Saturday, October 4, 2014

So, my laptop died (short story included)

Instead of being the normal opinion-based post or the like, this is going to be some storytelling. This is going to be a short story about the PC I've been using for the past few years since 2005 anyways. If you aren't much for stories then go ahead and skip this post. This blog post isn't for you.

What happened?

As my blog post title already says, my PC has died. But how, and why? Well, I have a pretty surefire answer for question #1, along with some more background information. I can't exactly explain #2, because hardware failures by definition are usually unpredictable.

So, 2 days ago, I was using my PC like normal. I was actually interacting with you guys up in the chatroom (using IRCCloud, of course). I was also reading articles in-between glances at the chat. All of a sudden, all of my USB devices decide to "drop out". By "drop out", I mean that all USB devices stopped receiving power and were no longer responding. Sometimes I have seen this happen, and it happened more towards the end of the PC's life. Usually, an OS reboot is all that is needed to get USB devices again. However, this time USB devices dropped out and stayed out.

I went ahead and used my touchpad to go ahead and click the appropriate screen prompts in XFCE to restart my PC. All was dandy, until after the OS shut down. I heard my PC begin its power-up procedure (such as hearing the disk drive search for a disc real quick, as well as the fan kick on+gradually settle down), but that's all it would do. Nothing I tried was working. The PC would power on, and sit in that state. The laptop's screen would not turn on, and the hard drive would show no activity. I know it wasn't a hard drive crash, because at least the BIOS would have shown up on the screen first. The PC simply would no longer function outside of normal thermal controls. After trying to turn on the PC hours apart, I ended with the same results.

For the hard drive, I'm going to order a PATA case/mount off of Amazon and grab the data off of the drive. I'm not going to let that drive die along with the PC; It's still in good enough condition to use just one more time.

The laptop in question?

I've mentioned it a few times here on Techman's World, and I definitely know that I've mentioned it on the chat a few times. I used to use the Toshiba M55 S139 as my daily driver for quite a while, along with some upgrades. I upgraded my RAM to 2 GB total (2 x 1 GB) and used Linux to make my system resource usage even lower.

Offtopic -- I'm really digging how Bing displays the specs of a lot of consumer tech products to the right of the results. The "at a glance" view is a very fast way to learn about something without requiring the view of a website.

Even though it was quite a small laptop, it was still powerful for most of my needs. Keyword "most".


Well, after surveying the damage, it looks like I have a decently-sized paperweight. I wouldn't amount my now-dead PC to junk just yet. I still have to get my data out of that drive, and some parts of the PC are still useful. The RAM chips aren't bad, for one. Aside from that, though, I'm not sure what else would be useful to have though.

Many of you guys know that my Toshiba notebook was the only computer I had. Don't worry -- I'm not going to disappear any time soon. I'm borrowing a PC until I get myself a new one. As for my future PC, It's probably going to be a System76 laptop or desktop. Shhhh! -- Don't tell them that, though :)

While my PC is now pretty much a total loss, I certainly won't forget it. I'm not entirely sure why, but it holds sentimental value to me. Maybe it's just me being attached to one PC for a long time, or maybe it's something else. Either way, it doesn't matter that much.

Wrap up

So, I hope you all enjoyed my mini-story/explanation of the events that happened to me 3 days ago. I meant to write this sooner, but at that time I was thinking about what to do while I work on buying myself another PC down the road. Hope you all enjoyed reading this; I did write this at ~1:00 AM and I could have easily made silly mistakes.