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Thread: Dead laptop?

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    Dead laptop?

    I have a laptop that I fear may have shuffled off this mortal coil...

    It's about 6 yrs old, running Vista. It was working fine, and I ran Windows Update to install some recommended updates. At some point during the update process, the screen changed to vertical bars (like the same pattern repeated all the way down the screen) and the system hung.

    I cycled power to reboot it, but it won't boot. It wakes up, the lights flash and the CD drive seeks, then it powers off. After a few seconds it wakes up and repeats the cycle, until I kill the power. It never lights up the screen.

    I tried inserting a Memtest86 CD to see if it would boot into that, but it's not booting at all. It never gets that far in the wake-up process.

    Any suggestions for what I might try to resurrect it? Fortunately this laptop isn't critical, but I do use it fairly often as a secondary or travel laptop, so I'd like to rescue it if I could.

    Thanks!

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    I'm working on a Win7 Notebook where it won't boot at all with the HDD plugged in. Remove the drive and it will boot to a diagnostic CD. Put in a blank/unpartitioned HDD and it will boot to the CD. It also will boot to a Linux LiveDVD in the second and third scenario. Results indicate the HDD has died.

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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Try removing the battery and the power cord and hold down the power button for 5 seconds or so. Then reattach the power cord and see if the laptop will boot. If so, reattach the battery and try again.

    Jerry

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    If the cold boot as suggested by Jerry doesn't work, will it boot up into the Advanced Boot options by tapping F8 (usually) as you switch on and select Last Known Good Config.

    If you can also boot it using Safe Mode with Networking, that would point to your graphics drivers.

    If you have the option of Repair your Computer in the Advanced Boot options, you can navigate to the Recovery Environment to select either Startup Repair or the System Restore option.

    This article describes how to create a Vista Repair disk but you would need another Vista machine with the same architecture to create it on. https://www.raymond.cc/blog/how-to-r...ista-dvd-disc/
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2015-04-21 at 05:13.

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    Quote Originally Posted by garyfritz View Post
    ...it won't boot. It wakes up, the lights flash and the CD drive seeks, then it powers off. After a few seconds it wakes up and repeats the cycle, until I kill the power. It never lights up the screen.
    I tried inserting a Memtest86 CD to see if it would boot into that, but it's not booting at all. It never gets that far in the wake-up process...
    Sounds to me like you need to clean the RAM contacts. The gold-plated contacts become tarnished over time w/ repeated power-on / power-off heating and cooling cycles.

    You can clean the RAM contacts by gently rubbing them with a soft white pencil rubber. Brush off any residues/particles using a clean dry brush (soft toothbrush or small paintbrush). Refit the RAM chips and try again.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    The gold-plated contacts become tarnished over time w/ repeated power-on / power-off heating and cooling cycles.
    As they're gold that shouldn't happen, but it still seems to fix problems more often than not for me.

    cheers, Paul

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    While checking power cycling, test with just the battery connected as well (assuming the battery still works).

    In addition to the power cycling you can check to make sure the point where the AC/DC converter plugs into the laptop is not loose.

    And if you have a VOM you can test the output voltage without load.

    You can see whether you can enter the BIOS Menu on boot and whether the vertical bars appear or not under those conditions. The BIOS Menu uses the low rez graphic driver built into the BIOS. But it is outputted though the systems graphics.

    My prime suspect would be the graphics going bad. More believable if discrete graphics or onboard graphics on a chipset as opposed to the CPU. Six years is already past EOL for a laptop. I am currently composing on a 6 year old lappy, and have a custom on order I hope will last 6 years as I can already see the signs of impending doom for this one.

    You should be able to recover the drive contents by putting on another PC or using a external connection.
    Last edited by Fascist Nation; 2015-04-21 at 14:58.

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    Thanks for the excellent suggestions, folks!

    No joy from removing the battery or the HD.

    I removed the RAM and it successfully got far enough through POST to beep a complaint, AND it didn't shut down as it had been. Hmm.

    I gently cleaned the contacts (BTW we Yanks call those things "erasers," Coochin ) and put the RAM back in -- dead again. Tried each stick individually -- still dead.

    I'll try a bit more aggressive cleaning, but it looks like both sticks got fried somehow? I can get 2x2GB PC2-5300 SODIMMs for about $40. Now I have to decide if the old horse is worth that.

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    OK, I'm thinking new RAM wouldn't help anything.

    * I cleaned the RAM contacts with De-Oxit, and blasted out the RAM sockets with compressed air. No change.

    * The RAM sockets are "stacked," one over the other. I discovered that either RAM stick works, kinda, in the TOP socket. Neither one works in the bottom socket. EDIT: No wait, that seems to have been because I didn't have the stick seated fully in the top socket. If I seat it all the way, it does the same failure behavior.

    * Even when partially seated, "works" is being generous. With RAM partially seated in only the top socket, it doesn't do the "shutdown-and-restart every 5 seconds" behavior or the "no RAM and beeping" behavior. But it never really boots either. Every second or so the HD light flashes and then it hits the CD. It apparently never finds the HD. I assume it's in the BIOS, since it seems to be trying to boot from somewhere, but I can't tell what it's doing because it never lights the screen backlight.

    It seems odd that it crashed during Windows Update, with scrozzled graphics on the screen. But now it doesn't light the screen at all. Maybe the crash happened while the screen was active, and now it can't boot up enough to activate the screen?

