The primary laptop at Chateau JB took the Big Dirt Nap earlier this week. After some trouble shooting and much cursing, I had it narrowed down to a BIOS failure.
Called HP, and since the laptop is 3 months out of warranty, they wanted $400 or so to fix it. No, thanks, I can get a new machine for a little more than that.
My cousin, who lives in town, had an older laptop laying around that he was given by a friend: "If you can get it to work, you can have it." Cousin gave it to me with the same condition: "It's not working, but if you can get it going, you can have it."
So I threw aside the old power cord, plugged in a new power cord, and it booted normally. That was easy.
A couple problems: First, the thing has Windows Vista.
Second, it was LOADED with multiple, conflicting, redundant, crap software. Things that get installed when the user doesn't pay attention and just click "OK" all the way through an installation. This one had the Yahoo toolbar, the Bing toolbar, the Ask.com toolbar... it had three different antivirus programs (all out of date, of course, and beyond the free trial period)... it had more silly games than I can count... it had four DVD burner programs... it was loaded with crap.
I spent the better part of two days uninstalling, rebooting, uninstalling, rebooting, running Windows Updates, rebooting, running Antivirus installs, rebooting, running Malware Bytes updates, rebooting....
Finally, I think I have the thing running as a proper computer should. I'll be watching it closely, and the new job starts next week so it won't be long until I have enough spare coin to buy a brand new machine for my own use, at which point this one gets handed to the Spawn for games and such. I'll take an image of it first, so when they download and play all sorts of crap, I can restore it to proper status easily.
But it is amazing to me how much crap people allow onto their computer, then complain that it doesn't run well.