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Question

My Vexxing Toshiba Problem...

by cmstache / November 10, 2012 11:20 PM PST

About a week and a half ago my laptop just shut off as if i took out the battery and it wasn't runnin via the wall outlet. It wouldn't even turn on afterwards. I tested the battery which had life in it (about 85%) and the wall charger, which was good. After doing some research I decided I had to replace the Mobo. The problem was seemingly fixed. After about 45 minutes of using the laptop though the screen flickered and came back up with vertical RGB lines and then went black. During that time (about 5 seconds) the sound was frozen. Once the screen went black it started acting normal, just with no picture. I forced a restart (viz the power button) and it was working fine. I decided to just watch it for a bit because I didn't really have anything to ask about symptomwise. Well, it's been a ay and a half and nothing has been wrong, until about an hour ago.

I was surfing chrome and the entire computer froze out of nowhere. No cursor movement, no sound, frozen screen... Had to do a force shutdown by holding the power button again. When I tried to start it back up I got to the splash screen then the computer froze. Since then these things have happened (in no particular order or pattern):

-No Toshiba splash screen
-Computer freezes loading windows (doesn't make it past a blank black screen)
-Compter gets a Black screen of death
-Computer gets a Black screen for about 2-3 seconds then tries to load
-Computer freezes in the Advanced boot menu
-Computer freezes in the BIOS (tried to default them, but didn't even make it that far)
-ONCE it asked to enter start-up repair... and then froze while staring it

The only consistent things that happen are that it freezes after about 10-15 seconds of operation and if I leave it on after it freezes to see if it unfreezes the screen kinda of fades. It looks more "frosty" like 1/2 the pizels just stop working. I can see everything but the coloring is off.

The inconsistency as well as freezing in the BIOS menu i find both vexxing and confusing. I don't mind doing a clean install to out of box state as I learned my lesson years ago about not backing information up, although I don't think it's a software issue. (I've been wrong before.) Also, The fan DOES run while frozen, and I was monitering the temperatures to make sure the thermal compound I placed was done properly. The temperatures weren't very high. It was running at about 45C to 75C (under about 85% load).

Any help would be great. My computer information is as follows:

-Toshiba Satellite L455D-S5976
-Part #: PSLY5U-00Q01T
-Windows 7 32-bit
-AMD Turion X2 processor
-4GB RAM: 2 GB factory from Toshiba (I can check if need be) and 2GB from Crucial

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All Answers

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Answer
Try it with just 2GB.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2012 12:13 AM PST

Also, tell me about your CANNED AIR use. It could be software but I continue to encounter owners that don't own CANNED AIR and some don't know why it's something we use regularly to avoid early machine issues.

As to the software issue, I'd still try it with 2GB. Just in case it's an issue with some machines.

There is another test I use which is to use the LiveCD called UBUNTU. NO INSTALL, runs from CD and lets me test drive the machine around.
Bob

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Tried...
by cmstache / November 11, 2012 12:47 AM PST
In reply to: Try it with just 2GB.

2GB:
It looked like windows would load. As soon as I logged into my user it gave me a black screen. Cursor moves. Only thing on my screen is the On-Screen keyboard (which I forgot/keep forgetting recently to remove on Start-up). I can't click on the keyboard, but it's there. Can't control/alt/del . NOTHING. Just a moving cursor, black screen, and a translucent picture of the keyboard.

I do use canned air from time to time, although I didn't use it on this MoBo because it's pretty much brand new. I don't have ANY experience with UBUNTU so I've never tried it. I DO have a copy of Puppy Linux sitting around here too, but again, little to no experience with it.

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Puppy will be fine. The key is to test the machine.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2012 12:53 AM PST
In reply to: Tried...

It's not that we want to learn Linux. We want to test drive the machine around to sniff out if it's a software issue.

Did you try another account? In windows I keep a spare Admin account for events like this. Boot Safe Mode and try again.
Bob

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I have no account.
by cmstache / November 11, 2012 1:12 AM PST

I only have MY account I use. Occasionally, I come up with a problem and I can access the hidden admin account from safe mode, fix the issue, then disable it again. This was the first time I even made it into windows to access a user account at all. I'll try puppy when I get back from lunch. I'm not 100% sure it's a working copy though. So I may have to find a way to DL onto my GF's Mac and find a way to burn a bootable copy.

