My personal IBM laptop (as opposed to my business laptop) went on the blink. So I couldn't just drop it off at IS and ask for a new one. I had to fix it myself or buy a new one.
The problem was that the screen backlight went totally out. I did an internet search and found a handy site that lists the most probable PC laptop failures and what to do about it. Sure enough, I pull the screen inverter, and it seems to be just a little fried:
Replacement part on Ebay: $10. Fixing it myself: 15 minutes. Not buying a new PC: priceless (okay, maybe about a grand).