I am about to give up on the Toshiba Portege. The hard disk is new; the cooling system is new; but Windows 7 runs slow as mollasses, when it does anything at all. I am going to use the Live Linux CD and see how that works. I am pretty sure something is royally messed up with Windows 7 on it, and there is no solution but buying a new PC. Does anyone make a Linux version similar enough to Windows 7 that I won't have to spends weeks retraining my wife?
I am burning a current Ubuntu Live CD right now to verify that the Toshiba's hardware is okay.
Ubuntu Live CD was a bit slow. Installed alongside Windows 7, it was cadequately fast but I suspect trying to teach my wife to use it might be more work than buying a new Windows 7 notebook. Also downloading Linux Mint to give it a try.
Blogging now from the Toshiba running Ubuntu 14.04. This is really lightning fast compared to Windows 7 running on this same PC. I know that Linux generally works faster than Windows 7 but the Windows 7 as the other OS is obviously deeply injured to be so slow.
Update: I tried to clone the old hard drive onto the new one, but could not figure out how to use the program for doing that correctly. So I took it to Northwind computers to do it. They only charged me $60 to do that, and my time and frustration are worth more than that.