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How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: Are You Willing to Void Your Warranty for Geek Pride?

2011-03-23_11345612

Warranty voiding is a byproduct of the things geeks like to do most: tinker, tweak, and personalize. This week we want to hear about your warranty voiding adventures and the times you opted not to peel off the sticker and void that warranty.

There are a 1,001 ways to void your warranty including modding your game console, jailbreaking your iPhone, rooting your Android phone, upgrading your router with DD-WRT, and other tricks that customize, tweak, and liberate your geek gear. Whether it’s because the product ships missing functionality and you have to reclaim it by hacking it or because you just can’t stand to let your gear stay stock, we want to hear about your warranty voiding adventures (and the times you can’t or won’t slice the symbolic sticker and void away). What motivates you? What’s your favorite warranty void to date? What tools do you use?

Sound off in the comments below and then check back on Friday for the What Your Said roundup.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/23/11

Comments (77)

  1. Atomsk

    I am all about voiding warranties no matter the product. Some adventures include jailbreaking the AppleTV 2, installing XBMC on my xbox 1, modding the ps3 for CFW, Rooting my N1 and installing Cyanogenmod on it, Modding the wii! I really should by the shirt from ThinkGeek that says “I void Warranties”

  2. Akshay Bilolikar

    Yes, definitely. Of course, the trouble is, I’m currently in possession of a Symbian device, and where’s the fun in “jailbreaking” that? I did have a really bad experience jailbreaking a Wii, but I tried it again to much success. Unfortunately, I did something stupid and bricked it. I would void the warranty, not for pride, but because of possible useful effects.

  3. TheGeek

    I took apart electronic toys and put in “extra” LED’s when I was a little kid. Now I root my phone with abandon, and gave my Droid Eris new life. Its now running a Gingerbread (Android 2.3) ROM (it never got Froyo 2.2) and now does things it was never designed to do. The Stock ROM seems so clunky now. Android phones are being released at a break-neck pace, and phone makers don’t want to spend resources updating phones that become obsolete within months. The geeks at Cyanogen Mod step up and breath new life into these devices and often release ROMs that work better, faster, and more stable than the original. If the phone makers had ANY sense (pun intended) they would hire some of these Cyanogen Mod guys and make their phones even better!

  4. Semarlow

    The HP dv5 and dv7 (and probably more) notebooks have a light on the back that is always on. I “modded” it by disassembling the computer and unplugging the light. Also, rooted my Android for the wireless tether just because I could.

  5. Johnny

    I mod therefore, I am. #thatisall

  6. Satya

    Well, I’ll. I’ve rooted my SE Xperia X10 Mini. And why not? I can enjoy additional features like Wi-Fi tether and Screenshot in the old good Android 2.1! That’s my phone and I wanna use it as I want.

  7. marty331

    I’m all about modding my gadgets! I’ve jailbroken my iPhone and several friends, I’m running Ubuntu on all of my computers now (including the wife’s) and I’ve convinced my brother to move to Ubuntu also. I haven’t (yet) modded my Wii…..but as soon as my wife leaves the house for an evening…:)

  8. Zack

    I mod almost everhthing. I’ve jailbroken my iPod Touch, softmodded my Wii, rooted my Cr-48 and put Ubuntu on it for when i need a desktop OS, and I plan on rooting my Droid X if it’s possible (Motorola’s been locking down phones, so I don’t know about his phone). I do it for the advantages mainly. My Touch is infinitely better with the jailbreak.

  9. SilverSuperman

    Absolutely, What is a warrenty… you rarely need or use them and the benifits that you get from what ever mod your doing to what ever device you have. Usually the Benifits out weigh the Risk… So YES! Mod On, Hack On, Jailbreak what ever you can. Free your Hardware from it’s software. :-D

  10. Cryptic

    If I can figure out a way to mod or hack something, I do it. Why? Because I want to try to see if I can do it. Right now I’m trying to figure out how to do the old Xbox 1 mod.

  11. Wrocky

    I remember taking apart a transistor radio of my dads to fix the volume control and while I was in there, added another speaker and then fixing the tube hi-fi console after the local shop couldn’t. I took electronical engineering in school and have taken apart almost every electronics thing I own at some point. Softmodding to me just seems wrong, as you don’t get your hands in there to understand what is going on. But I can certainly see the appeal, and it seems to be the future. I don’t think I’ll ever find a hard mod for my Apple TV2 :)

    I think that I’ve modded every console that I’ve owned, Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, Wii, etc. But being a family man, I need to keep an unmodded version of some of those around for the times when things don’t go well.

