Ok, I had to break down and install Windows 8 (because everything else had horrific driver issues), but the laptop is functional again!
This of course means that I can get the last several months worth of photos off my cameras.
No really, I have photos from May that have not seen the light of day yet and are still sitting on the cards.
I have cleaned out one of three so far, and it was a full 16 gig of photos and video.
But anyway, the dam is bursting!