Compaq EVO N610c won't boot

By Musicalls ยท 23 replies
Feb 1, 2011
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  1. Hi,
    My brother has a problem with his Compaq EVO N610c. This laptop is getting pretty old.They got it 2nd hand. That being the case, the primary goal is to try and get some videos and piks off the HDD if at all possible and Id appreciate some thoughts on diagnostics and the best thing to do, as I'm not familiar with laptops. Heres the scenario...

    After an electrical storm and a subsequent power cut, it went onto the battery. That was OK and then from what they tell me there appeared to be no strange noises or problems in closing it down. Next day my brothers wife goes to boot up and got to the desktop, then the screen just went black and any attempts to reboot have failed. They took it in to see if the tech guy could get it to boot and nope nothing doing. He said "its been spiked" .
    I went to visit my brother today to see if I could figure out if the HDD is still working or what. I turned it on and all that happens is 3 green lights that come on (top left) and I think its the 2nd orange light from the left at the front which flashes. I bent down and listened for any HDD noises. All I could hear was a very faint short dull knock about once a second.

    What do you guys reckon? Motherboard fried? If the computer was "spiked" then why would it even be possible to boot it at all afterwards?

    Any help greatly appreciated.
  2. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    Hence the need for surge protection, well worth the money.

    Before spending time over any diagnostics can you try booting with an OS disc in the drive. If this does nothing then find the memory modules, if it only has one no need to continue, if it has two,(you must remove the battery before doing this) take one out and try to boot normally, if no change then swap the modules and try again.

    Let me know what happens and when you try to boot is there a flashing cursor on the screen or is it completely blank.
  3. Musicalls

    Musicalls TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Hi Mark56, thankyou for your response.

    Oh yes I have a Smartups1000I which protects my MAC and PC plus some music gear. Not that I have any great tech knowledge, but Ive tried to "educate" my brother to protect his computer with an UPS and likewise tried to instill the value of backups . Ive also tried to warn him to MAKE SURE YOU GET THE INSTALL DISKS!!!! whether you get a new computer or 2nd hand. The Laptop isnt with me, so Im trying to find out as much as I can before I travel back out there and try some things.

    The screen is completely black. My brother has another LCD screen, could we try booting with that?

    Im pretty sure theres only one memory module. I dont know if Id be confident poking into the laptop, so if possible Id like to try things more in line with ascertaining if the HDD is dead or alive and then work from there. Unfortunately I found in my searches last night that the general consensus is that this Laptop "eats HDDs" and has known heat probs.

    Could I use my (genuine) XP Pro Install disk to try and start up this laptop? Its OEM and I might be wrong but I didnt think you could do that. If I could try that it would be great. Last night I looked around the forum and found an interesting thread about accessing problematic HDDs and about D'loading the latest knoppix and burning it as an ISO Image to disk to make it bootable. Im on dial-up and downloading that (6 or 700MBs) would be totally rediculous.

    I downloaded the service manual and at a brief glance it looked as if you can get the HDD out without dismantling the machine. Just spoke to my brother and hes not prepared to spend any money on it, and I agree, but his wife was going to take it in this morning to get it looked at which was going to cost more than we'd like.

    Correct me if Im wrong.... you can access the drive (IF its still working) from another computer and it doesnt have to be in an external case, or put into another computer, but just using a suitable adapter cable (IDE to USB???). If I went this route would I need to sit it on an anti static bag or something? I have an antistatic wrist strap I use when cleaning out my computers.

    Thanks for any further help.

  4. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    You could try the other screen, is it a laptop screen? that might be tricky to connect. A standard monitor would be easier as the laptop should have an output for an external monitor that you can just plug it into.

    Yes, you can use a genuine XP disk to boot the laptop. The OEM just means that you cannot transfer his OS to any other machine.

    Hard drives are fairly easy to remove and you should be able to link it up to another PC with an adapter. All you need to do is make sure you sit it in a position where nothing metalic can make contact with the circuitry.

    This guide will give you all the information you need to make a hard drive diagnostics CD made by the manufacturer of the drive.

  5. Musicalls

    Musicalls TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Thanks again for your help. The extra screen is a stand alone LCD, plus he has our mums tower and standard monitor which he's using in the meantime, and which I'll use to help retrieve the data if I can.

    The service manual has a lot of part numbers for things, including the HDD, so how would I go about identifying if its a Seagate or WD or whatever? Also Im not sure that this notebook hasnt already had a HDD change because some time ago I think my bro told me it had an 80G drive, but as I say, Im not totally sure on this. The manual lists 40G as the max then 30 then 20, so Im not sure it would even accept an 80G drive.

