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> Laptop death, woe is me...
Jonman
post Jun 13 2005, 12:03 PM
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Laptop death....

After working perfectly for 2 and a half years, my laptop took a turn for the worse.

Periodically, over the last couple of weeks, it keeps losing track of the time whenever it's powered down, so when we boot it back up, we need to reset the clock. However this wasn't a big issue.

This morning, though, it won't boot up at all. When the 'on' button is pushed, the screen stays dead - the CD drive tries to do something (goes click-whirr) a few times, then the whole thing hangs, with nothing on the screen, and nothing happening.

I'm at a loss for where to even start troubleshooting, let alone how to fix it.

P.S. having just had a chat with a PC-wise colleague, he suspects there's something up with the BIOS...It's partially greek to me.

Any suggestions on how to fault-find and fix would be mostly appreciated.


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froggle-rock
post Jun 13 2005, 12:31 PM
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I was gonna say, if the clock is needing to be reset, it might be the bios battery that's either dead, or on it's way. I think they are about watch clock size, but would have no idea where it's located.

To the best of my knowledge bios is the absolute first thing that does stuff on your puter. So, if the battery for it is dead, it wont work to be able to tell your puter that it's been switched on and should start doing the stuff it does when it's been switced on, like boot up.

I may be talking utter cods wallop, when my mum speaks to me about computers I usually start hearing Greek too. wink.gif

Like I say, I'm not absoluty sure about this, but sure enough to poast. Hope it helps.


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Jonman
post Jun 13 2005, 12:52 PM
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Cheers missy. That's kind of what I'm starting to think too. Might rip the machine to bits tonight and see if I see anything that looks like a watch battery.


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froggle-rock
post Jun 13 2005, 01:40 PM
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Just checked with me mum, she said:
-Definatly watch shaped size, or simular round shaped battery.
-Need to replace ASAP because when it goes dead finally the BIOS will loose all it's settings, and it sounds like this has already happened.
-If you are going to rip it to bits, you'd better be careful
-You could check opn the net for your computer, you might find a layout if you are lucky.
- Laptops are much trickier than desktops.
-You are not sure what you are doing, you'd be better off visiting a laptop repair person.
- If you do it yourself, you will need to download BIOS file from the manufacturers website onto a floppy then put it in your puter after you have changed the battery. But if you are lucky, when you have replaced the old BIOS battery with a new one (I think you'll find it's called CMOS battery) the BIOS data may still be there.

So, basically: If you are feeling confidant: change the battery yourself; see if it starts up. If it don't mum says you chould poo the whole thing up if you try to flash the BIOS (her words, aparently it's the corect term 0o) your self. Mum also says it's probably better to let a laptop repair person do the BIOS flashing, saving you heartache. And she hops you know about grounding yourself, before you play around with your computer. By this she means de-static yourself, not finding your happy place. -Because you could blow all your components whilst you are at it.

Edit, Mum also said, if your in or near London, she can recommend you a place.


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A society that takes itself too seriously risks bottling up its tensions and treating every example of irreverence as a threat to its existence. Humour is one of the great solvents of democracy. It permits the ambiguities and contradictions of public life to be articulated in non-violent forms. It promotes diversity. It enables a multitude of discontents to be expressed in a myriad of spontaneous ways. It is an elixir of constitutional health. J. Sachs in Laugh It Off Promotions CC v SAB International (Finance) BV t/a SabMark International (Freedom of Expression Institute as Amicus Curiae) 2006 (1) SA 144 (CC)
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Jonman
post Jun 13 2005, 02:05 PM
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QUOTE (funked)out_frog @ Jun 13 2005, 02:40 PM)
Just checked with me mum, she said:
-Definatly watch shaped size, or simular round shaped battery.
-Need to replace ASAP because when it goes dead finally the BIOS will loose all it's settings, and it sounds like this has already happened.
-If you are going to rip it to bits, you'd better be careful
-You could check opn the net for your computer, you might find a layout if you are lucky.
- Laptops are much trickier than desktops.
-You are not sure what you are doing, you'd be better off visiting a laptop repair person.
- If you do it yourself, you will need to download BIOS file from the manufacturers website onto a floppy then put it in your puter after you have changed the battery.  But if you are lucky, when you have replaced the old BIOS battery with a new one (I think you'll find it's called CMOS battery) the BIOS data may still be there.

