Review: HP TouchSmart iQ506 PC
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Reviewed by Ryan McLaughlin on 09/06/2008
Editors' rating: 0.0/10
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  • Jerry

    I have an IQ506 on order, to be delivered Jan. 26. Your review is very helpful, thanks, Jerry

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    • dr burke

      I, too, brought an iQ506 :-( It was ok for awhile, the HD crashed the first week;
      turn around good, then a memory chip went bad third week, good turn
      around, then the 6th week the returned PC display was broken. Good
      turn around. Then the new iQ600 came out, but HP says you have to
      BUY a new computer to get it, no free upgrade for previous owners. Then
      I said screw HP and switchover over to Windows 7 and never looked bad.
      Then on the ?? week, I read if Windows 7 users will have to buy a new
      computer to do all the fancy touch stuff and many computer don’t
      qualify and need to be thrown out and buy a new one, if you want this
      costly upgrade. So, I now have a touchsmart running Windows 7, that is
      to dump to be used as a touch for Windows 7 extra. HP don’t care
      about previous owners of iq’s and my advise is why would any idiot
      buy an obsolete iQ506, then the newer system in on an iQ600? I would
      suggest sending it back for a refund, ASAP; before it becomes antiquated.

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  • Dave

    I purchased the IQ506 on Dec 26th, 2008 and on Jan 15th it stopped working. The seagate hard drive stopped working and is no longer being detected. After calling HP support and reviewing some onlne forums this seems to be a problem with the touchsmart computers. A lot of people are having an issue with this within 45 days of purchasing the computer. Luckily, HP is sending me a new (different brand) hard drive to replace it, along with recovery software discs (not included when you purchase the touchsmart). Unfortunately, all my photos, music is lost because the hard drive is no longer accessible.

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    • http://www.justechn.com Ryan McLaughlin

      I am sorry to hear about the hard drive failure. I am glad that HP is replacing your hard drive. It is also unfortunate that you lost your photos and music, hopefully these were not your only copy. One of the things I mentioned in my review was that the HP software would not allow access to network shared drives and so I choose to use Windows Media Center instead. It is much better for photos and music. Also I recommend that you look into getting some kind of backup device. I personally use Windows Home Server, it is fantastic and it has saved my skin several times because of accidental deletion and hard drive crashes.

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      • Dave

        Luckily I had backed up most files on an external hard drive, and only lost a few pictures and files.

        Other than the hard drive failure in which HP is replacing at no cost of my own…the touchsmart is an amazing computer and I have enjoyed it since I purchased it. I love the fact that you can record television shows just like a DVR.

        Great review of this computer!

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  • harvey

    I got the HP touchsmart but need to downgrade to XP pro. I am unable to find the proper audio drivers for the soundmax. Anybody know where this could be downloaded from?

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    • http://www.justechn.com Ryan McLaughlin

      Why would you downgrade? It seems like a bad idea because XP Pro does not have Media Center which means you loose the ability to record TV. Also XP is not tablet PC friendly so it may be more difficult to use. You may not even be able to get the Media Smart software to work on XP which would mean that all the original software are functionality would be lost.
      I cannot think of a single benefit to having XP.

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  • harvey

    Thanks Ryan for reponding. Software that was running on my old systen does not run on the Vista OS. All in one printers/fax/scanner functions do not work. Maybe other have the money to go out and buy new all-in-one printers and invest in software that may run on vista but unless I find the XP sound driver that works on this HP touchsmart its going back to HP!!! So far I have gotten everything to work but the sound. Ralink wireless – realtrek nic – HP Mobile PM965/GM965/GL960 Express CHIPSET – NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS. I even got the touch screen to work. All the different soundmax drivers written for XP that should work have not worked. I hoping someone has had better luck then myself searching. Its good to know that one person in this world likes Vista over XP! This is a very proud moment for Microsoft! Since Microsoft has extented their downgrade program for users wanting to go to XP, you maybe in the minority. The HP touchsmart is a great HP but vista does not match my needs right now!!!

