The baked laptop had a little problem that arose after I gave it back – it would turn off under slightly heavy load. That was a classic symptom for CPU overheating.
I had thought that putting some thermo-conductive paste on the processor would solve the problem. I was right about that, but I forgot about one thing – when I opened up the laptop case for the second time, I saw a concealed screw in the back of the case – in my unscrew frenzy I loosened it in mild annoyance because it felt a bit hard to get to. Turns out that the screw was one of the four that kept the cooler gripped tightly and snugly against the processor. Hence, the thing was now sort of loose, not making much contact.
Because of the lack of contact, doing anything that would increase the load on the processor even a little bit would heat the processor up to OMG TURN OFF level, not being able to dissipate the heat (because air tends to not be much of a heat conductor compared to silver or copper or whatever that metal the cooler is made of).
Regardless, I apply the paste to both the CPU and GPU, screw the cooler construct on tight and snug, put the laptop back together again.
Then I pick the owner up because she was done with college for the day – during that time it dawns on me – I forgot the power for the CPU fan again. Woo, disassemble once more, this time with the girl looking intently at what I was doing.
After another reassembly process I turn the laptop on – popopopopopopopopopopop go the speakers. Continually – they kept popping until out of sheer annoyance I turn the entire laptop off.
I open the whole thing up again. Again – this was the fourth time I would disassemble the damned laptop. This was fine though – I had to fix a misplaced screw anyway (put a long one instead of a short one and it blocked the battery). I took out the speakers, but I could not see what was wrong with them. I was ready to just leave them unplugged so they just wouldn’t work altogether when I did another test – no monitor plugged in, nothing but the bare necessities – and it stopped popping. Apparently the connector band of the power button and speakers wasn’t plugged in properly.
Laptops are an odd bunch – I’ve been intimidated by them whenever I had to open one up – too many screws, too many small and miniaturized parts. Eventually you get to associate each part to the PC counterpart and you will notice that it’s pretty much the same thing, but smaller. What is most annoying, though, is having to disassemble the entire damned thing to get to most of the internal parts. Sounds like an euphemism for dating, really. Or butchering, for that matter.
Still, the laptop now works flawlessly, its owner seems to be happy with it, so I’m happy too. And somehow I feel a tinge of pride, because hey, how many others can say that they have fixed a laptop by sticking its motherboard in the oven for 10 minutes (and disassembling and assembling it 5 times because I keep forgetting things)?