    Warranties were made to be voided.

  12. Atomsk

    Oh I forgot my Nook Color lol, that thing sucked as an e-reader, now its a full blow tablet with Gingerbread! Mmmmmmmm Gingerbread Cyanogenmod!

  13. lostalaska

    I usually wait until the new smell has worn off and the short warranty for most electronics (90 days?) is already over before I’m cracking open the case or installing hacked firmware and then it’s only if the hacks offer a degree of functionality and features that are worth my time and chance of bricking the device. I’ve wired my fair share of mod chips into old xboxes for friends to re-purpose their old game consoles as Media Centers for their kids rec rooms. I’m all for taking older devices and hacking them to re-purpose them as something useful and extend the life of the device.

    I enjoy seeing the guts of electronics and figuring out how it all interrelates and works. I guess that’s just a basic part of who I am, I want to understand how things work. In my mind it seems strange that people don’t care about understanding how the devices they use work.

  14. Robert Dunn

    The only time I won’t hack is when the device isn’t mine or the benefits aren’t worth it, like jailbreaking an Apple TV to get SSH and the weather.

  15. Anonymous

    Warranty? What’s that?

    If I don’t buy something second-hand (used) then I usually design and build whatever it is that I want/need from discrete components (resistors, capacitors, chokes/coils, chips, etc.).

    Frankly, I can’t remember the last time that I bought any new tech gear that had a warranty. Certainly not anything that was more than about fifty bucks. So I usually don’t have to worry about voiding what’s usually a rather meaningless pathetic contract anyway.

    [I don't void warranties - I SUE!]

  16. Atomsk

    @Robert Ahhh man there are so many cool things you can do with the AppleTV now. I use mine for XBMC and Hulu, and all the aweosmeness of XBMC!

  17. Seasider

    Most warranties on computers are worth zilch anyway. About as much use as Microsoft support is.

  18. Atomsk

    @Seasider BAZINGA!

  19. Mastermind

    Bought new computer, €2k, nice specs. Sadly the store didn’t have an extra HDD (I needed more space) so I bought one myself, opened the case (thus breaking the seal and voiding my warranty) and put HDD in.

    Two days later my Power Supply failed causing to fry almost all off the components of the computer. Yay for no warranty!

    €2.134,95 down the drain!

  20. Weslocke

    Best Buy Cashier: “Would you like our extended warranty on this Apple TV?”

    Me: “Nope, because about 5 minutes after I get home I’m going to be voiding the one it has it by jailbreaking it and putting XBMC on it so I can use an actually decent media player”

    Best Buy Cashier: “…”

  21. Tim

    I proudly wear my I void Warranties t-shirt. Every thing I have has been modded. Three ipod touches, two ipod 80gig classic’s, wii. xbox, two psp’s and more. My wife loves the fact that I can do this.

  22. Tim

    When I purchased my first psp a long time ago, they offered me a extra warranty that would cover it even if I throw it across the room. I said yes, I knew I would be hacking it as soon as I got home,and if I bricked it I could take it back.

  23. Atomsk

    @Weslocke hahaha!

  24. Chuckles

    Ive modded my psp, jailbroken about 15 ipod touches for me and friends, rooted android phone for that internet tether, jailbroke iphone until the newest firmware and i havent bothered changing it back yet. I will not touch my GFX Card until i know what im doing to watercool that bad boy

  25. Adam Thompson

    I won’t deny that I tend to void the warranty on just about any technological device that I find lying around :)

  26. abrarey

    Hell Yeah!!

  27. Joe

    I have never used a warranty and I have no need for them. I build most of my own stuff anyways. What is the point of having cool stuff if you can’t use it the way you want to? I have to void the “warranty” in order to do the things with the system I want.

  28. Boombastic

    I get easily bored with default OS so, I like to try out new stuffs even if it voids the warranty.

  29. Daniel

    I void any warranty almost immediately. And I believe that if you know what you are doing (or you don’t know but it is not too expensive) you shoud as well.

    A very good example: you purchase a laptop with crapware (this should not be valid for desktop because that one you should build from parts anyway). So what do you do? You remove everything from the hard drive including the partition with a rescue copy and install a neat and clean operating system.

