My apologies for the long post!
My teen son needs a laptop for schoolwork. He's not picky about anything fancy, just needs MS Word & smooth web searching. (He has his phone for his social media & other things). He doesn't mind running Linux, but does need to run Windows for some things eg MS Word (The formatting is off a bit when trying to use other software eg Open Office, Libre, Google Docs etc and copying it over to Word, the format he needs to use when turning in his papers. His professor is very picky about the formatting!)
I've seen many older, used laptops for around $100-140. My only concern with those is I may be getting their problems (known to them or not), plus with older units they may just be on their way out regardless. There is a student on campus selling a Dell Inspiron N5040 for around $110 that we *might* consider.
So, besides buying a used laptop, I have 2 other options right now: I have 2 old laptops and I'm hoping I can get one of them working:
1) Replace HP G6 motherboard (my preference, if it can work!)
The warranty replacement for my old HP DV6 (below) was an HP G6, with better specs than the DV6 and no overheating issues. Never had any problem with the G6 until the screen cracked last year and I tried to replace it. After installing the new LCD screen, the laptop would no longer power on. No lights, nothing. It's not the power cord because that still works for the DV6.
Is it possible I fried the motherboard with static electricity? I've tried everything, including releasing the electricity build up in case it was that. I returned the LCD screen & put the cracked one back in, and the laptop has been in storage since.
I can take the good LCD screen out of my DV6 & install it on the G6 (same screen), then buy a used motherboard for $30 to put in the G6. The hard drive is fine, with Windows 7 still on there, keyboard and mouse all fine, etc. If no other parts were affected, that $30 would give us a decent working laptop (with no overheating issues, no need for cooling pad, much better touchpad than the DV6 etc).
However, if I did fry the motherboard somehow, I don't know if it could have affected other parts eg the RAM, CPU, other parts? Is that possible? Is it likely replacing just the motherboard would resolve the issue?
And it is also possible that there is some other cause for the unit not powering on at all, that it isn't the motherboard after all, ugh.
- OR -
1) Replace hard drive of old HP DV6 which has some other issues.
I have an old HP DV6 that I've taken apart countless times (including the motherboard) trying to fix the common overheating issue. I finally got a replacement (the G6 above) under the extended warranty, but was able to fix the most critical overheating issue later on. There are other issues with that unit now, including missing number keys, touchpad stopped working, and still needs a cooling pad underneath at least as a precaution.
When we took the laptop out of storage a few days ago, Windows wouldn't load. We haven't been able to repair the disk drive after chkdsk detected multiple errors, and we could not reinstall Windows via USB or CD. (We formatted the hard drive, but then tried to run DBAN and it said it would take over 300 hours for DOD wipe, lol).
I can use the hard drive from the broken G6 (above), and see if the touchpad issue is just a loose connection (it was some time ago, but I think if it was that I would've fixed it already?). But the other issues are still there.
With a replacement hard drive, I'd hope the Product Key would still work when loading Windows 7 again. I may have to change the Product Key to the one from the DV6 if the Product Key is not accepted because the hardware is different.
I am on a tight budget here, so I am trying to find a solution until we can get him a new laptop in about a year.
Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!