Hewlett-Packard (HP) has warned laptop VARs and customers it has identified a design flaw in some memory modules that could "cause users to experience serious problems".
The flawed memory modules could potentially result in blue screens, intermittent lock-ups or memory corruption, HP said.
Eight Evo models, four Presarios, the HP Compaq Business Network nx7000 and the Pavilion zt3000 are affected.
The company said it uncovered the memory defect during routine testing of notebook PCs. It stressed that the memory modules are supplied by third parties.
HP promised to launch a voluntary replacement programme for customers who have purchased Compaq or HP notebook PCs with the affected memory modules. It will exchange the devices at no extra cost until the end of the year.
"We are taking immediate steps to notify customers, partners and our employees to rectify the situation as quickly as possible," said Ronald Kasik, director at HP's personal systems group.
"While the probability of occurrence of this issue is low and dependent on the user's environment, we think it's important to notify our partners and customers of this potential problem."
Paul Barlow, managing director of VAR Equiinet, said the announcement would not affect any reseller's reputation, but added that the exchange process was vital.
"It is crucial that the replacement programme is organised and smoothly executed," he said. "Customers will recognise this as HP having a problem, but trying to do something about it. It is good that HP has put its hand up rather than skirting the issue."
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, agreed. "When an industry problem like this occurs, vendors often gamble and hope the user won't realise it isn't a virus or the generic 'software problem' that has become an industry default," he said.
"HP is one of the few companies that takes customer needs seriously and has the tools to identify and rectify the problems in a timely fashion."
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