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Problem Solving on a Laptop

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi All

I generally do repairs, fixes for mates computers. However one of my mates gave me his laptop which is playing up. I sadly don't have much experience on laptops so I'd thought I'd run through what the problem is and what I am doing, in the hope that those more versed in laptops could help me out with anything I've missed.

The Problem:
Basically start up. He runs Win7 64bit Home, I have managed to get into Windows perhaps twice since I started looking at it. Generally speaking it crashes during boot, (around the first black windows loading screen). More often than not it will then go into system recovery (which is in itself odd for me, it must be a laptop thing right).

What I have done so far:
- First thing I did was run Chkdsk, no errors - Didn't solve the problem.
- Using my Win7 DVD I ran Bootsect to fix the MBR - Didn't solve the problem.
- Used System Restore to an earlier point - Didn't solve the problem.
- Finally used the Dell backup factory restore. - Didn't solve the problem.

The result of the above lead me to believe that it was hardware related, as anything software/data corruption should have been solved by the above correct? I would love to do a full proper format and re-install myself, but unfortunately there is no Win7 cdkey sticker on the laptop (I thought this was the law? Is it different with laptops?)

So I am starting to test the components. I started last night with memtest86. I checked it this morning before going to work, 30 tests run, no errors so I think we can tick that off.

I have ultimate boot disk somewhere, so I'll start some HDD diagnostics when I get home tonight.

So yeah. Any pointers, anything you guys might try/investigate next?

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 21

Sv: Problem Solving on a Laptop

Can you do something as simple as take the hdd out, plug it into a pc and attempt pt to boot from there, i know there will be driver issues and all that, but still worth a shot.
Can it boot into safe mode?
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post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Tried safemode boot. Same thing really.

it usually hangs on this screen (but after the bar is full)



After it hangs there for awhile, it will generally either come up with this screen:



Or just go straight to the recovery tools (though it might be going there through a time out of the above screen, I don't usually sit there watching it all the time lol).

---

This is where my skills are lacking, how hard is it to take out HDD from laptops? I would fully try this if I knew what I was doing.
post #4 of 21
as above.. either use seatools on the laptop and boot off the cd or connect the laptop hdd to a pc and do it (through dos or windows).

alternatively, extract the key from the laptop hdd and you can reinstall windows.

good luck.
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post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yeah I'll be trying seatools tonight.

Will also try remove the hdd as well.

I'm fairly sure its a hardware issue, since the factory restore should have solved any data issues, especially since the HDD is formatted as part of the factory restore. Also getting drivers for laptops can be a pain I believe.
post #6 of 21
no harder than any other drivers
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post #7 of 21
If it's any kind of hardware issue it will be an HDD problem. You might want to run memtest though if it has 2 sticks of ram. I've seen occasions where a user added a second stick after the fact and they didn't sync quite right. That's a long shot though. You might try wiping it with DBAN to truly clear the master boot record. This assumes you have an install CD for Windows/Office/whatever and his product keys. If/when all that fails, I'd recommend an SSD to replace the failed unit. Then he at least gets something positive out of all this.
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post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yeah I've run memtest, no errors so its not ram related.

I have a Win7 64bit Home DVD, but the problem is that I don't know his product key, there is no sticker on the case as there is normally with desktops.
post #9 of 21
extract (using software, eg. ProduKey) the key from the laptop hdd and you can reinstall windows.
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be quiet!
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post #10 of 21

As a fellow repair-person, I'd say it's the HDD. Did he (or you) experience any click of death?

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