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Lappy borkeded, troubleshooting help requested.

CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄ƷDer Millionendorf- Icrontian
Need help troubleshooting this laptop.

It crashed unexpectedly just before EPIC, and it wouldn't turn back on, but I didn't have time to mess with it, so I just left it. While I was gone, Betsy turned it on because the printer is hooked up to that system. Apparently it stayed up long enough to get her stuff printed, and when I got home I walked in to see that it was on, but the screen was totally frozen. Betsy has no idea how long it was like that, but the whole base was very hot to the touch, so I cut the power and let it cool. Later, it turned on and ran, but froze up within a few minutes, and wouldn't turn on again.

Well, the obvious answer to me was that it was overheating. After it cooled, I opened up the back, and took out the each to remove parts, and started dusting with a can-o-air. I should have done it outside. While the cats w2ere still sneezing, I reassembled the system, and it booted and ran for a few minutes before freezing again. I left it off for two days, and averted my eyes while I was in the room with it.

When I try to tuen it on now, I only get the boot splash screen, then a single underscore flashing in the corner. I desided to run memtest86 to see if that would find anything, but that test came up AOK. A day later, and it's still just a blinking underscore when I try to boot.

Any ideas on a next step for troubleshooting? I'm thinking 'change out the HD'. But I don't currently have a spare laying around, so I'm open to ideas.

--

System detail:
HP g60 - all stock parts
Windows 7 32
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Comments

  • PirateNinjaPirateNinja I don't know how to not Icrontian
    It does sound like the HD could have gone bad, you can try booting from Win7 DVD and chdsk:
    http://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=6565
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    Also sounds like HD. Consider also running the memory test over night, as the issue could be erratic.
  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Geeky, in my own way Punta Gorda, FL Icrontian
    The single underscore screen shows up on mine breifly. It then goes away, and windows continues to load. What is TRYING to happen while that underscore is up is a load of kernel, from previous experience and research when troubleshooting similar things. HDs CAN overheat, and can come loose from sockets if jostled around.

    So, would do as suggested above to start, probably HD.
  • CBCB
    looks around for his Win7 disk.


    Can I run chkdsk from a bootable usb stick?
    Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian
    edited Jul 2013
    looks around for his Win7 disk.


    Can I run chkdsk from a bootable usb stick?
  • JokkeJokke Bergen, Norway Icrontian
  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Geeky, in my own way Punta Gorda, FL Icrontian
    edited Jul 2013
    UBCD! Yes, hmmm.... Possible to put it on a boot disk or bootable USB stick. IF lappy will boot from USB stick UBCD has a partition check function, and some AV killing from a USB boot functionality bundled with it. Getting chkdsk to run from that kind of boot I do not know how to do, sorry. But a util for your brand of HD, from the HD mfr, could also possibly fix a partition and would at least test HD for you though it might not fix borked data on HD.
  • PirateNinjaPirateNinja I don't know how to not Icrontian
    CB said:

    /me looks around for his Win7 disk.


    Can I run chkdsk from a bootable usb stick?

    If it is booting in to Windows or is equivalent to a Windows CD, sure. Otherwise UBCD or Hirens could work as well.
    I wouldn't expect any miracles from chkdsk, but it is worth a try. If you need another hard drive and you can wait, I can ship you one about 12 days from now.
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian
    I remembered that I have an IDE-USB adapter, so I just plugged the drive into my desktop. No errors. Everything on the drive is readable.
  • RyanMMRyanMM Ferndale, MI Icrontian
    Don't run chkdsk until you're sure the drive isn't physically failing. Chkdsk will nuke a drive that's borderline but still recoverable.

    Passing a chkdsk just means the drive is okay on a file level. Booting off that drive and reliably reading/writing is a whole other can of worms.

    Before you do anything else, while the drive is hooked up to that other computer, run speedfan and view advanced SMART diagnostics to be sure that the drive doesn't have pending/bad sectors or other worrisome issues.
  • PirateNinjaPirateNinja I don't know how to not Icrontian
    If the HD is OK, then I would back it up before going further.

