death

But that’s when the trouble started. Nothing but a blank black screen.

I restarted it. Took off the battery, put it back on. Turned it on again. A few times after trying this method, thinking “OK, computer, I’ll give you one more try,” I gave up, with plans to go back to it the next day.

The next day came, and the same issue continued happening. I could log into the computer, but then a black screen appeared. I could see my white cursor arrow, but nothing else. I did some research and realized others were being plagued with this black screen issue. Internet forums told me it happened after trying to load software on the computer. Lenovo told me a more detailed version.

Who’s to Blame? Lenovo, Microsoft or McAfee?

I’m still confused about this, to be honest. (See my opening sentence to this article.) What I was told by Lenovo’s tech support team is the black screen issue is rampant on PCs with Microsoft Windows operating systems from various companies (not just theirs). And, it happens once the McAfee 30-day free subscription runs out. Apparently, since we had purchased the laptop, started it, then shelved it for a month before starting to trying to use it, the McAfee anti-spyware “subscription” began at the time of our first “use.” When the McAfee deal is done, some malware enters the computer once you start browsing the Internet and possibly accidentally click on something. And bam, black screen.

Apparently, I must have downloaded some mal/spy/risk-whatever-you-call-it-ware, during my process of downloading Microsoft Office. Three hours, 3 tech support people at Lenovo and $129 later, we had that bad stuff removed from our laptop.

But back to my question – who is to blame for this? It’s a Lenovo laptop. Automatically, I put the responsibility on the manufacturer. Lenovo shouldn’t have sold me a product that would ultimately prove defective in a month. If it’s a McAfee issue – then, again, I say to Lenovo: Don’t put it on your computers! If it's a Windows issue, well… then stay away from PCs altogether? After my company spent nearly $500 on a new computer, it’s ridiculous we had to spend another $129 to resolve an issue on it within 60 days of purchase.

Remote Tech Support Saves the Day for $129

One thing I am grateful for, however, is that the Lenovo technicians were able to “enter” my computer and completely take over the process of removing the malware. Gosh, if I had to sit on the phone for 3 hours with them telling me “OK, now click on this, then open that,” I would have totally lost my mind.

Still, the issue remains. Lenovo is well aware of this problem happening regarding this malware/virus – the technical support employees who helped me knew exactly what was wrong with my computer when I described it, and shared with me how they have been hearing numerous complaints from customers with similar cases.

I didn’t put that McAfee 30-day free trial on the computer. But, I don’t recall seeing a warning sign “DANGER – Your computer is at risk! Your free anti-spyware software has expired!” either. How was I to know I was open to Internet attacks before even cruising the web other than to get Office installed.

I’m still confused why we had to pay $129 for fixing this issue. Is Lenovo profiting from this well-known virus problem on the computers they are selling?

As I said before, I admit to being confused about a lot of things when it comes to computers. But value? That should be crystal clear to everyone. I’m not so sure the value is visible with this purchase. It feels a bit like Lenovo and Microsoft are implementing an unexpected tax on users just to get their machines fired up and running.

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First Voice

  1. Charles Dominick:

    I hate when stuff like that happens.

    But, I’m most interested in how you guys are a “Mac shop.” I think it would be a great and popular post to cover how you guys broke away from Windows, how you can network together with a server or use the cloud for file/database sharing, etc.

    For many companies – especially small ones – the perception is that, if you want to use Word, Excel, Quickbooks, etc. and share files among a half-dozen or more employees, Windows is the only legit option. If you could dispel that, it would be gold.

    Good luck for a tech-problem free day!

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