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Thread: problems booting up, possible causes?

  1. #1 problems booting up, possible causes? 
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    Howdy,
    I have an IBM ThinkPad laptop (about 7-ish years old). Within the past two weeks, I've had a 'dandy' time trying to get it to boot up. Here are the symptoms:

    It will eventually boot up (and run fine) but it takes many many attempts (possibly as high as 40-50 tries, maybe more...).

    When it finally boots up correctly, I can hear the fan running and the screen outputs all the normal stuff.

    When it doesn't want to boot up, the little lights turn on, but I don't hear the fan. I then have to hold the power button until it turns off and try again.

    Sometimes the fan turns on, but it still won't boot up (this happens maybe twice during the entire process of attempts to boot up). I then have to turn it off and try again.

    Occasionally, it acts like it's going to boot up fine, the screen starts to light up like normal, but then I get the message
    BIOS V3.3
    0130688kb Memory Good
    060. CPU BIOS Update Code Mismatch
    ACRC8000-I13-010921-V1.00W EN
    and I have to power down and try again.

    When the computer is running fine, I can, instead of shutting down, choose "restart the computer," and it will shut down and restart with no problems (this is how I have to switch between Linux and Windows since this problem occured by the way...).



    My hunch is that it's a hardware problem, but that's as far as I can guess.

    Do any of you have any ideas of what's happening, ways to test for the problem, and possibly how to fix the problem?

    Much thanks,
    william


    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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  3. #2  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    has any software been added recently, or has Windows or your antivirus had any recent updates ? have you checked for spyware or any other malware ?

    if all that draws a blank, then i'd concur that it's likely to be a hardware problem, presumably the fan or cooling system - it's up to you to decide whether you want to have it repaired or replaced


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  4. #3  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    Seems like I add software all the time. Haven't updated my antivirus in a while... don't have any spyware checker...!

    So I certainly could be a target for malicious software, but...

    I have my hard drive partitioned with Linux on one and Windows 2000 on the other. I've had tons of virus' before and have reformatted my hard drive and reloaded everything at least 3 times. But the virus' always affected Windows and not Linux. So I could always still use Linux in the past.

    Plus, my current problem occurs before the computer is fully powered up. I could see the cause being a virus etc. if problems happen after Windows started to load, but currently, the problem occurs before I'm even given the chance to choose between Windows and Linux. Basically, the problem happens just after I hit the power button. This makes me think it's a hardware problem.

    Since I think it's a hardware problem I may as well ask this; can a virus affect the hardware? I always assumed malicious programs could only mess with the software....

    Thanks,
    william
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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  5. #4  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by william
    Since I think it's a hardware problem I may as well ask this; can a virus affect the hardware?
    not as far as i'm aware

    however, the reverse can be true : at one time a failing video card made it look like my PC was infected, but that was after boot-up
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  6. #5  
    Cooking Something Good MacGyver1968's Avatar
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    I work on quite a few think pads at work, and that sounds like the fan is starting to die...and it's heating up and shutting down, and if the fan's bearings are shot, and it won't turn, the computer shouldn't boot..... or the motherboard could be going wonky (technical term).
    If it's 7 years old....that's like owning a 15 year old dog...you know she ain't gonna be around much longer. I wouldn't doubt a fan problem. If it's a motherboard issue...its totaled. Thinkpads aren't very "tech friendly" and you have to be careful taking them apart. The plastics break easy. You might be lucky and it's just clogged with dust and you can blow it out with some canned air.

    If you need to change the motherboard, It would be cheaper to buy another similar computer on Ebay, than pay for the cost of the repair. If that's the case, here are some other uses for it:

    Door stop

    Boat anchor

    Practice material for the discus throw

    Something to prop under the leg of the wobbly kitchen table

    Excellent substitute for clay pigeons...PULL!....BANG!

    Hopefully it's not those things yet...let us know.

    If you flip it over and look on the bottom, and post the model number, I'll try to pull a service manual for it.
    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    Thanks Mac! Someone else told me that they thought it might be the fan.

    I think this is the model #
    1161-260

    Thanks again!

    Cheers
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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  8. #7  
    Cooking Something Good MacGyver1968's Avatar
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    From what I can tell, the 1161-260 is a part of the iSeries 1200 family. Does it say that anywhere on the machine?

    If it is, here is the service manual for it. It can sorta help you, if you decide to try to open 'er up. Take extra care removing the palm rest...the frame around the keyboard is very thin.

    ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/pc/pccbbs...df/23p0894.pdf

    After taking a quick glance at this, it looks like you might only need to remove the keyboard, to get a look-see at the fan. Thats not too tricky. If you gain access to the fan, turn it manually to see if it's bearings are ok. If it turns with resistance, you can try to macgyver it back to life with a shot of denatured alcohol, or dw-40, to the center of the fan, which will clean out any junk..like spillage. If the bearings are too far gone, you might be able to replace it.

    Just tell me what's up, and I'll try to walk you through it.
    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    It is of the iSeries family. It says "Type 1161" on the bottom, but that's all I can see.

    I keep forgetting to bring my small phillips head screwdriver and my MacGyver Swiss army knife's phillips is too large.

    If I spin the fan with a toothpick through the ventilation grid it seems not to be frozen up. But that doesn't mean it's fine of course....

    Thanks a million for the manual and help. I'll update you when I get it apart.

    Cheers,
    william
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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  10. #9  
    Cooking Something Good MacGyver1968's Avatar
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    If you find the fan is ok...then go to this site and download a program I use to test computers at work.

    http://www.passmark.com/download/bit_download.htm

    Select "burn-in pro" download and install.

    After installing, before you run a test...there's a couple of things to do.

    Mute your speakers...it will test the audio and it's very annoying

    Disable test of the floppy (if you have one) and cd-rom drives, they aren't your problem, and if you don't, the program will ask you to put a disk in each drive.

    This program will test all of the aspects of your computer at one time....taxing it to the limit. If there's a problem with the motherboard, hopefully it will find it. This evaluation copy will run a test for 15 min. If it passes the first time....run it 2 or 3 times after that.

    Let me know the outcome,

    Mac
    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Ph.D. Wolf's Avatar
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    I have a suggestion.

    Use it to play BOLO, or toss it.

    7-years is a long time for a laptop. Poor fella's probably trying to kick it, and you keep hitting the on button! Cruel person, you! :wink:

    On a more serious note...

    I'm a little skeptical that the fan could be your sole problem. Old laptops did produce a lot of heat, but not usually enough during boot to kill a machine. Not unless they're insanely dirty. Which brings me to my first suggestion: clean it! Inside and out! Blast the vents and everything with a can-o-air.

    Second, make sure all yer components are properly seated. This requires some mechanical knowledge and violence, but it's entirely possible that something's wiggled its way loose to a shoddy point of functionality.

    Lastly, once you do get it booted, backup all yer stuff and then reformat the sucker. The OS probably needs a good resurrection, and since you mentioned you don't have any virus protection, I'd be willing to bet there's, oh....300+ things that shouldn't be there.

    And yes, viruses can effect your hardware.

    Have fun!
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  12. #11  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    And yes, viruses can effect your hardware.

    Good stuff Wolf!

    Say, I was wondering about what you said above...
    how can a virus affect the hardware? I don't doubt it... just curious as to how exactly it does it.

    Thanks
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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  13. #12  
    Forum Ph.D. Wolf's Avatar
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    Most of your hardware is controlled by localized software (such as the motherboard chipset, CPU controller, PCI-E controller, etc).

    Since most of these components can be accessed by your computer, it is possible for them to be infected. You can find yourself with a corrupted BIOS set, a boot-sector virus, CPU-virus, and more. These attacks are usually very rare, though. It's much easier to infect software and OS's than the main system itself. Remember, many viruses want something. Either they're trojans that give others access, they destroy data, copy it, or do fun things like turn your machine into a zombie (spam server). You can't do these things if you kill the machine.
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  14. #13  
    Forum Ph.D. william's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver1968
    If you find the fan is ok...then go to this site and download a program I use to test computers at work.

    http://www.passmark.com/download/bit_download.htm

    Select "burn-in pro" download and install.

    After installing, before you run a test...there's a couple of things to do.

    Mute your speakers...it will test the audio and it's very annoying

    Disable test of the floppy (if you have one) and cd-rom drives, they aren't your problem, and if you don't, the program will ask you to put a disk in each drive.

    This program will test all of the aspects of your computer at one time....taxing it to the limit. If there's a problem with the motherboard, hopefully it will find it. This evaluation copy will run a test for 15 min. If it passes the first time....run it 2 or 3 times after that.

    Let me know the outcome,

    Mac

    Hi Mac,
    Okay, I ran that program 4 or 5 times and my computer "passed" each time (good program by the way...).

    So I guess I'll take it apart, clean it, and examine it for any loose connections....

    Thanks,
    william
    "... the polhode rolls without slipping on the herpolhode lying in the invariable plane."
    ~Footnote in Goldstein's Mechanics, 3rd ed. p. 202
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