    Once backed up I guess I would reinstall Windows, and if you still have problems it's probably fair to assume it's some other hardware. Like @Thrax said, you can run memtest overnight.

    Would it be possible to peak at your CPU temp in bios to see how it is during idle?
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian
    Ran memtest overnight. Still no errors.

    I don't see a place in this BIOS where I can check in on the proc speed.

    No need to back up HD. There is nothing essential stored on this system. If I could find my wallet of OS discs, I would try reinstalling Windows. :/ I guess the next step is scouring the house for that wallet. :p
  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Geeky, in my own way Punta Gorda, FL Icrontian
    Yes. ^^
  • AlexDeGruvenAlexDeGruven Not as tall as Bobby Tallbeer. Twilight Sparkle is overrated. Meechigan Icrontian
    Also, for the HDD, CrystalDiskInfo. If anything shows up not-good, the drive is on its way out and should be replaced immediately.
    CB
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian
    CB you don't need a disk to install windows anymore. You can download the ISO legally and use the official Microsoft USB ISO download tool to put it on a USB stick.
    CB
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian
    edited Jul 2013
    Do I need my key? because I think that's in the wallet with the disc (so I know I won't lose it).
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian
    Yes, you need your key.
    CB
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin Icrontian
    if you can get it to boot into windows at all, there are some apps that will extract your cd key
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian
    Found my OSes wallet (under a sewing project in the corner of the office). The lappy wont boot off the DVD either. The drive spinns and the light flashes, but I still just get the underscore after the boot options screen.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    Reset BIOS to optimized settings? and/or flash current BIOS (honestly not holding out a lot of hope)
    CB
  • PirateNinjaPirateNinja I don't know how to not Icrontian
    I used to have weird things where I would fix issues like this in laptops by draining all the power out of them: Removing the battery, unplugging, holding the power button down for 30 seconds, putting it back together, and turning it on. Long shot, but maybe worth a shot if resetting the BIOS gets you nowhere.
    CB
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin Icrontian
    bad ram is sounding somewhat likely, if you can't get past boot options.
    CB
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian
    edited Jul 2013
    Memtest goes through an overnight run without finding anything, and I don't have spare RAM laying around to see if it's something memtest can't find.

    For now, I'm considering this system a lost cause. However, I happen to have a Compaq lappy sitting around which is (hopefully) only missing a HD. Since this HD seems fine (CrystalDiskInfo says it's 'good'), I'm going to move it into the Compaq, and get one working system out of them. Perhaps if I have more money later for spare parts, I'll try again to figure out what when wrong with the HP.

    Thanks everyone for your troubleshooting help and diagnostic tips. :D
  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Geeky, in my own way Punta Gorda, FL Icrontian
    Well, looks like the HD lost its boot sector and possibly its partition table as far as the computer is concerned. Since it will not reboot from DVD after putting DVD in to DVD and cycling power apparently, I think the battery is bad possibly if this failure to DVD boot happened while it was not plugged in. You can try putting the HD in the Compaq if you have installation DVD for the Compaq, also possibly called a "recovery media set." But, you will need to reinstall windows, and not from a non-Compaq recovery set preferably, from either a full retail or Professional System builder DVD or a Compaq recovery set, with an appropriate DVD and key set.

    Either that, or get info on how to make a bootable 8GB or bigger USB stick with an install image on it, and have a valid key for the image you put on it.
  • RootWyrmRootWyrm Icrontian
    Bad news: it's the SATA controller. BTDT, symptoms line up exactly - including the not booting off DVD. Which yes, means the chipset, which of course means the system planar. (The excessive heat's also a hint; usually means thermal management isn't working as intended.)

