My laptop has developed a serious issue during startup, and I have no idea how to fix it.
May 23, 2004 5:32 PM   Subscribe

My laptop has developed a serious issue during startup, and I have no idea how to fix it. [MI]

In a nutshell, the problem is that the thing locks up during the boot process. It starts, brings up the (WinXP) loading screen, seems to load BIOS, then the screen goes blank (black) and it hangs.

I am able to access BIOS setup and boot options, but nothing I can do there seems to help. I was able to get windows to load properly once in safe mode (using F8), after which I ran adaware, spybot, and norton and disabled most of the non-critical startup programs. When I restarted the computer, same problem.

At this point I'm at a loss, and the computer is now refusing to boot in safe mode (hitting F8 during startup produces no effect.)

I don't think I've acquired a virus, or that I am the victim of anything else malicious: I'm the only one that uses the computer, and I haven't done anything recently that might get me infected (no suspicious email attachments, no suspicious file downloads, etc.) The problem started this morning.

I'm running a Gateway laptop with a P4M 2.0; it's about two years old. WinXP is all updated and everything. Don't have the motherboard and HD make and model in front of me at the moment, but I'll track them down and post them in a couple minutes here.
posted by Yelling At Nothing to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
if you've got the boot disk for win xp you might trying doing a repair. if you're getting through bios and the mem check, it sounds like your install might have gotten munged, possibly because of intermittent disk errors if you are getting through and then not getting through. but I'd wait for a little more advice before you try the repair process, because it doesn't always make things better.
posted by fishfucker at 5:46 PM on May 23, 2004

I take the laptop is not making any sequence of beeps (POST codes) during bootup ? If so, check manual for description of error.

Also some laptop come with a rescue cd-rom / disk check if you have got one.
posted by elpapacito at 7:07 PM on May 23, 2004

Response by poster: Yeah, there's no discernable error; it just stops. I did get it to start up one more time earlier, only to have it lock up after about ten minutes. I'm going to call up my school's IT department tomorrow and see if they can make head or tail of it.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 8:16 PM on May 23, 2004

Response by poster: Yeah, so chkdsk seems to be locking it up, too, in the same spot every time.

posted by Yelling At Nothing at 10:33 PM on May 23, 2004

Coming to this late but I had what sounds like the same problem recently. Turns out a certain vital XP file (I forget the name) had somehow become corrupted, possibly due to a power surge. My pet geek tried to do a repair from a boot disk but that failed too. He ended up having to format the C: partition and reinstall XP. On the positive side it only takes a couple of hours and all has been fine since. *crosses fingers, legs, anything else crossable*
posted by squealy at 11:30 AM on May 24, 2004

If you can get to the windows boot menu, select verbal mode, so you can possibly see at what point the bootup sequence stops. This at least provides a little bit more information with which to troubleshoot.
posted by lazy-ville at 1:31 PM on May 24, 2004

Response by poster: SOLVED: The heatsink had gotten jostled loose from the processor. Took about 2 cents worth of thermal paste to fix.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 11:35 AM on June 10, 2004

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