Laptop boot problem

By chopster
Nov 29, 2009
  1. My wife has asked me to look at a laptop for her friend (so I really need to fix it to keep in her good books ). So far not having any joy. It’s a Compaq Presario CQ50 110em. About 18 months old. Problem is, it won’t boot. Simple as that.
    Turn it on, it comes up with the Compaq logo, and options at the bottom for F2 this and F10 that. They all work and I can get into the BIOS. However if you don’t press them and leave it to go to OS boot, the Compaq logo disappears as normal, and then nothing happens. Then you have to power off holding the button. Interestingly, the next time you power on, nothing happens at all (lights come on on the laptop but that’s it). So you power off again, then the next time you turn on you get the logo again, and the chance to go into BIOS (but no boot). And this happens every time without fail, in between every part working power on, there is one that does nothing….. Strange.

    Anyway, things I have tried…
    Resetting bios defaults
    Booting without battery.
    Removing and reseating memory and hard drive
    Removing wireless connector
    F11, which is supposed to take it into the system recovery built into the hard drive.(doesn’t do anything)
    F8 and F5 trying to reach safe mode
    Changing boot orders and…
    Booting from a 98 start up floppy USB connection (in the hope of reaching prompt and using fdsisk to set recovery partition as active), but although it seems to fire up the floppy drive, I get one quick noise as it turns, then it goes off again and no boot.
    Trying a bootable CD (haven’t got recovery disks… see below). I only had a recovery disk from a Dell machine but it should be bootable, and although it wouldn’t work, it might at least give me an error message of some sort so I knew something was working. Again, drive spins up, few noises, then nothing.
    Running memory test and hard drive test in the BIOS. All passed, no errors reported.

    Now recovery disks. It didn’t come with any, but was built into the hard drive, and a slip of paper said you should create your own when you first get the laptop. Naturally, like a lot of people who only use their laptops for personal basic stuff, the friend didn’t do this (she admits to not knowing lots about these things) So we contacted HP, who said we can order some recovery disks, but they are £35. The friend is happy to do this, but I don’t want her to waste £35 if the laptop is knackered, hence trying other bootable cd’s first to get an error message. The thing is, like most of us (including me) she doesn’t have money spare near Christmas to waste on laptop stuff (hence why I am taking a look) and can’t get a new one at the moment, but her little boy plays on it so she would like to try and get it fixed.

    There is nothing on it she is worried about losing, so a recovery is fine, but I don’t think it will boot from these recovery CD’s

    Please… Any ideas welcome. Does anyone know what might be wrong, is there a hardware fault, is it one that can be replaced / fixed. Could it have been a virus. Would a BIOS update help. The BIOS says it is a PhoenixBios, and the version says F.07. I thought at first the hard drive might be totally dead, but the BIOS hard drive test took 85 mins, and didn’t report any errors. So I guess it does something…. The Bios battery is fine, as it keeps date and time and everything.

    Hoping for some other options…. (sorry for the long post)
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Continue with the Recovery Discs purchase
    You will need them anyway I believe

    But if you want to be absolutely certain, boot from any Windows Setup disc
    Then go for clean install (removing all the partition(s)
    That way you'll at least know that a clean install of Windows will work ;)

    HP info here:
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    That Presario has a long history of failures... Your board is perhaps beyond repair, unless you ship it off to one of the motherboard repair companies. Some good ones advertise on eBay that they can fix it for $100 plus a small shipping charge.
  4. bridgetbruston

    bridgetbruston TS Rookie

    Boot into the BIOS setup screens and look to see if the laptop is recognizing the hard drive by model.To boot from a CD you may need to change the boot order in the BIOS and also watch the screens. Watch for a message to hit any key to boot from the CD.While in the BIOS screens you may see an option to disable fast boot and another one to disable any logos.Doing both of those will allow you to see what is going on by watching the POST screens.Could be a partial hardware failure that is stopping the boot process. Some of the integrated hardware may have BIOS options to disable. Doing that may help determine if it is hardware.If there are any external cards, USB, keyboards.connected remove them.
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