No Video on Daughter's Laptop!

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Cruise, Jul 10, 2013.

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  1. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    My daughter's seven year old Dell Inspiron (Vista) laptop has developed a serious video problem. Within several seconds after booting up to the desktop the screen goes black.

    As much as I have preached for her to 'backup frequently' (she has an external drive), it seems she hasn't gotten my message as she now tells me that her last backup was in March - and has since added some very important work on her laptop's HDD!

    I plan on seeing her this weekend, bringing a Win PE boot CD just in case the problem is OS-related, but the symptom sounds to me like a hardware problem. So I'm open to any suggestions to recover her important data files.

    Cruise
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  2. wtsinnc

    wtsinnc Registered Member

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    Hello Cruise.

    Two questions;

    1) Have you tried booting into safe mode ?

    2) Have you tried connecting to an external monitor ?

    If both of the above fail, you could remove the hard drive, install it in an external enclosure, then access the files via another computer.

    Good luck !
     
  3. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Thanks for those tips!

    Cruise
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  4. wtsinnc

    wtsinnc Registered Member

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    I have an older Latitude D810 and it uses an IDE drive. If you want to know for certain, just remove it and look at the connectors.
    Alternately, you can go to Dell's website, access 'support', then 'product support'. Enter the service tag number and the original configuration for that laptop will be displayed. Somewhere in the list will be the information about the hard drive as well as everything else hardware related.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  5. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    Bad inverter. Easy fix if you're at all handy.

    Dell Inspiron inverters eBay $3-$10.
     
  6. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    From the description it seems more like a processor overheating problem (it reaches critical temp and gets deactivated to prevent damage).
    Either dust has completely covered the fins of the heatsink (similar to this) or the fan does not spin.

    Panagiotis
     
  7. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    How could I determine that for certain (and where is the inverter located)? o_O
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  8. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Panagiotis, I checked-out that blog (uhg!) - she does have a cat and if cat-hair is the problem I sure hope a thorough outside vacuuming (of the side and bottom vents) will remove it. I've never opened-up a laptop and I don''t think I want to go there! :eek:

    Cruise
     
  9. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    Theres teardown vids of everything youtube etc.

    Sometimes inverters looks bad, burnt or whatever. Google specific Dell model with terms Dell Inspirion xxxx bad inverter etc. If it's a common problem with that model you'll get results.

    And for me I'm not an electrician & don't use guages etc. So it's a ~$10 crapshoot, who cares, I'll take a chance.
     
  10. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Hey Cruise,

    You have gotten some ideas (in addition to your own) as to what the problem could be and I have nothing to add in that regard. However, considering that it's a 7-year old laptop, if the simplistic remedies mentioned fail to resurrect it I would recommend just removing the HDD and insert in into an external USB case so that you can recover your daughter's data (alternatively, perhaps you could temporarily replace your laptop's drive with your daughter's HDD and boot it?). Imho it's simply not worth your time to disassemble that laptop, the only real value here is your daughter's data files! ;)

    TS
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  11. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Shadow, you are so right-on. I'll be spending a day with my daughter this weekend and 4 hours of that day will be consumed driving there and back. So with catching-up on what's happening in her life, I figure I'll have less than 4-hours to check out her laptop, vacuum out the vents, try an external monitor, and if it still won't work hopefully her HDD will work in my laptop (if not, I'll get a USB case). As you said, the most valuable thing here is her data files (and my time).

    Cruise
     
  12. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    If you fail it will be s good idea to bring it with you, recover the data and then use your spare time to try to fix it. Not a bad hobby I think. Nice learning opportunity indeed.
     
  13. mack_guy911

    mack_guy911 Registered Member

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    i face these type of problems many times it could be due to corrupt data virus.....etc or ram problem also it have many tools to check ram .....etc hardware related problem

    best solution is use parted magic cd even your ram causing a problem it work as little as 256 mb ram so you can run live os and then form it copy paste your important data to external pendrive .......etc


    best part of this tool is it works even on bad ram and disks

    i have used it on many bad sectors rams and hardisk disks it always work

    after you backup your data then all you need to do is remove ram clean slots with some air blower now hot air one and insert ram again just make sure you insert properly or you may damage it


    http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=partedmagic


    best is its free opensource and if you like it you can do some donations
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013
  14. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Thanks for the tip mack_guy (and for the pmagic recommendation). I sure hope the problem is software corruption, or even a RAM problem, as that would make recovering my daughter's data much easier than if it's the video-components, or cpu-cooling. I'll certainly checkout the software-side first.

