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Compaq Boot Problems

Symptoms:

You're using the laptop when it switches off on you. Pressing the power button does not start it again. Your laptop will not boot, the power light comes on and that's about it. If you listen carefully, you may detect the lack of hard drive spinning. The hard disk light will probably not be lit.
This is a very frustrating situation - because after an hour of fiddling, you push the button and it may just turn on, like nothing ever happened. One time, for us - it was days later. We feared the system was nearing the end of the road until we heard mention that it may be static causing the problem. Putting two and two together, this seemed to make sense as we'd get the occasional zap off the case. On further investigation, we found out it may have been a buildup of static in the motherboard which prevented the system from booting.


According to Compaq support, these are the steps to take when you're faced with this issue:

  1. Remove AC power cable and battery

  2. Hold down start button for 30 seconds to a minute.

  3. DO NOT PUT THE BATTERY INTO THE SYSTEM!!!

  4. Plug the AC power cable back in

  5. Push power button and hopefully it starts!


Is the battery the culprit? I would suggest not leaving it in the system when running on AC power. Also, it probably pays to discharge the battery as much as possible before charging again.

UPDATE

We found this problem occured several times, and the above fix worked. However, one time it stopped and just * wouldn't * start again. At all. Green light, and nothing else. One dead system. We were instructed to remove the CMOS battery as well as the steps above.

Never having been inside a laptop before, it was a big step to actually pull one apart. Making the decision that it was worth about as much as a heavy duty paperweight now, we pulled it down to see if there was anything that seemed out of place. It wasn't as scary as one would think, everything was just - small. You need to be very careful of tiny terminals that are reasonably fragile, and understand that you need to pull half the system apart to get at some bits. Find good instructions on how to pull your system down and you will find it fairly smooth sailing. We found the instructions in this folder helpful, have a hunt around for similar for your system.

The CPU had some crud on it, like this picture here. We got a small flathead screwdriver and scraped the mess off between the terminals. Put it back together, plugged it in again, and bingo - system started. Fluke? Who knows. The problem all along? Could have been - after the system cools down, the crud might fluctuate a bit and allow the system to start. Will this be your issue? Maybe. Maybe not. However, keep in mind that our system was shaky for a while then it just wouldn't start, and scraping crud fixed it. I honestly don't think it was letting it settle like previous times, as we'd pulled it apart several times and put it back together this time, and it made no difference until the crud was scraped.

We don't anticipate the system to work for too much longer, but it allowed access to files that were considered lost.

I'm sure other systems facing this same issue would benefit by taking the same steps to rectify the situation. If you have read this far, you've obviously got a system which won't boot - and hopefully this has helped you!

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52 on 12/13/2009