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The Dell Laptop Mystery..

This is where you can ask questions and get and give help about hardware related issues. This Forum will be moderated by Taw with help from some other experts. So feel free to ask any questions you may have about computers.

Post Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:46 am

The Dell Laptop Mystery..

I recently "acquired" a Dell Latitude C800 laptop, PII-800mhz, 256mb RAM, bit of a p.o.s. but workable, no broken hardware afaik; I'm intending it to be a spare unit and to just have Linux on it. It had a knackered copy of XP on it that I nuked, 'cos it wouldn't boot and who wants Windows anyway?

But things weren't so simple.

Put me Ubuntu "Hardy Heron" disk in and booted np, took forever though to come up with the GUI, which only part loaded. Did it all again, this time the GUI came up but was as slow as a dog with no legs, hardly anything responded, and eventually I just turned the thing off and started again. No joy, appalling performance. Checked Ubuntu's sysreqs and it should be ok. So i tried another older version of Ubuntu, and that was the same, partitioned the hdd and tried Red Hat, then SUSE, nowt happened at all after boot for either.

I wanted to see if it was hardware so I booted to a PE environment and all seemed ok. Booted again with a Knoppix disk, wouldn't load (and Knoppix has never failed to load up for me in some form on any other kit!)

Was getting brassed off now so in frustration and to prove I wasn't going gaga, I shoved W2K - loaded perfectly, but missing lots of hardware and the drivers off Dell's support site mostly didn't work. So as a last gasp I stuck XP Pro back on... and it went on perfectly, found every piece of hardware no matter how obscure, and runs like a dream.

I just don't get it. Is it because of the weird hardware that's often to be found in laptops that Vindoze has support for and Linux distros don't? But Dell laptops normally love Ubuntu and work really well with it. My Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop runs Linux dual-boot with XP perfectly, so what's the crack with this?

(I'm not that bothered if it has to be XP on it, 'tis just a spare, my *proper* spare has been bequeathed to Child A for uni, as she totalled the new laptop I gave her a week ago with a bottle of coke into the keyboard.)

Post Sat Sep 29, 2007 10:53 am

eh...
Keep the xp...
scrap the Dell.

Post Sat Sep 29, 2007 12:15 pm

Unless its too old of hardware for Linux, I would just keep it for XP. There is some problem, hardware probable, that any version of Linux wouldn't load properly. It looks like open source mets its match.

Edit -

Totaled the comp that soon??? To bed with no desret then. Sounds like some one needs one of those keyboard covers. Linky


Edited by - Finalday on 9/29/2007 1:19:24 PM

Post Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:02 pm

I'm afraid that few in my brood take particular care of equipment - they are, in the main, technophobes. She is aware, though, that if she wrecks this one, she pays for repairs or replacement herself. The apron strings were cut today at 2:10pm

reckon you're right there, FD; it's got a clean XP install and everything works, so I think I might sell it, it's decent enough to be worth a 100 notes + 20gb hdd, ethernet, modem, dvd/cd-rw, stereo sound, 15.1" TFT, fdd, twin USB2.0, COM, parallel, vga, ps/2, a spare battery, and a 54g wireless PCMCIA I put in, and all the software anyone could normally wish to use. It's actually quite a good laptop.

Post Sat Sep 29, 2007 3:17 pm

Most keyboards were designed so they could handle a minor spill most times.
(Took a couple of them apart to clean them)
But, it's a good idea not to drop them in a bathtub full of water.

Post Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:44 am

this wasn't a minor spill - it was a litre?* bottle of diet cherry coke, so there's lots of it, and it stinks, and it's really sticky.

*I don't know what a litre is in proper measurements, but it's one of the big bottles.

I just can't make this Dell laptop break with Windows! but nothing else works on it. It's usually Windows that's broken and everything else works. Trust a Dell not to behave properly...

Post Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:06 am

a whole litre of belly wash?????? HOLY SMOKES!!!!!!

It would have been better to give it a tub bath.

Post Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:34 am

yeah, and it's all over the brand new carpet I put down just a few weeks ago as well thank goodness she's b*ggered off to uni until Christmas.

Post Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:56 am

A little carpet cleaning should get it out. If it leaves a red stain, there are products that can take it out with the use of a towel and hot iron.

Post Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:15 am

I did get it out, with white vinegar, baking soda, a damp towel and an awful lot of elbow grease. This took rather longer than expected because the spill happened during the night, presumably during those MSN sessions in the wee hours that 'teens are so wont to undertake, and I wasn't informed until about 11AM the next day. I couldn't use ammonia or peroxide or even shampoo because it's a brand new plum-coloured carpet, and I didn't want to risk loosening the colour. Fortunately i found the above tip in an old 1960's household manual that has provided me with much useful domestic wisdom over the years.

(Did you know that you can easily remove even hardened chewing gum from fabrics with WD40? bl**dy brilliant if you ask me, I'd never have thought of that.)

There must be something about new carpets that attracts stains. The last time that we had the same room carpeted, the same child (Child No. 1) spilt gold ink from one her pens onto a brand new green carpet, which took hours to get out, then she moaned her bag off about the stink. I wonder if she'll be quite as blasé when she has her own house and her own carpets. Fortunately on both occasions they were plain roll-end offcuts, nothing fancy.

FD, that linky you attached was v interesting, sadly I cannot buy one of those as they are America-based, and Tawakalnistan is still under an imperialist trade-embargo, and the postage is too much anyway. I'd have to do another shady deal with IndyCorp Global Consumer & Household Goods, Inc., they'll sell anything to anyone as long as the price is right.

Having said that, the mother-in-law is in Las Vegas and Florida for a month, she could pick one up (along with my Winstons/Lucky Strikes/American Spirits and Hershey bars)

Edited by - Tawakalna on 9/30/2007 11:10:58 AM

007

Post Wed Oct 03, 2007 2:29 pm

tell ya the truth taw, i wouldnt mind that laptop, even tho its not the greatest for what id use a lappy for it would work great...

to bad you live were ya do...

im in central USA so... :-(

007

Post Fri Oct 05, 2007 10:13 am

akshuly, i have two; I'm always open to offers backed up by hard currency. however now that the dollar has reached parity with the button, I doubt many Amurricans could exchange their increasingly worthless currency with the buoyant Tawakalni dinar.

007

Post Sat Oct 06, 2007 8:18 pm

lol, what kind of exchange rate are we talking here?

007

Post Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:23 pm

http://finance.yahoo.com/currency/conve ... it=Convert

1 British pound = 2.0389 U.S. dollars as of 7 October 2007.

Post Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:33 am

more like "dollar reaches parity with fluff from inside pocket"

I sold it at the weekend for 100 quid, not bad if I say so meself (XP Pro, ZA Pro, Diskeeper, NOD32, autopatched) then acquired a P2-333 Toshiba in very good nick which runs Linux rather well.

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