I have lost the 2nd Compaq laptop in 3 years due to motherboard failure this week. No warning, just suddenly dead and every boot attempt results in a beep code saying that the CMOS can't write to RAM. Replacing the CMOS battery and removing/testing the RAM didn't help, leaving the motherboard as the culprit. AGAIN. Last time it was the onboard video card. My MIL lost her Compaq to a motherboard problem about a year ago as well, so this is not a rare occurrence, apparently. Now I have to save up for another machine and pull data from my little hard drive again. So to those of you out there who are shopping for laptops: avoid the Compaqs! Anyone have a brand they particularly recommend? I'm looking at Toshiba or Lenovo, but I would rather have XP than Vista.