Weird screen glitches on Hp pavilion dv4 laptop
June 24, 2013 10:17 PM   Subscribe

A friend's laptop is experiencing some strange graphical glitches within Windows, and she is desperate for help!!

A friend is having trouble with her laptop. It is a Hp pavilion dv.

Here is what the screen looked like, after it went all goofy :

And here is all the pertinent info, in her words :

"This has happened twice, the first time it did it was when my computer was starting up and then stopped and was fine , second time just randomly did it when I was on my desktop. Restarted it and it was okay and back to normal."

I suggested that it might be overheating, and asked her if the fans were working, or if the vents were blocked... She responded :

"I got new fans put in it last year bc the old ones kept messing up, for the most part it is on a table thing that has a fan just for laptops. My laptop fans are super loud anyways but they did seem to be extra loud when i turned opened my laptop."

I'm guessing that it is overheating, or that the graphics card (not sure what kind of graphics her machine uses) is crapping out on her, or maybe it's as simple as a driver issue.

Does anyone have any suggestions to help her out? She's not the most terribly tech savvy person, but she's a kid, and she'd probably rather not send it in for a costly repair unless absolutely necessary.
posted by newfers to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
The fact that "Shutting down" displays normally strongly suggests that this isn't a hardware problem. It's time to check this out to see if she's got some sort of malware.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:20 PM on June 24, 2013

Response by poster: Really? I assumed the opposite, that if it were a software issue, the issue would be more frequent, but with her fans kicking in heavy duty these days, that something was overheating, and the garbled screen on the "SHUTTING DOWN..." page seemed (to me) more likely to be hardware based...But I dunno, that's why I'm here to ask!
posted by newfers at 10:36 PM on June 24, 2013

My HP laptop is newer than this, and I have to use compressed air periodically - at least every few months - to clean the fans (i.e. blowing it through the vents) or I get overheating issues. Not saying this is the issue for her laptop, but just thought I would put this out there. I can usually tell it is time to do this based on both the fans running more often, and also by the battery feeling hotter when it runs.
posted by gudrun at 11:38 PM on June 24, 2013

To me that says graphics card - maybe there are different layers of graphics processing for the images vs. text, and the image one crapped out.

Alternatively, maybe the specific image file for the shutting down screen got corrupted, if it's not sticking around after reboot.

Could be malware too, I suppose, but the 'shutting down' screen is not where I'd expect to see that.
posted by Lady Li at 11:48 PM on June 24, 2013

I vote for graphics card glitch, possibly related to overheating. You can always try the "soft drop" technique where you let the powered off computer fall a foot or two onto a cushioned surface like a mattress. This can have the effect of reseating any loose connections. Also try running it with some sort of rack/feet between it and a hard surface; if this works you can buy devices that do it more permanently (or just stick-on pads from any hardware store). There's also CoreTemp.
posted by dhartung at 1:58 AM on June 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

HP/Compaq laptops have rubbish ventilation, and their cooling fins are quite susceptible to getting blocked with dust. And once the fins look like this, no amount of external cooling fans are going to make any difference.

With the laptop powered down, putting the cooling air outlet close to your face and blowing like a demented harmonica player will often cause a huge plume of dust to floomf out of the air inlet and get you another six months of reliable operation.
posted by flabdablet at 10:08 AM on June 25, 2013

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