    Of course, you need to pay another OS license, however these days they are either free (if you wipe 7 or Vista and install a nice clean Ubuntu) or not so expensive like they used to be (XP Pro back in the days was about 400 dollars, while a license for 7 can be bought with about 150 on discount sites like tigerdirect or egghead)

    So yeah, I void that warranty.

    BTW, you know, there are people that keep the same OS installation over the entire life of the machine. Can you do that? I leave at most 4 months between two clean installations…

  30. Mothman

    Yes, I love to improve my things.

  31. Robert

    As my T-Shirt says”I Void Warrenties” well at least my own stuff.

  32. Jono

    Yes. However I bricked my iPod Touch within two days then I returned it and got a new one for free.

  33. nmctwx

    With all of the hoops and hurdles they make you go through just to get warranty service, the warranty isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. I’ve even see a device that stated you must retain the original packaging in order to send it back for service.

    I give most of my electronics about a month of a workout before I break the seal just to make sure there isn’t a component or manufacturing defect.

    As for soft modding, it’s sad that so many electronics are retired early because the new model offers better features. Meanwhile the older model could offer the same features, but the manufacturer won’t release the firmware that allows those features.

  34. Rich

    2 simple words…Of course!!

  35. Pugnacious

    Voiding warranties is what i do best. I don’t usually brick whatever i’m modding.

  36. Josh

    I want to clarify something here. Rooting your Android mobile does not void your warranty. However, unlocking your bootloader (which is something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than rooting) will void your warranty.

  37. pitman

    I had 3 years warranty for my PS2, I took advantage of it plenty of times.
    When it was over I modded the hell out of it :)

  38. Rounak

    The excitement if doing something like jailbreak a product can never be experienced while leading the warranty life!

  39. grigore

    Once, i voided my warranty to install a better video card that i received from a friend. I installed it… no problems there. but…. after 2 days with the new video card i thought about upgrading my BIOS, it was an old PC. Well… it didn’t work and i managed to fry my mother board taking the new video card along with it (do you see the irony here?)

    But even after this, i would still void a warranty if it means tweaking stuff to my advantage

  40. ga4a

    Just 2 weeks after I had my SGS, I rooted it, used CWM to flash it with new kernel/rom and unlocked it for all networks. So short answer is F*CK YEAH! It’s still one of the speediest phones only letting LGx2 and Nex1 ahead.

  41. Hatryst

    Unless a step by step procedure is featured on http://www.howtogeek.com , I’m reluctant to try anything that voids the warranty :)
    If you people have tried it, it must be safe to do !!

  42. Maat

    I jailbreak my ipod touch 4g and root my phone.!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am a geek and i can tweek!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. RolfeBridges

    I toyed with the idea of rooting my Android for a while. Did lots of research into the idea but eventually decided I would wait until Cyanogen released a Gingerbread ROM – as I have a Nexus 1 the OTA updates were pretty good until 2.3 was released. I have no issue with voiding my warranty. I have insurance on my phone that would not ask whether it was rooted or not. I’ve been so happy with CM7 that I would happily run the risk of paying £100 excess for my insurer to replace it. Rooting gives you more functionality and unlocks the full potential of your phone. Will do it as soon as I get my next droid. Unless Google changes the way things are released! As for other gadgets – the higher the value the more I would be concerned. Thats why I buy pre OverClocked PC’s but am happy to tweak my router – whats £40 for faster D/L of high quality German Pornography! haha. Power to the Geek!

  44. john

    I will hack anything. iPhone, Android, Apple TV, Google TV, Even programs

  45. Hermes

    Oh my gosh! I have not realized that I have done all mentioned above; jailbreaking the iPhone, modding me game console and DD-WRT the Linksys Router. All with the purpose of use them at their full potential. The iPhone is now more user friendly, the game console became in a entertainment center and the router let me fine tuning the settings to my family needs.

  46. scott

    I love to void warranties. I dont even think about that when I am doing it.
    I have Installed mod chips in Wiis and also softmodded wiis.
    My Droid X is Rooted and running LIberty Rom. Have also rooted and installed Cyanogen on a HTC Incredible.
    The first thing I did when I got my new HP Laptop was install Ubuntu over it. Windows is always the first to go!
    My routers and even the routers at my work, have been running DD-WRT for years now! No more crashing routers with downloads.

