Well, after DAYS of messing with the laptop, trying to get all hip and install Linux, it appears that I have killed the damn thing.
First I tried to install Ubuntu - that didn't work. I trolled the forums, asked questions, followed instructions - nada. I sent up a signal flare to my good internet buddy, Josh, and he (and his wife) went above and beyond to help. I punted Windows, installed new drivers, updated the BIOS (twice!) - still nada.
I read that my sucky laptop did better with Freespire, so I downloaded that and tried. Um, nope. More forums, more check sums, more partitioning - zip. Tested Freespire on the desktop - worked like a charm! Grumble....
Now the laptop won't even run Windows properly.
Oh, well. I don't have the money to go to a professional, so this may be the end for the 'puter. Luckily it's not my main machine - and the darn thing never ran well anyway.