PC World denies Linux warranty void

The computer store insists it does not void warranties if customers install Linux, but urges them to reinstall Windows if returning computers for repair
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

PC World has denied reports that it considers the warranties on its computers void if customers install Linux.

On Tuesday, a reader of the technology news website Slashdot claimed to have taken a recently bought Acer laptop back to PC World to have the hinge repaired, only to be told that the installation of Gentoo Linux on the machine had voided the warranty.

"PC World said that installing Linux had voided my warranty and there is nothing they will do for me," wrote the reader, identified only as Tikka. "I spoke to a manager, who said that he has been told to refuse any repairs if the operating system has been changed."

A spokesperson for PC World denied the claims on Wednesday, telling ZDNet.co.uk that the store's policy was that "as long as we are still able to get the computer/laptop back to its original manufacturer's settings, the customer is free to install other operating systems like Linux".

The spokesperson refused to comment on Tikka's individual case without further details, but explained that the original manufacturer's settings "enable us to get the computer running stable again with the initial operating system". This meant having to re-install Windows.

PC World's spokesperson added that customers who replaced Windows with Linux were encouraged to reinstall Windows "where it is feasible" before returning their machines for repair. "As long as PC World or the TechGuys [PC World's IT support staff] are able to restore the initial settings, there is no void with the warranty. In cases where customer wants to install Linux, it is vital that they make a Windows recovery disc first, unless this comes with the computer," said the spokesperson.

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