  47. Adam

    I rooted, flash a rom, tethered, overclocked my g1

  48. darent

    Yes! I’ve payed for it, I have the right to screw it! (rooting an android samsung galaxy 3)

  49. vicsar

    YES

  50. dave

    Does keeping a small tool bag in you car count? Sometimes I never get out of the parking lot.

  51. Neener

    Got a Pandigital Novel E-reader gift. But have been hacking it with the help of some online forums, and now it’s a tablet PC with great graphics, web surfing, email, games, etc…. for a fraction of the cost of an I-Pad. Despite some problems and some issues – its fun to take the challenge, and I plan to continue – bazzinga!

  52. dbarker

    I void the warranty on something almost every day.

    I have voided the warranty on almost everything I have ever owned.
    including a brand new chevy blazer back in ’86. that i stripped down to the frame
    in my front yard just to see if i could put it back together.

    About the only warranty I avoid, voiding, is hard drives.

    The first thing i remember voiding was my parents new telephone when
    i was about 7 years old. i wanted to see what would happen if i plugged it in
    to a 110v outlet.

  53. Eric

    I let the warranty die before I mod. My current laptop (a Latitude E6410) has three years of accidental damage coverage included free with the warranty. If I forget it on the top of my car, drive off, and leave the PC in twenty pieces, as long as I scoop up the pieces later I don’t pay for the replacement. Tiny, just-for-fun changes are not worth voiding that. I thought really hard about rooting my phone. I didn’t, and then I was happy I didn’t when my phone’s speaker died and it was replaced for free. I have plenty of old hardware past its warranty with which I can play.

  54. Dave

    Noy necessarily for geek pride but for the benefit of the mod, yes.

  55. OmniaCumDeo

    “If its not broken, dont fix it” my dad used to say (and still does). I say “If its not broken, but if you can get more of it, fix it, mod it, hack it”. I have a Linksys WRT54G2 / GS2 router that was originally working fine (the first 2 days), but then started to drop connection with the modem. Went for suppor for linksys, and guess what? NO ANSWERS ! Upgraded firmware, and nothing. Resetted (like 100 times), and nothing. So I went for dd-wrt.com, modded the router (was so easy), and for over 2 years it’s been working flawlessly. Warranty? who cares about it when you cannot have your problems solved? So yes, if you are thinking on modding with the dd-wrt guys, give it a try.

    And geek pride? I’m using iphones since the 2g(yuck!) . As u may recall, no video, no backgrounds for that first version (and of course, no carriers for Mexico at that time), so immediatly jailbroken and unlocked for all those (and other) goodies. Today, with iphone4, we have those goodies available as a basis. So now the jailbreaking (no unlocking necessary, for we have now 3 carriers in Mexico that sell the iphone) is on the “just because” justification. Warranty? u can always restore to your working FW, leaving no trace of the manipulation =) (of course, if the gadget is still manageable).

  56. RoseTyler

    No. Being a single parent with the economy the way it is, money doesn’t grow on trees in my house. I can’t afford to buy a new one (cell, game console etc), so I take care to use the one I have according to the warranty. If I were rich and didn’t care about money, then I wouldn’t care and would readily risk it.

  57. Thomas

    Yes, of course I do.
    Before I void a warranty, I start by reading a lot about what I’m about to do, and about what others have experinced. And I’ve never managed to destroy something, because I always read so much about it :)

    I know there will always be a risk of destroying something, but that’s just on of the fun parts of voiding warranties ;)

  58. Bob

    I think this must be a group of people that totally understand how when my wife says, “Can’t you just use things for what they are bought for?”, I reply, “Because I can!” I’ve hacked phones, Jailbroken IPods, installed a few flavors of Linux on every computer I’ve ever owned, and turned GPS units into PDAs. I never have waited more than a few days to mod something, and I suppose I’ve been lucky, because I’ve never had a failure that a warranty would have covered anyway. (and the wife really doesn’t mind my geeky ways when there’s a problem with her laptop… :)

  59. Ryan

    Yeahhh jailbroken iPod, iPhone, and softmod wii. And ubuntu everywhere. Don’t be a fool though, make sure you know what you’re doing, and always imagine the worst case scenario. Things get bricked because the jailbreaker is careless.

  60. delukze

    Hell Yeah!!! nobody ever uses their warranties on their products anyways.

