Help me fix my wife's laptop
March 23, 2009 6:06 AM   Subscribe

What has caused a sudden failure of my wife's laptop?

I bought my wife a laptop on eBay for her birthday, and I now feel responsible for managing its failure.

It's a Toshiba Satellite Pro M10. It initially failed to boot, with an "IDE #0" error, so I figured that it was having trouble finding the hard drive. Booting into Ubuntu from CD worked fine, so I opened up the HDD cover, reseated it, and then...nothing. It now refuses even to power up, either from battery alone or from mains power. The orange power LED is now blinking, which leads me to believe that it's a power/mother-board problem.

My wife assures me that the laptop has not received any harsh treatment (ie. it hasn't been dropped or subject to spillage).

Has anyone experienced this before, and, if so, what was the recommended repair route? I'm happy with opening up desktops and fiddling around, but laptops are a whole different ballgame. If it's going to be sent off for repair, how much would a reasonable charge be (I am in the UK).
posted by gene_machine to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
It's possible that in opening the laptop you accidentally yanked some small cord that is essential to the laptop actually starting up.

Does it do anything? When you plug in the power supply are there any lights? Does the fan start up?
posted by bshort at 6:18 AM on March 23, 2009

Your best bet would be to take it to an authorized repair shop. Get a quote, as it may end up costing more than its worth, especially if it ends up being the motherboard. I had a repair guy tell me once, that laptops have around a 25% failure rate...this was 8months after I bought my sony vaio, brand new and the motherboard fried.
posted by scarello at 6:35 AM on March 23, 2009

Best answer: The IDE #0 error is probably because the hard drive failed.

The not booting problem is probably because you didn't seat some little ribbon cable quite right when you put the computer back together.

Steps to fix it now: Take it apart again and reassemble, making sure everything gets plugged in. Try to boot without the battery first. If you can't get back to the IDE #0 error, then your diagnosis may be right-- It may be a motherboard problem. You may be able to get another motherboard on eBay, but it may not be worth the expense.

Also, there are lots of hits for "toshiba IDE #0 error" on Google. May want to read those.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:42 AM on March 23, 2009

addendum - you can test the hard drive separately by putting it in an external USB enclosure and see if another computer can recognize it. External enclosures can be had for $10 on newegg.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:43 AM on March 23, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks so much. I tried booting without the battery, and it came up ok. So it's just a case of buying a new battery.
posted by gene_machine at 7:59 AM on March 23, 2009

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