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    • Pam

      Harvey,

      I just came across your post doing a general Google search trying to find out how to downgrade the Touchsmart from Vista to XP Pro. My Touchsmart is the IQ770. If you could help me out with how you did this, I would appreciate it very much. Vista is driving me nuts and a lot of my digital imaging software will not run on Vista, and like you, I do not intend to go out spending the money in replacing this software.

      Thank you so much,

      Pam

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    • gregg

      How did you get the touchscreen to work with XP exactly? I installed nextwindow but still nothing yet.

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    • Cyrus

      Hi. I’m trying to do the same thing (downgrade to XP from Vista) and I’m having trouble. I can’t find the sound card driver and have tried the SoundMax drivers but with no luck. How did you get the touchscreen to work? The remote/IR? Can you help me? Maybe give me the links to those drivers if you have them? Or even just send them to me? I would really appreciate it.

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      • Gregg

        Cyrus,
        install the soundmax driver, then you have to manually point the device to the driver files by saying I will specify the driver to use blah blah.. also you go to nextwindow and download their software and make sure HID mouse is set in the USB panel, then the touchscreen will work. also you need to disable ahci in the bios so that you dont blue screen on booting xp.

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        • Cyrus

          Thanks, Gregg. How do you disable AHCI in BIOS? I will try to install the Soundmax driver like you said.

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        • Cyrus

          And, how do you set the HID mouse in the USB panel? Sorry, I’m a novice at this…

          I managed to disable the AHCI in the BIOS and I got the blue screen on booting up. Am I supposed to disable it AFTER installing the SoundMax driver or BEFORE? I did so before and it gave me the blue screen.

          Thanks, Gregg.

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  • burke

    I have an iQ506. If you plan on upgrading to Windows 7, it won’t cut it. Video
    in only a ’1′ on performance and it needs 5-7 for display. But Vista is 4.9. I had to replace my DVD drive and HP shipped it out the next day. The Touchsmart is window dressing, not to useful. It’s a nice desktop computer, but the video
    processor needs to be upgraded. I wonder if I can upgrade it? Let me know.
    All in all, not to bad. I have Windows Vista, Unbuntu, Windows 7 loaded.

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  • terry slesser

    I am awaiting delivery of the above 22 inch HP touch screen
    is there enough onboard anti-virus etc or do I need to upload another anti-virus system BEFORE I go online
    if so can you recommend
    Norton / Panda or other
    or is it safe enough as it comes
    TS

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    • http://www.justechn.com Ryan McLaughlin

      I does come with a 30 day trial of Notron, but I recommend uninstalling that and installing AVG free.

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  • Run

    Bought my first HP Touchsmart a month ago only to have it arrived with a manufacturing defect where the corners were out of shape. I returned it and the next one arrived with a defective hard drive. I could not even start the thing up.
    All i get are rainbow colored lines on the screen. There is a major quality issue with HP Touchsmart. No third tries for me.

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  • terry slessr

    Thanx for anti- virus tip altho is AVG still a free download?Just using the Norton to get started/60 days
    I was looking at travel sites etc for a few hours maybe 4-6 hrs i pressed the backpage arrow top left screen.
    The mouse, still visible just stopped as did clock-
    could not move anything ESC or cntrl/alt/del- pc still running but ‘froze’had to switch off at mains;
    had it over heated do you think.if so how long a session is advisable or any cooling tips..or should I panic or return before 30 day trial (QVC) runs out

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    • http://www.justechn.com Ryan McLaughlin

      Yes Avg is still a free download. They have a version that you can pay for, but there is also a free version.
      As far as the freezing goes, I don’t know for sure. I never experienced any lock-ups when I did my review. Hopefully, it was a one time glitch. I don’t think it was overheating, unless the fan stopped working, because I left mine on 24/7 and it never froze. If you are concerned about over-heating you can download a free utility called speedfan and it will tell you the temperature of the machine. Let us know if it happens again.

      Good luck.

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  • Autumn Stanford

    After 5 months the hard river crashed. They sent out a new hard drive, but for got the recovery cd’s – thn sent out wrong recovery CDs twice. IT Support manager says now we have to send the computer in, (two more weeks). At this point I wish I could just get my money back..beware!

