I've finally gotten around to trying to fix the Toshiba today. I'm bad at doing things that don't have any deadline, so once I bought the emergency replacement I kind of shelved the original and forgot about her. She needed another keyboard, which I had, and another hard drive, which I thought I had but see below.

I would say that replacing the keyboard on those is a pain in the butt, except I've seen other laptop keyboard replacement procedures, and it's not. I just find it nerve-wracking because the first step involves prying part of the bezel off with whatever long flat thing you have to hand. There's no reassurance that you're doing it right -- it makes the same scary plastic creaking sounds whether you're popping the tabs out properly or just breaking the damn thing. It's just a piece of crumb-protector trim, but still.

The remaining steps are 'unscrew things, pop old keyboard out, pop new keyboard in, screw things, jam bezel back on the way it came', so by laptop repair standards, this thing is dead easy. She's on her third keyboard. I'm surprised I haven't gone through more. My entire life is out in the cloud somewhere -- I'm a Google whore, so the only thing that hasn't gone on GDrive or GPlay is the stuff in the Amazon Kindle Document Service -- and I don't go a day without touching a computer unless forced. I run these things constantly and transport them all over the place, and I have no idea how or why the Toshiba survived until specifically tanked by dropping her during disk access.

Replacing the hard drive in a Satellite is also dead easy, unless of course you've failed to check that the HDD you're stealing out of the USB enclosure is a SATA drive, which, annoyingly, it isn't. Presuming you were smarter than me and made sure your donated drive is actually the kind of drive that plugs into your broken computer, you take out two screws, slide the old drive out, and slide the new one in. The RAM and optical drives are similarly modular. If you want a Win/Lin laptop that you can tinker with like a desktop, you really can't beat Satellites.

I would recommend doing this on a proper work surface and not sitting in the middle of a bed full of rumpled synthetic-fiber blankets, surrounded by the functional laptop (on a chair) and enough miscellaneous parts to make about one and a half working computers, like I am. This is only not resulting in a disaster because 1) neither of the disassembled laptops works as-is, and it's not like I could really break them more, and 2) it's about 495% relative humidity outside (WELCOME TO MASSACHUSETTS), which makes static a non-issue.

If anyone has a 2.5" SATA drive they're dying to get rid of, let me know. I had some vague intentions of buying a solid-state HDD for her, just because, but that is not going to happen. I'll be damned if I pay for a copy of Windows that doesn't also come with an entire computer, so it only needs to be big enough to handle Ubuntu.