Yesterday I experienced that event all computer users dread. I turned on my laptop and--nothing. The power light came on for one second, then went out. Screen totally black, no cursor. No drives spun up. A bootable CD was useless because there was no power after the one-second power light display. The computer is 22 months old and out of warranty.
I did the usual: removed the battery and tried on wall power with no battery connected. Same results. I tried on battery with no wall power. Same results. I tried on wall power with battery connected. Same results. I removed one of the two sticks of RAM. Same results. I moved the sticks one at a time to the other slot. Same results. I put the RAM back. Same results.
It's not the hard drive or the RAM or the battery, so the most likely culprits are the power system or the motherboard, neither of which I can fix. Given the cost of repairs and the lowish price of a new laptop, I won't take it to the shop. If I can't find a fix-it-yourself solution, I'll get a small case for the hard drive and use it as a portable and sell the rest of the machine for parts on Ebay. The computer was fine when I turned it off on Monday but apparently had a fatal stroke overnight.
The bad economy has taken a big dent from our retirement income, so I can't just go out and buy another laptop. I'm fortunate that my 6-year-old laptop still works. I had Win XP on it and we called it "my husband's computer," though he didn't use it or any other computer much. It has a 40-gig hard drive and 512 megs of RAM, of which 16 are reserved for video.
Yesterday I repartitioned the drive and left enough of XP for those times I want to do something that can't be done in Linux, like watch a show at abc.com, whose required player does not work with Linux. I also created a FAT32 drive for things like photos and music that are shared. The rest is for Linux.
I installed VL6 Light because I wanted to make a system with what I wanted and nothing more. It's anything but light now, as I've added OpenOffice, Gimp, Inkscape, Scribus, SeaMonkey, Picasa, Amarok, K3B, AbiWord, etc., which brought along their boatload of Gnome and KDE libraries and applets. The system is performing well and I really don't need a newer laptop as long as this old computer continues to work.
I'm an XFce fan, but I wanted a lighter window manager for this laptop and it's also fun to work with IceWM, which is very customizable but a bit of a pain to manage. I was familiar with IceWM from my little 4-gig packaging partition on my Celeron desktop.
In less than 24 hours, this system is almost completely built and customized. Installing Windows takes me about a month to complete by the time I get all my programs in (not installing all the time, of course). Amazingly, it feels like I got a new computer even though it's over six years old! All hardware works out of the box--video, network, sound, removables. I have a Cardbus Firewire card, which was recognized automatically. I use a wired network for this laptop because the network jack is in the back, whereas with my Turion laptop it was on the side and blocked the mouse I use, so I had to use wireless with that computer. Wired is easier.<g>
And so, here I am!