Saturday, 27 December 2008

A laptop rises again

The title sounds a bit of an "Oh, matron!" in retrospect but it's true - my old laptop has been resurrected, leaving me feeling like a self-satisfied Dr Frankenstein. And without having created any monsters, either - for the time being at any rate.

I'm pretty pig-headed and although my laptop is nearly superfluous, I decided to have another go at it. The problem was the very limited time in which the keyboard or touch pad would respond. If the McAfee logo, or a message saying that a Java update was available, came up I was stuffed. The only thing to do then was to switch the power off and let the FAT do its stuff and have another race against time.

After a less than promising start, I managed to get a message saying that Open Office was opening up automatically and at more than one application at a time, too. So I deleted Open Office and bought myself some extra time in which I was able to delete McAfee and Java, too.

The result of this, however, was a complete inability to do anything. The touchpad wouldn't respond and neither would the Task Manager. All I could do was switch my laptop on and then turn it off again on the power switch (and that now took ages).

So I did a quick surf on the net with my desktop and found some advice that pointed to - of all things - the battery.

This renewed my hope because my laptop wouldn't work for very long on just the battery, back when it was working. So off came the lithium-iron battery and guess what? It still didn't work.

And then I found another piece of advice about the F7 key. On Acer Aspire laptops like mine these feature a little graphical device of a finger hovering over a square. Somebody had interpreted this a touchpad symbol and pressing it had revitalised the touchpad. So I tried this, too, and it worked it!

I am now defragging the laptop and operating without the battery. I might not need a new one, either. Before I throw it away (or offer it as a down payment on an electric car with lithium-iron batteries), I'll very gently clean up the battery contacts. Apparently, they can corrode and the touchpad and keyboard, which require power via the battery terminals won't work.

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