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Is My Laptop Terminally Dead?

Possibly relevant facts:
1. I rarely turn my laptop off; I tend to hibernate it.
2. Around 5 months ago I began toting it around frequently in my backpack
3. I have an Inspiron 1150 running XP Pro. It is around 3 years old.

Very Relevant facts:
Monday morning when I turned it on from hibernating, it started up and then suddenly blacked out with a click. There was a bit of stirring underneath (it sounded like it was the optical drive, though, weirdly enough.)

The only LED on the front was the power light.

I reset it and it started up OK and worked fine. I put it into hibernate again at the end of the day.

Today (Tuesday) the same exact thing happened. Again, I reset it and it worked fine. Then I put it into hibernate.

A few hours later I tried to turn it on again. It started up, but this time only got until the "enter password" screen before it blanked out. It did this twice more, and then refused to start up at all.

When I press the power button the fan starts and the power light goes on, but nothing shows on the screen. (The lights are on but nobody is home.)

Is this a hard drive failure? Is there any way to retrieve files at all?

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About retrieving files.

In reply to: Is My Laptop Terminally Dead?

My favorite tool is a notebook drive USB housing. I pull the drive from the dead notebook, put it into the new home and plug it into the new machine to copy files out.

As to the machine it sounds like repairs are needed.


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Any specifics?

In reply to: About retrieving files.

:-D I have my filed backed up, so I'm not panicking yet.

Any idea what repairs need repairing? And what it might cost? I was expecting to replace it next year anyway; I'll just stop eating for a few months and the cost won't be a problem.

Thanks, Bob.

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Sorry. Nothing specific.

In reply to: Any specifics?

It sounds like a dead laptop. Nothing in your post gives a clue that it's any specific part or connection. It could be as simple as it wasn't plugged in and the battery has hit rock bottom but this laptop would have to be seen by a tech and maybe some part swaps to nail which part it is.


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My Guess

In reply to: Is My Laptop Terminally Dead?

is the motherboard died. If it was the hard drive you would get some sort of error from the bios, so its not that. And even if the motherboard dies lights and fans can still power up because there is still electricity running through the board. This recently happened with my desktop, accept with the desktop, my brothers Creative Zen Microphoto being plugged into the USB port was enough to kill it. But other than the cause, your description of your computer's behavior is exactly that of my desktop after the motherboard died.

One thing you can try to confirm this is to remove the RAM from your laptop and start it and see if your can hear any error beeps from the bios. If you can then its not your motherboard.

I would still get it looked at just to be sure, but if it does turn out to be the motherboard its going to be best to buy a new laptop, and get an laptop HDD enclosure to put your old drive in so you can still access those files.

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A Virus?

In reply to: My Guess

I spoke to a technician over the phone. He asked if my virus/spyware definitions were up to date.
Some aren't - the update files have been coming in corrupt on Ad-Aware and AVG anti-spyware. AVG Virus Scan is OK, though, I think.
I never got around to looking into fixing the problem.

He said a virus was shutting me down before I begin and that I need to reformat and reinstall the OS.

Before I do anything drastic, does that make any sense?

He never seemed to consider hardware at all.

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Dying after start up?

In reply to: My Guess

jmhal - your computer would initially startup and then die?

If I removed the RAM, wouldn't it beep during the initial startup, before it has time to die?

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Now an error message:

In reply to: Dying after start up?

Now when I try to boot up I get:
c000021a {Fatal System Error}
0xC000000510x00000000 0x00000000
The system has been shut down

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In reply to: Now an error message:

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Thanks -

In reply to: Howlleo

Will attempt. :-/ Hope I can make sense of that stuff.

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Fatal System Error

In reply to: Now an error message:

That sounds like a pretty deep wound in your NT Loader. If I were you I would back it up as a slave on another system and give it the nuke and reload windows.

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Dying after startup

In reply to: Dying after start up?

I had one come in that was doing that and i found that the CPU cooling unit was going bad causing the CPU to overheat and the system would shut down. Just a thought.

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Typically if it was a hard drive error

In reply to: Is My Laptop Terminally Dead?

you would get an error like No OS found because the disk with the OS is gone. If you don't see anything on the screen its something different.

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It's dead

In reply to: Typically if it was a hard drive error

Well, I tried repairing and then clean installing the OS. Three tries and it conked out in middle of all three. I'm guessing hardware. :-D

Time to go shopping.

Thank you all for your help.

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