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Laptop USB loses power "permanently" when laptop is moved


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#1
UltraAyla

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First, computer details

Hewlett Packard DV4000 laptop (approx 2 years old)
Windows XP Service Pack 2 with all patches (though I did try removing the microcode update for intel processors to fix this)
Intel Pentium M Processor 1.6 GHz
Motherboard BIOS updated fully (I updated it today to try to fix)
Integrated Intel Graphics
SoundMax Sound
80GB 5400 RPM HDD


Ok, so to preface, last night, my laptop was working fine, and today, a bunch of things are wrong with it. The main issue, which I'm out of ideas for, is that whenever I move my laptop, any USB devices lose power and do not power back on until I reboot the computer. Sometimes I will still need to mess around in my device manager uninstalling various related devices to get it working.

So, when working with a USB mouse, if I move my laptop, it no longer works at all (though the touchpad does). If I move the mouse to another port, it installs and powers on and works - until I move the computer again. Switching back to a previously used port (It has four ports) will not reinstall the mouse properly. I can go into my device manager and uninstall items under the mice/pointing devices section. However, it does nothing. If I then take a look at Human Interface Devices and try to remove those they won't remove and make my computer lock up somewhat (looking in my Task Manager, the "System" process is taking up 99 percent CPU, even after I wait 15 minutes and end the tasks then wait more). It still locks up if I try to remove these first.

The notable thing about looking in the task manager is that there is 3 of anything related to the USB mouse.

Anyway, I have tried other mice with the same effect. If I don't touch my laptop, they go forever, but the moment I move it, they all die. I have also turned off the option for USB root hubs in the device manager that lets it turn off power to devices when not in use (just to make sure).

This computer does not have an accelerometer or anything like it, so I'm sure this isn't a virus. I also see nothing in my BIOS about power management (it's a really simple BIOS though - bah).

Anyway, if anyone has any ideas or followup questions, I'd love to hear them. I know there will probably be questions because I know this post is organized poorly - I'm just somewhat frazzled - I apologize.

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
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#2
dsenette

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if PHYSICAL interaction causes the failure..then it's a physical problem....sounds like your USB ports are loose....are all the usb ports in the same place? or are they distributed around the laptop? it would be strange for there to be a physical failure in all ports if they're spaced out around the machine...but...not impossible

what COULD be happening is that you've got a loose port connection to the the motherboard...not completely broken...but loose...when you move the LT...it creates a short or comes unconnected for a few seconds which causes the device to fail....but by the time you move the device to a different port...the connection has come back in contact with the motherboard...thereby allowing you to reconnect the device....it's possible that the PC detected the original disconnecto or short and shutdown that one connection to make sure it doesn't short out the board...which would explain why it doesn't become active again untill you restart...
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#3
UltraAyla

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yeah, I was thinking a hardware problem too. What is curious is that I have four ports in sets of two. One set of two is on each side of the machine, one on the right, one on the left. Since it happened literally simultaneously in each side, and not just at close times, I was thinking about what was common with each and started wondering if maybe the motherboard's USB controller is loose. Have you ever heard of anything like this happening?
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#4
dsenette

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it's possible that the conection to the motherboard is loose...one could assume that the ports on either side connect to the same headers on the board...now...i can't say if it's a plug type of connection or a soldered connection..so...no idea there...

is the lT still under warranty?
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#5
UltraAyla

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I wish it was, but it isn't - but that does mean I won't be voiding any warranties for opening up the case and looking for the type of connection (I think that's where you were going with that?). I was hoping to avoid that, but I think it's probably one of the next steps I need to take.
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#6
dsenette

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unless you're ok with bolting the laptop to the desk so it doesn't move
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#7
UltraAyla

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haha, yeah - I'd like to avoid that - I have my desktop PC if I want something stationary. Ok, I will open it up late this afternoon when I get off work and then give a status update. Thanks
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#8
UltraAyla

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Ok, quick status update. Yesterday the computer was in way worse shape. After booting, EVERYTHING froze - touchpad, keyboard, power buttons, and the special buttons hp installed. Any running programs also froze (Firefox was halfway through opening and stopped dead in its tracks). It did this a few times.

I did open the computer, but couldn't get too far because I couldn't get the whole case off and could only access the ram and HD. However the HD slot did allow me to view the USB ports. Looks like they are soldered to me. However, I am now thinking this is a broader problem with the whole board itself and that the USB is just the first symptom I saw. My boss suggested that he had seen a motherboard on another HP go out because a capacitor was worked loose by the case and sometimes came disconnected when moved. I am downloading the service manual now so I can better open the case and try to get a better view of the board and look for any damaged pieces or capacitors (if it is, it'd be the third board I've worked with in the past few years with bad capacitors - bah). If I see any, I will assess how comfortable I feel on working on it with my boss and decide whether to repair myself or take to a shop.

I am currently also installing Kubuntu to ensure that the freezing wasn't just windows (windows worked better today and the Kubuntu live cd is running smoothly - the only difference I can think of is that it is plugged in now and it wasn't yesterday, which could make a difference). I doubt it is just windows though, given the situation.

Finally, I will probably call an HP repair shop one of these days to see what it would cost to get the board replaced (if I can narrow it to a motherboard problem for sure - I'm 98% for it right now). I'm guessing a few hundred (300 or so?) after labor since the laptop is a custom form factor which is no longer sold.

I now have a pretty solid course of action for the laptop (albeit a potentially expensive one). Anyone have any suggestions for things I might be missing which I should take a look at?
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#9
UltraAyla

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a further update on what I believe to be the problem (in case anyone finds this and has similar problems).

Since the computer has become "usable" again, I'm able to experiment more with it to find out to a finer grain of detail what is wrong. What seems to be going on is that it doesn't like pressure on certain spots. If it is resting on something that forces some of the computer's weight to be on a particular spot (still pinpointing it) - it will halt the computer until pressure is removed. More as I find more out
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#10
dsenette

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deffinitely hardware related hehe
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