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25$ Laptop (Plus Parts & Labor!)

2016 Computers and Technology random_ramblingsPublished July 20, 2016 at 3:43 pm 34 Comments

So at this point I have some cash invested in what appears to be a promising little laptop. It had what I believed to be minor issues… a sticking key (new keyboard) battery didn’t hold charge (new battery on the way)… slow and sluggish (uninstalled some useless bloatware)… Runs real HOT! (probably due to running on charger) see battery on the way–above…

BUT Windows 7 “Automatic Updates” SHOULD WORK…. RIGHT???

(and if you’ve read some of this before it is/was posted in Project Day)

So my timeline is going something like this:

July 19, 2016 at 9:40 pm

temporary link for reference for a current project…

have a windows 7 laptop that will not update…

need to get Windows 10 on it temporarily…
so it can be updated for free later.

July 19, 2016 at 9:44 pm

meanwhile I wait for Disk Cleanup to delete Service Pack Backup Files…
the machine is an old CompaQ laptop that might show some potential.

BTW: Need this too:
Not Found on Microsoft site… (WHY!??)



So it’s at this point that I have some cash invested in an older laptop

The investment might end up being a good though..

Trouble will likely  come from trying to recoup my labor!

Let’s face it… 25 bucks wasn’t a bad price on a semi-functional laptop with all of it’s accessories.

At first glance it had a sticky key on the keyboard and (as is expected with a used laptop) needed a new battery.

It was running 64 bit Windows 7 Ultimate … which I had to re-license!… but still, an OK deal… so far…

So 35 bucks will get me licensed for Windows 7 AND Windows 10 IF I CAN GET IT INSTALLED ONE DAY NEXT WEEK… Then I can downgrade back to Windows 7 and reinstall Windows 10 at a later date…. several years from now (for free) if I like.

So let’s tally this up to see what it cost so far:

$25.00 Distressed Laptop in need of attention

$35.00 Windows 7 License fee.

$60.00 Total Price (before diagnosis)

So as far as diagnosis goes… it appears to need a battery and good cleaning… but the keyboard is beyond cleaning and needs to be replaced.


$60.00 Initial cost

$20.00 NEW Laptop battery

$20.00 NEW Laptop keyboard

Hey! That’s 100 Bucks!!!

Still better than BoxMart or even eBay! though… so still an OK deal…

Good Deal?

Let’s add some reasonable rates for a computer technician…

Say an initial $25.00 Diagnosis fee… but we’ll wave that cost because I’m going to do the work.

So $60.00 an hour sounds like a basement bargain price for technical labor…

Our initial purchase of $25.00 plus $35 for Windows license plus $20.00 for a keyboard plus 20.00 for a battery PLUS labor….

(I’m going to be generous with labor, as always, and underestimate it)

5 minutes to remove keyboard

10 minutes to order parts.

5 minutes to re-license Windows

25 minutes uninstalling bloatware

5 minutes to install and activate good antivirus

5 minutes checking for rootkits

(Notice that I am trying to save the Windows 7 Ultimate install?)

I have to disregard time i spend trying to get Windows to auto update…

Windows 10 will most like be the system it runs upon.

The only reason for salvaging the Windows 7 Ultimate is to save time by not reinstalling all the drivers.

And now it is time to WAIT for a battery.Not just any battery though…

The laptop is running as hot as an iron off the charger
and i really need a fresh new battery in it BEFORE i install
the replacement keyboard…and before I install Windows 10.

34 Comments to “25$ Laptop (Plus Parts & Labor!)”
  1. crazymanjd says:

    In all honesty I’ve actually spent a number of hours with this laptop, but I’m trying to keep labor under two hours, so I’ll count a couple of hours as “hobby time”.

    I could have spent more up front and bought a new computer at a BoxMart, that would probably last longer and be less hassle, but that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?

  2. crazymanjd says:

    Now… In case you haven’t guessed…

    I am hoping to use this laptop to update the site(s) on the go.

    It can be challenging to update from a cell phone.
    I’ve done so a couple of times, but its not fun.

  3. crazymanjd says:

    Still waiting for said battery to arrive.

