My Dell MFP printer fiasco: Does anyone at Dell test their firmware download links?

17Sep09

About halfway through a marathon troubleshooting session for my Dell printer, I decided to update the firmware. Sounds easy enough, right? I went to the Dell support site, located the model number, and clicked the button for downloads. I found the firmware link, which was supposed to contain a file with a specific name — they even provided the filename on the screen before downloading. However, the file that appeared was completely different, and the right one was nowhere to be found.

I ended up downloading an older version of the firmware, which worked fine. But it took me about ten times as long as it should have to find a usable firmware image. I’m forced to wonder: does anyone at Dell even bother testing their firmware links after posting the files? Heck, even if they can’t test the actual firmware update process, they could at least try downloading the file to a computer to see if the filename is correct.

It’s not very hard to perform basic quality control when posting a file online. After you upload the file, try downloading it just like a customer would. Make sure things like the filename, size and content match up with how they’re described on the website. And if your company deals with a huge number of downloadable files, you should probably have someone go through the list once a month or so to verify that the links still work as expected. This may seem like a waste of time, but the time and hassle you’ll save customers should be many times greater than the effort you put in.



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