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Need help diagnosing Acer Aspire 1640 issue

Acer System Aspire 1640 laptop
Intel Pentium M processor 1.60 GHz
1.99GB Ram
Dual core
Running Win XP

I've been using this laptop heavily since I bought it a few years ago and it never had an issue other than the original hard drive threatening to fail last year, which I resolved by replacing it with a new one.

However, a few months ago, I noticed that it wouldn't hold a wifi connection solidly where it had before, even up to the weeks previous. I could no longer upload files like video to video sites, and IM programs would sign out whenever the connection would 'stutter' and sign back on.

My old desktop with a wireless adaptor that wasn't nearly as good as the built in wifi of the laptop will hold the same connection with no problem at all, so I deduced that the issue was with the laptop itself.

Also, sometimes when I went to put the laptop into hibernate or standby, it simply wouldn't shut down power, and sometimes it did this even when trying to completely shut down the system. Pushing the power button always works, however.

Then, it started having trouble loading WinXP....it would open to the Acer screen, but it would hang there. Hitting the power button and trying again would make it start over and eventually it would load, but sometimes it took several tries. Usually no more than three tries would do it.

One day, after having trouble loading, the new hardware wizard came on and it looked to be installing the processor(s). That was a little scary.

So, in order to see if the issue was hardware or software related, I cloned the hard drive to a secondary location and returned the laptop to factory specs.

Well, it's still doing these things, other than the new hardware wizard coming up by itself, so I'm thinking it's a hardware issue, but I really don't know what I need to replace.

Any help would be welcomed and appreciated.

Thanks.

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Try the usuals.

In reply to: Need help diagnosing Acer Aspire 1640 issue

In our network forum we offer advice to leave SSID broadcasting, WPA security, latest router firmware and all settings stock save what we must change.

If you have all that under control then put a slightly better antenna on the router, remove all old portable phones from the residence and retest.

Worst case? Try some usb or PC card wifi.
Bob

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re:try the usuals

In reply to: Try the usuals.

I don't know what the problem is, but your response made absolutely no sense to me...lol

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That's the problem.

In reply to: re:try the usuals

When we dive into wifi discussions there are settings we need to check into. In your case if you can't tell me if your router is using WPA then I have to wait for you to catch up.

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re:

In reply to: That's the problem.

No router.

The problem exists with whatever connection the wifi connects to. I've tried it at several locations. I was only giving that one connection as an example of the desktop working where the laptop suddenly did not, and as a connection that had previously worked before.

Also, I don't see how that would affect the start up and shut down problems of the laptop which began occurring at the same time.

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What connection is yours to setup?

In reply to: re:

If you are using free wifi then we have an issue with software that hijacks or purposely interferes with people's connections.

We may not have a solid fix for that so all that's left is to try another wifi usb card or pc-card.
Bob

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re: re

In reply to: What connection is yours to setup?

It happens on any connection, free public, just a roaming connection, or the connection at my mother's house.

I never thought the issue was the wifi after the other things started malfunctioning, and I was looking to see if the wifi thing wasn't just a symptom of the problem.

I'm not sure how a faulty built-in wifi adaptor could affect start up and shut down of WinXP.

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Do try the old scans for spyware.

In reply to: re: re

Hijacked winsocks and more can affect that shutdown. Let me be blunt since we can't control the wifi sources.

1. Scan with this -> http://www.malwarebytes.org/mbam.php
It's free and is what I'm using now.

2. After all that it finds is removed, retest. If it fails, do this -> http://support.microsoft.com/kb/299357
Retest and if it fails...

3. Head to acer and find motherboard drivers and install those.

After this we have to reload the entire OS given your replies above.
Bob

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re:again

In reply to: Do try the old scans for spyware.

Allow me to reiterate: I completely returned the computer to original factory specs. It had the effect of reformatting the hard drive. That means there was no spyware, etc. involved. There was nothing installed that wasn't on the original installation file.

I don't believe this is a wifi issue.

Also, I neglected to mention that when all this began to occur, the laptop seemed to be getting far too hot, leading me suspect that a fan went faulty and that it could have done some damage.

I can't believe I forgot that part. It's been a LONG few weeks for me. Sorry.

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So tell me about your cleaning method?

In reply to: re:again

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good video

In reply to: So tell me about your cleaning method?

I did try cleaning it out, but that video was a bit more informative as to how. I tend to try to err on the side of caution when opening up a computer, so I wasn't nearly as thorough as that.

I will definitely try that next.

I was wondering if a processor starting to go bad, perhaps due to excessive heat or simply overuse, could display some of the symptoms I described.

I would like to cover as many bases as possible in the event that steps taken don't resolve the issue.

I can't afford a new laptop at this time, and I'd like to be able to salvage this one if possible. I'm using it to post in all these discussions, so I sort of feel where there's life, there's hope...lol

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Remember that

In reply to: good video

A trip to a repair shop is usually fatal. Not that they can't fix it but the costs are usually better than 1/2 a cheap laptop. Sometimes more.

This is why I note my cheap fix. Try cleaning it proper, and then beg, borrow USB or PC card wifi...

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I know

In reply to: Remember that

I have yet to take a computer to a repair shop. I usually use my mad google fu skillz and figure out how to make the repairs myself. I own all the tools that are required for such undertakings.

Hence, my post here on CNet...lol

This is my first real laptop, however, and it's not as straightforward as a desktop PC would be. Fortunately, this particular model is very wide and the parts aren't stacked upon each other, making replacement of some parts something other than the nightmare it could be in more compact models.

Also, I'm not entirely familiar with every issue that can go wrong on a computer, laptop or otherwise, so I quest for assistance from those more knowledgable than myself.

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Just a FYI

In reply to: Need help diagnosing Acer Aspire 1640 issue

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Same laptop, same wifi issue

In reply to: Just a FYI

Hey gents,

I have a laptop on my hands, also an Acer Aspire 1640, and after formatting the drive and re-installing windows xp, I am experiencing the same wifi issues as mentioned already in this forum...

I am using a Dell wireless router, which works perfectly fine with obsolutely no issues on my Thinkpad R60....

I have basically ruled out the router itself (also tried power cycling it and the modem as an initial check)...

I'm starting to think that there may be an underlying driver issue and/or a BIOS issue causing this...I am unable to find much of anything but this forum about it on the net...

I was wondering if you were able to get to the bottom of this issue?

This laptop is not mine, I am fixing it for a friend...had many bad sectors and needed a new HD, which of course entailed the need to install a fresh copy of XP, causing this.

Cheers,

Mike

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Duh not Dell

In reply to: Same laptop, same wifi issue

Ahhh...been a long day...I meant Dlink router, not a Dell :S

Time for bed Happy

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I have a dell router.

In reply to: Same laptop, same wifi issue

It's nice to carry with me on trips.

-> You are more than welcome to try drivers and more but I learned last year to forget about that, get a 20 buck PC-Card and fix the issue.

There are some that will resist this and lose months trying anything but.
Bob

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