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The lesson many folk learn here is
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2012 1:52 AM PST
In reply to: I have no account.

When this happens you need a spare admin account. It makes getting in to correct minor issues a snap. Having no spare admin account does mean we get to reload the OS most of the time.
Bob

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I'll keep that in mind
by cmstache / November 11, 2012 2:44 AM PST

Still working on making a fresh copy of UBUNTU for you though. I'll let you know if it loads or not. I just have a fear that if I try to return it to the out of box state something worse may happen if it freezes. Like I said, it froze after I was trying to get into the BIOS menu. Don't think it bodes well. I hope I'm wrong though, software issues are always favorable to hardware. I'll give you an update when Im done on my end.

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Puppy should be fine too.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2012 3:08 AM PST
In reply to: I'll keep that in mind

It's only so we have another OS to drive the hardware around. We usually get to use the mouse, look at folders and maybe get on the internet. We don't need to know Linux to do that on Puppy or Ubuntu. I mention Ubuntu since there are many tutorials and I can't put tutorials except for really short ones in the forum.
Bob

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Tried UBUTNU
by cmstache / November 11, 2012 3:32 AM PST
In reply to: I'll keep that in mind

with 4 GB RAM:
-Screen went past the Toshiba Splash Screen
-Didn't get to change the boot order, but still tried to boot via CD/DVD-ROM
-Screen turned blackish-purple (which I assume is the standard UBUNTU screen) then froze

While doing the same thing again I was able to go into the BIOS menu to change the boot order. I was able to scroll over 4 times to the boot list before it froze. The upside is that I could see the boot order somehow got changed to CD/DVD ---> FDD ---> LAN ---> HDD.

It may have been from the new motherboard. I never changed the boot order on it. But, that seems a bit off to be standard. While typing the above paragraph, however, the screen (still in the menu) went black and the only thing I could see well is the selected option, which is bright white. And after about 1 more minute the entire screen went black.

with 2GB RAM

-Splash Screen shows
-Plain Black screen with a cursor appears
-Screen goes blank and freezes

Tried it afterwards and wouldn't even get to the Splash Screen.

Put it back to 4 GB RAM and it went to the splash screen followed by a black screen of death. Then a freeze again.

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That's a big step forward.
by Kees_B Forum moderator / November 11, 2012 3:36 AM PST
In reply to: Tried UBUTNU

Now you now it's a motherboard, CPU or RAM error. Can happen with a new motherboard.
I'd start with memtest86 to check the RAM. That's cheap (free) and easy. Trying another CPU or another motherboard is much more cumbersome.

Kees

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memtest86
by cmstache / November 11, 2012 3:42 AM PST

How am I supposed to test the RAM when I can't type anything before it freezes. A motherboard would make sense to me. It's factory refurbished, so it's probably under warrantee since I've had it less than a week. I also have the AMD Sempron chip that the laptop came with sitting around to try too. But as you said, that's a pain (but still cost effective). If it was a CPU thing though I'd think it wouldn't even make it to the Splash Screen showing the CPU installed.

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As far as I remember ...
by Kees_B Forum moderator / November 11, 2012 3:48 AM PST
In reply to: memtest86

memtest just starts without you typing anything. If it doesn't it's one more indication for a bad motherboard.

Kees

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It freezes
by cmstache / November 11, 2012 3:57 AM PST

So unless it finished within about 15 seconds of my turning on the computer it's not happening. The inconsistency of everything is what irritates me. I got UBUNTU to at least start to load the first time. It's not gotten that far since. It's making this troubleshooting a nightmare because the symptoms keep changing.

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Re: freezes
by Kees_B Forum moderator / November 11, 2012 4:04 AM PST
In reply to: It freezes

CPU, heat paste and fan OK? That's one of the causes of a sudden freeze, the CPU turning off to protect itself. And without a working CPU, not much happens.

