Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Laptop surgery

Yesterday was another first. I observed surgery performed on a laptop. On mine, that is. On my dearest old laptop (not the XO), the one that mistakenly swallowed a gulp of my coffee. :-) Fry's could not fix it. The liquid has leaked into the system board, they said. It's not possible to fix. But to work around the problem of a mouse that thinks its button is permanently pressed, they recommended that I get an external mouse. So I did. Plugging in an external mouse is supposed to disable the built-in one... only it doesn't. So I asked a local IT expert how to disable it. It was supposed to be a quick question, but we all know how quick those questions actually are. This one lead to an-hour-and-a-half long troubleshooting session (you can't disable the built-in mouse from the BIOS, and you can't uninstall its driver, because every time you
reboot, Windows re-detects it and reinstalls the darn driver!) that culminated in opening up my laptop and exposing its guts. Oh, what a white-knuckled feeling it was to see my dear laptop laid open and helpless! And how weird it is that to get to the internal mouse (or "trackpad", I should say) you have to go in from the bottom, by opening the hard drive compartment! Well, the IT expert cleaned off the trackpad parts and put the laptop back together, but no cigar. The mouse still thinks its button is "on", and it overrides the signalsfrom the external mouse. More surgery, then. The guy disconnected the trackpad cable, finally disabling the trackpad. So, thanks to this good person, I have a working system for now, but I'll start to look for a
new laptop soon.

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