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Laptop boots past bios occasionally


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#1 Golden64

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 03:12 AM

Hi all and thanks in advance to anyone who can help. :thumbsup:

My friend asked me to repair his laptop after several others failed and now I'm stumped too. I believe there is a serious hardware error but don't have anything definitive. Seems to run really hot as well but that might just be the P4.

Occasionally (less than 15% of the time) the computer boots just fine. Happened to be the first time I tried to turn it on and was able to get to windows update and install service pack 3 (up from 2) and download maleware bites. Restarts worked just fine also during the updates, so I just figured I was looking for a virus problem not a hardware one until the comp froze on an ie page and refused to come back to windows for the next few boots. First all I got was fans running, hdd light flashing in time with the cd drive restarting (like a continuous reboot), and a black screen. Then I would intermittently get the American Megatrends AMIBIOS screen (has been giving one short beep on successful and unsuccessful boots), followed by a black screen or the select windows startup type screen followed by a freeze. Finally I popped in a memtest 86+ boot disk which immediately showed nothing but errors on test #2.

Figured I was getting somewhere then until I gave it one last restart and memtest ran perfect. Changed back to the hdd for boot and windows started flawlessly. :flowers: Decided to use it for a minute only to again get a freeze after about ten minutes. Memtest again throws errors when I get the bios to show up. Otherwise all I get is a black screen.

Tried moving the ram sticks and running with just one or the other, but no luck there either. Actually I get the same result with no ram installed, just a black screen and fans. One of the sticks was installed new just after my friend started experiencing the problems. Apparently the guy who installed it never experienced the error. Also popped the cmos battery to reset that too.

So, if any of this makes any sense or there are any other diagnostic programs I can run, any input would be greatly appreciated.

Laptop Specs:

Computer Builders Warehouse Diplomat
Build #538265 Model# 258SA5
Pentium 4
1Gig DDR333 RAM (2/512)
American Megatrends AMIBIOS
Windows XP Home SP3

Edited by Golden64, 20 August 2009 - 03:52 AM.


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#2 practor

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 07:00 AM

Hard call Golden64 DDR333 ram so its old. Have you tried booting in safe mode and see how stable it is? Is there anything plugged into it? printer mouse etc, I would do this.

First: run a chkdsk /f and check for bad sectors if not this will repair corrupt files.

Second: insert your xp cd and in cmd run sfc /scannow which will replace missing windows files, This may not help but cover all bases.

Third: pressing f8 disable windows start up and see if there is a blue screen, Actually I should have put this first.

Other wise I think it could be motherboard

Hope this helps a little for you.

#3 hamluis

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 11:36 AM

Well...why not run a diagnostic on the hard drive (sorry if I missed that) and temporarily switch out the power supply?

As for running chkdsk /f...chkdsk /r is what you want to run. Chkdsk /r is the most comprehensive scan, it's the one that attempts to recover data from bad sectors and includes the /f functions.

Actually, I would not run chkdsk /r, I would just skip to the diagnostic for the hard drive (available at HD manufacturer's website).

You seem to be doing the POST check with no problem, so I would think HD until proven innocent :thumbsup:.

Louis

#4 Golden64

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 07:29 PM

Hi guys thanks for the suggestions.

@practor
Nothing is connected just the laptop itself. Safemode is not an option, as I don't even get to the screen to select it most times. Also don't have an XP cd handy, but don't know if that would help either since memtest will only boot from cd occasionally.

@hamluis
I do know that the laptop battery is completely dead and don't have a spare power supply cord to try out on it. The one with it is a freaking brick that even has its own internal fan and led status light! Uses a 4 pin connector, one of which has some black corrosion or scorch marks on it. Didnít really put much weight into that as most laptops I have used have had some corrosion on the ps plugs after years of use and I donít really want to crack this thing open just yet. I will clean the contacts just in case.

As for the hdd diagnostic I wanted to run one, and am going to now if I can, but since memtest will only load occasionally from a boot cd (just a black screen) I figured this ruled out the hdd as the source of the problem. Doesnít booting from a cd bypass the hdd altogether? Also what about the times that the bios screen doesnít even appear and I just get a black screen with what sounds like the hdd and cd drive continually restarting?


