BitFIXit Community Clinic Journals (February 2017)

It has been fairly busy this month in the Saturday community clinics, with repairs and refurbishments on various computers taking place over the course of the four community clinic sessions.

There were two laptops that were donated to us, and have since been refurbished ready to give away to members of the local community who need a laptop. The laptops were a Toshiba Satellite Pro M70 with Windows 7 installed, and a Dell Inspiron 1300 running Windows 7 Ultimate and Debian 8 in a dual-boot configuration. The Toshiba Satellite Pro M70 simply needed a driver that pertains to the integrated memory card reader that can read and write data stored on SD cards, memory sticks and multimedia cards. Getting wireless and Ethernet to work on the Dell Inspiron 1300 in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS proved to be more difficult, as we noticed that the wireless card and the Ethernet port would not work properly without the use of non-free/proprietary firmwares from Broadcom, the manufacturer of the parts used in the laptop. So eventually, it was decided that it would be best to replace Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with Debian 8 and install a package containing the firmwares required for the Ethernet and wireless to function properly.

There were a number of computer repairs carried out, which included a motherboard replacement that required frequent disassembly and reassembly in order to carry out, screen replacements on a couple of laptops, and a Windows 7 reinstall with Firefox and Microsoft Security Essentials installed. A desktop PC in particular had a lot of dust that accumulated on various hardware components; the first thing that was done to try to fix the problem was to clean out the dust from the computer with the use of an air blower. Upon powering on the desktop PC after finishing cleaning out the dust, it booted successfully into Windows! It turned out that the dust, particularly accumulating on the CPU heatsink and fan had been preventing the computer from booting at all, because the CPU had shutdown to prevent damage resulting from overheating, as the dust was preventing air from reaching the fins on the heatsink.

We also did a Windows reinstall task, involving an Acer XC-704 desktop PC that had Windows 10 reinstalled; it did not need any additional drivers to be installed, and just needed updates for antivirus definitions for the built-in Windows Defender application before being good to go.

That pretty much covers everything for this month, and all being well, next month should make for some interesting repairs and fixes.

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