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    • Angie Tafoya

      You can get your money back under the consumer fraud act. Take it back to the store where you purchased it or if you purchased it from hp send it back to them for a full refund. They have known about the defect in the hard drive for some and have chosen to bandaid the problem. The have an obligation to inform you at the time of purchase of the defect in the hard drive. It doesn’t matter what the store’s return policy is as the item does not work as it is suppose to and you have one year upon discovery of the defect to file a claim.

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  • Dottie

    My IQ506 has already experienced 2 major hard drive failures since I purchased it 7 months ago. I am presently completing the set up of my TouchSmart and for the third time. Although recovery discs have been sent to me (not included in my original purchase) and HP has replaced each of the faulty hard drives, these failures make it difficult for me to recommend the IQ506. This repeated problem has cost me significant repair and transit time, during which I had no computer available to use, as well as considerable personal effort reloading updates. Fortunately, I invested in an external hard drive after losing personal files shortly after the first crash. Soon, I will be facing a decision whether to purchase an extended warranty ($239 for 2 additional years) from HP. It is frustrating that I may have no choice but to spend this additional money with HP because of the performance and history of their TouchSmart. Dottie

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  • Greg

    HI everyone, I also have a touchsmaart 506 bought in 11/08. Hard drive died (would not be recognized by system, all data lost even though I bought the same HD to swap logic boards). Now I have the overheating of CPU which freezes machine once every few days. I leave machine on 24 hr’s day. I have speed fan and the temps on core 1 or 2 read about 54C when it locks up. When running normally, they read 42 or so. Hp support has been horrible on this machine. I had to wait 3 weeks after they shipped me new HD for recovery DVDs.

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  • Pattie Deck

    Hello to All, I purchased an HP IQ506 for my husband early last Fall. Initially, we were really excited about the new functionality of the Touchsmart product…that is, until this PC suffered mutiple hard drive failures and related problems. Between the hardware issues and the quality/timeliness of HP’s service, my husband has become very frustrated with his IQ506 experience and HP. In fact, because of these issues and loss of computer time, my husband is in the process of researching replacement computers for the IQ506…after owning it for less than 9 months?? (He really needs a reliable PC for the work he does at home.) It appears that the hard drives Hewlett Packard used to build the IQ506 are LEMONS. Finally, I’m not sure we will throw good money after bad by purchasing the extended warranty being “pushed” by HP. Caveat emptor (buyer beware), Regards, Pattie

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    • http://www.justechn.com Ryan McLaughlin

      Thanks for your note. I am hearing about a lot of complaints about HP’s hard drives right now and I am sorry that it is affecting you. If the hard drive is the only problem you are having I probably would not buy the extend warranty. The reason is because the hard drive is very easy to replace and you can probably buy a better, bigger one for less than the warranty will cost.

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  • Tony

    I have the iq 506, and it is great no problems here, I’ll cross my fingers.

    I kow it comes with 4 gig’s of ram, how much more can be added? This machine is hungry for more, running all these programs, if osmebody could direct me to the right path, what type of do I Buy?

    Thank you very much.

    Really apreciate the info.

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  • me

    idk why most have you have problems with the touch smart. I got my iq 506 last December and it runs like a charm. The only thing that stinks is that its 64 bit so there arent that much software compatible with it mostly antivirus and antispyware programs =/

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  • skp

    any advice on taking off the back. got all the lower screws and can lift the cover half way off, but seems like there are top screws which i can’t seem to find.

    had a HDD failure and need to swap it and try and recover data.

    any help?

    thanks
    skp

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    • http://www.justechn.com Ryan McLaughlin
      1. I went through the steps in the review.
      2. Your Touchsmart should have come with a diagram on how to remove the back.
      3. The HP website has a Upgrading and Servicing Guide on how to get to the inside.

      Hopefully one of these three will help you.

