So recently I decided to try resurrecting my faulty Dell XPS 1210 laptop. It worked well for a few years, but got very hot. Eventually it developed an issue where the screen would change colors, almost like it was reverting to 256 color mode or something, kind of a watercolor effect. Then it would switch back to normal, and repeat every 10 minutes or so. Needless to say, it rendered the machine useless for photoshop work, and in 2010 I replaced it. It had been sitting on my shelf ever since.
I had done some research on baking motherboards in the oven in order to re-flow the solder connections, but decided it was rather a lot of work for a computer I didn't really use. But a few weeks ago I found a recent Gizmodo article about a successful bake on a Dell XPS 120, just like mine. That decided things...I was going to try.
I stripped the computer down to the bare motherboard (and was careful to remove the CPU!), shielded the whole thing with foil except for the GPU (apparently it's the Nvidia GPUs of this time period that overheat and fail, similar to the Xbox 360's red ring of death failure). I removed all the stickers from board first, so they didn't burn in the oven.
I propped the foil-wrapped board up on some foil balls atop a cookie sheet, then baked at 350C for 4 minutes, flipped it over, baked for another 4 minutes, then shut the oven off, opened the door, and let it cool slowly.
After half an hour or so, I pulled the foil off. Or tried to.
Pro tip: if you wrap the whole thing in foil except for the target area, the stickers probably won't burn, so don't bother removing them. If you pull off the stickers (as I did) AND foil wrap it, the foil will STICK to the remaining adhesive on the board. You will then have a godawful time trying to remove shreds of stuck aluminum foil from your motherboard. Arghhhh.
After laboriously scraping off the stuck foil, I re-installed the board and all the other components, and to my surprise, the laptop fired up. I have not run it for very long yet, but the display problem seems to be fixed!!
The whole thing took me a few hours, including disassembly and reassembly.
So if you have a computer that is truly on its last legs, or won't even display anything on the screen...a motherboard bake might be worth the effort!