My poor wallet

I purchased a new laptop today.  Weird to say, it’s the biggest purchase I’ve made so far in my life.  I know at this point, I should have bought a car or house or something, but I have yet to go down that path.  Which probably explains my nonexistent credit score.  At any rate, this new laptop is Star Wars themed, has pretty good specs, and will hopefully last for quite a while.  My current laptop is dying a slow death, complete with loose monitor connection and sporadic crashes.  I’m definitely due for an upgrade!

A Bit Dim

A few weeks ago, the monitor integrated into my laptop dimmed, almost to the point of total blackness.  Thankfully, I already had a second monitor hooked up to it, but it does mean that I can’t used this as a laptop any more.  Checking online, it looks like the problem may be with the screen’s inverter or LCD bulb.  Apparently, replacing these is relatively easy, but my hardware seems to be buried under the frame of the laptop – not easy to get to at present!  At some point, I’ll probably have to take my laptop in for repairs, but for now I’ll just let it be.

Rebuilding

The laptop’s stability really came into question over the last few weeks. On top of the general slowness of the computer, I was getting random shutdowns, too. I ran memtest and found no issues. I ran spinrite and found no issues. We decided to go the nuclear route and completely format my hard drive. Afterwards, I installed a better version of Windows 7 onto the computer, and started installing my necessary programs again. The only problem? I was still getting those shutdowns. My friend then wondered something – how warm was the bottom of my laptop? Yep, it seems the computer was overheating and was shutting itself down to preserve itself. Thankfully, I had a laptop fan lying around. I immediately put it to work, and fingers crossed, it seems to be holding. Let’s hope this last month of computer troubles has finally been put to rest.

Slowing Down

Over the past weeks, I’ve noticed my computer isn’t performing as it should.  It’s slow, and it chokes playing videos.  I’ve done what I can think of to solve this – updated video codecs, scanned for viruses and spyware, even rolled back system updates to before the slowdown.  Nothing really seems to be working.  I even got a program that fixes registry errors.  The laptop is verging on four years old now, and it’s taken on a lot more since I got rid of my desktop.  Maybe it’s time to move on?  Not that I really have the funds or patience right now to deal with a new laptop.  On the other hand, it could just be the memory that’s dying, and that’s a relatively inexpensive fix.

Resuscitation

On Friday, my laptop stopped accepting a charge.  It was all I could do to just watch the battery percentage drop as I frantically tried to get it to read that the power cable was plugged in.  See, this had started a few days before, but all it required was a little wiggling of the cable to work right again.  This time, not so much.  It was too late to hit Fry’s, and in case the battery was at fault, I needed a new one to get here as soon as possible.  So I ordered the least expensive one I could find.  I finally arrived in the mail today, but to no avail – the battery had a charge, but the computer still wasn’t detecting the power cable.  So I drove out to Fry’s and found a suitable generic replacement.  Weirdly, when I plugged it in, it spent the next several hours cycling between detecting and not detecting the power cable.  Fortunately, the amount of time it detected the cable outweighed the amount of time it didn’t, and slowly but surely, I could recharge my original battery.  As of now, the computer seems to have stabilized – it’s reading the power cable pretty much non-stop at this point.  Still, I may have to get someone to look at the DC converter on the motherboard.

Goodbye my desktop

For about a year now, my desktop’s been experiencing crashes while booting up.  No, I didn’t put off fixing it for a year – I would try a repair, and it would work.  For a while, at least.  After a few months or weeks, the problem would reappear.  This went on for a few different fixes.  This week, however, I knew I was in trouble.  Lately, the crashing problem would typically present itself once a week.  The next day it would usually boot up just fine.  Annoying, but I could at least spend that day on my laptop.  This time, however, it lasted longer.  I knew I was in real trouble when booting up didn’t send a signal to the monitor, and I couldn’t turn off the tower with the regular power button.  I had to use the reset switch on the back.  That’s when I decided to throw in the towel.  I bought some hard drive enclosures, a few usb hubs, and an extra power strip – I’m now running off my laptop full-time.  All the necessary programs are already installed, and I don’t have years of excess program baggage eating up the memory.  And with the hard drive enclosures, I still have access to all my files from my desktop.