Sterling Ambivalence (sterlingnorth) wrote,
Sterling Ambivalence

What do you do with a broken notebook?

Here's a lesson to would-be web authors: Continuously updated running complaints will launch you near the top of Google. Actually, it's nice to have an anonymous person wish you well in trying to repair a computer. It's far better than having an anonymous person just throw in spam links in a comment to try to game Google. Hopefully, if thanks to me anyone learned that their machine is covered for a free repair, or even if they just figured out what could possibly be wrong with their machine, or even just found the series to be useful, then I'm glad that this hideaway could be of service to you. So, with regards to M~, and all the people who has stumbled on this site trying to find information on Toshiba notebooks, LCD backlight FL Inverters, and to that one girl who is looking for a new CD drive, this update is for you.

Things did not turn out well, however not because of the FL Inverter. The inverter was replaced and is good as new. However, the CD/DVD drive has since left us for the recording studio in the sky. Basically, the drive can no longer read any discs at all. What's worse, it doesn't even time-out when it attempts to read at start-up. This is bad, because the drive is listed as a boot device. It will attempt to read from the drive, even if it is empty, as long as the drive door is closed. Thus the result: If the drive door is closed at boot, the computer doesn't boot. If the drive door is closed while using Windows, Windows Explorer freezes up.

That would only be a middling issue in most circumstances. Yeah, it prevents me from using that drive to install software, and having to keep the drive door open at all times, but the machine comes with a USB port, which I could install a external drive. True, it's only a v1.1 port, which means cd reads and writes would be slow as molassass, but the laptop would still be usable.

However, this isn't "most circumstances." I was in the middle of re-installing Windows. That install wasn't successful. I have operating system to launch into. And most distressingly, the only devices this model Toshiba can launch from are the internal hard drive (blanked), a 3.5 floppy drive (effectively useless as no mainstream OS is installed via collections of 1.44MB disks anymore), through a network via the ethernet port (I have absolutely no clue how to set that up! Do you?), and the internal CD/DVD drive. There is no way to boot from any external USB device (which includes the external CD drive), thus no way to use the Toshiba recovery discs to reinstall Windows XP.

So, what should I do with a broken notebook?

Well, first I should try to repair it, right? When I first started looking for replacement drives, I couldn't find anything that was under $200. Actually, DVD drives for under $200 were as plentiful as 4, 5, or 27-leaf clovers. I was frequently breaking the $350 barrier. Man, if I was going to be bloodied figuratively like this, and then bloodied literally in the attempt to install the damn thing, I might as well buy a new notebook. I figured that my time and those pints of blood are worth $200, and technology has so advanced since 2001, even the low-end stuff is better than what I'd have after having to part with $400, significant amounts of blood, and with my luck a finger or two.

Thus, I bought a new laptop. To the likely shock and dismay to everyone who thought I have learned my lesson, this notebook is a Toshiba -- the Toshiba Satellite M35X-S111. I'm writing this out now, so if I wind up having problems, Google will be my witness. However, right now it has given me absolutely no trouble. The following is probably only a sad reminder of how far back I was tech wise, but this 1.5GHz Intel Celeron feels much speedier than whatever level of slow I managed to get accustom to on the Satellite 1805-S204. (1GHz, I think it was).

Of course, now what am I to do with a computer that -- for want of one apparently expensive part -- could still be usable. If you're still actually a regular reader, while I was on the Apple-commentary kick (PS: There's no way in hell you're going to get me to comment on the Apple-Intel story.), I snuck in this odd phrase and link, "As another example, ask me about my Toshiba sometime. It will be appearing here, very soon." My plan was to sell the machine on eBay, either selling the working components to others (still, I fear losing blood and fingers trying to take that machine apart), or to sell the entire machine to a person who may sell the components on his own (sacrificing his own digits) or just happens to have a notebook DVD drive lying around.

That was a good plan until I got a tip to check out an online hardware store called NewEgg. There I found the following...

To the one girl looking for a CD ROM drive for her notebook, pay attention now!

TOSHIBA Black 8X DVD-ROM 24X CD-R, CD-RW, CD-ROM slim notebook drive. Price: $65.00.

Yes, Sixty-Five Dollars. Thirty-Five below One Hundred.

Damn! I'm already $870 gone thanks to getting the new notebook, and this complicates my plans on selling to eBay.

Now, what do I do?
Tags: fl inverter, toshiba
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