I am sorry that you have had "nothing but problems" with your HP Pavilion DV5-1250us notebook -- but, sadly, I am not at all surprised that anyone who buys any HP notebook.
By the way, Martin, with the hope of help you avoid wasting your time trapped in a syllogistic loop of semantics or, worse, being told by HP that you are to blame for whatever problem(s) you report -- even a burn injury -- with your DV5-1250us -- as well as probably being accused of "misusing" or "abusing" your notebook -- please make *certain* that you do not to refer to your DV5-1250us as a "laptop" while you are on the phone with HP, because you will receive a spurious lecture that meant to intimidate customers because it sounds like the legal fine print of HP's computer warranty (the portion you have not seen, because it is hidden on HP's Web site).
The spurious "ersatz legal" statement by HP has variations, so I will describe the one to which I was subjected.
In August 2008, I was given an HP Pavilion DV5-1003nr with a 2.0-GHz AMD Turion Mobile X2 (64-bit, dual core) M-70 processor and 4-GB of RAM (although HP preinstalled 32-bit OEM Vista, plus gigabytes of "trashware," trialware, "trackware," and even adware, which obviously cannot use the DIMM upgrade -- plus, the store sold the purchaser of this notebook 32-bit Vista Ultimate as if it were the 64-bit version).
This notebook is in the exact same case as your DV5-1250us notebook, Martin, but you have an 802.11n (draft) wireless card (compared to my 802.11g wireless card), a 2.1-GHz AMD Turion X2 Ultra ZM-80 (64-bit, dual-core) processor, 512-MB ATI Radeon HD 3450 integrated graphics (whereas I have 256-MB ATI Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics and cannot support ~40% of the settings/options in the ATI Catalyst Control Center -- details that took me several hours of Web research to determine), and you have a 400-GB SATA-150, 5400 RPM hard drive (while I have a 160-GB SATA-150, 5400 RPM hard drive -- which is slower than an IDE/PATA hard drive and has ~10-GB of space wasted by the HP recovery partition on my system).
<NOTE> I should have asked where my HP DV5-1003nr was purchased the day I received it and received the "Failed to load Windows" error the very first time I turned on my brand new notebook. The Startup Repair tool would run for up to an hour, prompt me to select a restore point (although I had never used the notebook and Windows Vista had no restore points) or select the System Recovery option (which did nothing, which I suspected at the time was because Vista had not yet been configured, but the cause was "terminal"). After four hours of selecting 'Repair' -- time I should have spent returning the computer for an exchange or, better, a full refund because the notebook was an HP, after all -- I got to the Vista configuration wizard. I also noticed that the ambient temperature around the note book was uncomfortably warm and that the fan in the cooling mat was running at full speed.
I know that the notebook was assembled by exploited laborers in China with a defective AMD processor and a defective motherboard that terminates a diagnostic test because it causes the diagnostic software on the remote computer -- and the diagnostic computer itself -- to crash.</NOTE>
My first notebook cooling mat had a tilt function and one day, just before I put the notebook on the mat, I notice one side of the tilt was not locked. The only place I had to put the notebook for the 1-2 seconds it took me to lock the tilt was to sit in the chair and make a "shelf" with the tops of my thighs. I heard myself screaming, saw the open, and just powered on, notebook in mid-air, but managed to catch the notebook before it hit the table top or the floor, without even changing the angle of the open screen.
The pain on the top of each thigh, after 2 seconds or less of exposure with the base of the notebook, which I had just turned on, was excruciating. I sustained second-degree burns, although the blisters were small, through new, thick, denim jeans.
After three months of being ignored totally by HP "support" (my electronic support issues were not even being logged and I was always put on hold by level-one technical support and disconnected after being on hold for 30 minutes or more), I sent a message to HP CEO Mark Hurd's contact form and, in about a week, I got a call from "Oscar," who told me he was "not a technical person" and was my HP case manager. Oscar had/has no business working with other people, especially as an HP case manager (who admitted he was a "luddite"). Poor Oscar presented the symptoms of a severe mood disorder (such as bipolar syndrome with manic episodes marked by a nasty, short temper and fits of shouting and verbal abuse -- or perhaps his behavior was deliberate, because my experience has been that the goal of the person whom you call at HP to ask for service is to make you give up and stop calling her or him.
During yet another pointless phone call to Oscar (and he always reprimanded me for being "too technical" and he always evaded my direct requests for assistance, before the call reached the inevitable point of futility after Oscar would suddenly start ranting and yelling. During the beginning of this particular conversation, Martin, Oscar actually admitted that the HP Pavilion DV5-series of notebooks generated excessive heat, "Yeah, the do get really hot, don't they!?," he said with a laugh.
