The old laptop is dead. Long live the new laptop. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
My new Gateway laptop definitely counts as a new friend... a new friend with a learning disability that I call VISTA. Here are a few tweaks that have helped us work together better: I've disabled the Google toolbar that made Microsoft Word run so slow. I've learned not to type my novels while in the "Review" tab so that I can type at full speed instead of g..o..i..n..g...v..e..r..y...s..l..o..w..l..y. I've also clicked the "disable all enhancements" button so that even though I don't have any enhancements loaded, Media Player 11 won't stutter through most of my music.
Now that we've overcome those few obstacles, we get along very well indeed. I'm thoroughly enjoying the extra memory (RAM and Hard drive). I like the way my new friend doesn't eat directories when I boot up. I like the crisp clear monitor and the firm yet slightly bouncy click of the keys. I even like the gadgets, except for the slideshow... which, when enabled with too many pictures, makes the file directory lock up. And, while this may be a bit shallow, it's shiny and lightweight. But the best part is that my new friend doesn't make horrible clicking noises and then spontaneously power down.
I think we'll get along just fine. I've even started a new novel.