    Cruise
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013
  15. mack_guy911

    mack_guy911 Registered Member

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    you are welcome Cruise

    just like to add you can use any linux live cd/dvd like ubuntu linux mint .......any common one it also do your job all you have to do is run OS and copy paste your important files although they require little more ram than parted magic

    also xubuntu or linux mint xfce (feel like xp) they all are same base of ubuntu OS just different look due to desktop environment.

    one last thing i like to add always have one complete live linux dvd/usb (complete Operating system on dvd i mean)

    like this there are more but this one is most easy and most famous :D

    http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=mint

    http://www.linuxmint.com/index.php

    most of time OS breaks or other small problems its very common in every operating system

    at that time

    we can do our all important work form running linux live dvd/usb without messing with our broken OS and backup our data when we have free time we repair it
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
  16. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    mack_guy911,

    Your advice is all well and good if Cruise can get video (either on the laptop's screen or by connecting an external monitor)! Otherwise, it will be to no avail and Cruise will have to remove the hard drive from his daughter's laptop in order to recover her data files on another PC.

    TS
     
  17. mack_guy911

    mack_guy911 Registered Member

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    i agree with you Shadow :thumb:

    90% times it work also what would i do is remove ram's and insert one check boot if not working then replace it with another one and check if 1st strategy dont work

    also your strategy is more good remove hdd backup and insert it back and check with ram's to play safe with your data if not working then check for expert advice :thumb:
     
  18. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    If going this way I'd plug in daughts hdd into another pc & boot to a linux livecd to cut down virus transer chances. And if not to much recused data burn that to dvd.
     
  19. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Just to bring a little closure to this thread ...I worked on my daughter's laptop for several hours, trying the following:

    1. I first cleared NVRAM by removing the battery and AC-cord then depressing the power switch for 30-sec.

    2. Noticing that the CPU fan seemed to come on and then seemingly shut down, I used a can of compressed air to blow-out whatever I could through the vents. All seemed to be clear, but the problem persisted.

    3. I then connected an external LCD monitor - still no video, so that told me the internal LCD was ok and not the problem.

    4. To eliminate Windows itself as the culprit, I attempted to boot Parted Magic with still no video, so that eliminated Windows (or other related software issues)

    5. I swapped the RAM modules (after cleaning the connectors) to make sure this was not due to faulty RAM, but 'no cigar'.

    At this point I'm pretty sure that the problem is 'under the hood' and as disassembling her old laptop was (is) not on my agenda, I removed the hard drive. Fortunately, I had an older laptop which I brought with me to my daughter's home and luckily it had the same HDD interface as her laptop! So I inserted her hard drive into my old laptop and booted it with a boot (live) CD. I was then able to see and copy all of my daughter's data files and emails onto a USB flash drive.

    My daughter's HDD failed to boot-up in my laptop (probably a driver issue), so I re-installed my HDD, booted the laptop and copied her data files and emails onto my HDD. My laptop had the apps that she uses, so she is temporarily 'back in business', but is now thinking about a MacBook!!! ;)

    Cruise
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
  20. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    On a serious note good for you.:thumb:


    Good thing macbook HDD don't die.:thumbd: :gack:
     
  21. mack_guy911

    mack_guy911 Registered Member

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    sorry if HDD die then how did you make a backup

    did you try it using only one ram only i guess you should make your system check at dell center it could be ram or motherboard problem or anything else

    also you can scan HDD or your backup external data with any bootable linux antivirus cd like kaspersky bitdefender for example ;)

    macbook indeed good options or you can repair old laptop if less costly and put linux on it :D
     
  22. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Sorry, but I don't get what you are trying to tell me here. o_O
     
  23. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Huh? Where is this coming from? I never said that the HDD died. :rolleyes:


    Yes, I did --> no difference.

    Cruise
     
  24. wtsinnc

    wtsinnc Registered Member

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    At least you were able to retrieve the data; that was the primary goal.

    From here, you could try to save her laptop and invest in a new video card but the fan issue makes me think the motherboard is the problem.
    It the MB is the problem, that should pretty much end the discussion.
    My Latitude D810 (used) with XP, 2GB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive and a warranty cost just over $100.00. It's very basic but so are my needs. You can't get a laptop repaired for that amount of money
    The point is with older laptops, replacement is nearly always the better option.

    Good luck in your search for a new laptop.
     
  25. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    Since it is clearly a hardware issue, Macbooks offer minimal if any advantage over high-quality manufacturers like Asus and Lenovo. In fact, I'd say OS X is generally a disadvantage except in niche scenarios.

    Basically zapjb was expressing his sarcasm at the perception of Apple superiority.
     
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