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Big Computer problem. HELP PLEASE

jfbookers

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I have a 3-4 year old HP laptop running Vista. For some reason it will not start and it has been trying to repair itself without success overnight. When I try to cancel the repair screen it says it can not be stopped. It keeps saying it has checked the computer and is now trying to repair itself. I have turned the computer off by removing the battery but after trying to restart it gets back to the trying to repair screen. Any ideas?
Right now I have a doorstop with a lit screen that can't do anything except try for hours/days to repair itself. I sure hope tuggers continue to know everything or at least where to look. Thanks in advance,
Jim
 

Mosca

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Try googling the model number and see what comes up. HPs from Best Buy etc are notorious for poor reliability (I've had quite a few of them). You may have to reinstall the operating system. If it comes down to it, get a new one and restore your data from your backup drive.

You do have a backup drive, right?
 

AKE

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Throw it away! I had an HP laptop which would have been about the same age as yours. Just after the 2 year extended warranty expired it literally died - I could hear it starting up but that was it. After looking on the internet I found that that model was notorious for bascially self destructing. According to numerous posts on the internet, the video chip was apparently too close to the CPU and after a while just became 'unglued' because of the heat generated. HP initially balked at covering anything but after pointing out to them that this was a well-known flaw, they said that they would cover half of the repair cost. As I had paid $900 for it and the repair was $500 (of which I would have to pay $250) I declined, threw it away and bought an Acer netbook for $200! (which was faster and had more disk space than the HP). Now 20 months later the Acer is still running as good as ever and even if it were to die tomorrow it would owe me nothing (i.e. I could buy 4+ Acer netbooks for what I paid for the HP). What irritated me was not that the HP broke (as everything can break) but rather the attitude of HP wherein a known problem, which was widely published on the internet, was basically ignored.
 

artringwald

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Did you try hitting the F8 key continuously as it's booting after removing the battery? If you can use F8 to get to the Vista boot menu, try booting it in safe mode. If that works, it probably is due to corrupted files and isn't a hardware problem. You may be able to back up files to a USB drive before you try reloading Vista.
 

timeos2

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You have Vista. Problem is clear. Plan to reload Windows once you verify that the hard disk is physically OK (Most likely it is - these problems almost aways are Windows not hardware)- preferably with XP rather than Vista.

Before you do that you, or a tech, need to try to rebuild Vista - to do that you need an install disk. Most likely you did not get one (Thanks HP/Microsoft - great planning!) so you have to find one or buy a set from HP.

If that works your programs & files will be OK & you can risk a few months of dangerous use until it occurs again (it likely will). Or you can go to WinXP - which will also require install disks & reload of all your programs - but you'll have what should be a much more stable & reliable PC.

Last choice, if the hardware supports it - it probably doesn't without a significant upgrade at least to memory - is to buy Windows 7 & upgrade to that. While not as stable or familiar as XP to most it is basically reliable - far more than Vista - and is the only current version of Windows. To be realistic you can uy a whole new PC with Windows 7 for not much more than a full copy of Win7 and memory will cost. But you'd have to have your programs reinstalled & data transferred. Still, a new PC is the way to go if Win7 is your goal. One similar to what you have in quality should be very inexpensive now as desktop sales are very depressed.

In any case it doesn't sound like you can do the fix - you need a PC technician to get it up & running. The cheapest would be a repair for the existing Vista but that is also the most likely to fail again. My choice for an older PC is to go with the extremely proven XP & reload the programs. Your data should be safe if the hard drive hasn't failed.
 
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timeos2

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Whoops - just re-read that you have a laptop. The cost for new might be significantly higher than an upgrade in memory - Win7 for that. Cheap laptops are NOT a good deal if you plan to use them 3-6 years. They have 2-3 years at best -often much less.
 

Talent312

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Given that its a dinosaur, I'd guess your HD is corrupted and unreadable.
Computers age worse than dog-years. It's like 1 of ours = 15 of theirs.
Time to let go and put it out of its misery... youth-in-asia.

Go online to Amazon, NewEgg, TigerDirect or even (shudder) BestBuy.
You'll be amazed at the bells, whistles + speed you can get for LT $500.

But stick to better brands... Acer, Dell, Sony, Toshiba.
Our office owns more than 40 Dells.
HP may make decent printers, but their rep for 'puters is not up to snuff.
 

klpca

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If you decide to replace your laptop, you may also want to look at Costco if you have a membership. They offer a 2 year warranty on their computers. That's how I received a free repair on my almost 2 year old HP. (It sounds like we had the same problem. It was fixable, but I'm glad that I didn't have to pay for it).
 

geekette

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If you received or made recovery disks, it's time to dig them out. Just know that you will lose all your files. Drastic situation, drastic measures.

Agree on brand of laptop suggestions - I am a Toshiba lover for laptops.
 

bogey21

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I have bought near lowest cost laptops since 2000. I am on my 3rd. First one lasted about 7 years; next one (an Acer) lasted 22 months; I have had my current one 12 months now with no problems (Compaq Presario CQ56). So far I have achieved my goal which is to average less than $100 per year. Thus I never pay for repairs. If I have unfixable (by me) problems, my protocol is to trash my failed laptop and buy a new one.

