Anti-theft protection in a montor? Really, Gateway?

Recently at the shop we’ve been needing a few new monitors.  Instead of just buying new ones, we went to our local scrap guy to see if he had any LCD monitors that looked repairable; mostly we just fix the ones with bad capacitors in the power supply, which turns out to be a pretty high percentage.

We fixed 2 Dell monitors right off and I’m using one of them right now (score!).  The problem came when we tried to fix a really nice (well, it looks nice) Gateway 19″ wide screen.  It had 9 blown caps so I ordered those and soldered them in.  No problem.  It fired right up and looked beautiful…for an hour.

It turns out this monitor has a built-in anti-theft system.  Why you need an anti-theft system in a monitor, I have no idea.  It looked like we were going to be able to get it unlocked for us by Gateway support but they proved to be even worse at their jobs than you normally expect from outsourced tech support.

The problem stems from the time-frame in which the unlocking must occur.  The monitor will generate a 3 digit “challenge code” that Gateway uses to generated the unlock code, but the challenge code times out after 1 hour and a new one must be generated.  The guy at Gateway technical would take our challenge code and come back 12-24 hours later with an unlock code for us.  After 2 or 3 times of trying to explain to this guy that he had to respond within an hour for it to work I tried opening another ticket.  That technician basically said “go away”.

So now I have $19 and an hour of labor in a monitor that works, but I can’t use.

Moral of the story?  Buy a Dell.


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