    For use with Evo Notebook N610c models only:
    40 GB 265495-001

    I did a google on the above number and Im confused as to who actually is the manafacturer. A number of manafacturers appear to use this number so I dont know which of your links below applies. For example, This link lists the part number as an HP.

    All going to plan I'll go out this weekend and at least try my XP install disk and along with the monitor.

  6. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    When you remove the drive the manufacturer and its size will be written on it.

    If in doubt with the hard drive manuafacturer use the Seagate link to get Seatools, that will do a good test on any make of drive.

    XP should support drives up to 2TB but maybe there is some peculiarity with Notebooks that limit the size (Notebooks are something I have not had much experience with).

    HP do not make hard drives but they now own Compaq.
  7. Musicalls

    Musicalls TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Really appreciate your help.

    My bro is going to be real busy for the next couple of weeks and isnt in a hurry about this, so theres no pressure. As I said I'll just do the monitor and XP disk thing this weekend. I did googling till it came out my ears last night and no matter how deep I went into the searches I just couldnt pin down who actually makes the drive, so I'll go to Seagate. Im glad you mentioned that, cuz I saw elsewhere that Seagates Seatools would try the integrity of all HD brands.

    Duh, I didnt realise HP owned Compaq, or I had forgotten it.

  8. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    OK, lets hear how you get on.
  9. Musicalls

    Musicalls TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Hi Mark56, just an update. .....Well I went out and we hooked up the monitor and tried to boot with XP disk. Nothing doing. Tried to hear or notice any air movements from the intake and exhaust areas. Nothing. As before, 2nd orange light flickering indicating battery issues. (for charging it should stay on solid)

    We pulled the HDD and I saw it was a Hitachi travelstar. I shouldve got the model/part number as theres certain drives that the Hitachi tools wont work with and without that number its largely guesswork. Anyway, I couldnt find any reference to any drive below around 120GB, and they all appear to be SATA's. I'll stick with Seagate's tool.

    So, the ONLY sign of life is the 3 green lights and the one orange one. I couldnt even hear the slight faint sound I heard before.

    I'll see if I can borrow a laptop IDE > USB cable from some friends I'll see next week and see how we get on.

  10. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    As the charging light is not on, I wonder if the power supply has failed, try running it from the power supply with the battery removed, if it is dead then the power supply has blown. See if you can borrow one rather than buy one as that may not be the only thing that has fried.

    If those lights are actually diagnostic lights there should be some information in the manual that will tell you what they mean.

    Let us know how it goes.
  11. Musicalls

    Musicalls TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Hi Mark56. Did what you said and looks like the Laptop is as dead as a doornail. I couldnt find anything about diagnostics and lights in the service manual.

    We really only want to recover some data files off the HDD if at all possible. SO I borrowed an IDE/SATA to USB adapter and found that it has 2 rows of holes (female) on both sides (one for Laptop one for Tower and a SATA connection on top) but the HDD doesnt appear to have holes or pins where the connection is made. Instead it has 2 rows 22 little gold "ridges" where it looks like something would slide in between (I hope that makes sense) .... Ive got a photo but the forum doesnt host them.

    So where to from here. DO I have to remove something or is there another adapter I should be looking for?.

  12. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

  13. Musicalls

    Musicalls TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Thanks for that link. Unfortunately, these adapters dont look like what is on this HDD. It has a hexagon nut either side of the connector.

    I sent a pik to the guy I borrowed the adapter/cable off and he said he'd never seen one like it before and that it is a form of quick-release edge connector, and it looked to be permanently attached to the drive circuitry. He also said Looking at the pin count (44) I would say it is probably a standard IDE drive electrically, but since the connector is a custom one instead of the expected two rows of 22 0.07" spaced pins that we expect on an IDE 2.5" drive, our only chance is to see if the ribbon cable and connector that the drive used to be connected to, can be removed from the laptop if it has a connector on the other end that we can use.
  14. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    I would be surprised if the drive was purpose built that way, have you tried undoing the nuts to see if there is an adapter connected to it. It is an IDE drive for sure so I would expect the edge connector to come off.

    As this has an edge connecter this will just push on to the edge of the mobo so it is not likely that you will find anything usefull inside the case to make a connection with.

    I have just found that you can buy the adapter that is fitted to your drive so it will come off and then you should find a standard IDE connector underneath it, look at this:
  15. Musicalls

    Musicalls TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Well after I sent my friend a side view pik he agreed that it indeed should be removable. His comments were only based on an end on view and so I didnt give him a lot to go on. He now says...