    Lookin' grim...
    Last edited by garyfritz; 2015-04-21 at 16:32.

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    The following items have been requested: have you tried them?
    --- Can you boot into the BIOS?
    ------ Also does the BIOS have the correct time?
    --- Have you tried booting into Safe Mode, even Safe Mode w/Networking?

    On the RAM, just ensure they stay properly snapped in

    On the beeping behavior, what is it?

    “It seems odd that it crashed during Windows Update, with scrozzled graphics on the screen”
    --- Maybe Windows Updates and a graphics update was included that caused the problem?
    --- For verification, were there any graphics issues before?
    --- What is your graphics?
    --- Do you have a graphics card you added in?

    “It apparently never finds the HD”
    --- I don’t know how to address this yet but please address the above items

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmptrgy View Post
    The following items have been requested: have you tried them?
    --- Can you boot into the BIOS?
    ------ Also does the BIOS have the correct time?
    --- Have you tried booting into Safe Mode, even Safe Mode w/Networking?
    No. The screen doesn't light at all. I think it's in the BIOS, since it beeps in POST if there's no RAM, and it tries hitting the disk / CD in some conditions. But I can't see anything so I can't tell what's going on. I can't tell what time the BIOS has, and I can't see the boot menu to select Safe Mode.

    On the beeping behavior, what is it?
    4 beeps after powering on with no RAM inserted. I assume it's a POST error message, and I assumed it was a "no RAM" error. But according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power-o...IOS_beep_codes, 4 beeps is "Motherboard timer not operational." I wondered if maybe the mobo battery was dead? But why would I get that error only with no RAM inserted? And I wouldn't expect a dead battery to kill the boot-up process.

    “It seems odd that it crashed during Windows Update, with scrozzled graphics on the screen”
    --- Maybe Windows Updates and a graphics update was included that caused the problem?
    --- For verification, were there any graphics issues before?
    --- What is your graphics?
    --- Do you have a graphics card you added in?
    It's certainly possible a Windows Update messed up the graphics. (But if so, why would it foul up the boot process before Windows even loads? Without a Windows HD even in the box?) Unfortunately I can't boot it, so I can't recover to a restore point.

    There were no graphics issues before this.

    This is a laptop, with the on-board graphics chip, no add-on graphics card. It's an HP Pavilion dv6700, p/n KC304UA. http://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c01296327 says the graphics chip is an NVIDIA GEForce Go 7150M.

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    It's possible that the Inverter has gone which coincided with the WUs but if you have a strong flashlight (we call them torches ), shine that onto the screen to see if anything shows up.

    If it's still black then it could be the Inverter http://www.laptop-repair.info/laptop_screen_repair.html

    A more specific Google search for your laptop should produce detailed disassembly/repair instructions if you want to check this out for yourself.

    It's been known for some laptops where the cable has become damaged or the connector dislodged through the opening and closing of the lid over time.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2015-04-22 at 05:53.

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    How many beeps do you get with on a normal bootup with the memory sticks in place?

    On the mobo battery, we can't tell whether or not it should be changed but it would be a good idea to do so. About 4 years ago a friend gave me her daughters laptop with bootup problems: black screen and shutting down; I don't recall it restarting. It had been diagnosed as needing a new motherboard by the manufacturers technician over the phone. I replaced the mobo battery out of "curiosity"; upon bootup I went directly into the BIOS, corrected the time and set the BIOS to default; there was maintenance to conduct on the computer afterward but I was able to return the computer back to my friend within a couple of days. As you mentioned you wouldn't expect the issues you are seeing due to a dead battery; but I'm just a simple cmptrgy and I have seen some fixes completed by unexpected procedures.

    Sudo15 you reminded me about my son's laptop. He was getting black screened also. When I checked out his computer a couple of things I did was move the display back and forth a few times and he would get an intermittent display; then I tapped in the area where the inverter is and it runs almost flawlessly now. Since he wants to continue running it this way I leave it alone
    --- garyfritz, it's worth trying

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    It's possible that the Inverter has gone which coincided with the WUs
    That seems very unlikely that the inverter would die JUST as the WU fails AND the boot gets hosed...

    I can't see anything (with flashlight) either without RAM (when it just beeps and probably doesn't display anything) or with RAM (when it goes into the power-cycle-every-few-seconds mode and probably doesn't get a chance to display anything).

    Quote Originally Posted by cmptrgy View Post
    How many beeps do you get with on a normal bootup with the memory sticks in place?
    None. That only happens with the RAM removed.

    On the mobo battery, we can't tell whether or not it should be changed but it would be a good idea to do so. About 4 years ago a friend gave me her daughters laptop with bootup problems: black screen and shutting down; I don't recall it restarting.
    The battery is years old, and who knows? It might explain why so many things went kaflooey at once. It's a cheap and easy experiment. I'll let you know if it helps.

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    Checking the BIOS battery etc. makes sense: I hope it gets you going

    I don't see yet whether or not both of your memory chips are ok and if there are issues with them buy at least 1 new memory chip to eliminate the possibility of failing memory

    Also someone else can chime in on this as I'm interested in knowing whether or not it's true
    It was probably about 5 years ago, I read an article that stated that when a laptop has only one memory chip in it must be in the bottom slot.

    I suspect Sudo15's comment about the inverter coincidental failure can make sense: it has nothing to do with WU, it's just a coincidence not a cause and effect

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