George
 

LUVourMarriotts

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On one of my laptops, I had Vista. At least a month ago, I did the monthly security updates. After that, it would not start, was doing same as yours. I tried safe mode, same problem. So, I rebuilt it, using Vista again. It was working fine until I applied all the security patches, when it did same thing.

Now, I'm on Windows 7, no issue.
 

bogey21

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I also attribute the failure of my Acer after 22 months to Vista. On my new Compaq I have IE8 which so far has worked great.

George
 

Sea Six

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My wife has a Dell with Vista. It runs like a snail. I don't know what to tell you - I don't think it's an HP issue. I got a newer HP desktop with Windows 7, and it has issues, too. I am considering the Mac route.
 

Talent312

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My wife has a Dell with Vista. It runs like a snail.

Vista itself had a short shelf-life (from Jan.2007 - Oct.2009) and a poor rep.
When succeeded by Win7, there were still more XP users than Vista users.
Many have never migrated past XP and still use it as their OS of choice.

So, yeah, Vista issues are not brand-specific.

The OP could try to reinstall the O/S, but should also get a hold of a HD diagnostic disk.
Use a public library's 'puter to order one, if necessary.
That should at least tell you if the HD is the issue.
 
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ScoopKona

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That repair program CAN be stopped. Cut the power.

Surely you have a friend who is enough of a computer geek that he or she can have a look at it in person and give you sound advice? If not, take it to a repair shop and decide for yourself if it's worth fixing.

As for me, I am DONE dispensing computer advice. Nobody ever listens until it's their computer that doesn't work the way they expect it to. (EDIT -- and by that time, the two options for "fixing" things are usually "format and forget" or "buy a new one.")
 
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timeos2

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That repair program CAN be stopped. Cut the power.

Surely you have a friend who is enough of a computer geek that he or she can have a look at it in person and give you sound advice? If not, take it to a repair shop and decide for yourself if it's worth fixing.

As for me, I am DONE dispensing computer advice. Nobody ever listens until it's their computer that doesn't work the way they expect it to. (EDIT -- and by that time, the two options for "fixing" things are usually "format and forget" or "buy a new one.")

Scoop - We'll have to stop handing out sales advice here on TUG too based on the "won't listen" rule. How many time has a first time poster ignored great advice to NOT pay an upfront fee, to buy only resale, not to buy to trade, etc? It's repeated a number of times per day yet all too many go ahead and do the exact opposite of what we advise.

People don't want to listen they want confirmation of what they plan to do. Applies to computers & timeshares! We're unlikely to change that.
 

Sea Six

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Ain't that the truth.
 

ScoopKona

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Scoop - We'll have to stop handing out sales advice here on TUG too based on the "won't listen" rule. How many time has a first time poster ignored great advice to NOT pay an upfront fee, to buy only resale, not to buy to trade, etc? It's repeated a number of times per day yet all too many go ahead and do the exact opposite of what we advise.

People don't want to listen they want confirmation of what they plan to do. Applies to computers & timeshares! We're unlikely to change that.

Well, I've come to the conclusion that I don't have time for the willfully ignorant.

I'm not labeling anyone on this thread as willfully ignorant. But there are a LOT of mouthbreathers out there who just want someone to tell them they are doing (or did) the right thing.

And I got right sick of posting the same computer info, OVER AND OVER, only to get the same questions and same sad situations from someone new every couple weeks. The info is out there. And it doesn't even have to be the "PC Tune-up and protection" thread I started, how many years ago?

(Just checked, almost 2 and a half years ago, and all of the information is STILL valid. One software update in 30 months and it would still be spot on today. And the information will continue to be valid advice, so long as we rely on magnetic media and silicon chips that generate heat.)

People "just want their computer to WORK" -- without doing anything other than turning it on and off. Yet nobody just wants their car to "just work" -- they change the oil, add gasoline, fix the brakes, bring it in for regular service. They EXPECT to have to do all that with a car. But for some reason computers should be as maintenance-free as a toaster oven.

How many people who read this forum regularly back up their data? My guess is maybe 10%. I'll bet most people aren't even reading this thread to answer that, because it's not their computer. But they'll sure be interested when it is THEIR vacation photos and music collection vaporized on a burnt-out hard drive.
 

ScoopKona

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Oh, and since I'm being a downer -- OP, since the computer is trying to repair itself, the hard drive is sound enough that most of your data is PROBABLY there. You're in for a reinstall -- no doubt. But you might be able to save most if not all of your important data. It will probably take the time to slog through all the folders looking for it, but it's probably there.

Have a geek remove the drive, plug it into another computer, and yank all the data for you. (EDIT -- or boot from some other device and then copy the data to an external. I like to pull the drive, though. One less variable.) Then you can sort through the vast amount of folders and save the vacation pictures and other necessary stuff.

Then format the drive, check it for errors, and replace or reinstall.

I could do all of that in less than two hours. Anyone who tries to charge you more is yanking your chain.
 
