Long story short, the HP 4200 I have now has been a bit of a lemon. I've had friends with the exact same model, and others with HPs of the same age as mine, without problems. I on the other hand have had many problems with this one. Ranging from power buttons that require mashing to operate, mouse buttons that stop functioning, the power plug now has a perodic disconnect issue, and to top it all off, a wonderful habit of hard locking when installing large software, or any other time it pleases. It once took me 4 tries to get Windows XP Pro to finish installing, only to have the new installation corrupted by a lockup during updates (SP2).
So today I called up the service contract people at MaxAssurance (through OfficeMax) and they finally agreed that enough was enough and they are refunding my purchase price (~$900). And now I'm in the market for a new machine to replace this one once I ship it off once and for all. Here's what I've got now (after upgrades over the years): Pentium 4m 1.8Ghz, 700mb ram (after the video gets its share), 60gig HDD, DVD/CD-RW, 15.4" screen.
Obviously it shouldn't be too hard to top these specs now 4 years later. And obviously I'd like to stay under the $900 price tag that I'm getting out of this current wreck of a machine.