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Problems Are Halfway Solved

In short, Trish's laptop is fixed, and is now running Windows 7 just as I intended for it to that afternoon I offered to upgrade it for her. As for the long version, however...

The first stop today was Future Shop for CPU paste, which was kind of a fun purchase because the power went out while I was in the store, and I had to go back and forth between a couple registers waiting for their system to come back online so I could pay. Once it did though, I swiped my debit card through the machine and made myself $16 more-poor than before, then went back out to the car, from where we just went down the street a little bit to Real Canadian Superstore to go grocery shopping. Then I spent ~$13 there because 12-can cases of Coke products were on sale for $2.97, and I picked up four, plus two chocolate bars that were 69 cents each. As for the pop, two cases of Sprite because it was the type of pop I drank the most on Dan Skunk's birthday back in May and decided it was quite good (not to mention 10 calories less per can than Pepsi), as well as two cases of Fresca, which I've been kind of wanting to try ever since the first time Madius and I went out to lunch back when I went to London for the furmeets. Pretty decent, if a little unassertive when consumed alongside some other food, but the grapefruit flavor was a pleasant surprise, and yes.

Getting back to Trish's laptop, from there we went home, and I set about taking the thing apart just as I had done last night. Everything was the same as before down to removing the heatsink and exposing the CPU, and then went a completely different direction in that I had to clean it that time. So I did, very carefully with several Q-tips and rubbing alcohol, then gently tried to apply some thermal paste to it, only to have that go all over the place when I attempted to smooth it out, so I then had to clean off the board of the CPU, which thankfully went fairly well. At first I was worried the paste that was supposed to be there would dry out, but it was still fine, so I placed the heatsink back on, re-inserted the screws (in the proper order this time~), and then went to work reassembling the rest of the laptop. Skip ahead to putting the final couple screws on the laptop and RAM bay covers and flipping it over to press the power button, and it wouldn't boot. For that matter it wouldn't even POST, making me worry that I'd damaged some component, but no, as it would turn out, I had only not inserted one of the sticks of RAM all the way. After fixing that problem it powered on properly, but then all the problems we were facing before the overheating became a big issue came back.

Somehow, Windows 7's install was corrupt. It would load up to a point, but then just sit there at a blank screen (800×600, judging from the size of the cursor) and do nothing, which I couldn't figure out how to fix at first. Removing the USB install stick and trying to boot into safe mode just froze up at classpnp.sys, and for a moment I thought I was onto something by going upstairs for my XP install disc instead, but all that did was froze at the "Setup is examining your hard disk" stage. That's when I started to get worried that the hard drive had been damaged, and so as one last attempt at trying to get something to work, I went upstairs again for one of my Ubuntu LiveCDs, and put that in. That stopped doing anything as soon as I clicked the "Try Ubuntu" button, but surprisingly, clicking the button to install it instead actually worked, and by that I mean it installed everything and rebooted fine without the CD inserted, just as it should. I then tried rebooting to the Windows 7 install disc (DVD - not USB stick), and it... worked. I don't know what happened before, but the install went off without any issues, and after that I spent another couple hours installing updates and getting the laptop ready to use again. Just before taking it back out to the living room, I decided to try taking apart my very first laptop to see if there wasn't any dust or such caught inside the heatsink as well (it'd be neat if I could get it to work again...), but didn't get very far with that. Apparently the front parts of the screen hinges are supposed to come off as part of the keyboard bezel, but mine would not. Possibly because of the double-sided tape that's still on it, but yeah, I've had enough of computers for a little bit, and that's taking into account that I still need to try upgrading the desktop computer downstairs to Windows 7, so that laptop will be a project for next week or somesuch.

Just on a final note though, it is about time. I can fix a hardware problem if I just take my time and actually have a fair idea of what I'm doing. Does that mean I'd stand a better chance of fixing Sheila's laptop if she were to ask me again now? Maybe, but I'd be just as happy with her not saying anything. After work with Trish's laptop was all done though, I decided to go out to 7-11 for a snack / supper (a sub, two chocolate bars, and candies), because I'd just spent 6 hours working on her computer and didn't have a whole lot of desire to actually make myself supper at home. As such the final total for spending today is approximately $60. That is quite a bit, but as I was telling myself on the way home, that will have been my one visit to 7-11 this week, and I will not go back until Friday of next, if not later.

In other news, I think eating my very healthy supper in a short span of time is what's making me tired. It's only 3:20am right now, but I think I'll just head to bed anyway. I have to wake up early tomorrow to work from 5 to 10, and after that I have Father's Day goodies to come home and bake, followed by going out on Saturday proper. Work is first though, so at least I know I'll have had plenty of sleep for it~

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