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Mosca

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I'm not anti Vista, I never had any problems with it. And I still think the original problem is cheap HP hardware, I've had and seen enough cheap HPs in my lifetime.

HOWEVER... if it IS Vista related, AND you don't use your computer for games but for email, photos, music, light office work (spreadsheets, word processing), download Ubuntu and wipe your Windows away. I did this for Mrs Mosca, who knows absolutely NOTHING about computers or operating systems, and she picked up the (cheap HP) laptop and started using Ubuntu with absolutely no instruction. Email? Click the little envelope. Internet? Click the Firefox icon. In fact, the latest Ubuntu looks a lot like... Snow Leopard. I'm using it right now.

Edited to add this photo of the desktop. It really is this easy.

IMAG0090.jpg
 
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LUVourMarriotts

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Yes, Ubuntu is great. And, you don't need to be a computer tech to install it, so another plus.
 

ScoopKona

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I'm not anti Vista, I never had any problems with it. And I still think the original problem is cheap HP hardware, I've had and seen enough cheap HPs in my lifetime.

HOWEVER... if it IS Vista related, AND you don't use your computer for games but for email, photos, music, light office work (spreadsheets, word processing), download Ubuntu and wipe your Windows away. I did this for Mrs Mosca, who knows absolutely NOTHING about computers or operating systems, and she picked up the (cheap HP) laptop and started using Ubuntu with absolutely no instruction. Email? Click the little envelope. Internet? Click the Firefox icon. In fact, the latest Ubuntu looks a lot like... Snow Leopard. I'm using it right now.

Edited to add this photo of the desktop. It really is this easy.

IMAG0090.jpg

Every time I've tried to install a Linux variant, it's been a total failure because of the lack of drivers. Has that been addressed in the last two years?
 

Mosca

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Every time I've tried to install a Linux variant, it's been a total failure because of the lack of drivers. Has that been addressed in the last two years?

I probably ought to plug that son of a gun into a printer or a scanner before I answer that question. I'll get back to you in a few minutes.
 

timeos2

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Every time I've tried to install a Linux variant, it's been a total failure because of the lack of drivers. Has that been addressed in the last two years?

For most pc hardware that is Vista/Win7 or XP ready (NOT Win98, 2000 or Millenium) 95% of the general drivers are available now. You may not find specialized drivers such as TV cards, extremely high end video cards or things like add on tape/specialized drives. For most what they now supply will get them up & running.

My favorite non- Windows story right now involves an older lady I handle her PC issues for. She brought me in her PC and was complaining it no longer worked with her Verizon phone using a tether. I remember that getting that operating was a chore but didn't know why it would have stopped working. I asked her to bring in her PC so I could check it.

She did - but she also brought me a copy of a Linux magazine with a cd it came with. She said the issue started "right after I loaded the disk". So I fire up the PC and what do you know. She had unknowingly reformatted her hard drive & loaded Ubuntu Linux! She was so pleased with how fast it had become & "how easy to use" - her only complaint was she couldn't load that Verizon add on! She didn't even know she had deleted Windows XP!

So I had her change her PHONE to one that used a wireless hot spot rather than a tether & she was happy. That was over a year ago now & she LOVES her "new" PC - and hasn't had another issue as far as I know.

That to me says Linux has come a long way and may finally be getting easy enough to use that it is a true option to Windows. As Win8 is an unproven and near total redo of the Windows interface - but unfortunately NOT a reduction in the mess of spaghetti code that is DOS/Windows (they still have not done away with DOS as a base part of Windows even in the unreleased Windows 8) and you have to learn a whole new way of doing things anyway why not just jump to Linux and forget paying MS for yet another seriously flawed and insecure system? Linux can be had for much less or even free and it is more compatible with many older Windows file formats than newer versions of Windows are. Plus you can get Open Office - far better than MS Office & FREE - or just use the Web for your other required software. More and more vendors are writing Linux versions so that also helps.

Paying the ransom MS requires for ever more unreliable software is a losers game. Move away from it and you'll have a much better computer experience. Even Apple uses a Linux base and it is my belief now that Steve J is unfortunately gone the new powers that be may return to licensing the interface (which is basically all the Apple OS is) to run on most PC's as they once did with Sony before Steve Jobs cut that off (he wanted complete control at all times - licensing went against that). If they do they could own the PC world and basically leave MS in the dust. I really hope they take that step at some point in the future.

Meanwhile don't be afraid of Linux as you may be using it already & not even know it!
 
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Mosca

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Mrs is using her Linux laptop, so I can't actually load the drivers. But a quick google search came up with the Epson V600 driver and the Canon MP980 driver for Ubuntu.

The whole setup was wicked easy, like timeos2 said, and using the son of a gun is really slick. I, too, have been futzing around with Linux for about 10 years, and never considered it desktop ready until this latest installation. It's way beyond even my download from a year or so ago. Media, workspace, social networking, it's all integrated, and there's no more reliance on the command line interface; you can do it all through the icons if you want.

edit: Ubuntu is a free download, and the laptop it's on is about 6 or 7 years old. And as far as using it and not knowing it... if you are using an Android phone you are using Linux.
 
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