Here is some good news. Last week I took some time out for the laptop. Honestly, it was time to fix it or get rid off it! My efforts reaped good results. The laptop is kicking ass now!
It is no secret that my laptop, a 5 year old Acer with a meagre 512 MB memory, has been experiencing hiccups for several months. For the uninitiated, the laptop touchpad and keyboard froze every time Windows started. It would act normally, as if by chance, after several reboot attempts. Each reboot had to be forced as the nonresponsive Windows refused to even shut down. A broken power button only made the reboots more of a pain in the ass; I had to turn it on with great difficulty each time, using a scalpel blade and a forceps.
In the device manager, I found all the drivers were intact. I was using Windows 7 which automatically downloads the matching drivers you see. Suspecting a virus issue, I had reinstalled Windows 7 several times in the last few months, but to no effect. This time decided to go back to the basics - install Windows XP. The idea was to use the original Acer-supplied drivers which were meant for XP and Vista only. However the DVD drive of my laptop was conked by this time!
I got some dendrite and glued the axis of the drive hard onto its base. By axis I mean the small black annular object around which the disc spins in a typical laptop DVD drive. Due to rough handling by some hostel friends the axis had come loose years ago. With the drive fixed I was ready to go with the install.
On a fresh XP installation I installed all the original drivers. I tried rebooting the laptop several times, each time with much trepidation. To my great relief, Windows booted like a charm! As for the power button I fixed that too. Needed to buy the panel housing the power button and associated circuitry. Got it for free from the friendly computer vendor in Siliguri; it was a spare junk in his shop. I borrowed a four-headed screw driver from a junior to replace the kaput panel with this new one. Finally my laptop feels like new!
I realize now that the touchpad freezing was definitely a driver issue. Although the automatic update service downloaded the relevant drivers automatically on Windows 7, I was missing out on Synaptic - which is the manufacturer supplied driver software for the touchpad. In fact, after installing XP also, the problem remained until I installed Synaptics - I installed it last to be sure. As to why Windows 7 worked fine for about a year, with the basic touchpad driver downloaded by the update service instead of Synaptics, remains a mystery. Probably some IRQ conflicts were happening which Synaptics driver can take care of.
All that said, this means I don’t have to buy a new laptop at the moment. A huge relief!
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