Kees

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Thermal Compound is good
by cmstache / November 11, 2012 4:17 AM PST
In reply to: Try it with just 2GB.

I applied it myself. It was clean and wasn't too much. As I said, I was watching the temperatures for a couple weeks to make sure it was running fine. All looked well. In fact, it got higher as I was playing a game. No issues even happened until afterwards when the CPU was cooler. I went from about 80C (at a high load) down to about 50C when the first issue happened. Fan works well.

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Tested UBUNTU
by cmstache / November 11, 2012 4:46 AM PST

on my roommates laptop (with a crashed HDD). The copy works perfectly (outside of the fact he can't save anything), so it'd definitely something on my laptop's end.

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Keep in mind it's a 278 buck laptop.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2012 5:14 AM PST

I'm amazed you could find a motherboard for much less than replacing the laptop.
Bob

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For 2 bucks more I ordered one of these.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2012 5:26 AM PST
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That's not really an option
by cmstache / November 11, 2012 7:47 AM PST

I'm a college aged guy living on his own. Needless to say, money isn't flooding in. The only reason I was able to afford the motherboard for 100 bucks is because last week was my birthday and I happened to get a little spare cash to be laying around. So even at $250.00 it's out of the question. Thus, is why I'm trying so hard to resurrect this one. A new washer/TV would take priority over a full new laptop.

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IT's about 3 years old...
by cmstache / November 11, 2012 7:42 AM PST

So, was a $445 laptop for me. Happy
I found them online for 99 bucks each. I should be able to just exchange this one and send it back in... if you all agree that it's a hardware issue...

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You've proved it to me.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 11, 2012 7:54 AM PST

Frankly I hope you can get your money back on the board.

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I see no reason that they shouldnt exchange it
by cmstache / November 11, 2012 8:10 AM PST

It has a 90 day Guarantee. Thanks for the help. I appreciate it.

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Answer
New idea. Does not apply to many laptops.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 12, 2012 3:12 AM PST

Since it locks up and given the make/model CPU, is that CPU in a socket that we can swap between boards?

Sorry but I don't see any ready information about the motherboard and CPU to tell but if this was mine, I'd be trying it in a pinch.
Bob

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It's just a screw to swap them.
by cmstache / November 12, 2012 5:21 AM PST

SO it's not hard at all to change them out. It's just a simple matter of turning a screw to unlock it and it practically falls out. Set the new one and turn the screw and it seats it properly for me. As long as they are both in the Griffen family of processors it's ok. The AMD Sempron was 2.1 GHZ. This AMD Turion (The AMD Turion family is designed specifically for laptops.) I have in it is 2.1GHZ, but dual- core. They are only about 40 bucks brand new nowadays, so it was a no brainer for me. I tried it with both processors... neither worked. It's just a pain because every time I change them I have to take apart EVERYTHING on the motherboard and take it out and flip it over to detach the heat sink from the CPU and GPU. Of course, I then have to reapply thermal compound to BOTH. So it's a pain. But, neither of the processors worked.

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Answer
All seems well...
by cmstache / November 20, 2012 2:09 AM PST

I just installed another Mobo (after some anticipated, but not as much as expected, talking to the service reps) that just got sent to me via an exchange all seems well. NO trouble installing RAM or the upgraded CPU. Last time I had to finagle with the two sticks removing and adding till they both worked at the same time. This time it just popped right up like nothing happened. I' m at %18 CPU usage atm (probably a few things starting in the background still) and i'm running at about 45C (the CPU should run a couple degrees hotter than the default one since it's a tad larger and uses a little bit more power, but about 3 degrees isn't anything). Seems decent for me for now. I'll check back in if thing stay well. THANK YOU for your help.

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Answer
New update on my status
by cmstache / November 22, 2012 7:27 AM PST

Looks like the fun isn't over just yet.

Sometimes, (happened twice so far) the laptop freezes. The screen is totally stuck and looks normal except for a few horizontal lines in a few places that are misaligned. If I wanted I could go into a game and make it happen on command (but I'd rather not since I imagine it's not good for the internal health of the laptop), but then I also have to hold down the power button to get it to shut off.

Any theories on a cause?

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