    If you want, I can find you the spare OPN and pricing. The rest of the parts are probably just fine and you can do a swap, but depending on how old it is, might not be worth it. And unless it's an Envy, whatever you do, don't send it in for post-warranty service. :P
  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Geeky, in my own way Punta Gorda, FL Icrontian
    Um, one issue with your diagnosis-- I think from what he said he tested HD IN same computer that will not boot. And drive passed test of some kind. It also ran memory test which means not main chipset, yes.... Unless main chipset does SATA controlling in that lappy. So I tend to agree that is one thing to look at, but not that it is absolutely that.

    The underline cursor blinking is BIOS trying to transition to a boot, you can understand that or do, yes, but missing boot sector will not let it boot and DVD made without bootablity function will leave the cursor blinking forever symptom while the SATA controller is good. I have even seen scratched DVDs do this.
    My Lenovo has a program DVD made for Lenovo, and three data DVDs, one of which holds the Windows image that is loaded by running the program that is loaded from the first DVD. If you interrupt the running of that program you have to start over. I have DONE that.
  • RootWyrmRootWyrm Icrontian
    Uh, what issue with my diagnosis? I said SATA controller. How would this make the HDD not pass in a different system? That's exactly what's supposed to happen. And let's not get me started on false-positives and false-negatives; memtest86 is absolutely not authoritative. Period.

    And no, the underline cursor blinking is not the BIOS trying to complete boot transition, not on any HP made in the last 4 years or so. It's already past Protected transition and hanging at AH=01h. I know for fact that it's hanging at 01h because DVD boot isn't working - it's doing disc load check and never returning, indicated by the drive not spinning up. MAYBE hang at 04h with 00h loop. And a scratched DVD does not "never load." It goes into an AH=42h, AH=44h, AH=01h, AH=00h loop.
    If it was not the SATA controller, it would have returned error at 00h, 15h, 09h, or 02h and disk diagnostics would have failed. Disk diagnostics on an HP will also pass on a faulty or failing controller - which I've seen first hand - because they only perform S.M.A.R.T. and not indirect access tests.

    And the reason the Lenovo restore breaks if you screw up DVD1 is because step number 1 is to perform a Windows CE installation into a RAMDISK or to the existing recovery partition (IBM never fixed the issue where updating on-disk broke recovery media, and Lenovo won't bother.) Otherwise, you could never transition to disc 2 because it would be trying to read DLLs on disc 1.
  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Geeky, in my own way Punta Gorda, FL Icrontian
    I know why Lenovo breaks, thanks. Actually, with a multi-DVD data set, burnable from a HD partition, the Windoiws CE thing hosts a Lenovo Thinkvantaqe program set that is dedicated to recover the part to original size and content then install a full Win 7 Pro 64 bit from it.

    As to HP, I had little experience with HP itself, will bow to your surperior knowledge.
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian
    Whateves guys. I'm not going to try to replace the SATA controller. The HD has a new life in my Compaq, and the rest of the system has been downgraded to doorstop status. I doubt much that it's even got value as an organ donor, since it's mostly pretty old tech, but I'm going to at least see what I could get for the RAM before I recycle the poor thing.
  • RootWyrmRootWyrm Icrontian
    CB said:

    Whateves guys. I'm not going to try to replace the SATA controller. The HD has a new life in my Compaq, and the rest of the system has been downgraded to doorstop status. I doubt much that it's even got value as an organ donor, since it's mostly pretty old tech, but I'm going to at least see what I could get for the RAM before I recycle the poor thing.

    Yeah, as I said, I just went through it and it is a 'replace whole system planar' situation. (Integrated in the QM67 etc.) Given the typical cost of HP service parts, unless it's a system from the past year and a half or so, or high end, it's not cost-effective to bother replacing. Especially the sub-$800 stuff - [i]just[/i] the motherboard's gonna run north of $300. Obsoleted AMD dv7-3000 boards with integrated graphics go north of $230.
    Definitely lift the DVD-ROM though - it's a standard, reusable part.
    CB
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian
    That's a good point. That might be worth more than the RAM.
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