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Thursday, May 12, 2005

How Xerox sucks...

So this post is 3 weeks in the making. More!! 4-Weeks now. We have a Xerox Workcentre M24 Color Copier that Prints and Scans. It's a $13,000 workgroup all-in-one. $13-freakin thousand dollars.

The copier has worked very well for its first 87,000 print/copy outs. That is basically max designed usage for this unit. We are getting our money's worth. Now we also pay about $300 month maintenance on this machine and it includes some important consumables. What Xerox calls a drum is needed to press the toner on the paper. There are 4 drums total, one for each color. So they provide the Drums, Waste toner container, fuser unit, etc.. We pay for paper, toner and staples.

So It started not processing print jobs and no matter what changes we made on our network and print servers it would not work. We called Xerox in only to be told over and over and over that it must be something on our network. So lets get into the details...

We started with standard service calls to Xerox and they dispatched Adrien the area support person. Nice guy but culprit number one on blaming our network. Despite 2 calls to level 2 networking support in which they agreed with me they did nothing to fix the issue. It was commented they probably just told me that to get me off the phone. After putzing around with an unsuccessful software upgrade they replaced the ESS board. Basically this is a motherboard for a copier. It has the RAM, CPU, NIC port and add-in card for security and MAC address. We learned that the MAC address of the copier is not on the motherboard where the NIC port is but rather on the security card (so you can't copy money). Prior to board change, our network guys found about 16,000 traffic errors coming out of the machine. After there were no errors but still no printing. After 3 visits from Adrien, who's hands are completely tied by Xerox bureaucracy, the idiots up in Rochester (His IT engineers at Xerox HQ) called in an Network Analyst.

Kyp, as he goes by in the working world, was a very thorough diagnostician. We removed the copier from our network and replicated the problem on his laptop to copier via portable switch. He still had issues printing. He was here late on a Friday and after changing a time-out setting and setting IP from DHCP to static the machine printed. Only it printed a little. The change may have let a few jobs come through but it didn't last. Monday morning the copier was exhibiting the same behaviors of not printing.

After giving him a call he dispatched Adrien to replace the HD in the unit. It comes with a 10GB Toshiba laptop HD. Nice as it handles the large print job spooling very well as well as PDF scan-to-email. Fixed, It was like night and day. Instantly the copier started performing much much better. Spooling upwards of 20 jobs from the print server and processing them properly.

Sadly, this all took over 3 weeks to resolve and shows extremely poor support from Xerox. They did not take ownership of the problem and did not accept responsibility for getting the unit back up in a timely manner. This should have been fixed within 3 days, not 3+ weeks. Their process is completely asinine. They rather send a $200/hr tech to fuck around with it for weeks than send a $100 HD, $100 motherboard to try and resolve the issue. I would still recommend our copier but when dealing with Xerox support, tell them what to do b/c they do not have a clue.