Critical Section

As the laptop turns - episode 4

Monday,  05/09/05  09:34 PM

The saga of my laptop trouble continues...  (Links to 1, 2, 3, 3.5)  Here is episode 4...

-----Original Message-----
From: Ole Eichhorn []
Wednesday, March 09, 20059:29 AM
Subject: episode 4 - as the laptop turns

Well the saga is ongoing.  As this is written I do not have a working laptop, nor the imminent prospect of having one.

When last we left our hero victim (me), I’d brought my laptop down to Vistaso it could be repaired.  (You may have enjoyed seeing all the parts spread out on a table, it isn’t often you can find a meatspace exploded parts diagram.  You’re welcome.)  After spending the whole day anxiously awaiting a tech, pinging HP every two hours, at 5:00he finally showed up.  And he had almost all of the parts he needed.  He had a new CPU, a new motherboard, a new heat sink, and several parts which didn’t go with my laptop model (for luck?)  Unfortunately he did not have a replacement for the cracked case, which proved important.

After spending four hours reassembling the parts into a working laptop, we attempted to boot.

I spent the day happily using bach as my computer, with my laptop’s drive plugged into bach as an external USB drive.  Worked great, I was able to use my Outlook configuration, P4 workspace, etc.  The computer room is a bit noisy but Mr. Van Halen and Mr. Satriani took care of that for me.  What did we do before iPods?  But I digress.

So I took my laptop drive and plugged it back into its home (after reassuring it that I had it safely backed up), and we booted the laptop!  Yes, it booted.  There was my signon prompt.  I signed on and poof, Windows!  Unfortunately then poof, laptop turns itself off.  My laptop is now working but only for about three minutes at a time.  Rebooting every few minutes would be annoying after a while so the tech and I tried to figure out what was going on.  The favorite theory is that the cracked case allows the heat sink to “play”, which in turns allows the CPU to overheat (remember my fried CPU from before?), and which causes the laptop to defend itself by shutting down.  I’m not sure I believe this entirely – we tried taping the case closed, but that didn’t help - but anyway the tech is coming back today with a new case.

My prognosis at the moment is not good.  I believe it is only a matter of time now until HP decides they’ve pissed away enough time and parts on me, and will replace the laptop.  After seeing a laptop opened I believe that laptops should be thought of as integral parts, and replaced as a unit; there just doesn’t seem any way to take them apart and end up with a working assembly again.  But the story isn’t over yet, please stay tuned...


Continue to episode 5, 4.5, 6, 7...

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