Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Languishing Laptop

This is my Lenovo ThinkPad T61p. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

I bought it last January, and it's survived five months of road trip, including a few good tumbles--while we were packing up our house in Mountain View, it actually slipped off our bed and hit the wood floor hard enough to dislodge the CD drive from its slot. (That incident may have been feline-related.) It was actually powered up and running at the time, and amazingly, didn't show any ill effects.

Later on, though, it started glitching, perhaps due to the cumulative knocks and rattles of being repeatedly moved between car and hotel room. I got a couple of non-repeating MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION blue screens*, and a few months ago, it started killing both wired and wireless networking interfaces when coming back from standby or hibernate.

That I could work around (and did), but this morning, when I went to boot up the machine, all I got was one long and two short beeps, and a blank LCD. According to the Lenovo support web site, that's either a problem with the system board, the LCD assembly, or the DIMM. I tried reseating and swapping out the memory, to no effect. Maybe whatever hardware issue caused the blue screens finally got worse.

The good news is, it's still under warranty, and this removes the burden of deciding whether I should take it in for service. It's not that I don't trust Northwest Computer Support (the only local repair shop which responded to my email inquiries in November); I just don't know them, and I'm always wary of people touching My Stuff. But now I really don't have a choice.

I'll be dropping off my laptop tomorrow. My biggest worry is that the problem is in the LCD and they'll have to junk the entire lid, which is why I took plenty of pictures of my sticker-customized case, as shown above. I'm hoping it'll be a simple matter of replacing some bad hardware. Knock on wood.

This seems to be the month for writers to have problems with their laptops.


* For the curious, and search engines, the specific STOP addresses were:

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