    I think that it is not the hexagon nuts that need removing, it will be a couple of small flush-head countersunk torx screws (the 6- pointed star recess in the head) that hold those shiny steel corner brackets that hold the adapter onto the chassis of the drive.....only remove the minimum number of screws to release the brackets along with the connector, which can be gently levered off the end of the drive with a jewelers screwdriver, raising it a quarter of a mm each end at a time so as not to bend pins.

    Thankyou again for that helpful link.

    By the way, once I knew the model # I got a lot more info from a google search. For anyone else who wants to know, its a Hitachi Travelstar 60gig 4200RPM Model IC25N060ATMR04-0.

    So thanks to your help and my friends, I'll gingerly take another look at this tonight. (Its the 1st time Ive done this)

  16. Musicalls

    Musicalls TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    OK, Success!!!! Hard Drive recovered no files lost. Im stoked. : )))) All thanks to you Mark for sticking with me on this, and my friend who lent me the adapter. You guys ROCK!

    The hard drive it turned out, had an adapter just like the pik in your last link, plus a metal "bracing" that went 3/4's the perimeter of the HDD which helped secure the adapter. There were 2 philips screws and 2 little nuts to undo and all was good. I very carefully prized the adapter off little by little as instructed.

  17. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    Glad to have helped.
  18. Musicalls

    Musicalls TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Haha now Ive done it, my brothers lining me up to see if I can recover the HD off of his ancient ancient he has to find it somewheres in the deep recesses of some shed or room! Heh, we'll see.... :).

  19. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

  20. Musicalls

    Musicalls TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    That was a great Link Mark. I read heaps on that website. I love DIY tips! I was about to look into some ideal freebies for BU's especially incremental, and this site had some info on that. NOw I have to convince my bro that Im not the geek he thinks I am, :) and that he NEEDS TO GET A BU routine organized, which is far more preferable than a roll of the dice with HDs. Mind you I did tell him I enjoyed the challenge, but the tinkering was at his own risk!.

    This next laptop may be a totally different scenario in which I'll have to get into the innards to get the HDD out. One things for sure, there wont be a hang of a lot to lose, so it'll make a good "practice machine" for me to muck around with. Still, I'll operate with as much care as I can.

  21. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    Acronis True Image is excellent for doing back ups, once set up you can forget about it. I have an extra internal drive installed purely for back ups. It is amazing how many people do not keep back ups and then get upset when the hard drive fails.

    Removing a hard drive from a laptop is usually very easy. The drive is normally only held in with a few screws found underneath, remove the screws and the drive slides out. Always remove the battery pack before removing components on a laptop or you may fry something.

    If you need any help you know where to come. PM me if you start another thread so I don't miss it.
  22. Musicalls

    Musicalls TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Thankyou Mark, your help has been exemplary! Im going out there later today and hopefully they FIND the Lappy, so I can make use of my friends USB/IDE adapter while Ive still got it. I'll let you know how it goes, and with a PM if its a new thread.

    I use CCC (Carbon Copy Cloner) on my Mac and its wonderful. In a major upgrade of music software and OS I cloned Leopard OS from an (obviously) bootable external HDD to one of the internal drives while I was still on Jaguar. Im still using that cloned OS.

    As far as PC goes Im on XP Pro and its a great OS. Really stable considering what Ive thrown at it, but it could be time for its 1st ever fresh install. I saw on a website that XP has its own BU tool. Ill have to go and have a looksee and see if it does incrementals. My info on the PC isnt really crucial so I only backup now and then, manually. Is Acronis True Image a freebie?

  23. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    No, Acronis is not free but (I cannot recall the price) it is not expensive. I don't think the built in BU in XP does incrementals, Acronis does. Windows 7 has a better BU but still has limitations I suspect SP2 or Windows 8 will have something better.

    Acronis can be set for any kind of back up with a lot of available settings, the Plus Pack includes other features for cloning and partitioning.
  24. Musicalls

    Musicalls TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    "I don't think the built in BU in XP does incrementals, "

    Just checked this yesterday, yes it does do incrementals, but Im pretty sure I had to take the custom or advanced options, which I dont seem to find a problem with, but some people might find that area a bit intimidating. What Im not sure about though (I havent tested this . YET.) is whether you can just pull up a tree view of your BU files without having to "restore" the files, as I just had a quick look and need to do more playing around with it, like doing a couple of dry runs. At the moment my Bro just drags n drops on to the external, but that can become very old once you only need to add new stuff.

    Cheers Joanne

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