  61. _Ron

    I took apart every hand held game I had when I was a kid. I had replaced tinny speakers in them with real speakers, added LED’s, found diagnotics modes, etc. When I got my first home router “Linksys” there wasn’t much you could do with it since it wasn’t running a open OS. But when I found “cheep” buffalo routers in the store it opened a new world for me with wireless, QOS, rules, scheduling etc. I started with DD-WRT and various forks’s of the orignal linksys code and now have standardized on Tomato.

    The same with phones. My first real smart phone was a HTC typhon SMT5600. I completly replaced the home screen and widgets, tore apart the registry and installed many applications tweeks. My HTC outperformed the most of the smart phones on the market at the time.

    When AT&T added the Android based backflip to their lineup I got that phone for “free” but was really disappointed how locked down it was. So scowering all over the internet I landed on a site that was able to provide some odd ways of “side loading” apps and then finally rooted, and then 3rd party ROMs. I think I have one of the best “tricked out” cheap android phones now.

    One thing that I always keep in my back pocket is how to get back to a factory ROM or configuration. This has come in handy in the router space since I have had radios just go bad within weeks of purchase. Quick flash back to factory, a trip to fry’s and no questions asked. I have had to do this twice, but never had to send a device back to the manufacture for repair.

  62. David

    I also mod a lot of stuff. My skillset is such that I usually stick to Software mods, like rooting my Android phone, and tablet. I also have a computer with no warranty, though as I built is from parts. :)

  63. Michael Pults

    I void the warranty on everything! Usually within a day or two after buying it. I do my best to hack every piece of electronics I own to make it uniquely mine. Most of my friends make fun of me for it. But lets face it. Warranties are for people who don’t know how to fix their own stuff. I’ve even bricked a few things but haven’t yet found an item I couldn’t unbrick. LONG LIVE THE HACK!

  64. Michael Pults

    PS I agree with Bob. I have heard it so many times. Why can’t you be happy with it like it is? BECAUSE I DON’T WANNA! Because when it’s mine and screams my name only it’s WAAAYYY cooler than the sum of its parts!

  65. Bob Moulton

    Since most warranties appear to be worthless anyway (customer support???), I never hesitate to void a warranty.

  66. Michael Pults

    And a note to Rose Tyler….start finding a way to get your stuff for free…Do you know how much I have that people got rid of because one or another little bitty thing was wrong they didn’t know how to fix? I am poor,poor,poor. But that doesn’t stop me. I learn how to fix the problem and then hack it. And most stuff is easier than it looks. Dont let computer or hacking stuff scare you into thinking you will own a cool looking paperweight…take time…read up on all the info you can find first and make an educated decision of the best way to obtain what you want…read several tutorials if you can because the first one isn’t always best (a PSP Phat with a screwed battery taught me that) and go with it, because the reward is worth it. Sometimes even use different pieces of different tutorials because sometimes no one tutorial is the best. Take at least a week sometimes if you need to. I assure you the reward is worth the research time. Most of the time the hacked item will work and perform WAAAYY better than the item did when you got it.

  67. Jaxsen

    I have jail broken my 2ND gen iPod touch, and my iPhone 4, and although it doesn’t void a warranty (i think) i have installed 3RD party themes on my Windows 7 desktop….

  68. David Lynch

    Absolutely what can you lose really NOTHING!!!!

  69. Batman

    Anything made by Apple is worth voiding because the restrict the shyt out of it:D
    Jailbreaking FTW

  70. Gouthaman Karunakaran

    I’d love to meddle with Gadgets, but given my economic status, I better not! :(

  71. Mike

    I’ve been modding if you like to put it that way I prefer to say tweaking. My first Comodore, IBM, and etc since they came out. Been over clocking since the late 70′s. Been in this arena a long time.

  72. Anderson Reinkordt

    the important thing here is that users/people recognize that they have a choice; the fear of retribution induced by proprietary money-sucking companies is not the end of the line. it is sustainable and developmentally sound to try to fix something, whether it is “broken” or simply does not function how we would like it to-WE have ideas for improvement and we do not need to pay apple 100 dollars a year to develop their platform. free your ideas an your information!

  73. theMan

    -if your a geek like I am, it’s all about modifications! Warranties are for beginners

  74. C. Leffingwell

    One of the things I look at when buying something is the ability to modify it.

  75. Mitchell McFarlane

    Are you willing to void your geek pride for your warranty?

  76. Sunsmasher

    @mastermind:
    I hope you;re kidding!

  77. Sunsmasher

    That is, I hope you’re kidding!

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