Friday, October 8, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: My New Old Laptop

I have been on this kick about not throwing stuff out unless it's absolutely necessary and reusing or fixing whatever I can. I have this old laptop that used to be my wife's. It worked fine in the beginning but then we started having problems with the hard drive and then the battery went and then she spilled a cup of coffee into it. After that the keyboard would no longer work. So we eventually bought her a new one which she needed for school but this one just sat. I hear everyone say "just through it out and get a new one...they're so cheap." It's not that I don't want to spend the money, it's just I have a hard time throwing away an almost perfectly good laptop. This thing is actually in good shape, except for a couple of minor cracks in the case. So I decided I was going to fix it, I could at least use it as a training exercise if I ever needed to work on a laptop again.

I knew it needed at least two things, a new keyboard and a new battery. One of the guys in the IS dept. at work hooked me up with a couple of websites that had parts pretty cheap. I got both the battery and new keyboard for $85 shipped to my door. All of the service documentation I got from Dell's website so replacing the parts were easy. I know I needed a hard drive too but didn't want to spring the $$$ until I knew the laptop was working well so I threw in a 10GB one I had lying around for file transfers. I was also able to get all the required updated drivers I needed and I had the original Windows XP disk the reinstall the OS. So far it's running good, I obviously need to get a bigger hard drive and I'd like to upgrade the memory from the 512MB to 2GB. A Bluetooth card would be nice too and will probably invest in something soon. So for maybe another couple hundred bucks I could have a decent machine. I would like to upgrade the video card from the 32MB to the 64MB version but that would require a motherboard change which is about $250. So unless I find another Dell Inspiron 600m on eBay or Craigslist with a busted LCD I'll just live with it for now. If anyone reading this has parts for this machine that they'd like to unload, please let me know.