Laptops forum


Laptop locks up - very random...

by tech_ninja_81 / March 15, 2012 12:44 AM PDT

A friend brought me his laptop because it was really freaking out. I booted it up, looked for 5 minutes and decided to re-image. But, it was running so poorly & locking up so I had to pull the hard drive & back it up via a USB adapter.

Anyway, in the process of re-installing I noticed the machine will go into a hard lock at any random time, including during POST and while tinkering with BIOS. I thought the keyboard/mouse were freaking out, but it does the same with an external.

These locks will occasionally clear after 5-10 seconds or last for several minutes. And sometimes they won't clear at all. I usually give it about 15 minutes then hard boot.

Since it is doing this in POST and BIOS, while installing Windows XP, and at any given time under any circumstance, I am positive it is hardware related. It usually occurs independent of temperature, but prior to re-imaging he had a process that kept the processor pegged at 100%, so I know it was getting hot. However, it is locking up on POST during a cold boot (off overnight).

My question is, how would I determine if this is related to processor, mobo, RAM or HDD without replacing them randomly and seeing if the problem goes away?


The laptop is a Compaq nc6220 with 512MB RAM and a 40 gig HDD. I know it is old, but my buddy can't afford a new laptop, and he only needs it for internet/email. I am kind of fixing this one pro-bono.

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All Answers

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Since it locks and comes back, why not consider it working?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 16, 2012 9:42 AM PDT

The ONLY advice I can offer is to unplug ALL USB things because we know that many machines will lock on boot or do odd delays when USB is plugged in.

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Don't beat a dead horse
by Willy / March 16, 2012 10:36 AM PDT

Let's be clear, that due to wear&tear on a PC, that aging will become evident. Unless, you replace with new parts or tested good parts, don't expect a PC to last forever. The laptop in question just may have reached the end of useful life. The fact that it falters so quickly during a cold boot, etc. suggests h/w. You have to tear it down and inspect everything if only to do a 100% cleaning task in the innards. If this laptop has been running under stressful heat conditions, some electronics are starting to bite the dust or will. Sorry, but only a bench testing of this or that and after a cleaning will tell. It maybe time to buy a newer used laptop and go on. I'm sure if $ spend on that laptop could be used for a newer, yet used laptop. Also, you may want to repaste the cpu and heatsink as well. Make darn sure all fans are working, etc.. Then decide after all is done what if it falters still wanting to keep it. If you check Craigslist and eBay, look for a similar laptop or better. I have found another source for used laptops.

tada -----Willy Happy

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