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Laptop Freezes Randomly


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#1
DarkW0lf

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I have an older laptop I'm trying to get up and running so I can use it. It worked fine until 2 months after the warranty ended. I have not been able to put my finger what the problem is. It is a Compaq Presario v5305wm running windows xp. I booted it up and it got past the compaq splash screen, then locked up on a black screen. I shut it off and tried again. This time it made to the user log in screen. Froze on a blue screen, it varies. I even got it started once and it made it all the way to internet explorer and locked up. I know that the battery is dead. I can only start it if it's plugged into the wall. Not sure where to go with this. I receive no error messages of any kind.
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#2
makai

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If the laptop is aged, it may be a harddrive problem... in which case it may be wise to find a back up solution, like a USB Hard drive enclosure. Errors such as these are hard to pinpoint in laptops since you can't readily remove anything without disassembly, except possibly the ram. I was going to mention a heat problem, and possibly disassembling and cleaning out the fan/vents, but you say this happens directly at startup. It also could just be a ram problem which is testable using apps like memtest.

Can the laptop boot to bios and remain there for a significant time without crashing? To get to the bios screen, hit the F1 or F10 directly after starting up the laptop. This is to see if the problem is possibly related to the laptop hardware, or the OS.
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#3
DarkW0lf

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actually i just tried the testing if it would crash in bios after i posted. it lasted maybe 15 seconds before locking up with a white screen and 4 vertical black lines. i removed the hard drive which is no problem on this version. turned it on an booted to bios again, still crashed. A heat problem sounds possible. I dissembled the whole unit and reapplied thermal compound to the processor. I also added thermal compound under the head sink on the gpu which it did not have any. The fan does run and change speeds with system load, so the fan is operating. Not to say it still can't overheat. that's where i am at on it a believe. can't think of anything else i have done with it at the moment.... One more symptom i noticed. sometimes it starts up never shows a splash screen or hdd activity and will constantly initialize the dvd drive every couple seconds. i toggle it off and back on and it will eventually stay on for the short time i can get it to work. it would be nice to run a diagnostic disc, but it won't stay alive long enough.
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#4
makai

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It sounds like you've done a lot of good work on this unit. In my experience, the first laptop motherboard component to go has always been the video device (GPU)... whether soldered-on or stand-alone. I've reviewed the SERVICE MANUAL for this model (actually V5000 models) downloaded HERE, and it appears there is no stand-alone removable video card. I don't think I missed it, but I may have. In any case, soldered-on video devices have been known to separate at the solder balls beneath the device. In the Thinkpad world, there are even people who will reball the device for a small charge. Some have even been successful using home-made tactics using a heatgun (LINK). However, this is only done after its been verified that it is indeed the video device and as a last resort.

What you can try to do to verify if the video device is faulty, is to lift up the keyboard and put a slight downward pressure on the video device while booting up. Don't remove the video device heatsink, and don't use too much pressure. See if that will have any effect on the machine. If it does, then you know what that means. As stated, this would be my last ditch effort.

Since it appears you know what you're doing, I'm going to assume you did some ram troubleshooting... removing one stick, or swapping sticks, if there is more than one stick available. Also, since you're at this level of trouble shooting, you should also try to pull out any device you can to see if something could be messing up the power forms to the laptop... ie, wireless card, dvd, any express card... anything removable... and then try to get the bios screen to post again. (note... you must have at least one stick of ram to be able to post without error). Another option is to boot from an external floppy drive, if you have one, and attempt to update the bios... this should be the VERY LAST OPTION as a failed update in the apparrent condition of your laptop will definitely kill it. I would never recommend updating bios without good reason, but I think in this case, there may be no other choice. Again, only as the VERY LAST OPTION!
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#5
DarkW0lf

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i don't know how well i can separate the crash between me messing with the gpu and it failing, but i'll start with that route. Using a heatgun on the motherboard sounds pretty scary, never cared for rapidly heating or cooling boards. I have tried a method on xbox 360's to fix a cold solder on the gpu. Running the unit with no cooling support. So going to try running the laptop and overheat it. That heatgun method you mentioned, the link is broken. Any other thoughts let me know.
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#6
makai

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That heatgun method you mentioned, the link is broken.

Sorry, the Thinkpad forum is undergoing renovation. They've been trying to move the forum and I thought they were done as the link worked when I posted it. I will try to udate the link later.
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