Thanks guys. Awaiting your responses.


EDIT: Burned off a copy of Hitachi's Drive Fitness Test to a boot disk which showed no errors on the quick test. Running an Advanced Test now. Also, missed the boot menu the first time I tried to run the disk and got this BSOD error code if it means anything. *** stop: 0x0000008E (0xc0000005,0c8057F327,0xBA9F9C7C,0x00000000)

Edited by Golden64, 20 August 2009 - 08:41 PM.


#5 Golden64

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 10:00 PM

This is a followup to the above edit of my last post.

After running the Hitachi Drive Fitness Quick Test and receiving a clean report, I ran the Advanced Test and received this error:

dk23fa-80 (<-- the model# for the Hitachi hdd in the laptop)
problem detected on a non hitachi disk drive, please contact your hdd supplier for additional support. disposition code = 0x70

0x70 (<-- the user guide for drive fitness test gave me this info on the error code)
Corrupted Sector.
A general hard disk drive problem was detected. You can run the "Erase Disk" utility. If a subsequent test fails again, the drive is defective and should be replaced.

Two things. Why does the error code say that an error was detected on a non hitachi disk drive when the hdd in the laptop is a hitachi model# dk23fa-80? Second, given that I sometimes donít make it to the bios screen (just a black screen) and cd based boot disks only work on occasion (donít cd boot disks completely bypass the hdd?) will the erase disk or even chkdisk really fix the problems?

Thanks all for any help.

#6 ThunderZ

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 10:19 PM

Yes, the CD bypasses the hard drive but the BIOS still knows it is there. If it is a pending mechanical failure (could be the reason for the heat) this might be causing the odd behavior. Where is it hot at? The air exiting through the normal vent or on the surface of the laptop that is over the hard drive area?

I have seen chdisk with the recover bad sectors switch do wonders. But only on surface errors = corrupted data. It will do nothing for possible spin-up, head crash, problems.

If he has any important things he does not want to lose I suggest backing them up ASAP prior to stressing the drive any further.......just in case.

#7 Golden64

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 01:12 PM

Well this will be my last post in this thread unless something miraculous shows up.

@ThunderZ
The whole laptop gets pretty hot compared to what I'm used to. While running the drive fitness test the hdd is almost scourching to the touch (took off the cover to access ram and hdd) and at all times the exhaust is the hottest I have ever felt from a laptop. Heat even seeps through the keyboard in a very wide area where the fans and heatsink are located underneath.

Finally got one last complete boot out of it and ran a chkdsk /r which gave me this:

chkdsk /r
stage 4
replaced bad clusters in file 27 of name \pagefile.sys

And then froze in stage 5 at 78% never to return.

As a last ditch, pulling my hair out effort I pulled the hdd and loaded it into my hp laptop (probably not a good idea for my laptop? or is this ok?) and bam! blue screen with the same continuous reboot problem. Hooray its the hdd!?? Or maybe not. I tried my hdd in his laptop and it again freezes at the select startup type screen or just gives me a black screen with continual reboot sounds.

Guess there is more too it or that test was possibly useless since drivers and all that jazz would be completly different on each hdd. Anyway I am at a loss.

Thanks to all who tried to help me. Reading these fourms has been a lifesaver on numerous occasions, but this was my first posting experience.

Edited by Golden64, 21 August 2009 - 01:14 PM.


#8 hamluis

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 03:45 PM

Well...the Hitachi test spelled it out pretty clearly.

<<You can run the "Erase Disk" utility. If a subsequent test fails again, the drive is defective and should be replaced.>> (The Erase Disk utility refers to formatting the hard drive or otherwise deleting everything on it.)

Chkdsk...is not an "erase disk" utility, it's a "let's try to repair the partition" utility.

You were instructed to "wipe" the hard drive and run the extended test again, with a notification of what to do if errors appeared again or failure occurred.

That hard drive is useless, decide whether you want to replace it.

As for the heat you generated by trying to use a drive which has tested as being faulty...well, I suppose that's the result of trying to use components that are not working properly.

Louis




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