Understanding and Selecting a Warranty for your Dell Computer

Posted: March 17, 2015

One of the many choices you will need to make when purchasing a new computer is which warranty option is best for you. In addition to warranty duration (3 vs. 5 years) you need to also consider how problems are diagnosed and when and how replacement parts are installed.

Whether purchasing a desktop, laptop or tablet computer, Dell basically has two warranty options to consider, Basic Support and Pro Support. While both options provide excellent coverage for your computer and its components, the basic package may require significant user involvement in troubleshooting problems and replacing faulty parts.

While there are several differences between the basic vs. pro support, what really seems to impact our users to most is simply:

  • Dell Basic Support = User required to replace many parts themselves.
  • Dell Pro Support = Dell technician will (upon request) do onsite installation for all parts.

Dell classifies computer parts into two categories: Mandatory Customer Self Replaceable (MCSR) and Optional Customer Self Replaceable (OCSR). A list of which parts currently fall into which categories is available on Dell’s website, This list continues to change regularly. For computers that have Basic Support warranty, any part that is considered Mandatory Customer Self Replaceable will need to be replaced by the user. Any part that is considered Optional Customer Self Replaceable can be replaced by the user or the user can request a technician come onsite to complete the installation.

For computers that are primarily located here at University Park and can be easily brought to the Ag IT office, the Basic warranty is typically sufficient.  If a user is not comfortable installing parts, they can bring the computer to our office for installation.

When purchasing a computer that will be used in a county office, it is important to understand the expectations of MCSR parts and ask the questions 1) would the user or someone else in the office be comfortable performing parts installation or 2) could the user conveniently get the computer to the Ag IT office. If both answers are No, Ag IT strongly encourages the computer be purchased with a Pro Support warranty.