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Unread 27 Jan 2006, 00:32   #1
Appocomaster
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Me and My Laptop

ok, my laptop has been a bit tempremental for the last 6 months - 1 year. I was going to get it fixed this summer, but Time went bust and then I think my warrenty ran out in October (I need to check this, am praying it runs out next october and I can get it fixed, but I doubt it!).

Basically, it has problems in that sometimes it refuses to start up (it seems to start up better with the power adapter disconnected).

However, this isn't the major issue (it's probably related to me accidently frying it by leaving it on 24/7 with an "always on" power setting).

Recently, it started shutting down for no reason. Before, it had if I ran something _really_ graphics intensive for a while, but then it got a bit worse. I'm pretty sure it's not a virus.

More recently, it got to the point where if I ran scandisk while it was starting (win XP home, legit edition, came with laptop), then it'd actually crash, so I skipped it.
However, it crashed a few more times, and bluescreened on me if I started it and skipped scandisk.
I tried safe mode and all the other modes, same issue, hanging in booting.

So, I gave in, and took out the "system restore diskc" (couple of CDs, you stick them in and it completely restores the harddrive to it's origional state).

Well, at about 15%, it hung. So, I restarted. When I restarted with the CD in I got a problem - apparently C:\ isn't formatted, and so the CD paniced and wouldn't function. Obviously it hung at quite an essential part in the installation.

Fine, I thought, I'll fix the drive manually. not having a boot disc on me, or a working floppy disc drive on this PC, I transferred some boot discs I had on my PC (format.exe, fdisk.exe, etc).
I figured that just because it wasn't booted in dos, they'd still work? Maybe that was a bad assumption to make though, as I used the system restore CD to get me to a CD prompt, changed CD, and tried to run both format.exe and fdisk.exe (separately). Basically, both hung the laptop.

My only remaining ideas are:
1) get a proper bootdisc from a friend upstairs and see if I can use format.exe and fdisk from that.
2) get something like partition magic, in DOS format, and see if I can fix it that way if format C:\ and fdisk fail.

otherwise, it seems to be pretty screwed. any other ideas?
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Unread 27 Jan 2006, 01:08   #2
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Re: Me and My Laptop

blast the air intake with a can of compressed air? , possible that dust has clogged something which isnt letting it cool properly
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Unread 27 Jan 2006, 01:10   #3
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Re: Me and My Laptop

I cleaned my laptop with a vacuum-cleaner today.. only the keyboard though, but it sure as hell got a lot of dirt out

(e.g. hair, LOTS of hair... where tf does it come from? I mean... I dont even HAVE that much hair)
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Unread 27 Jan 2006, 06:41   #4
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Re: Me and My Laptop

tried a linux cd to see if hangs on boot?

use something like helix or knoppix so you get a working desktop from boot
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Unread 27 Jan 2006, 07:49   #5
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Re: Me and My Laptop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nadar
I cleaned my laptop with a vacuum-cleaner today.. only the keyboard though, but it sure as hell got a lot of dirt out

(e.g. hair, LOTS of hair... where tf does it come from? I mean... I dont even HAVE that much hair)
now u know where your hair went

anyway,

looks like you toasted your HDD (does it maybe even make a clicking or scratching noise?).
as a first step, i'd recommend doing what Phil^ said (clean the air intake),
second what Doorsdown said (make sure that the system runs smoothly if bypassing the HDD by using some live-cd-os like knoppix or similar)

if step 2 works fine, then it's propably 'only' the HDD.
you could then try to
- low level format your HDD (check the HDD/laptop manufacturer's website for a tool - i hope it's not a fujitsu HDD) and reinstall your OS
- if that again hangs... you might need to get a new HDD.

hope that helps.
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Unread 27 Jan 2006, 12:11   #6
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Re: Me and My Laptop

*somewhere* I'm sure I have a USB vaccum kit thing - it's probably still in the car, but I'm SURE I took it to uni with me. Failing that, our vaccum cleaner is pretty powerful.

Someone else mentioned knoppix to me, but my answer was basically "wtf"
how difficult is that to sort out? download an image, burn it, stick it in the CD drive? or do I have to spend 3 days configuring for my blood type, hair colour, etc?
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Unread 27 Jan 2006, 12:17   #7
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Re: Me and My Laptop

not too hard to download an image and burn to cd
after that, it should be a matter of simply putting the cd in, booting the laptop from the cdrom drive ( can change the boot order in bios ) , and doing stuff across a network to back data up ( since your cdrw will be in use )
though, it might have issues with acpi on the laptop, theres a startup swtich which disables it for you so you might need to do that to make knoppix start
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Unread 27 Jan 2006, 14:52   #8
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Re: Me and My Laptop

