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Can I Install Linux Into A Dead Laptop?


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#1 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 02:10 PM

Hello All,

This thread is a continuation of a previous thread in the hardware section, http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/594766/my-hp-laptop-is-a-brick-i-need-help-please/. Since I am not that computer literate, my plan is to;

 

A. remove the hard drive from a dead laptop,

 

B. somehow hook the hard drive up to my table top PC,

 

C. wipe the hard drive clean,

 

D. Install Linux on the laptop's hard drive,

 

E. re-install the hard drive back into the laptop, and

 

F. fire it up and have a working laptop.

 

If you take the time and read the thread which I linked above, I really do not know what is wrong with the laptop. There does not appear to be any activity on the screen, no BIOS, no HP or Windows emblems, no distortion or anything at this point. The screen is dead black. The laptop does fire up though, the fan runs and several LEDs light up, as outlined in that thread. I do not know what is wrong with this laptop but I can hook up an external screen to it via HDMI and work on it that way, but still nothing is seen on an external screen. Maybe it has a bad BIOS, maybe a bad GPU, maybe a bad screen, or anything else could be wrong with this darn thing. 

 

So my question is, is this a feasible plan or is it just a crazy idea? If it is feasible, what tools and or other equipment do I need to carry this plan out? Should I just through the laptop away? 

 

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

 

Rocky Bennett


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#2 pcpunk

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 02:29 PM

I'm no computer tech Rocky, but it seems as though you damaged the BIOS right?  Without that you are...well you know.  And, that the screen might be damaged is not good.  I don't think linux is the answer here.  You will need at least a BIOS and a screen to run linux right?


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#3 NickAu

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 03:47 PM

 

A. remove the hard drive from a dead laptop,

 

B. somehow hook the hard drive up to my table top PC,

 

C. wipe the hard drive clean,

 

D. Install Linux on the laptop's hard drive,

 

E. re-install the hard drive back into the laptop, and

 

F. fire it up and have a working laptop.

 

Yes you can Rocky,

 

To make it easier try puppy linux its a small download and only take a few minutes to install.

http://puppylinux.org/main/Download%20Latest%20Release.htm


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#4 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 03:52 PM

Thank you for the reply. I am not sure that I damaged the BIOS, the chances are maybe 50/50 that the BIOS is damaged. As far as the screen goes, this laptop does not have to be portable when the project is over. I have an extra screen that I can use permanently for this laptop. The real thing is that when I bought the laptop originally for my Daughter, it only had Windows 8. She "added" Windows 8.1 herself, layered on top of Windows 8, and then she layered Windows 10 on top of that. I am thinking that maybe the screen might just be a device manager problem, or even a GPU device manager problem. My thinking with the Linux route was to try to actually pin point the real issue by getting a brand new OS in the darn laptop that is not all gunked up.

 

Maybe it was a far fetched idea.


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#5 MadmanRB

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 04:04 PM

More then likely you cant do it, if the BIOS is dead so is the motherboard... so yeah your laptop is screwed, sorry.


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#6 pcpunk

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 04:08 PM

Give it a try Rocky, I was thinking the same about the Screen, but, if you can't change to boot order to boot from DVD then I don't think this is going to work.  Hopefully the boot order is already set to boot from other than the HDD.  If it is then maybe you can even fix the BIOS somehow?


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#7 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 04:29 PM

Thanks guys. I will definitely consider all of my options with this little problem.


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#8 leithanne

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 08:37 PM

After you remove the HDD and burn Puppy, the laptop should boot from the Puppy DVD, if it's able to boot at all. Chances are the DVD drive is the second boot device, though it should always be the first, IMO.



#9 NickAu

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 08:39 PM

 

After you remove the HDD and burn Puppy, the laptop should boot from the Puppy DVD, if it's able to boot at all. Chances are the DVD drive is the second boot device, though it should always be the first, IMO.

+1 That may also work. Its worth a shot.


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#10 wizardfromoz

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 02:56 AM

Hi Rocky Bennett

 

There may still be some hardware solutions you have not tried.

 

I googled up "LED on the caps lock button blinks" and found two of interest, unless you have already tried them.

 

http://h20564.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=emr_na-c01732674

 

and, in particular

 

http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-Lockups-Freezes-Hangs/Laptop-Won-t-Boot-Caps-Lock-Button-Light-Blinking/td-p/1300161

 

Note that the latter has a number of individual threads contained, each of them with a number of pages, so it might be a lot of reading. Don't be daunted by some of the 2012 dates at the front page, as a number of them go through to 2015.

 

Good luck, and 4M Linux is an alternative to Puppy, in terms of running diagnostic checks, antivirus, &c - may be a little easier on the learning curve.

 

BTW - I read both your posts before posting, so hope I have understood all. Seems like one of the issues may be how many times/for how long the caps lock button blinks, &c.

 

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#11 paul88ks

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 02:57 AM

I am a little unclear on your issue-

 

1.Will the laptop boot into the BIOS screen on the laptop display?Does the alternate monitor light up ,or is there no signal at all?

2.If you can boot into the BIOS,you can use a .ISO image of any Linux distro to wipe the hard drive during installation.

3.If you cannot get a signal from your laptop display,or your remote monitor display,then your Motherboard is dead. In that case,it would be cheaper to buy a newer laptop-



#12 paul88ks

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 02:59 AM

 

More then likely you cant do it, if the BIOS is dead so is the motherboard... so yeah your laptop is screwed, sorry.

If this is your issue- then Madman is right- sorry about that!



#13 RolandJS

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 05:26 AM

Rocky, I tried similar things with a desktop long long ago.  If ya wanna try a few things without spending monies, go ahead.  Just don't pour any good monies after bad monies if laptop doesn't come back from the dead.  Maybe it can star in a new series:  The Posting/Booting Dead.


Edited by RolandJS, 02 November 2015 - 05:27 AM.

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#14 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 09:19 AM

Hi Rocky Bennett

 

There may still be some hardware solutions you have not tried.

 

I googled up "LED on the caps lock button blinks" and found two of interest, unless you have already tried them.

 

http://h20564.www2.hp.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=emr_na-c01732674

 

and, in particular

 

http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-Lockups-Freezes-Hangs/Laptop-Won-t-Boot-Caps-Lock-Button-Light-Blinking/td-p/1300161

 

Note that the latter has a number of individual threads contained, each of them with a number of pages, so it might be a lot of reading. Don't be daunted by some of the 2012 dates at the front page, as a number of them go through to 2015.

 

Good luck, and 4M Linux is an alternative to Puppy, in terms of running diagnostic checks, antivirus, &c - may be a little easier on the learning curve.

 

BTW - I read both your posts before posting, so hope I have understood all. Seems like one of the issues may be how many times/for how long the caps lock button blinks, &c.

 

:wizardball: Wizard

 

 

 

Wow, wow, wow. Thank you, I am definitely going to try some of the things and I will post back my results. Thanks again.


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#15 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 09:21 AM

I am a little unclear on your issue-

 

1.Will the laptop boot into the BIOS screen on the laptop display?Does the alternate monitor light up ,or is there no signal at all?

2.If you can boot into the BIOS,you can use a .ISO image of any Linux distro to wipe the hard drive during installation.

3.If you cannot get a signal from your laptop display,or your remote monitor display,then your Motherboard is dead. In that case,it would be cheaper to buy a newer laptop-

 

1. There is no signal at all.

2. Yes, I have the ISO burned of Linux Mint.

3. I am not sure if this laptop was ever dropped or not, so I do not know the physical state of the hardware. 


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