questionsis it time to upgrade my computer?

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Upgrade, you can get a decent laptop for under $400. This will bridge you a few years.

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Luckily you had a current backup, right?

Hard drives are real cheap alternatives to buying a new computer; however, if yours is so old that it is slow running current software, upgrading it is a valid option.

You could always turn your old computer into a boat anchor, paper weight, door stop, etc. Maybe even get a viral Youtube video going by shooting it with a gun and claiming it was because of something your daughter did on Facebook.

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@cengland0: Unfortunately my current back up was from about a 6 months ago...yea I know. I lost quite a bit.

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I'd suggest upgrading to a newer used laptop from eBay or Craigslist or something similar. Two hundred to three hundred bucks can get you a better machine in complete working order.

You can also sell your Dell to recoup some of the investment, I'd imagine it'd fetch at least $100 or $150 in its present condition assuming it's not trashed.

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What is the problems with the drive? Have you tried SpinRite? I've had good luck with it, and have heard lots of stories about it brining back drives like this, or at least enough to get your data back.

Get it here:
http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm
It's a bit pricey, but worth it.

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I would definitely upgrade to a new machine like @dpn0121 said. For $300 or $400 you can get a decent machine and for another few bucks upgrade the RAM or even HD as well.

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I have heard that putting a hard drive inside a dry baggie in the freezer for a while can get it to work for a bit. It's worth a try but I have never had success with the trick. You should install monitoring software (I like Hard Disk Sentinel, but there are many others), the overheating probably aged the drive rapidly. Your current machine could be upgraded to Windows 7 (or 8 soon), I would be inclined to salvage it but do something to keep it cooler.

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If you really lerv your laptop, you can fix it.
Replace the ram, @$100. After the firmware update you can probably use 4gb of ram. With a decent OS, of course.
Replace your battery, @$50. Make sure you get a new one, not one that's just new to you. Get the LiIon, not a NiCad. Maybe two, actually.
Replace your fan, and/or maybe add another. While it's apart make sure there are no cable, dust bunny, etc obstructions. Make sure your heat sinks are clean and tight. I've also always made it a point to add a fan to fanless iMacs, just because I don't like call backs. An extra one won't hurt.
Then replace your hard drive; this is a real good time to clean your system up. A nice big fast new one is only @$120. Those solid state ones are pretty quick, and quiet; tho the 256gb are @$350.
Of course, now you're right about at the price point of a refurbished one, or most of the price of a new one.
Don't buy used from CL; they're also old, and too high priced.