Using a vacuum's a bad idea, the dust running up the tube (I seem to recall) generates a static charge on it which ain't the kind of thing you want unloading itself into your creamy circuits. Compressed air's the way forward, and if you're not comfortable ripping your lappy open and doing it you can generally get it done for about a tenner from a lot of little PC shops.
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Unread 27 Jan 2006, 20:48   #9
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Re: Me and My Laptop

Quote:
( since your cdrw will be in use )
Don;'t know about Knoppix itself, but DSL (Damn Small Linux, based on KNoppiex but cut down to 50meg) can load itself to memory allowing you to take the CD out.
As described, boot from such a CD, bring up a terminal and:
fdisk -l
will show you any available disks (partitions etc.)
if your windows partition is there, then you should be able to mount it (readonly):
mkdir /mnt/windows
mount /dev/hda1 /media/windows/ -t ntfs -o nls=utf8,umask=0222


(replacing hda1 with the appropriate device as found with fdisk -l)

you can then browse it and stick any files you want on a CD, or email them etc.


This is all assuming the drive is visible...
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Unread 28 Jan 2006, 02:53   #10
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Re: Me and My Laptop

Ok, something fairly fundamental is dying or overheating. Forget the harddrive for now, you can sort that out by booting with the proper XP cd (i'm sure you can borrow one from someone, it's not illegal if you just use it to format the drive) but right now the machine is too unstable to bother.

My first suggestion is one that's already been given. Download a live linux distro and see what happens when you boot it. There are plenty: knoppix, ubuntu, slax, kanotix, pclinuxos, the list goes on. Pick any one and give it a go. My guess is it will behave in much the same way as windows and be horribly unstable so...

Download memtest86. You will get a CD image which you can burn, and then boot from. All it does is boot itself up and run memory diagnostics. They take some time - it's best to leave it for a full 24 hours to be positive that everything has been tested multiple times. If it flags up something, then you have a memory failure. This could either be heat/dust related, or actual component failure. Whether it does or not, the next step is the same, so...

Get a can of compressed air. Open the laptop - you may have to fiddle a bit to do so. They tend to hide screws in recesses or under caps, and there are usually some hidden under the keyboard. If it looks like the surround for your keyboard pops out (ie. little slots you can stick a flat blade screwdriver into) then do so, and you'll probably find something under there. Do NOT unscrew anything on the lid. You don't want to start dismantling the screen, you just want to get to the motherboard. Once you have access, blast the thing with compressed air. This will blow the dust out without potentially sucking jumpers off the motherboard into your hoover. Once this is done...

If possible, boot the laptop while the case is still open. If things go well, you probably had a dust or heat issue. Rescrew everything and try again. If things still go well, you're ok. If they don't, something is overheating so check all the fans are still working and get them replaced if necessary (various private laptop repair places can do this for you).
If things do not go well while the case is still open, you either have a serious overheating issue (ie. dead fan on the processor or something) or component failure. In either case it probably means a trip to a laptop repair joint. If the laptop has any removable memory (the ones that ship with the basic amount usually have it permanently soldered to the motherboard) then remove it, and run memtest86 again. If it STILL flags up errors then you are, basicly, buggered I'm afraid as there is no way to replace memory that's built on to the board. If it's clean, one of your memory expansion modules is probably dead. If you had more than one, plug them back in again one at a time until it stops working, and chuck the dead one.

That's about the best I can do.
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Unread 29 Jan 2006, 13:47   #11
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Re: Me and My Laptop

ok, I've got as far as downloading knoppix. It seems fine and very quiet.
As soon as I find my screwdriver / borrow someone elses I can take the laptop apart - there seem to be lots of screws on the bottom.
I'm just going to download memtest86 and start that off.

Thanks :up:

ha. while posting this, the laptop fan came on and the laptop locked up. [/irony].
I'll get that memtest thing
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Unread 29 Jan 2006, 14:32   #12
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Re: Me and My Laptop

memtest does the 9 standard tests (I can't find a way of making it do any more?)
and doesn't seem to have any issues.
Now I need to pick NB3's brain for compressed air. I found the screwdriver
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Unread 12 Mar 2006, 01:14   #13
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Re: Me and My Laptop

:bump:
I can't take my laptop apart.
it has 2 slots I can open, but I can't seem to uncover anything else.

TIME SUCK ASS
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Unread 12 Mar 2006, 06:52   #14
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Re: Me and My Laptop

If you had your Laptop over 2 and a half years, throw it out and get a new one.
GO Mac.
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Unread 14 Mar 2006, 13:45   #15
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Re: Me and My Laptop

what is the brand and model btw out of curiosity?
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Unread 14 Mar 2006, 13:47   #16
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Re: Me and My Laptop

Quote:
Originally Posted by djbass
what is the brand and model btw out of curiosity?
It's a Time (you know, the one that closed). I'm not sure of the model, but I doubt they make it any more.
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