    Seller sent it UPS, but not regular UPS…
    they used some kind of UPS 2nd day express
    where the US Postal service delivers it…

    Can’t blame them for trying to ship it fast and save a buck too, i guess. 🙂

  4. crazymanjd says:

    Update on the battery:
    It will be Monday or later before it arrives.

    Should I do some screenshots and post how slow UPS “Expedited” really is?

    So I have until the 29th or maybe the 30th to get Windows 10 installed on this laptop for free, and it looks as if the only way it’s going to happen is:

    1) If I want to risk overheating by using power from charger


    2) Put more money into it by traveling for another battery

    On one hand… I don’t want the laptop overheating, possibly ruining another keyboard, and a spare battery would be nice, but…

    On the other hand… traveling out of town to buy that spare battery is going to be rather expensive…
    Think $20 for fuel and $35(minimum) for a retail battery.

    Guess I’ll play the wait game for a few more days.

    It’s also a good thing that I’m doing this job for myself… otherwise I’d have a client calling me up every hour of the next few days and asking “is it ready yet?” . . .

  5. crazymanjd says:

    So i tossed the proverbial coin and have decided to install the keyboard –in an elevated position– to begin the Windows 10 Download and install.

    This will –at least– fix the problem with automatic updates not working.

    Will see how things go…

  6. crazymanjd says:

    Downloaded and installed the compatibility check, which in turn downloaded the install in a few minutes over an hour.

    The actual install appears to be going slower.. at 18% as I type…so maybe it isn’t going any slower.

    Will be wonderful to have it installed in 2 hours from start to finish. I really don’t want to power the laptop via the charger much longer than that… it’s already getting hot.

  7. crazymanjd says:

    So it just rolled to the 90% mark and hopefully it doesn’t get stuck at 99% for hours.

    I was hoping to have this install complete in two and a half hours max, but its starting to look more like a three hour job… hopefully not much longer than that. I really need to get it shut down… runs way too hot on charger.

  8. crazymanjd says:

    Running install for 4 hours now and only at 95%…
    Plus not sure if there is another step that could take a number or hours. It seems like their might be, but I have only upgraded to Windows 10 once, and really can’t remember.

    So this laptop has been running HOT for a number of hours.
    Too many hours for my comfort, but the upgrade is important, and I’m not going to be able to make another time to install it before next weeks deadline. It will have to be done this weekend or not done at all.

    At least the temperature has dropped from 100 degree weather down into the 70s tonight/this morning.

  9. crazymanjd says:

    Upgrade was at 98% at 5:30 AM and was at 99% at 9:00 AM as it is now… tho the laptop may have went into sleep mode for an hour or so… I did.

    Laptop has cooled down and maybe it will have time to pass 99% and complete the install. I should have a log of my one previous upgrade, but don’t really know where to look for that log.

  10. crazymanjd says:

    Upgrade Assistant is whats running, and it’s been at 99% for some time now.

    Windows 7 has decided to finally start downloading updates (18%)… So this install may complete after the updates install.

  11. crazymanjd says:

    So now I have a laptop with Windows 10 upgrade stuck at 99% and Windows Updates stuck at 18% downloading updates…
    This would be more acceptable if it wasn’t running hot!
    The outside and indoor temperature is rising and I seriously thinking about doing a shutdown on the system and dealing with any consequences later…

    It’s actually too late to cancel the Windows 10 upgrade–worse thing that can happen is that the process starts over when I restart the laptop.

  12. crazymanjd says:

    So windows updates just went from 96% to “New updates are available”… and when I click on the update icon “Check for updates” is displayed…

    It isn’t getting any cooler inside nor out… so I’m a little perplexed at what to do… Shut the laptop down or let it run until it heats up enough to shut itself down??? I rather not allow it to get so hot that it shuts itself down.

    A new battery that should have been here already sure would come in handy right about now.

  13. crazymanjd says:

    After realizing the laptop was stuck in a “checking for updates” loop… I shut it down.
    Now it is installing 62 updates before it shuts down.

    So the plan at the moment is to give it a break after the updates complete, and hopefully the Upgrade Assistant resumes on its own upon power-up. If not… I’ll just click the shortcut.

  14. crazymanjd says:

    (Note: The time seems to be an hour behind on this server!)
    3:30 PM Powered the laptop back on and am greeted with “Resuming Windows”.

    Followed by “Please Do Not Power Off or Unplug Your Machine”.

