Last weekend’s project was to replace a Dell’s (Inspiron 1440) hard drive and reinstall the Windows 7. Unfortunately the DVD drive was not working.

I bought a new WD 500GB hdd for RM165 (about USD50).

WD HDD 500GB

Since the DVD drive was not working, I had to install Windows 7  from a USB drive. To do that, Microsoft provides a neat tool called Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool.

1. First, convert the Windows 7 installer DVD which came with the notebook, into an .iso file. I used Corel Burn.Now utility from my Lenovo to do so (other DVD programs should be able to do the same).

Corel Burn.Now1 v2

 

2. Once the .iso is created, install the software from Microsoft – http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/html/pbPage.Help_Win7_usbdvd_dwnTool

Win 7 Download Tool v1

 

3. Run the application and select the .iso created in step 1.

Win 7 Download Tool v1 - 1

 

4. Insert an empty USB drive and click on ‘USB device’.

Win 7 Download Tool v1 - 2

 

5. You would need a USB drive with at least 4GB of free space.

Win 7 Download Tool v1 - 3

 

6. The USB contents will be erased – so ensure you copy all your data out before proceeding.

Win 7 Download Tool v1 - 4

 

7. ‘All contents of this device will be lost’ – don’t regret later.

Win 7 Download Tool v1 - 5

 

8. It will proceed to create a bootable USB device with the Windows 7 installer.

Win 7 Download Tool v1 - 6Win 7 Download Tool v1 - 7

 

I fixed the new hdd and booted from the USB drive created above (for this Dell machine, to boot from USB, I pressed F12 at the Dell boot screen and choose USB drive).

Just follow the Windows 7 installation steps as you would when installing from a DVD.

Dell Inspiron 1440 v1Old notebook with a new heart

Sometimes tech fixes are quite straightforward. Like this issue my friend had with her Asus notebook. She updated her Window 8 to 8.1 and her ZTE USB modem just stopped working.

IMG_00000579IMG_00000577

I started by looking for an updated driver for the modem. Searched the official website – couldn’t find. Found one from a third party website – but it didn’t work. Searched the forums but didn’t find anyone facing the same problem. I was about to try the SIM with another device.

But thought I’d try uninstalling and reinstalling the built in application – Join Air. Guess what – after that it worked just fine.

zte4-aUninstall ‘Join Air’

zte3-bInsert the USB Modem and reinstall

Zte2-bInternet back on

So next time, I must remind myself to try simple steps first :).

The HP Mini is back in the sick bay – the date/time keeps restarting back to year 2002 whenever the mini restarts. This must be due to the CMOS/RTC battery – after a while it becomes weak and is unable to save the date/time.

I went looking for a replacement unit but couldn’t find it at the usual IT shops I frequent. I gave up and thought I’d look for it online.

On my way back that day, I stopped by a stationary shop to buy some stationary. At the counter, I casually showed the old battery to the guy and surprisingly, the shop had it!

It was the same model (CR2016 – 3 volts) but without the connectors. I thought to myself – shouldn’t be that difficult to make my own using the connectors from the old battery.

Got the battery together with a PVC tape for electrical insulation.

IMG_00000198PVC tape, old and new Battery

IMG_00000146CR2016 – 3 volts

1. First I disconnected the power and removed the battery. Then I removed the 3 screws (marked in blue in the picture below) holding the keyboard.

The picture below shows the mini on its back. Turn in to the front and with the monitor opened (as if you were typing on it); gently push the keyboard screw extensions (marked in red) upwards to pop-up the keyboard.

IMG_00000184 v1 HP Mini on its back

 2. Once I removed the battery connector from its socket, I carefully cut opened the yellow tape from the old battery. Be gentle – don’t cut the wires and your hands!

Remove the soldered connector the same way.

IMG_00000192 v1Remove battery connector from the socket

IMG_00000210Carefully cut open the tape from the existing battery

IMG_00000211Slowly remove the connector soldered to the battery

2. Next I cut a small piece of the PVC tap into half and wrapped it around the new battery. I stretched the tape while going around the battery to make it stick better.

I believe the tape around the edges is to avoid the connectors from touching the wrong battery terminals.

IMG_00000213 IMG_00000214IMG_00000215PVC tape wrapped around the new battery

3. After that, fix the connectors to the new battery. Instead of soldering as per the old battery, I used the tape to fix the connectors.

Before I wrapped it, I bent the connectors slightly to make sure it touches the battery when taped.

IMG_00000217Bend the connectors slightly

IMG_00000220Put the bent connectors to the battery – red wire to ‘+’ terminal and black to ‘-‘ terminal and wrap the tape around the battery

  4. Finally fixed it back to the computer and screw the keyboard back.

IMG_00000221IMG_00000223

It worked perfectly – no more date/time restarts. It was easy to do and it only cost me less than USD3 for both the battery and the tape.