Sunday, December 23, 2007

An Update to Adventures in DIY Computer Upgrading

Remember that Toshiba laptop that I added RAM to and upgraded the hard drive myself? It died. Specifically, the LCD screen stopped working. It is very difficult to work on a computer when the screen looks plaid. Having already learned my lesson wasting time and money upgrading the hard drive myself, I immediately purchased a new laptop. "Immediately" may not be the right word. "Eventually" would be the right word, because first I just couldn't resist goofing around trying to be clever.

The Toshiba still worked except that you couldn't see anything on the screen. So I tried connecting it to a working monitor, which worked really well until I tried to tweak the settings. Silly me! I just had to tinker. After that, I had to try to figure out what was happening on the broken Toshiba screen and then drag the window that I was working with to the working screen. I couldn't get back to having the working screen show the Toshiba's desktop until I connected it to another monitor. I thought maybe I could just swap the Toshiba's recently upgraded hard drive to the Gateway. It fit easily and booted up, but it didn't work too well because of the differing hardware configurations. For some reason, I also couldn't get to my data.

I tried backing up my data to the old 40 GB hard drive, reformatting, and starting over. Well, somehow the data didn't back up and I lost it. In the end, I ended up with a broken but still working Toshiba and a Gateway that is missing essential drivers, which I've tried to replace, that won't connect to the Internet anymore. By the way, the data loss wasn't a complete disaster. Most of my important documents are on the server at my office anyway. I did lose a few things, but nothing that I don't have paper copies of and that I can't rebuild.

After spending another weekend learning my lesson, I hit on the solution that I had figured would cure the problem from the beginning and was my fall back plan all along. I went out and bought a new laptop. I realize that the problem with the Toshiba might be as simple as the cable connecting the screen to the rest of the computer, but even if it could be fixed for a reasonable price would I be halfway to the cost of an up-to-date laptop while preserving a laptop that while functional was yesterday's news?

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