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Old XP Laptop POST problem

Discussion in 'Windows XP Help' started by nukecad, Feb 11, 2015.

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  1. nukecad

    nukecad Established Techie7 Member

    Not been here for a while, sorry guys, but am now looking for some help with an old laptop.

    It's an old Acer Travelmate2200 running XP Home Edition SP3.
    I know XP is out of date but have this for legacy reasons, I also have a PC running 98SE which is even older.

    The problem I am having with this laptop is that it will not complete the POST 99% of the time.
    The problems seemed to start with Januarys Patch Tuesday after which the touchpad stopped working, got that back with a restore point but have been having increasing problems since.

    As I say it has now got to the point where I have to try multiple times to boot before it will eventually fire up.

    Some times 3 power on/off does the trick, sometimes it may take all day and multiple power cycles to get it booted.

    So what have I tried up to now? - when I can get it booted.
    CCleaner, Defraggler, MBAM, Trend Housecall. All been run through and no reports of malware or virus.
    Updated as many drivers as I can (resets after updates are an obvious problem when it wont post).
    I may try to download Speccy later to see if that can give me any power usage clues.

    On some of the failed posts, about 1 in 50, I get one long and two short beeps which I believe would usually indicate a video card/chip problem.

    I managed to boot yesterday and did Februarys Patch Tuesday (1 MSE, 2 Office updates), also reinstalled Firefox from the main install, (not the stub), was working fine until I shut down.
    It has taken all day today to get it up again and post this.

    So the problem I have is that when it wont post the screen is blank - no clues.
    When it does boot everything is OK, I don't know how to track down the problem.

    Any ideas?

    Remember that anything involving a restart may leave it unusable for multiple power on/off cycles.

    Easy advice is to junk it and get a new one; but as it will boot normally with persistance, I have the feeling that the problem may be fixable if I know more about what to do.
    I'm starting to think its a hardware problem, not scared about stripping it down but am not familiar with how to proceed.

    Please also bear with me if I don't respond to your suggestions straight away, may have to go to the local library to log on.
    (Just to mention D.A.L will vouch for me as a good guy if needed).
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  2. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Well, POST (power on self-test) occurs during the BIOS boot stages before the boot drive is touched. So the OS cannot affect POST. That said, some drivers can be updated via Windows Update, if WU is configured for that. But a bad driver is normally intermittent.

    So I too think it is a hardware problem - and considering the age of this notebook, that would not be surprising. My first suspect would be power - at least I always like to eliminate power first when troubleshooting. If you don't have an exact replacement power supply, I recommend you invest in a good Automatic Universal 90W Notebook Power Adapter.

    If you still have the same problem, then it looks like your graphics solution is failing and since that is integrated into the motherboard, that means the motherboard is failing. And it would not be economically feasible to replace it, if you could find a replacement.

    Do make sure the interior is clean of heat trapping dust and the fans spin. Notebooks are notorious for heat problems from the start, and difficult, at best to clean thoroughly.
  3. nukecad

    nukecad Established Techie7 Member

    Thanks for your thoughts digerati, and thanks for not shouting about still using XP;).

    Your comments confirm what I was thinking.

    I have tested the power adaptor and it is putting out 19v like it should.
    The onboard fans both spin up at power on, so that looks fine.

    I too suspect the motherboard; a bad solder connection or a failing capacitor (or other component).
    Time to get out the tools and strip, inspect, clean, reassemble.

    And try to find some money to get a replacement.
    Might not be too bad, as I say I want XP for legacy reasons so it would mean a second hand job.

    Thanks again.
  4. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Not likely a bad solder connection after all this time unless the board has been through some physical abuse. You can inspect for bad caps. If they are bulging, or have tan to dark brown, dried foam looking stuff leaking out the tops or bottoms, then they are bad or failing.

    Note ALL power supplies need to be tested while under a proper load. This means you have to check the power supply while it is connected to the notebook for a conclusive test (or plug in a compatible spare). A power supply (like a battery) may test fine on its own, but as soon as you put a load on it, the output voltage plunges. Simply plugging meter probes into the connector does not put a load on it.

    You spoke too soon! ;) If you really need XP to support legacy software, then I would urge you to get a computer with W7, and use XP Mode in Windows 7. And regardless, as the warning on that link notes, don't connect with XP to the Internet. This is for your safety, but also to protect the rest of us too.
  5. nukecad

    nukecad Established Techie7 Member

    Cheers again.

    Interestingly before getting down to stripping it the laptop in question booted with no problems first time today.

    Will see how it goes, still expect I'll have to strip it down and investigate further.

    Thanks again for your advice.
  6. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    You never know with intermittent problems. They make troubleshooting hard and very frustrating. FWIW, that is common with leaky caps.
  7. nukecad

    nukecad Established Techie7 Member

    Been away for a while but just to say I finally got around to getting a new laptop.

    Intel Celeron N2840
    4 Gb ram
    1 Tb hard drive
    15.6" HD screen
    8x optical drive
    built in webcam
    Windows 8.1 bing

    pretty good spec for the price - £230 (pounds GB)
    (most at that price level have a slower processor, 2Gb ram, smaller hard drive, and no optical drive or webcam).
    Yes; I know that an optical drive will probably not be used much but at that price I'll take it.

    It's not a top level machine but will be plenty good enough for what I want to use it for.

