View Full Version : Diagnosis Laptop

05-09-2012, 11:30 AM
In this series, our intrepid laptop repair man seeks confirmation that the laptops he thinks "might be" knackered are actually knackered - with the help of our studio audience!

Episode 42 - Lenovo G555

It's been on the show before this one, the owner said it was "shutting down randomly" which was diagnosed as a knackered power supply (cable broken through abuse) which meant it was charging intermittently if at all and the owner had been ignoring the BATTERY LOW warnings (and someone had disabled sleep and hibernation mode - DAN DAN DANNNN!!)

Choosing not to buy a new power supply was a mistake for this owner for sure tho, as now the screen has gone off!!

Our intrepid repair man has shone a light into the screen to confirm it's not just the backlight - and checked the inverter (single connection so CCFL!?) is OK anyway.

Things take a turn for the worse when it's plugged into a monitor and that produces the sum total of nothing either.

Removing the HDD, battery, CD, memory and removing and reseating all the connectors inside makes for a dull bit between the 2nd and 3rd run of ads...

HDD replace, the laptop doesn't respond to FN keys like 'sleep' and 'Switch Wifi' even if left for eons, which suggests Windows may not even be starting up - tho as we fade to the credits, there is some HDD activity...

So it's upto you now, studio audience, is it terminally knackered or has our repair man simple missed something in the vital evidence presented in this week's episode.


Calls made in any way will be charged to Ant and Dec's Personal Cocaine Fund.

Catch-up later with Diagnosis Laptop LIVE!


06-09-2012, 08:14 PM
So, reading between the TV show styling... there was an intermittent charging/PSU issue... which you haven't done anything about, and now you're not sure if this remains the only source of the issue... be it another/additional type on knackered... or still the same kind of knackered?

Do you know if it POSTs? If you pull the RAM out do you get a beep when you try and fire it up?

When you say HDD activity, is it actually accessing date or just spinning up?

06-09-2012, 09:12 PM
there was an intermittent charging/PSU issue... which you haven't done anything about
Not my laptop - I told them to get a new PSU but they didn't bother and now it's back and deader.

Do you know if it POSTs? If you pull the RAM out do you get a beep when you try and fire it up?

When you say HDD activity, is it actually accessing date or just spinning up?

No beeps - no idea if it's posting but HDD activity (sounds like access to me) continues for a goodly while after power-up which 'suggests' Windows may be running.

Thing is tho, at no point do buttons like 'Sleep' or the Wifi Toggle actually work - which suggests Windows isn't starting-up at all.

I suppose I could pull the HDD (again) and check file update times - might suggest if it's running anything at all - but that won't tell me why the laptop has refused to communicate with the outside world.

I'm assuming it's deader than Elvis - they said it "sometimes comes on" but I've tried at random times over 3 days now and all I get is blackness from the internal and external screens. I warned them that a PSU with a really bad connection could screw their PC and they ignored me and guess what.

The 15 new PSU is now a 350 new laptop...

Spares or repair on eBay then :)

06-09-2012, 09:58 PM
Ah okay, I didn't catch the original thread, I guess the reference to it being an ongoing series should have been a sufficient hint ;)

There could be a few things worth a look. If you bung a CD in, then any 'boot from CD/DVD' BIOS settings should cause the drive to spin up which would suggest the POST has completed. If the gfx chip was dead then you should get a specific BIOS beep to signify just that. Most major failures should result in a BIOS beep, assuming the little internal speaker is working. Sounds like a spare PSU for testing purposes would be worth a stab...


07-09-2012, 04:20 AM
Diagnosis? Deceased.

Sorry, I tried really hard but I couldn't resist.

If it's not showing anything through the VGA/DVI/whatever out, then it suggests the mobo has also died or is in a palliative care ward doped up on ketamine desperately wishing to die. The fact that the HDD is spinning up or clicking may not necessarily mean anything; it could be getting stuck in a loop (i.e. not even properly POSTing) or just doing it because it's fun to pretend. I've seen a similar behaviour with one of my old failing motherboards. It'd start to boot, but wouldn't beep or actually carry out the POST. The HDD would keep clicking away like it was trying to read something, and the HDD LED would flash. Replacing the HDD (I figured it might be a dead HDD) didn't solve the issue... not that I thought it would, HDD checks come later, but I have had a case where a HDD managed to stall POST before it even displayed anything.

If you're not getting the machine to respond to sleep commands etc then Windows probably isn't booting and it's stuck in BIOS as you suggested.

Write it off as user error and laugh about it. It's what I'd do!

16-09-2012, 03:59 PM
I eventually came to the same conclusion - pulling the fan headers off suggested that most of the 'noise' was fan rattle and not the HDD being accessed at all (access dates on the HDD were weeks old).

Running a laptop with a dodgy PSU (wiggling the cable makes it work/not work/work/not work) is foolish - doing so for months is asking for your PC to be smoked...

Eventually I pulled the HDD and memory out and put it into a similar-vintage Toshiba (dead HDD and only 1Gb of RAM) and it booted - fixed all it's driver issues - rebooted - I spent an hour kicking it's network card into life and gave that back to the customer with a smile and a wink (and a bill of course).

p.s. I also spent 2 hours removing a simply epic amount of shitware from the PC - why do people click on every single toolbar/email smiley/download link in the world and wonder why their PC didn't work!? I removed both Norton and AVG only for MSE to find a TONNE of malware they'd been ignoring entirely :)

16-09-2012, 04:56 PM
Yeah... I went there.