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      • skp

        thanks a lot. exactly what I needed.

        much appreciated

        ~skp

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  • Greg

    I have been searching around on the internet for days trying to figure out why my headsets failed to work with this computer when, much to my dismay, i found that there is in fact no microphone jack on the computer. the jacks located on the computer that i mistook for microphone ports were in fact line-in jacks, not compatible with standard mics. the computer itself is great and i enjoy it, however almost one year after purchase the hard drive did crash. customer support was great and sent out a new HD right away as well as someone to install it.

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  • TOM

    Hi all, like so many others, I too feel compelled to report a Hard Drive Failure. While my system is nearly a year old, I have not used the Touch Smart a great deal, (hour wise), so would not have expected any hard drive issues.

    The only other complaint I have about this computer is the fact that it “buzzes”, (vibrates), while running. Around the outside of the screen, is rather cheap plastic and when placed on a desktop, very often makes annoying sounds.

    Rather sad to think that a major company like HP cannot get their collect S*** together on Hard Drive design and functionality.

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  • Pete

    Bought my IQ 506 1 year and 3 months ago. I have had 4 hard drive failures and 1 optical drive failure since I bought it, 2 HDD failures in the past 4 months. It’s out of warranty now, but I bought a 3 year service plan from the store, which requires a replacement after the 3rd “qualified” repair. Although I love the idea and ease of the IQ506, I do not want another one. It is too much of a pain to keep going through HDD failures, not to mention that in less than 15 months the machine has been down almost 6 months.

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  • Steve

    My IQ506 died yesterday. I bought it in October 2008.
    The first hard drive failed by Thanksgiving that year.
    As did the keyboard. Both of those failures were in the
    warranty period. So I kept it running.

    After the warranty year, the CPU cooling fans failed.
    Replaced that out of my pocket to the tune of $90.
    Also replaced the replacement keyboard.

    So in my first 17 months, the computer has suffered at
    least four failures that make it inoperable. Forutunately
    for me the IQ506 has taught me the value of good backups!

    It has now devoured a third hard drive. After reading that
    I am not alone, it is off to computer shop. It is unlikely
    that any HP’s will be on my shopping list. I an writing this
    review and the kid’s Dell Studio Hybrid which has taken kid
    abuse for one month less than I have had the IQ506 and has
    never needed any more attention than a trip to the garage to
    blow the dust out of the cooling fans.

    HP if you are reading this, you are losing customers with
    the crummy reliability of your IQ506s. -stve

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  • Pete

    Since my post in March, I have had 2 subsequent Hard Drive failures for a total of 6. The store finally gave me full credit for my IQ506 and I purchased two lower priced computers for what the IQ 606 cost.

    I really liked the IQ 506, it’s a shame that they are for the most part a good looking piece of junk with many good features. HP has no idea how much I hated having to part with my IQ506, and yes they have lost a customer

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    • elizabeth

      Hi
      I too have experienced 2 hard drive failures on my touch smart ..im on my third.
      May I ask you how you managed a full credit? I need some “coaching” as far as who to contact and what to say when I do.
      I am amazed at the quantity of people who have experienced the same issue.
      thanks so much for your input,
      Liz

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  • John

    My hard drive just failed for the first time after owning it for 8 months. Keep getting a dredded BIOHD-2 error code when running the diagnostic tool. I found a tested used Hitachi replacement as to get away from the Seagate that comes with the HP. WIll this make a difference or are all brands of the compatible hard drives failing? One I loaded the Hitachi but it goes into DOS and says “disc drive not detected” When I run it in the diagnostic tool it shows no issues with it. Is this because I need to install the recovery disc that does not come with this computer? If so where can I get one? Thanks in advance for the urgently needed help. John

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    • http://www.justechn.com Ryan McLaughlin

      If the computer did not come with a recovery disk then there is probably a recovery partition on the original hard drive. You have three options at this point.

      1. Clone the original HD onto the new HD. This should copy over the recovery partition and allow you to run and recover the OS on the new HD.
      2. Put the original HD back in the PC, start up the recovery program, and see if there is an option to burn a recovery DVD
      3. There should be a Windows key sticker somewhere on the PC. You can use this to reinstall Windows. You just need to find a copy somewhere.

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