19 March 2012

Elf Box Funtime

This morning...well, afternoon...I got up to call the insurance company. To do so I was going to log onto the website and check the messages so that I could get the claim number.

The laptop was off, and I did not shut it off.  This is not good.

Firing the lappy up, the HDD light stayed on for a while (also not good) but eventually stopped flashing. I opened taskmanager to see if any unusual processes were running but did not find anything.  I thought maybe the power blinked and the computer shut off, but since the battery was well charged that didn't really make sense.

Sure enough, after about 20-25 minutes of running it shut off, and then wouldn't stay on long enough to boot up.

It does this every 3-4 weeks, and every time it is the same. Boot up in the limited mode, check everything and find nothing, run a virus scan and it's clean, do a system restore and all is well for another 3-4 weeks.

This time it wouldn't boot up after a system restore and had to do a startup restore as well, which I had never seen. I don't know what the problem is but I do know it's irritating. For now it's back, but for how long no one knows.

Anyone have any ideas?


eiaftinfo said...

My first thought would be an aging battery. If laptop batteries are charged continously, over a number of months/years, they eventually turn to crap. I am actually having this with my home laptop. What will sometimes kick that over is to unplug the charger from the computer, let it sit for a minute or so and then reconnect and try again.

Another thing that works for me, if the bootup windown comes up and does the countdown to starting windows (usually 30 seconds), let it complete the countdown and go into windows.

See if either of these things work.


Quizikle said...

But first ...

Back up everything while you can.

RabidAlien said...

Hmmm...several problems come to mind. Do you hear the fan running? A laptop overheating (or desktop, for that matter) would freeze up or crash completely. Check the event log (Right-click on My Computer, click "Manage", "Event Log", and then "System" to see if there's any little red X's). You can take it in to a computer shop (or do it yourself, if you feel comfortable opening a laptop) and get them to blow it out for you.

Other than that...I'd need make/model/operating system to troubleshoot any further.

Larry said...

Bill, I hesitate to think battery since a system restore always fixes it, also I can power it up in safe mode and run it all day long but if I try to boot it up normally it won't usually even make it all the way through the boot cycle. I have seen power supplies and batteries do funny things, though, so it might be worth a shot. I'll keep it in mind.

Q, all the important stuff gets downloaded to the removable hard drive, nothing really gets put on the lappy that is not on the desktop. Still, backups are always good advice.

Kirk, everything seems to run normally right up until it doesn't, and then it shuts down as if you pulled the cord and dropped the battery on it. The error reads "Previous system shutdown was unexpected" (as if I didn't know that). I've had it open to update memory and sucked the dust bunnies out of it then, about 3 months ago. It's an older Acer running Vista, which I'm thinking is part of the problem. I've thought of upgrading to 7 but on such an old machine I don't know if it would be worth it or not. If it keeps crashing like this I'll go ahead and pull the trigger on it, I don't really use it for much other than traveling but it's nice to have it then.
Thanks for the suggestions and thanks for dropping by!

Anonymous said...

First priority. Backup,backup,backup.
Then after you are SURE you have good copies of important stuff then troubleshoot.

lesson learned x

Larry said...

Yep, backups are already done. Thanks for dropping by!

RabidAlien said...

Well, if its an older machine and choking on Vista (not uncommon), I'd grab a copy of XP and the next time you have to wipe/restore, just wipe it and load a fresh copy of XP. Its stable (well...as stable as a Microsoft product can be), and the only crashes or BSOD's I have to deal with are 99% hardware failures.