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Updating Laptops December 5, 2008

Posted by truthspew in Uncategorized.
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It used to be that if you had a laptop you were pretty much screwed when it came to upgrades. Everything was buttoned up tight inside the metal or plastic case. This is somewhat true of Apple computers to this day, they make it a bit more difficult for the average person to open the machines, particularly the laptops. Whereas Dell, Lenovo, and HP all use standard Philips head screws to secure everything.

Thus far I’ve done the following on my laptop, a 3 year old Dell XPS M140 aka Inspiron.

Upgrade RAM, this required dropping the battery pack, removing two screws, prying up a small snap in strip near the screen, and then lifting the keyboard to access the top port. The bottom port required removing two more screws to lift the hatch.

Replace palm rest assembly. The palm rest includes the trackpad, and system buttons. That requires pretty much disassembling the entire machine including removing the above said strip and keyboard, remove the screen, the wireless and modem cards, the CPU cooling assembly and then finally you could lift off the palm rest assembly.

Power supplies. I’ve had three thus far. What is it about Dell, Lenovo and HP. They all think the power cord has to have a choke on it. And the cable breaks either right there or at the power supply end. I note Apple doesn’t use a choke, I wonder why.

And finally, I replaced the hard drive on it. The original was still functional but it was only 60GB and I was down under 7GB of available space. I got a new 160GB drive (Yes, it’s ATA-100 damn it!) and I used a 750GB external drive and and the free application called Macrium Reflect to image the 60GB drive onto the external drive. I wasn’t about to pay Symantec $70 for their bloated Ghost backup solution.

Imaging the drive took a very short amount of time, less than 1.5 hours. It was putting it back on the new drive that took some time.

It’s because I had it verify both the image on the external and internal drives. However within 4 hours I had it all updated. I partitioned it so I got 115GB and I also made sure I put the Dell utility and restore partitions on the new drive. That left me a 33GB partition that I’m using for a virtual machine setup.

I note that most manufacturers of laptops will put up all the documentation necessary to open up the laptops and perform items like I’ve described above. Not difficult at all to do any of the things I’ve mentioned. Just make sure you do it with enough space around to lay in the parts, though I can’t claim to have done that.

A machine apart

A machine apart

But here is the key thing. I’ve never been afraid to take things apart. Been that way ever since I was a kid. My great grandfather actually encouraged the habit. In fact the only difference between then and now is that I don’t have leftover parts when I take something apart and re-assemble it.

Here’s my Nokia cell phone with the front panel lifted off, of course this one just snaps together.

Where are the keys?

Where are the keys?



1. Wondermann - December 7, 2008

I feel like a need a new laptop after this

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