Breathing life into a laptop

I’ve put off buying a new laptop for years. While it’d be nice to have a PC that didn’t weigh me down to the same extent as my ancient Dell, this Inspiron 8200 has been the best computer I’ve ever owned: it’s taken a lot of knocks, but has always come through, as reliable in the desert as in the City. Not a single dead pixel, and the only disability is one of the PC Card slots dying a year back.

But it’s old, and a 40GB hard disk doesn’t cut it when my total digital life exceeds 32GB of data. In addition, both battery packs died a few months back and it’s only been usable on mains power. So instead of trashing it, I decided to add a second hard disk and new battery. A quick BIOS upgrade, caddy snapped into the Media Bay, and charge-up of a Li-Ion was all it took, but I did a complete XP reinstall for good measure.

And it’s like a new machine!

All the bits that ‘decay’ when you haven’t done a clean install for years are suddenly back in action. It’s faster, simpler, without the accumulated sludge of used-once shareware and obsolete software licenses. Once again I can start using it as my main computer. All for under £150 – what a bargain.

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