    Could it be that I unplugged it during a reboot? or maybe it overheated and shut itself down — after I had initiated the shutdown?

    The thermometer is reading 90 F, but there is a nice cool breeze… a breeze that tricks me into thinking that the temperature is cooler than it actually is. I don’t think these thermometers lie to me, yet I don’t want to believe their readings.

    Meanwhile… “Installing update 4 of 62” and too late to initiate another shutdown.
    It’s probably going to overheat and either shut itself down or die…

    I wish that I had checked the mercury before restarting now. 🙁

  15. crazymanjd says:

    3:50 PM laptop just shut itself back down…
    Canceling project until after we have an extreme drop in temperature. Maybe I can resume later tonight.

  16. crazymanjd says:

    It seems the overheating may have nothing to do with powering from the charger:

    The problem seems to differ slightly though–as I can run mine for hours in a cool environment. I’ll have to do a more thorough disassembly and look into some things now.

    Bookmarking these (from above link) for future reference:

  17. crazymanjd says:

    4:00 AM Started installing those automatic updates and watched the YouTube video linked to above.

    Looks as if I have a lot of work ahead of me before I can even clean the heat-sink and actually use the laptop for any amount of time.

    Oh well… last I looked it was installing update 52 of 64 and now it appears to have shut itself down again…

    Cleaning that little heat-sink is going to be a rather big job as you can see in the video…and thats only disassembly.

    Admittedly I wont have to take it quite as far down as shown in the video, but will take me more time since I don’t use power tools on electronics that I’m trying to save.

    I’m not worried so much about the laptop shutting itself down, as it is a safety feature that prevents the circuitry from becoming damaged… but the heat-sink probably needs to be cleaned up anyway.

    At the same time… I have no thermal paste AND need to get Windows 10 installed…

    We don’t even have a store that sells thermal paste locally!
    Least not anymore… and Electronics Hut only sold inferior overpriced junk when they were open.

    Maybe I can manage some alternative cooling method until the updates and upgrade is installed??? IDK!

    It will take a few days to get that thermal paste in the mail (beginning Monday) and it will be too late to upgrade by then.

  18. crazymanjd says:

    6:30 AM Forcing cool air into workplace…
    “Starting Computer”
    followed by
    “Please wait while Windows is being configured”
    “configuring windows updates
    __% complete
    Do Not Turn Off Your Computer.”
    and then
    “Shutting Down”


    “Starting Windows”
    followed by
    “Please wait…”

    “Preparing to configure windows.
    Do not turn off your computer.”

    “configuring windows updates
    __% complete
    Do Not Turn Off Your Computer.”

    “Welcome” (its booting)…

    It now appears to be completing the Windows 10 upgrade.
    Except it didn’t… Guess I’ll click the Upgrade Assistant shortcut now.

  19. crazymanjd says:

    Arrgh! It is downloading Windows 10 AGAIN!
    Why didn’t it find the files that it had already downloaded?
    Maybe it will find the 99% install and just finish it up after downloading???

    I have no choice but to wait and see what happens.

  20. crazymanjd says:

    At 31% “Restart your computer to finish installing important updates…(blah, blah, blah…)”

    OK! I’ll restart it! and I’m running short of cool air to pipe in to it!

  21. crazymanjd says:

    So now Upgrade Assistant has started downloading Windows 10 all over again… and I have but 3 Hours maximum before temps go way beyond control… hoping for the best.

  22. crazymanjd says:

    I still have but $65.00 in this laptop TOTAL so far…
    So if I burn it up trying to install Windows 10 before the deadline the loss is minimal.

    Just a thought I thought I’d share…

    Another thought is that many of you are wondering why I didn’t just download and install the upgrade from a CD or USB… Well, I could have, but again… where’s the fun in doing that? I like a challenge… and from the looks of things I’m going to have another challenge disassembling the laptop, cleaning the heat-sink, and reassembling the works.

    And windows didn’t pick up from the partial (99%) install…
    “Installing Windows 10. Please wait.
    Percent complete

    How’s that for a joke from Micr0$0ft?

  23. crazymanjd says:

    My time is 8:50 and Windows 10 is at 90% installing.
    EXCEPT! It isn’t really installing (at least I don’t think it is)…

    The last time I preformed an online upgrade from 7 to 10 there was an additional step involving semicircles, circles, percentages, and purple screens.

