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Laptop freezes

penneck
Grafter
Posts: 660
Thanks: 8
Registered: 03-08-2007

Laptop freezes

Not sure whether this is a hardware problem or a software problem, but here goes:-
I am investigating a problem on a Compaq Presario laptop with XP Home on it. It boots up, gets through to the desktop and then after a while, first it freezes, and then the screen goes blank. The only thing that I hve found to move from this point is to power off the pc. I then switch it on again, but it only does the same thing again.
Before it freezes, I can get Start to bring up the usual window where you can access Control Panel and Programs, etc, but it is still the same thing - it freezes and then goes blank. Also before it freezes, an Error window comes up about Advanced Registry Optimizer.
I would like to fix this laptop, though I have never tried to get inside a laptop before. I object to throwing otherwise good electronics away.
My first attempt at repairing it involved trying to remove the bottom of the case - I want to get inside to look for blocked cooling points or iffy electrolitic capacitors. I removed all of the screws I could find incliding those hiding in the battery compartment, the hard drive compartment, and the memory compartment. I could lift the edges of the base a bit all round except for along the edge where the battery compartment is.
Can anyone please tell me where there are hidden clips or whatever, and how to release them.
Also any suggestions what might be causing the problem.
TIA
9 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,768
Thanks: 103
Fixes: 19
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: Laptop freezes

A laptop that is overheating will shut down suddenly and unexpectedly and may not want to restart until it has had time to cool a little.  Faulty electrolytic capacitors are rare.  There was a whole bunch of faulty Nvidia graphics chips that went into laptops a few years ago but if you have one of those there really isn't anything you can do.  Laptops are difficult to get inside and their innards are delicate and easily broken so I would strongly advise you proceed on the assumption that you have a software problem, at least for the present.
If your a LINUX person you can download a version that will run from a CD or DVD.  I did this with Linux Mint recently.  If this runs okay it makes it much less likely you have a hardware problem whereas if it freezes or crashes then you almost certainly do have a hardware problem.
Try the computer in Safe Mode.  Does it run okay now?  Again, if it does it's unlikely you have a hardware problem.
Can you uninstall Advanced Registry Optimiser?  Does that help?  If there isn't time to uninstall it, see if you can use msconfig (or similar) in Safe Mode to disable its start-up entries.
penneck
Grafter
Posts: 660
Thanks: 8
Registered: 03-08-2007

Re: Laptop freezes

Thanks for your suggestion. After answering this, I will go away and try it. In the meantime, an update. I tried to run System Restore. There weren't any restore dates between January this year and a couple of days ago, but my daughter-in-law says the laptop (she owns and  uses it) has been a problem for months. Therefore, I tried a restore from Nov 2009, but that wouldn't work for some reason. Therefore, I tried a restore from the beginning of January this year. The restore worked - if you can call it that. Now I cannot even get to the Desktop view. The computer freezes with that blue Windows view you get during bootup.
Quite how I recover from that I dont know, but I guess I will have to try.
How do I stop Advanced Registry Optimiser in msconfig? This is something where I have little experience or knowledge.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,768
Thanks: 103
Fixes: 19
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: Laptop freezes

Running System Restore doesn't usually make matters worse; unless you have a faulty hard drive in which case some of the files may have been corrupted as you restored them.  A faulty hard drive is the most common cause of major laptop problems.  Do you need to salvage the data/music/photos stored on the computer?  If so the next step is to remove the hard drive (despite what I wrote earlier about leaving the innards alone).  Most laptops are designed to make this relatively easy.
Community Veteran
Posts: 17,016
Thanks: 1,212
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Laptop freezes

There are several videos available to help you disassemble and do basic stuff..... just google video and the model of the laptop.... then "see how it is done"... ! Cheesy
thisoldman
Grafter
Posts: 1,220
Thanks: 2
Registered: 06-04-2009

Re: Laptop freezes

penneck.  when it starts and if you have time.....start run  type msconfig,  when it loads untick the registry program you dont want.  then click apply......if you see a message  you do not have permission  etc etc  ignore it and restart.

Alternatively  if you have cc cleaner installed  go to tools  srt up  and remove/disable  registry program.

can you try safe mode  usually pressing f8 or f9 and do same things above
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,768
Thanks: 103
Fixes: 19
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: Laptop freezes

Fine replies from Shutter and thisoldman but if your System Restore has moved things on to a new, worse, situation I still think backing up the user data then testing the hard drive becomes the top priority now.
penneck
Grafter
Posts: 660
Thanks: 8
Registered: 03-08-2007

Re: Laptop freezes

Thanks.
Before I did anything, my daughter-in-law managed to get all she wanted saved off the pc. Therefore, I was given a free hand to do whatever was needed. I have obtained a CD with XP Home on it. First I tried running Repair, but that just seemed to go round in circles. Finally I did a full installation, and have added the necessary drivers.
Now the pc runs without locking up. I will hand it back to her tomorrow, and help her and my son to reload their software.
Thanks to all for your suggestions
Merry Christmas
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,768
Thanks: 103
Fixes: 19
Registered: 14-07-2009

Re: Laptop freezes

That's great penneck, but make sure you run a disc check before you hand it back.  If the problem is a faulty hard drive (and it often is with laptops) then it will run for a little while then go wrong again.  As you have completely refreshed the disc then you would expect a clean bill of health from chkdsk.  If, instead, it finds errors that need correcting that is a bad sign and probably means the disc is faulty.  Hard discs are inexpensive and relatively easy to replace. 
penneck
Grafter
Posts: 660
Thanks: 8
Registered: 03-08-2007

Re: Laptop freezes

Yes I agree. I just wanted to get the laptop working before I spent any money on it. Now I want to replace the hard drive, I am going to fit a larger capacity one.
Thanks for all your help. Have a good Christmas