So, basically: If you are feeling confidant: change the battery yourself; see if it starts up.  If it don't mum says you chould poo the whole thing up if you try to flash the BIOS (her words, aparently it's the corect term 0o) your self.  Mum also says it's probably better to let a laptop repair person do the BIOS flashing, saving you heartache. And she hops you know about grounding yourself, before you play around with your computer.  By this she means de-static yourself, not finding your happy place.  -Because you could blow all your components whilst you are at it.

Edit, Mum also said, if your in or near London, she can recommend you a place.
*


Your mum is clearly cooler than my mum. That is established fact.

Will try changing the battery myself as: if the BIOS already needs flashing to restore it, then I can do little extra harm.

Should I be able to get a BIOS battery from PC World?

And as for grounding, I fiddle about with avionics hardware on an almost daily basis. I think my grounding skills are up to scratch. wink.gif


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Pab
post Jun 13 2005, 03:25 PM
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Ah but is avionics hardware designed to fuse into a large jelly mass as soon as you remove its little rubber feet?

I'd go with the battery idea, as it is the most common cause for this sort of thing. Normally one sees it go by its sudden asking of an admin password on a blue screen as soon as you turn it on. It's funny this has not happened, but means nothng by itself. Also they are supposed to last 3 years, but its a fine line.

By now, or 2.5 years ago, they really are watch batteries. So you go to a watch battery shop. The battery is in the laptop somewhere, and you must get to it. This is a DICEY situation. Make sure you're not left with vital spare parts later on. They are full of trip switches and underfoot mines.

BTW, this is a normal intervention with pc places, and should cost 30 quid. If they shaft your comp, you can get sexual favours out of them.

The bios/cmos end of things should have defaults burned into a ROM type deal, so it wont forget anything bad. You might have to tell it you have a hard disk, and even that it should do itself.

Now its just grab a screwdriver, and remember which hole each screw came out of, and what bit of flimsy toilet paper mounted printed circuitry is stuck to which bit of the lid or other moving parts. Good luck. Expect dust.


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Jonman
post Jun 13 2005, 04:02 PM
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QUOTE (Pab @ Jun 13 2005, 04:25 PM)
Ah but is avionics hardware designed to fuse into a large jelly mass as soon as you remove its little rubber feet?


Hmm, yes, I see what you mean. The bits that get bolted to aircraft can take a lightning strike without melting. However, all the stuff that we've got built around that as a test rig won't. It's about the size of a large wardrobe, and seems to consist of racks and racks of naked PCBs, wire spaghetti and cryptic post-its that say things like

A/B: 415 FIRU

QUOTE (Pab @ Jun 13 2005, 04:25 PM)
BTW, this is a normal intervention with pc places, and should cost 30 quid. If they shaft your comp, you can get sexual favours out of them.
*


This is probably the cleverest idea by far. There's a Pisshead World just down the road from me. On the one hand, they're a bunch of monkeys, on the other hand, if they break my machine, I can have sex with all the spotty social misfits I could possibly desire. It's a win-win situation, make no mistake.

Out of interest, is this CMOS battery running dead purely a laptop thing, or does it happen on desktops too?


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Pab
post Jun 13 2005, 04:16 PM
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It happens with desktop comps too, but anybody can open one of those AND locate the battery with comparitive ease, so it is much less heard of. Basically anything regarding microprocessors neads a 'timing-chain' of sorts, like a conductor in classical music, and this is the main function of the battery: to come up with a vibration at a certain frequency so everything has a reference speed to work at. Either that, or something about birds having sex with bees. I was never a great listener.


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DarkInferno
post Jun 13 2005, 06:20 PM
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Very almost exactly correct. young pabawan learner.

The BIOS itself should be fine as it is stored in non-volitile CMOS, so should be able to withstand being completely without power ad infinitum, unlike the BIOS settings and the onboard clock.

I've personally never dealt witha lappy with a flat CMOS battery, however I have swapped out a few dozen desktop batterys before now and its just a case of sawpping out the battery for a fresh one, resetting all your BIOS settings and your away.

/me tries to translate from computer geek to avionic geek and fails.

Pab's conductor analagy was good... I'll stick with that.


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Jonman
post Jun 14 2005, 08:18 AM
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Super great - thanks everyone.

Out of interest, I took the machine into PC World (I know, I know) last night, just to see what it would cost to have them replace the battery. That way, there's no chance of me doing something stupid, and no stress. However, they won't touch laptops - they gave me the number of a repair centre, but I imagine that paying them to pick up my lappy, courier it to somewhere else, pop the battery, then courier it back to me will be prohibitive. Plus I found out that the wife's done battery swap-outs on a couple of her own lappies in the past, so between the two of us, we'll be able to double-team it.

Cheers for the advice folks - panic over!


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