As with alternative brands, we tend to ask a way to shield our pc from the Spectre/Meltdown vulnerability, and the way to induce Cortana to reply to “Hey, Cortana.” we tend to conjointly ask a brand-specific question regarding adjusting the sound presets within the Bang Olufsen instrument panel. And whereas we tend to have reasonably seamless expertise finding answers and seeking help on the net, line HP’s tech-support agents did not continuously yield the correct answer.

Web and Social Support
HP’s support and troubleshooting site offer a deep trove of knowledge that’s easily accessible for both tech-savvy and entry-level users alike. The site has been retooled to provide a more unified presentation, with large blue tabs for Software and Drivers, Troubleshooting, How-tos, Product Info, and User Guides.

I was especially impressed by the Bulletins and Notices tab, which has the latest security news. It was here that I found an article about the Spectre vulnerability, the potential impact on HP devices, and what the company is doing to address the issue. You’ll also find a Windows 10 Support Center.

HP Tech Support
OverallWeb ScorePhone ScoreAvg Call TimePhone NumberWeb Support

You can either search for general answers on the site or enter your laptop’s serial and product numbers for a more-targeted experience. Once you enter the pertinent information, you can check your system’s warranty status, register your product or check the repair order in case it has to be sent back to the factory.

If you’re a social media addict, you can get your questions answered via Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter. When you ping the HP Support Facebook page or the company’s Facebook Messenger, you get a prompt informing you that your inquiry should be answered in 2 hours or less, between the business hours of 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST.

HP held true to its word: My question about protecting my laptop from the Spectre/Meltdown security vulnerability was answered just 25 minutes after I sent it. The Twitter reps took slightly longer, answering the same question after an hour and 15 minutes.

You can reach an HP tech-support representative on social media from 8 a.m to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.

HP’s Support Assistant chat app stays on the taskbar for quick access and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. After entering the required information (name and email address), a small chat window opened and, after a few seconds, I was connected with Asmita at 4:50 p.m. to ask her how to change my audio settings via the pre-installed Bang & Olufsen software.

The experience was hinky as the connection kept dropping out, which forced me to quickly type my questions.. The situation became so bad that a phone tech had to call me and help me establish another connection. Once the connection problem was fixed, I asked Asmita if she could help me with my audio-software difficulties.

After ascertaining from me that the audio was operating properly and that I was trying to access a third-party software (albeit one that HP has partnered with Bang & Olufsen to get), the HP said that “the issue is out of scope for us.” She then wanted to elevate the situation to the level 2 techs at HP’s SmartFriend service. They would be able to help me for a nominal fee, which was a bummer, to say the least, especially since I had 8 months left on my warranty.

I had a better experience with Paramita at the Chat Support on HP’s support site. I contacted her at 11:14 a.m. with the same question, and she also asked for remote access to my laptop. After granting her access, she quickly pulled up the Control Panel, located the Bang & Olufsen panel and correctly adjusted the settings. Once I confirmed that everything was working as it should, Pamela offered to send me an email with the steps to get rid of junk files on my laptop. She also tried to talk me into purchasing some accidental damage warranty coverage, which I politely declined. From beginning to end, the whole process took 21 minutes.

If you’d rather not deal with virtual assistants or tech-support agents, you can probably find your answer on HP’s YouTube channel. And starting in August 2018, the company will offer a new method of tech support in the form of a mobile app. It’ll come in handy if you have had a burning tech-support inquiry and don’t have a computer in front of you.

Online Phone Support
If you would rather conduct your tech-support business via phone, HP has several numbers for consumers to reach a representative. There’s 1-800-HP INVENT for all consumers, the Omen direct line for gaming laptop owners and the Spectre line for premium machines. HP call centers are available from 8-12 a.m. EST Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.on Saturday and Sunday. HP has call centers in a variety of places around the world, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Philippines, India, and El Salvador.

Since our last Showdown, HP has made it a little easier to find which number you should call for which notebook line, and for specific problems. Simply go to the Contact Support tab on the support website, enter your serial number and you’ll see options for Facebook Messenger, Chat and Phone. Under the Phone icon, you’ll see your case number and two phone numbers. The first is for problems with powering up your system, and the second is for everything else.

During my first call, at 8:07 p.m., I was connected to Lize in the Philippines almost immediately. I asked how to get Cortana to respond when I said: “Hey, Cortana.” She quickly directed me to the microphone in the search bar, which activated the digital assistant. Lize was sort of correct, as Cortana was up and running. However, she failed to point me to Cortana’s settings where I could have enabled the functionality myself. Convinced she had answered my question correctly, we said goodbye at 8:11 p.m. The call lasted 4 minutes and 38 seconds.

For my next call, at 12:16 p.m., I waited for 14 minutes and 38 seconds until I was put on the line with Mike in India. I asked about protecting my laptop from the Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities. I was hoping Mike would tell me to make sure that my antivirus software was up-to-date, before instructing me to update my operating system via Windows Update. Instead, Mike walked me through the steps to make sure my McAfee LiveSafe antivirus software was current, insisting that was all I needed to keep my system safe.

Sensing the hesitation in my voice, he offered to escalate my question to SmartFriend, for a nominal fee. When I declined, Mike seemed satisfied that he had answered my question, and wished me a good day, ending the call after a discussion that lasted 6 minutes and 42 seconds. That brought the total call time to 21 minutes and 10 seconds.



For my final call, at 11:15 p.m., I spoke to Michael in an attempt to find the Bang & Olufsen control panel to toggle my music. I explained to him that I was looking for the control panel to change my audio settings from music profile to movies. Confused, he asked if there was something wrong with the sound that prevented it from playing. I explained that the sound was fine, but I was looking to tweak the settings so I could get optimal audio quality when I was watching movies. He explained that if I had the Bang & Olufsen, then there was no way to adjust the settings, as it was already at the optimal configuration, which is incorrect.

I attempted to give him one more shot and asked if there was a Bang & Olufsen control panel where I could look at the sound settings. He responded no and realizing I had hit a brick wall, I thanked him for his time and we ended the call after 4 minutes and 11 seconds.

The Envy 13 comes with a one-year limited hardware warranty, 90-day phone support (from date of purchase) and complimentary chat support for the length of the warranty. That’s similar to most of HP’s other consumer laptops. However, warranty length can differ depending on the notebook line. In an instance where you have to send your laptop to HP for repairs, the company will pay for shipping for most systems, but consumers that own entry-level notebooks might have to pay a small fee.

A two-year extended warranty for Pavilions, Envy 13, 14 and 15 with accidental-damage coverage costs $181.12. The plan also includes LoJack theft protection, replacement parts and materials as well as access to remote diagnosis, telephone and chat support.

Want to upgrade your system with additional RAM or an SSD?

You’ll have to check with HP. The company does allow for some upgrades depending on the notebook line as long as you use company-approved parts. If you don’t meet those requirements, you could void your warranty.

Bottom Line
HP has a large arsenal at its disposal to assist consumers with any problems that might arise during the life of their computer. With the exception of one incorrect answer from the chat assistant, the web and social portions of HP’s tech-support strategy delivered reliable answers in a reasonable amount of time.

And while we appreciate HP making its tech-support phone line easier to find, we were disappointed at how often the agents, while patient and polite, delivered incorrect answers. We were also taken aback by how many times they referred us to the company’s Smart Friend subscription service for simple questions we were able to answer using the company’s website.