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Frugality, Friendship, Opportunity, and a “New” Computer

There are many blessings in our lives and one of them is opportunity. We are always having new opportunities. It’s fine that we don’t follow through on most, because there’s only so much we need or can do. But it’s important to keep ourselves open at all times.

In my post on “making it do,” I showed a picture of my poor computer, whose case was breaking. The screen wouldn’t stand up, so I’d been getting by with some bandaging for months:

My computer on life support

Because it still functioned and the fix worked, I really didn’t want to replace it. That would have also cost a lot more than we want to spend right now. So I was making do and dealing.

But, when we were helping a good friend move, I noticed that she had precisely the same laptop (Gateway 400VTX). She mentioned that her hard drive had spazzed, so she’d replaced it a couple years ago. Just hung onto the old one in case the hard drive could ever be restored. She offered me the cooling unit and I accepted (I had a makeshift one, but this was much better).

After we got home that evening, I sat down with my sick laptop and was suddenly hit by a possibility. What if I were to transfer my hard drive into her case? Would it work? Could I magically have a healthy computer?

I asked her what she thought and she agreed, provided she got to keep her own hard drive in case it might someday yield up its data.

So last weekend, we had dinner with her and she handed it off. On Monday, between jobs, I finished backing up my computer onto Micah’s monster computer and then and just swapped the drives.

That part was a complete success and took all of 10 minutes (it involved a few screws). All my files, programs, everything was the same. I even switched the keyboard, so everything felt the same too. Now my computer looks something like this:

the real gateway

Not that it was without hitches, getting the internet set up took a few hours of poking around. I still don’t know exactly what happened, but we didn’t have to resort to plan B, which involved finding the ethernet card and switching it to see what happens.

I will be keeping my old computer around for components. Except for the joint between the screen and body, everything about it is a-ok. So if I ever need a new battery, CD-ROM drive (I’ve taken it out and reinstalled it before, actually), or anything else I can safely transplant, I’ve got one on hand.

If you’ve been having a similar problem, consider looking into this type of solution. Maybe you can find someone who’s getting rid of (or selling) the same model. If the parts are salvageable, it’s probably a better deal than getting a new one.

Stay open to opportunities. You never know who’ll have the perfect fix for your problems. And you never know when you’ll randomly run across it.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Pete @ biblemoneymatters July 22, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Nice frugal fix!

Frugal Babe July 22, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Love it!!

Frugal Vet Tech July 22, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Oh, I just love fixes and solutions like that!

Vered July 22, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Sounds like you found a great solution! She’s a good friend, too.

GC July 22, 2008 at 3:30 pm

hurrah! and you didn’t have to pay somebody to do it
great job
btw I love gateway–seems like a real good product for the price
my laptop has been going strong since ’02 with only one repair incident earlier this year to the motherboard

SavingDiva July 22, 2008 at 4:40 pm

I’ve purchased a few parts on eBay…

mapgirl July 22, 2008 at 5:09 pm

Hey! Since my boyfriend rescued my damaged laptop, I’ve been very happy.

Swapping out parts is not hard. Swapping out logic boards is something else. I’m ok at the first part having worked as a technician. The second part is not my thing. (I was never good at soldering on microelectronics.)

RacerX July 22, 2008 at 6:00 pm

So glad to see that you were able to find a solution. However ths will just make you that much more powerful with your blog and I’ll never catch up πŸ™‚

SP July 22, 2008 at 7:02 pm

That is great

I do, however, think it is slightly crazy that she replaced her old computer without trying to simply get a different hard drive or reformat the old drive. She must have wanted a new machine anyway.

If she has a tech savvy friend, she really should be able to get her data off the old hard drive. Usually it is as simple as putting it in a case (for an external hard drive) and plugging that into a working computer and viewing the contents. But, maybe she tried that. Who knows?

Anyway, worked out beautifully for you!

mrsmicah July 22, 2008 at 7:05 pm

@SP, well it did appear that the hard drive had been tinkered with. But she also switched to a Mac…I’m sure a lot of people appreciate the opportunity/excuse. πŸ˜‰

Budgets are Sexy. July 22, 2008 at 8:07 pm

Nice work indeed! That sense of accomplishment plays a huge roll too πŸ™‚

tiffanie July 22, 2008 at 9:42 pm

awesome! you really lucked out that your friend was willing to hand over her old case πŸ™‚

Dad July 22, 2008 at 10:35 pm

That is wonderful news. I was certainly concerned when I saw the old faithful. It looked SO fragile I was afraid that something would come apart and break another part. Now replacement can be something for a future plan rather than an urgent need.

Emily July 23, 2008 at 8:55 am

That is so awesome!! Friendship can be so wonderful in so many different ways. yay for a new computer!

Cath Lawson July 23, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Mrs M – this is brilliant. First the sewing machine and now this laptop case. It looks like you’re attracting these things because you’re focusing on being money conscious.

Funny about Money July 24, 2008 at 12:39 am

Wow! What a neat thing to do!

You should hire yourself out to do these fixes for other people.

Avatar July 27, 2008 at 12:14 am

Dear Mrs. Micah,

Thanks for sharing. It’s great to be frugal. Looks like you saved yourself some money with a bit of imagination and creativity.


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