When I reported that, in addition to constant errors, lockups, and self-corruption by Vista because it ignored the MFT and overwrote in-use sectors, I had suffered a burn injury through new, thick jeans during an exposure time of under 2 seconds. Oscar told me that the second-degree burns were my fault and that I had "not used the product as intended and described," which was a violation of the warranty: "Unlike other companies, HP makes a distinction between a 'laptop' computer and a 'notebook' computer, and you put a 'notebook', not a 'laptop', computer in your lap, which is misuse and abuse of the computer." Martin, I was stunned and I knew that any response would "set off Oscar," so I asked Oscar exactly how he could help me with getting HP to repair this safety problem, and that I was also concerned about the notebook being a possible fire hazard. I have been so traumatized and verbally abused by HP since HP stopped ignoring me in early December 2008, Martin, that I do not recall the rest of yet another futile call to Oscar (who NEVER called me after his initial call).
I can state that -- after I realized, although the technicians at the Best Buy where the notebook was purchased were honest and continued to diagnose the defective CPU and motherboard in the notebook, the regional Best Buy/Geek Squad repair center was had me in a cycle of not touching any hardware (which constitutes a repair -- preventing me from having the "four valid repairs" that would entitle me for a replacement via the "no lemons" clause of Best Buy's expensive -- and fraudulent -- 2-year, extended-protection warranty) -- I focused on getting HP to honor the notebook's one-year warranty, which I naively thought would be a straightforward process.
With three weeks left in the one-year warranty, Martin, I had not yet succeeded in getting HP to issue a ticket for repair. Two months earlier, however, because I knew HP does not care how many complaints are file about the company with the Better Business Bureau (to which it pays millions of dollars each year in dues) or the Federal Trade Commission, or even class-action lawsuits -- I filed an injury report with the Consumer Protection and Safety Agency (CPSA.org) and had signed a confirmation of my report -- adding a full page of details -- and the CPSA had apparently contacted HP. If the number of complaints to the CPSA warranted a "hazardous product" investigation (and agency had resources for an investigation), HP faced a potential mandatory recall of every DV5-1003nr sold -- and possibly a safety review of the entire DV-5 series (and I let the CPSA know that my former HP case manager had admitted that the DV5-series had problems with heat).
I made a point to give the CPSA written permission to share my name with the copy of the injury report that HP would receive -- and, instead of wasting over 11 months calling lying, rude, belligerent, and verbally abusive staff on HP's executive customer satisfaction team in Palo Alto, I received a phone call from the product safety division in Houston.
After a very bumpy, ominous beginning of the Houston phone call (in part because I had reached the breaking point and, if someone at HP asked me a question, I WAS going to answer the question -- rather than endure an abrupt interruption (an HP tactic to disorient and confuse customers, I had decided).
FedEx delivered the empty box containing the "Problem Form," packing materials, and shipping label to the HP Repair Center for this particular model. It took me over two weeks to recover my data from the notebook, which arrived at the repair center on the final day of the warranty.
The HP service center "repaired" components with which I'd had no problems (and damaged them), not only failed to repair the notebook so that it is usable, but covered it with a dirty layer of greasy fingerprints (a film of oil/filth that I cannot remove, only redistribute...ick!), and the bottom of the case was missing three screws, the left ALT key fell out of the notebook before I had opened the case, and the silver-colored plastic border along the back of the notebook, above the fan's exhaust outlet, is curved/warped.
I was horrified by a deep gouge in the impractical 'piano black" case lid (because I planned to sell this nightmare ONLY after HP repaired it -- for obvious ethical reasons), and everywhere I looked, my pristine notebook showed damage, including a long scratch to the right of the silver "HP Pavilion Entertainment PC" text to the right of the track pad (above the optical drive).
After 3 weeks of phone calls to "the usual suspects" at HP in Palo Alto, I found myself with a case manager who simply screamed "HP can't help you!" and, after several such exchanges during which I responded by stating that the 90-day repair warranty is a legally binding contract and that HP had not only failed to repair the notebook, but had damaged it, my new case manager, Dan, called me a derogatory term (and I do not use profanity) and slammed down the phone so hard that my ear actually hurt.
I persisted with my calls and bit my tongue during the verbal abuse that has emotionally traumatized me after a year, and I finally got a service ticket and box to send the notebook in for repairs, Martin, but the notebook, after its initial "repair" suddenly locks up (even if I boot from a live Linux disc, so the problem is defective hardware). I'm going to give up, use a Linux "wipe" tool to clean all data from the hard drive -- and I cannot re-image the hard drive from HP's recovery media because the notebook cannot run that long without locking up.
