I would guess I worked 15-20 hours on Stef’s laptop. After being on for a while programs would randomly ramp up to 100% of the available CPU cycles. Everything would slow down to a crawl.
I ran every diagnostic program known to man (thanks for all your suggestions). No help. Then, this weekend, I wiped the hard drive clean and reloaded Windows XP. It ran fine… until Stef began to use it. Bam! It was redlining again.
My guess is, and it’s only a guess, there’s some hardware component that goes a little nuts after being stressed or heated. If that’s the case there’s nothing I can do. Unlike a desktop I can’t open this Dell 600m and replace components.
I checked the ads in Sunday’s paper and Stef headed out to Circuit City (one day prior to their bankruptcy) near her campus. She came home with a 15.4 inch HP with Vista, an AMD dual-core CPU and even hard disk space to last her a li9fetime. It will serve her well, though it’s a shame to be rushed like this.
The new laptop has Norton anti-virus software. Her school demands McAfee before it will allow her to log onto the on-campus network. These are programs that don’t like each other and don’t want to be removed. What a pain–and slow.
Before her old computer started acting funky I backed up her documents, photos and music. Tonight I’ll go in with Hamachi and move the files as if she was in the same room.
I really wish I knew what went wrong.