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Upgrading and Repairing Laptops Hardcover – December 22, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 912 pages
  • Publisher: Que; Har/Cdr edition (December 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789728001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789728005
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 7.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,032,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Laptops--call them notebooks, portable computers, or whatever else you like--are tightly engineered items. It's hard to get all the required components to obey stringent performance and power-management requirements, and still fit into a small case. The job usually requires a custom motherboard and other specialized components, and so the laptop owner who wants to upgrade his or her machine faces a much more difficult task than the owner of a desktop machine with a similar wish. One can swap out the hard drive, add more RAM, and make tweaks in software, but almost everything else requires the addition of external components, which kind of defeat the purpose of a laptop. That's the message the reader takes away from Scott Mueller's Upgrading and Repairing Laptops. It's not Mueller's fault that such computers are hard to do much with, and that your best upgrade procedure is often a visit to an auction site.

That said, Mueller does a great job of explaining how laptops work--how the engineers went about cramming all those heat-generating components into those miniature chassis in the first place. He also explains a lot of interesting component theory, such as how magnetic hard drives store data and how various DVD standards differ. The information makes for good reading, and comes in handy when you're shopping. He also demonstrates his skill--long well-reputed among builders and repairers of desktop machines--in teaching diagnostics. He explains, for example, how to test a laptop power supply, and why you should consider it a prime suspect in a malfunctioning computer even if the LEDs come on and the cooling fan spins. A CD-ROM features videos that show disassembly procedures--a strategy that works better than photographs and numbered steps. --David Wall

Topics covered: How portable computers work (and sometimes fail to work), and how to diagnose their woes. Sections address general troubleshooting concepts, system disassembly, and various subsystems such as memory, CPU, storage, and video. Coverage of PCMCIA (PC Card) is particularly good.

From the Back Cover

Beyond cutting edge, Scott Mueller goes where no computer book author has gone before--right past all the warranty stickers, the hidden screws, and the fear factor to produce a real owner's manual that every laptop owner should have on his desk. This book shows the upgrades users can perform, the ones that are better left to the manufacturer, and how to use add-on peripherals to make the most of a laptop. The CD contains one-of-a-kind video showing just what's inside a portable PC. For readers who have ever wondered what goes on inside their portable PC, how to upgrade/repair the portable PC or how to live on the road with it, this is the one must-have book of the year!

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Customer Reviews

Easy to follow reading.
Richard Shaffer
There is very little in this book that applies only to laptops, and there is very little diagnostic help with laptop-specific problems.
technologymark
In some parts of the book there is hardly any talk of laptop computers.
Andrew Ling

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By David O'Meara on July 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most misnamed books I've ever read, although "Upgrading and Repairing Laptops" is probably a better title than "Just About Everything Relating To Computer Hardware, Up To And Sometimes Including The Operating System, Focusing On But Not Limited To Laptops". There really is that much information contained in this book.

Unfortunately it is not possible to recommend the book based on the title or the information on the back cover as the 'upgrading' and 'repairing' and to a lesser extent 'laptop' keywords are misleading. It does contain an astounding amount of information of the inner workings of computers, but there is simply too much additional information to say that it is about the topics mentioned. They are more a side note than the main focus. The information constantly refers back to laptops, but again is too far ranging to say that laptops are the primary topic.

That said, the information is broad, concise, structured and obtainable. If you're interested in the deep mysteries of computer hardware this is a great resource including in-depth discussions on processors, motherboards (and chip sets), memory, storage (including CD and DVD media formats) and just about everything else. Just be aware of what the book covers before purchasing it.
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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Ling on September 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Upgrading and Repairing Laptops is just a version of Upgrading and Repairing PCs cut in half with about 50 pages on laptop related matters and a few grammar changes added to the book to make it sound laptop specific. Most of the information in the book has been copied out of Upgrading and Repairing PCs (some parts even sound as though you are meant to be using a desktop computer instead of a laptop computer). In some parts of the book there is hardly any talk of laptop computers. For the next edition of this book, the laptop-related parts of the book should be combined and the information that was copied from URPCs should be taken out. If you want to learn how your laptop works, get the service manual for your system and the current edition of URPCs.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Gerald Lukas on March 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Scott Mueller's book "Upgrading and Repairing Laptops" probably should read "The History of the Computer and How it Works". This book is over 800 pages and I quickly got lost in superfluous material dealing with how data is stored on a hard drive to a detailed description on how a video cable is made. What I was hoping for were specs of the top laptop manufacturers with detailed descriptions of removing and repairing, but found only minimal pages on the subject. Scott's solution is to download this information from the manufacturer which leaves me in a quandry why I bought the book. The CD disk I found useful but again deals with only one particular laptop.
There is some very useful information in this book but getting it is chore.
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54 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Michael J Woznicki HALL OF FAME on January 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In the 15 years I have been involved with computers there has never been a book written that covers the Laptop or portable computer with any real in depth information. That was until now; with the release of Scott Mueller's U&R laptop and this is certainly one to have in every technician's library.
The 875 plus page reference manual has just about everything you need to take care of laptop computer, from assembly to hardware and upgrades. The author has certainly taken care of the research as there are a number of laptops covered. The material is very much up to date with the latest information and the technical accuracy of the book is highly evident.
The book covers more that what to replace, it takes you through what to look for, what you can and can not do with certain hardware, how to ensure success in the upgrade or replacement and so much more. I have read the U&R PCs and this book is an extension of the material covered there.
What is the most impressive part of the package might just be the Cd rom included since it has over an hour of video material that further enhance the learning process. There is material in here that is covered no where else today. Overall this is simply the best book on laptop repair I have read.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By technologymark on January 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book hoping it would help with laptop diagnosis and disassembly. I was very disappointed. There is almost nothing laptop-specific in this book, and it does not cover some very common laptop problems. A lot of laptops I work on have video problems that are usually caused by a bad LCD screen, bad inverter, or bad motherboard. There is absolutely nothing in this book that helps diagnose which it could be, nor is there any info for disassembly of those parts. There is also very little info for major laptop disassembly.

Overall, I would not recommend this book unless you are looking for an in-depth description of how various hardware components work. There is very little in this book that applies only to laptops, and there is very little diagnostic help with laptop-specific problems.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven L. Trahan on July 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
I agree with an earlier reviewer. Many of the problems I've run into with laptops involve video components, such as the backlight, inverter, LCD screen, video chip issues, etc. They are just not covered in any real depth in this book, though I highly recommend Mueller's PC repair books. Morris Rosenthal's book on Laptop repair is better in the diagnostic and tshoot arenas and is just under 200 pages. Compact enough to carry in your backpack to repair sites. I've used it several times already and so far Morris hasn't steered me wrong.
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