Friday, March 30, 2012

Laptop, Geek Squad and Fun

So I got a new laptop. Well, new to me at least. The story is that my mother-in-law had bought this computer (really, the one I'm typing on now) a few years ago, 2009 I think, and by fall 2011 it wasn't working at all. So they took it to the Geek Squad and they said 'nothing we can do, needs a new hard drive'. Two months ago, she gave it to me for 'spare parts.' I didn't really know what happened to it so I fired it up. When it got to the Windows 7 'Starting Wnidows' screen, I knew it wasn't the hard drive. However, I did get a, dum dum dum duh, Blue Screen of Death. I haven't seen one yet on Windows 7, so I was shocked to see one now. The message was UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME. Fine, simple, reload the software. I actually found on the HP website the Recovery Disk for $15. Then the battery was shot so I order a new battery. Then something happened to the original charger and it was replaced with a generic Rocketfish adapter. Got a new adapter too. All told I spent $50.

So then I'm playing with the laptop and realized, damn, this is hot! Damn hot! Did some searches and found that since the fan intake is on the bottom of the laptop, and since folks tend to put a laptop on their lap (novel idea!) that the fan sucks in lint and what not from your clothes. So found some directions and disassembled the whole thing. I found that the fan had packed in some lint, hair, etc on the exhaust side of the fan. It was so thick it reminds me of dryer lint. Ya know how dense that is, right? Exactly. So I cleaned that out and now it's cool as a cucumber. I also upgraded the BIOS to current and flipped a switch in the BIOS to run the fan as needed rather than all the time. I deduced that the fan running all the time and the excessive heat probably killed the battery prematurely.

Anyway, when I got the disk from HP. I reloaded the software. Now I'm an Ubuntu fan, but I know full well that when you need to run some Windows program it's much better to have Windows installed than use Wine or equivalent. Unfortunately, HP does not have it in mind to make those Recovery Disks user configurable. So the disk I get re-imaged the hard drive back to factory. Then of course I get all of the junk programs with trials and useless software. In the end, deleted the junk software, and installed Ubuntu 11.10 alongside Windows.

Works like a charm, my computer does. And it was a lot of fun to work with.

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