    It was a purple screen that locked up at 99% not a white box.

    So this install seems to be going a little differently.

    One thought is that the previous install was preformed on a computer running Windows 7 Starter edition… and the installer for the Ultimate edition might be different.

    One last thought to add to this comment:
    I will not be powering the laptop down. I will allow it to power itself down if it gets too hot. Maybe the install will pick back up where it left off when it is powered back on and I’m greeted with “Resuming Windows”.

    Temps are still cool for the meanwhile, but will start heating up before much longer.
    It is almost 9:00 AM now (i type slowly).

  24. crazymanjd says:

    11:00 AM – 96% – temps slowly rising

  25. crazymanjd says:

    If windows isn’t installing then it’s taking an awful time to prepare an install.

    Windows 10, as slow as it appears to be either installing or preparing the install, wouldn’t install from the laptop battery alone… a new battery would have been drained by now.

    98% at 11:41 AM and temps are climbing.
    External fan now blowing air into the machine as temps are becoming unmanageable.

    This is really confusing…
    At top in big blue letters it says
    “Getting your upgrade ready”
    Then down below that it has changed from “Downloading…” to
    “Installing Windows 10. Please wait.”

    I have noticed a rectangular Windows 10 logo flashing up in the center of the white box/window for a few seconds around the 75% point.
    But all this time and no purple dialogue/install screen with semicircles, circles, and percentage in the center.

  26. crazymanjd says:

    So I have 12:30 PM
    The white window says 99% complete.
    Hopefully it doesn’t stay at 99% for many hours/days this time — as I don’t really want to go through the whole Download/Install process all over again.

    Temperature is nearly 99 F in my workspace.
    I have an external fan forcing air into this laptop to keep it cool.
    It really doesn’t feel like it’s 99 degrees, but the mercury has been tested accurate.

    So now I wait…
    I wait and keep an eye on things to keep the computer from sleeping/hibernating…

    Really wish I had a picture of the external fan blowing air under a raised keyboard.

    Let me see if it will allow me to post one…

  27. crazymanjd says:



  28. crazymanjd says:

    3:30 my time and going to run Media Creation Tool if the upgrade doesn’t start up on it’s own.

  29. crazymanjd says:

    3:45 PM After several erred attempts of Windows 10 Upgrade utility I have launched the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

    This looks familiar… it is what I used to upgrade the old desktop.

    Downloading Windows 10 as I type.

    So if your reading, and if you want to upgrade to Windows 10 before the deadline (in just 5 days), USE the MEDIA CREATION TOOL.





  30. crazymanjd says:

    Yeah! This is how it should look!

    Like this

    and this

    and this

    I was trying to use the wrong thing all this time.

  31. crazymanjd says:

    If it gets stuck looking for updates for an extremely long time…

    Try this:

    Leave the Windows 10 Setup window as is and try this:

    1. Go to Services (Press Windows+R. This will prompt run dialogue box. In here, type services.msc) and stop the Windows Update Service.

    2. Go to C:WindowsSoftwareDistribution and delete all of its contents.

    3. Restart the Weindows Update Service.

    4. Go back to the Windows 10 Setup window and you should see the process continue.

    If updating hangs again (for a long time) you may have to repeat step 1

  32. crazymanjd says:

    Demonstration of the circles, semicircles, and percentages that I named in a post up above:


  33. crazymanjd says:

    And Windows 10 is all set up and ready to go on the laptop now.
    All that remains to be done is choosing my preferences.

    Now I can order that heat transfer paste and take my time cleaning the heat-sink without rushing to get the job done before the Free Upgrade expires (in 5 days).

  34. crazymanjd says:

    Here’s a little update.

    I used this laptop on the road ONCE back in August of 2016.
    Kept it stored in the case since then.
    The battery doesn’t hold charge now — not even when removed!

    Maybe I should have stored it with the battery removed, but in all honesty I just brought it in, slid it under the bed and forgot about it… until a couple of days ago.

    So there’s my update on the little rig.

    It runs well in cool temperatures (below 85 F or so) and remains dependable (save for the battery) during my limited testing.

    I have no problem buying another battery since storing it with the battery installed was my ignorance.

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