Tag Archives: notebook-computer

How Not to Reuse a Windows ME Laptop

Geek!This is Christi’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Recently, I found several articles and videos discussing ways to reuse and recycle old laptops. Since I try to be an eco-friendly geek girl, I was certainly inspired with some ideas. There were a many variations on the idea including:

  1. Dismantling and selling the parts
  2. Making a digital picture frame
  3. Using it as a portable DVD player

We happen to have an old Compaq laptop packed away (it’s been taking up space and collecting dust). The operating system is Windows ME, and the hard drive is only 16 GB – so I knew there would not be a rush to get parts for it! But I was interested in turning it into a print server / media drive. The basic reasoning behind my decision was related to space, and laptops generally tend to use less electricity (compared to desktop). Another green advantage.

Yesterday, I took a trip to my favorite local tech store, where I purchased an Ethernet port adapter, a 500 GB hard drive and an enclosure. My plan was simple:

  • Strip the computer of almost everything but the operating system and printer.
  • Install the Ethernet card
  • Connect the External Hard dark
  • Connect the Laptop to the Network
  • Install Antivirus program
  • Set-up a Shared Folder connecting to the External Hard Drive
  • Set-up the Network Sharing

I had discussed the concept at great length with a few of my tech buddies who agreed that (in theory) it’s a wonderful idea. Well, that is if all went as planned! Everything was moving according to schedule until the installation of the antivirus utility, when the laptop went into super slow motion.

I tried several of the free AV suites (that still worked with Windows ME) without success. I even looked for one that I could purchase and install, but there weren’t many that did. The Taurus in me stubbornly insisted on trying to find a way to make the idea work – to no avail. I worked for hours yesterday (and almost all day today) before finally giving in to defeat.

I have not given up my plans to have that wireless print server and networked media drive. I will simply look to purchase a Netgear print server and connect it to my wireless router. For the media drive, someone mentioned using a hard drive to USB / Ethernet NAS Enclosure (which I am looking into this further).

So, from my experience, you now know how NOT to reuse a Windows ME laptop. CNET offers some advice on what to do with your old gadgets, including how to dispose properly of them. More than likely, I will follow one of their suggestions.

I love creativity so please feel free to leave comments, suggestions, or tips!

How to Take Care of Your Notebook Computer

Geek!This is Bowler4Ever’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

  1. Never put your notebook on a soft surface, such as your bed, a pile of clothes, or on your legs! A bed can “sink” a little when something like a notebook is on it, restricting air flow from the vent to the outside, which would cause your notebook to overheat and crash, possibly damaging components. Never put a notebook on your legs, either, because, over time, the notebook can get VERY hot and can potentially burn your legs.
  2. Never do a “drop test” to see how durable your notebook is! The company who created your notebook computer has already done this several times, since they know that notebooks already get bounced and banged around enough as-is. Dropping your notebook even from a small height can prove “deadly” to your hard drive, or other parts of your computer, which could render it useless; and the repairs will come out of your own pocket, no matter what kind of warranty you have on it.
  3. Never leave it on continuously for over 2 days straight, even on a powerful notebook. Again, notebooks can get very hot, causing overheating to occur. Not only that, but you are also wasting electricity. What I recommend is getting some sort of timer that automatically puts your machine into a sleep mode, or even shut it down at a certain time. One program I recommend for Windows users is PC Shutdown Pro. Basically, what this program does is you set up a time and day of when you want your computer to shut down, sleep, hibernate, log off, stand by, or lock down. It also gives you the option of cleaning out unnecessary files before the computer boots down, so when you reboot the system, it will boot up quicker, because there’s no junk in the drive. So, you set it and forget it! Then, the next time you go on the computer, just push the power button and you’re ready to go!
  4. If you have this option, get the computer’s innards cleaned out by a professional!!! Countless notebook users attempt to clean out their computer hardware manually (myself included) and all I did was crack the casing and nearly broke some of the parts. If you have a warranty, check out what is included in it, as some manufacturers, such as Apple’s AppleCare Program, have an included cleaning program, as well as a virus check and removal for free! So, talk to your computer manufacturer about your warranties and ask if this is included. It could save you some time, a lot of money, and perhaps even your notebook computer.
  5. Don’t spill your drinks! If you’re at a cafe or at home and you have a drink nearby and your spill it and it lands all over your notebook, power it off immediately! Take the AC adapter out (as well as the battery), get a cloth or paper towels and get as much liquid out as you can. Then, turn the computer over and let the rest of the liquid drip out for about 24 hours. During this process you should call your computer manufacturer and let them know what happened and if there is any way you can salvage it without much damage, such as a fried motherboard or rusted parts. Don’t be surprised if they ask you to send it in so they can look at it and make the necessary repairs.

How to Buy a Laptop

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Are you in the market for a new laptop? What should you be looking for and considering? Here are some tips sent in by a community member to help you with your decision.

  • Build Quality. The build quality of the laptop is more important then you might think. Not only are poorly built laptops more likely to break down, but they are more likely to have overheating problems, and therefore run slower. If your laptop is going to be leaving the house several times a week, build quality is more important then it is not going to leave the house Look closely at the laptops in stores and read reviews online.
  • Keyboard. Similar to build quality, look at the quality of the keyboard. This is especially important if you will be doing a lot of typing. A poorly constructed keyboard will become very frustrated to type on.
  • Mobility vs. Screen size. If the laptop is rarely going to leave the house(Ex: when you go on vacation) then you a laptop with a 15-17 inch screen size is probably appropriate. However, if you are going to be taking the laptop to school or a café on a regular basis, you probably want something more mobile, in the 12-14 inch range. Although you should look at the actual weight of the machine, not just the screen size.
  • Specifications. I would recommend everyone stay away from Celeron, Sempron, Core Solo and Turion(single core) processors. You might think you don’t need more than a single core processor if your only doing basic tasks and surfing the web, but you might be surprised how draining seemingly simple tasks can be when you have several opened at the same time. Further, budget dual core laptops are only slightly more expensive then the above mentioned processors. I have read a lot of conflicting information on the hierarchy of processors, so maybe Chris can get into that more then I will hear. I went with a Core 2 duo, because generally people thought they had the best performance, better battery life, and fewest overheating problems. Turion processors are the best of the AMD line. Athlon X2 and Pentium Dual Core are considered budget dual core laptops. Keep in mind though even among the same line of processors(such as Core 2 duo) there can be a substantial difference in performance between the laptops. This is especially true if you are using a Windows Vista machine, which is most of the machines on the market right now. Don’t worry too much about memory, as it can be cheaply upgraded, and is very easy to upgrade. Just make sure the laptop is upgradeable. If you play video games and/or do video/photo editing. I got a laptop with an integrated video card since I don’t do any of those activities. Don’t really know much about video cards, maybe Chris can speak more to that.
  • Features. Does the laptop have a built in memory card reader for your type of digital camera? Does it have a built in web cam? A built in microphone? Aplenty USB Ports? How loud do the speakers get? One of the most important features I was looking for was battery life. Does the computer come with a 4 cell, 6 cell, 9 cell, or 12 cell battery? If it comes with a 4 or 6 cell battery, can you buy a better battery at a reasonable price?
  • Bonus Tip! Look for good deals, the smart shopper can pay hundreds less. Check out sites like tagjag.com for good bargains, but keep in mind that these sites tend to tell you that a laptop price at a certain store is the “best they could find”, but that doesn’t mean that particular laptop is actually a good deal compared to others on the market.


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