Fortunately for him, his laptop is still under warranty with PC World,
but all their monkeys will do is ... Wipe'N'Reinstall as usual. They
won't actually /fix/ the problem, so the same set of circumstances that
caused the problem to begin with, will likely manifest again some time
in the near future. And round and round it goes.
The "wipe'n'reinstall" policy a lot of vendors seem to have really does
need to change. I don't pay for a computer, with warranty and insurance,
for it to have all of its data wiped whenever something goes wrong.
That's not repairing it at all, and the people who the companies employ
to do it really aren't computer specialists, they're just salespeople.
If you want the job done properly, get a real technician who understands
the issues, or to rephrase that, someone who *can* understand the
issues. As you said, it's hard if not impossible to do that on most
proprietary software without someone reverse engineering it (which is of
questionable legality, anyway).