Martin, I'm 49 years old and am embarrassed to admit that HP clearly has no intentions of ever repairing this notebook, and I am emotionally traumatized after a year of verbal attacks and abuse: I dread every call I have to make to HP or when HP calls me, because HP, in its bizarre war against me, does not call me unexpectedly unless they are launching a new attack.
I often end up choked up, with tears in my eyes -- crushed by a year of verbal abuse, and so full of anger and frustration that I have a lump in my throat and literally cannot talk, although there is no effective response to HP, once you have become a victim...customer.
Martin, unless you can afford an attorney who has passed the California Bar exam, you cannot "build a case against" HP that will result in HP repairing or replacing your defective notebook. I have two folders full of documents, printouts of e-mail messages, and detailed notes of phone conversations (with names, dates, and times).
I assume, Martin, that you did not waste your money with an extended third-party service plan.
Does your HP DV5-1250us notebook have a Hitachi hard drive, Martin? If so, you can download an ISO from Hitachi's Web site, set the BIOS/CMOS in your notebook to boot from the optical drive before the hard drive, and you test the hard drive using a tool from the manufacturer. (There is a nondestructive test, but if it reveals no problems, you should run a destructive read/write, sector-by-sector test.)
The number of free and open-source tools to test all types of hardware is staggering, Martin.
In fact, if you have access to a computer that can burn ISOs to create bootable CD-Rs, I suggest you download a copy of the latest beta version (3.1b2) of the Inquisitor Live bootable, Debian/GNU-Linux-based ISO. The Web site is 'Inquisitor.ru', but the project is free and open source and SourceForge.net hosts the project.
I reviewed the default configuration of the DV5-1250us notebook, Martin, and, unless my sieve-like memory fails me, the notebook ships with a 64-bit OEM version of Vista Home Premium.
Because you have 64-bit hardware, Martin, I suggest that you download this ISO for 'Inquisitor v3.1-beta2 Live CD (x86_64)', this Debian/GNU Linux-based ISO is 358 MB. Debian has been my Linux distribution of choice for the past seven years and its always been solid reliable and customizable, so I am biased toward Debian, but you can run every test that Inquisitor 3.1b2 offers (and I would do so repeated, and while you are asleep). If the hard drive fails, the Inquisitor diagnostic is not responsible and will diagnose the other components that you select.
Please note, Martin, that hardware diagnostic tests available to end users often fail to detect seriously defective hardware that the diagnostic software used by "professionals" who charge a $72 bench fee to connect your computer to a remote diagnostic computer (and Inquisitor does have a server mode that allows you to test multiple computers on a LAN, for example, but I suggest Inquisitor simply because I continue to try to run a complete diagnostic with it, but my HP notebook, invariably and without a pattern, locks up.
(I am trying to run one test at a time, but the CPU may not present any defects unless I can run the default number of cycles for each CPU test.)
I do not mean to discourage you, Martin, about "building a case against HP," but -- based upon my experience and the results I get when I perform a Web search about HP and service (which yields results containing words that I will not repeat here, and entire sites, such as 'HPLies.com', that are grassroots attempts by customers/victims to get HP to recall defective models or repair known defects in others -- such as certain HP notebooks that had Intel Core 2 Duo processors and a particular Nvidia video card: If I recall correctly, HP let Nvidia "take the fall" in that months-long campaign by organized customers and NEVER admitted to any responsibility or culpability.
Of course, Inquisitor is not a "magic bullet" that will isolate any hardware problems, even if the hard drive is defective. Although I am repeating myself, diagnostic software that end users can acquire legally simply cannot compare to the software that does all of the hard work for A+ certified technicians (a few of whom probably passed the test, but rely on said software because they lack basic troubleshooting skills...and, of course, with proprietary OEM computers, especially notebooks/netbooks/laptops, troubleshooting by swapping out known good parts not only voids warranties but is impossible (or very difficult) with portable computers, even if they are used and not under warranty -- unless you have one or two units to use as "parts" machines...and you still face the issue (until a "DIY Notebook Computer" movement starts) of proprietary, cheap, non-discreet components that are all soldered to the motherboard or the same IC board.
I wish you success, Martin, but -- if I were not destitute -- I would sell this notebook for parts and have the rest of it recycled, but I cannot afford to buy any type of computer.
My "new" PC -- if HP does not repair this notebook so that it is usable (for the first time), and I have have let HP get buy with three felonies (based upon information from the FBI) and HP never will fix this notebook -- is a 2004 3.0-GHz Pentium-4 ATX system that I literally rescued from the previous owner who was going to toss it in a dumpster, but I was able to repair it in a few hours. (A five-year-old P-4 ATX tower, however, is not suitable as a server or for the virtualization work I need to do for clients and prospective clients.)
With best wishes for success, Martin --