Friday, December 31, 2010

Reviving a computer

My sister's old computer - an IBM Thinkpad - was a few years old when she got it in 2004. By the time she got a new laptop in 2007, it was ancient and incredibly slow. It got put away for a while.

Fast-forward to today. Took it out, decided to see if we could make it work again. We tried turning in on, but nothing happened. Plugged the cord in real tight, tried again, it actually booted up. Verrrrry sloooowly. I immediately went to work. First I deleted all my sister's old documents (long since copied to a flash drive), then her music, then pictures. I had to restart once or twice when it froze, but eventually I cleaned everything out.

By this time the computer was getting pretty hot, so I figured it could use a cleaning inside as well. I got a few screwdrivers and started removing parts - very carefully, and keeping a neat order. Within half an hour, there were a CD/DVD drive, a 20 GB hard drive, keyboard, PC Card adapter, two RAM chips, a wireless card, CMOS supply battery, main laptop battery, and several dozen screws lying about on the floor. I wasn't able to clean the fan like I had hoped, but I did get some dust out and I cleaned the connections. Then I reassembled it, from memory.

Amazingly, it booted up on the first try. I uninstalled almost every program on the machine, leaving just Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, and the system tools. Once I restarted to finish the uninstalls, it immediately started moving a bit faster. I ran the Disk Defragmenter and it cleared up lots of room. Et Voila, functioning laptop. It's not fast, but it works.

I plan to install some sort of basic antivirus so I can go online, then perhaps I can try my hand at installing Linux, or we might just use it to play Amazon Trail and other old games. We shall see.

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