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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    A laptop that works like an etch-a-sketch (you'll like this)

    Today's faulty laptop is interesting because it needs to be 'cleared' like an etch-a-sketch from time to time ;)

    It's an oldish (2005) HP laptop running XP - it's been fine for years but it's recently started freezing/stuttering/slowing and generally 'not working well'.

    I started-off thinking it just needed a good clean-up and maybe a new HDD (with 500 power-on-days it probably does but it tests OK!) but the first hour-or-so I used it, it was fine - clean - not really needing my attention at all.

    So I put it back in the bag for a while - when I got it back out it was playing-up/freezing/stopping/keyboard and pad not responding - USB devices not powered etc. etc.

    Thing is tho - when you move it - it starts responding again isntantly - but then after a while it stops again!

    Shake it, starts responding again and so on.

    Never crashes -no BSODS - no disk errors - not a loose connection or electrical issue - they would crash it.

    Scratched my head for a while - disconnected everything I could easily access (wifi, bluetooth, extra memory, hdd, dvd) to see if it was a faulty device - nothing helped.

    Then the thought hit me...

    These HPs have a '3D Drive Guard' system - an accelerometer on the mobo which sleeps the HDD (and thus the PC) if it detects sudden movement. 10 says it's sticking/faulty and triggering at random - I checked the BIOS and there's not an option to disable it so I just disabled the hardware for it in the Device Manager instead - and removed the software app for good measure.

    So far, so good - but it could be a day-or-2 before I'll know if I've actually fixed it - if not, the owner gets to give it the etch-a-sketch treatment until it dies :)

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    That's a pretty cool story.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    p.s. there is an inadvertent downside to this tale too, as the owner just called me to check something

    In amongst the other chat I told him "as this is an 8-year-old machine, it's obviously getting a bit long-in-the-tooth and it could easily have something loose/about to break"

    "My wife bought me this brand-new 2 or 3 Christmases ago".

    "Ah"

    "Why do you think it's 8 years old"

    "ROM Date, Battery Manuf. Date, Build Sticker "Property of Hewlett Packard" sticker and Warranty details (on the HP website) all say 2005.

    I think I've caused a domestic.
    Last edited by trjp; 11-08-2013 at 09:58 PM.

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    I think I've caused a domestic.
    Helpdesks, we don't know what we did ;)

  5. #5
    Network Hub Jambe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    These HPs have a '3D Drive Guard' system - an accelerometer on the mobo which sleeps the HDD (and thus the PC) if it detects sudden movement.
    Huh, that's cool. Is it like a MEMS package or something?

    Nice thinking to get that fixed! The helpdesk sitcom event was classic. Heh.
    Is not a leg.
    Frobnitz Ichor Liquor purveyors don't need compasses to tell which way the moon sounds.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Well it's still working but whether it was disabling the accelerometer or just blind-luck that it's been 'shaken just right' we'll never know for sure - the software wasn't actually installed properly so it shouldn't have been able to 'pause' Windows anyway (but half-installed software could easily have been as much part of the problem I guess).

    These sensors aren't uncommon - esp on business-focussed laptops. My Thinkpad (X200) has one - my old HP NC2400 has one - it's just an accelerometer on the MOBO and a driver which, when alerted by the sensor, parks the HDD heads so that when the laptop hits whatever it's falling towards - they're not on the surface of the disk.

    In reality, how often do you move your laptop when it's working tho?

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