sept 2006 - best buy geek squad not offering the 'best' advice



Julie from Frisco was informed the data recovery from her HP Pavillion PC was going to cost $600.  Her Seagate 160 Gig hard drive failed and her computer would no longer boot.  Best Buy Geek Squad provided her with an On Track Recovery report, stating there were bad sectors on the drive.  She picked up the Computer in an un-repaired state, and called PCNS.  Geek Squad's diagnosis that the drive had failed was correct.  However their advice (to take the hard drive to a professional data recovery service) to recover the files for $600 was not.  In her repair pamphlet they dropped a business card in it for a local Dallas data recovery shop.  After restoring her system with a new hard drive and bringing up the Service Patches, I convinced Julie to let me give data recovery another shot. Although the odds were low in success (based on the Geek Squad On Track Report), the alternative - manually rebuilding all her financials in Quicken 2006, would be an enormous undertaking.  In less than one hour, her entire C:\Documents and Settings\Owner folder, including all her Documents, Pictures, Quicken Data, and My Music files were recovered successfully, without any special tools or data recovery software.

I'm not privy to the repair or diagnosis procedures of Best Buy Geek Squad.  However, if you take a "one size fits all" or "assembly line" troubleshooting approach you're bound to misdiagnose or give out bad or incorrect advice.  If Geek Squad would have simply connected the hard drive to the secondary IDE controller into a working "shop" PC (with a working copy of Windows), they would have found that the NTFS partition could have been read, and without any special tools, they could have readily recovered the critical customer data.  That could have been a selling point for Geek Squad to have completed the repair.  Instead they tried to defer the data recovery portion - remember they enclosed a business card for a Data Recovery shop!  On this labor day weekend, there was a good dose of rain and power disturbances, perhaps they got too many PC's in the store and had to start rushing through the repairs.  Nothing on their website says they do Data Recovery, perhaps that's where they draw the line.  In any event, a large franchised repair house may NOT be the best place to take your PC. 

Geek Squad was involved in a licensing lawsuit with Winternals Software of Austin Texas (now since purchased by Microsoft).  Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.  However one function of the software they allegedly used can do data recovery.  Perhaps terms of the settlement prevents them from performing certain services, like data recovery.  Stories here:

http://www.itjungle.com/two/two041906-story06.html
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,191593,00.html