    Thanks for your help guys.

    Oops forgot to say:
    Asus M551MAV_SX1017B-BK
  8. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    This is a good thing as you can make bootable recovery disks with it - which I recommend you do immediately via the Recovery applet in Control Panel.
  9. nukecad

    nukecad Established Techie7 Member

    Cheers; I was going to do that as soon as I clean off the bloatware and get things set up to my liking.

    As usual these days the laptop came without any discs at all, just an i386 folder.
    (Even the User Guide dosn't say much more than plug in and switch on. LOL)

    Windows 8.1 only seems to have the option to create a recovery drive on a USB flash drive not on disc.
    Maybe I'm not looking in the right place, maybe works with discs if you select the optical drive as output, or maybe they don't expect people to have optical drives these days?
    Flash drives are cheap enough so I'll probably just do that.

    Yes there is no longer an option to create an optical recovery drive, it has to be a USB drive.

    There is a work round of a sort to create a win8 cd and then upgrade to 8.1, but has to be done from a win7 machine and you need your win8 product key. (You dont get a product key with pre installed win8.1, its stored internally and automatically passed to Microsoft when you register - speccy will probably dig it out though).
    Sounds like too much trouble, I'll use a flash drive.

    Just for info:
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
  10. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    That's flawed logic as too often, overzealous cleaning of bloatware can accidently result in a dead computer. You should immediately make a bootable recovery/image disk before doing anything else. Then clean all the bloatware (I recommend PC Decrapifier for that) and make sure the computer is working fine. Then create another bootable recovery/image disk.

    W8.1 lets you create a "System Image Backup" to a hard disk, one or more DVDs, or to a network location. That's what I do.
  11. nukecad

    nukecad Established Techie7 Member

    Already run pcdecrapifier; missed at least four "30 day trial" crap.

    I'm not being overzealous, I know my limitations and am taking things slowly.

    From the reading I'm doing its obvious that 8.1-bing is not the same as standard 8.1 (and definitely diferent from win8).
    Thinking that some of the open source programmes haven't caught up yet.
    May be that the developers are concentrating on win10 and so have not noticed the changes in 8.1-bing?
  12. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    8.1 is quite a change from 8.0. But 8.1 with Bing is not that different from standard 8.1.

    If something runs on 8.1, is see no reason it won't run on 8.1 with Bing. Since W7 is still more widely used that 8.x, perhaps the developers of those open source programs don't see the incentive - yet, to migrate to 8.x. That said, most programs that run on W7 run on W8.x.
  13. nukecad

    nukecad Established Techie7 Member

    Yes, I was a bit suprised too.

    I thought 8.1-bing was just 8.1 with bing set as the default search engine.

    Seems not though; some of the screenshots I'm seeing on articles written specifically for 8.1 are different from what I am seeing on this machine.
    Some of the control panel layouts, options etc. (and other MS stuff) are different as well.
    No problems, its just a case of finding where they have moved them to.

    Understand developers not having much incentive for win8.x when we all know win10 will soon be available on a free upgrade.
  14. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Where are you seeing these differences? Got any links?

    According to PCWorld there are very few differences?
  15. nukecad

    nukecad Established Techie7 Member

    Sorry, I've been visiting lots of sites and cant remember everywhere I've been.
    (and ccleaner has cleared the history).

    I looked at that PCWorld link, but I note that it is twelve months old.
    (A lot can change in twelve months).

    As I say I was following some of the online "click this - then click that - then do that" stuff for win 8.1 and it was different for 8.1-bing on this machine.

    If I notice any others I will grab sreenshots and post them.

    One thing that may be of interest is the the McAfee 30 day trial stuff seemed to uninstall through the CP without having to use their software removal tool.
    (left two log files I deleted manually, and 1 reg entry that ccleaner picked up).
  16. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Note that much and keep same .1 revision number.

    Good news about McAfee. Uninstalling completely is no one of their strong suits.
  17. nukecad

    nukecad Established Techie7 Member

    Was a bit hasty there about the McAfee.
    Suddenly found a load of other Cra# from them.
    Sure it wasn't there yesterday, must have missed something that brought it all back again next time I logged on.

    Anyway have run their removal tool now, hope thats got it all this time.
  18. PcTestCard.com

    PcTestCard.com Established Techie7 Member

    I have seen many old laptops with aging capacitors.
    So many posts and boots needed to get the laptop to work correctly depends on the capacitors working condition and even the voltages.
    Slightly higher voltages can get the aging capacitors to function normally.

    On the software sides, also try a new HDD with the OS reinstalled from the scratch, may also help with the issue (if the problem is not caused by the aging capacitors).

    Hope this helps,
    Tech support manager
  19. nukecad

    nukecad Established Techie7 Member

    Cheers, but a bit late there Bill,

    If you read above and look at the dates you'll see that this thread is from 2 years ago, and says that I had scrapped the faulty XP laptop and got a new one.
    I'm now running Win 10 Creators on it and its fine.

    The XP laptop is sat in a cupboard until I can be bothered to take the HD out and put it in an external case, at which time I'll scrap the old laptop.
    PcTestCard.com likes this.
  20. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    Agreed. Please don't dredge up old, dormant, threads.

    Thread closed to allow it to sink back into the depths gracefully - again. If OP needs it reopened, please PM me.
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