Laptop BIOS Issue?

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Laptop BIOS Issue?

Postposted on Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:37 am

Hey all. I hope I posted this in the right spot. If not, feel free to move it, friendly-neighborhood-moderator. :)

I've got a friend that came to me with some wonky laptop issues. The laptop is ~3 years old, out of warranty HP with Windows 7 64-bit, an AMD processor, and 4 GB of RAM.

The laptop will load to the screen that allows you to press F2 to enter BIOS or F12 to enter Boot Options, and then immediately reboot itself in an endless cycle. However, pressing Enter on this page will allow it to boot.

Once booted, there are other weird anomalies. For example, in the Start Menu, there is no option to shut down or restart. The only option is Log Off. Also, the mouse gets weird allowing you not to click or right click or type any characters. But hitting either Ctrl key will fix this issue for 2-3 minutes. (I tried hitting both Ctrl keys firmly several times to unstick them if one was stuck.)

I tried to enter the BIOS, but pressing F2 at the appropriate time causes the computer to crash and restart. I tried this perhaps twenty times, trying to hit the Ctrl key several times first, trying the Delete key, different combinations, etc. No luck. I tried using a USB keyboard, no chance. Before using the USB keyboard, I tried uninstalling all the keyboards in the device manager so the USB keyboard is the only option. However, the primary laptop keyboard continued to work.

I thought I'd cut to the chase by reformatting the hard drive. I backed up all my friend's files to an external, then inserted an OEM Windows 7 install disc. However, the computer instantly crashes when I press F12 to enter the boot menu. The only way out of that loop of constantly restarting is to press Enter, which causes Windows to load, at which point it is too late to reinstall Windows.

I've never heard of a computer issue that allows you to load an OS but keeps you from entering BIOS. By definition, that means it is a hardware issue? Is it an issue with the keyboard? The motherboard? The drivers/firmware for the mouse/keyboard? Something wrong with the OS?

I'm at my wit's end. Any help would be really appreciated. :)
LukeCWM
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Re: Laptop BIOS Issue?

Postposted on Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:01 am

That problem has absolutely nothing to do with the Windows install. It's strictly a motherboard issue. I've seen similar behavior on an HP laptop somewhat older than what you describe (DOM 2008 Windows Vista OS). As time progressed it became increasingly unstable. I tried replacing the battery, resetting the BIOS to factory defaults and reflashing it to the latest available. Like you, I also tried a OS re-install and tried upgrading it to Windows 7. None of those steps improved the operation. I'm afraid you're probably going to need a new laptop.

Typing this from the Dell laptop that replaced the aforementioned HP.
mnecaise
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Re: Laptop BIOS Issue?

Postposted on Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:30 am

mnecaise wrote:That problem has absolutely nothing to do with the Windows install. It's strictly a motherboard issue. I've seen similar behavior on an HP laptop somewhat older than what you describe (DOM 2008 Windows Vista OS). As time progressed it became increasingly unstable. I tried replacing the battery, resetting the BIOS to factory defaults and reflashing it to the latest available. Like you, I also tried a OS re-install and tried upgrading it to Windows 7. None of those steps improved the operation. I'm afraid you're probably going to need a new laptop.

Typing this from the Dell laptop that replaced the aforementioned HP.


I appreciate the response. Too bad it is out of warranty.

Anyone else have experience with an issue like this? Same opinion that it is totaled?
LukeCWM
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Re: Laptop BIOS Issue?

Postposted on Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:40 am

LukeCWM wrote:
mnecaise wrote:That problem has absolutely nothing to do with the Windows install. It's strictly a motherboard issue. I've seen similar behavior on an HP laptop somewhat older than what you describe (DOM 2008 Windows Vista OS). As time progressed it became increasingly unstable. I tried replacing the battery, resetting the BIOS to factory defaults and reflashing it to the latest available. Like you, I also tried a OS re-install and tried upgrading it to Windows 7. None of those steps improved the operation. I'm afraid you're probably going to need a new laptop.

Typing this from the Dell laptop that replaced the aforementioned HP.


I appreciate the response. Too bad it is out of warranty.

Anyone else have experience with an issue like this? Same opinion that it is totaled?


Afraid so... what you're describing sounds like the motherboard is toast. You could try a new battery or resetting the BIOS, just so you can say you tried everything, but chances are pretty high that your friend needs a new laptop.
cphite
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Re: Laptop BIOS Issue?

Postposted on Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:36 pm

just thought i would chime in and also tell you that it is most likely the motherboard. i have seen similar behavior a few times with laptops. one was b/c of the whole nvidia bump-gate fiasco a few years ago where as soon as the laptop would warm up it would act weird and freeze. a reboot would bring it back but only for a few minutes. i disassembled the whole thing and tried some as5 on the gpu heatsink which helped but only gave me another minute or so before freezing. and of course the symptoms started appearing 2 weeks after the turn-in program for the affected gpus ended.

another was a laptop that had been accidentally stepped on and it cracked the lcd and must have flexed the motherboard enough to mess up some traces b/c it was never right even after an lcd, ram, and hdd replacements. it would be fine for me when troubleshooting it, but the owner kept complaining that it would lock up and restart randomly. he eventually bought a new laptop.

all of that being said, it could be a nasty virus. not being able to access restart or shutdown is strange as is the restart on f2 or f12. those could all be trying to prevent the removal of the malware though. are you able to get into safemode with f8 at all? if so try all or some of the following rkill, tdsskiller, hitmanpro, combofix, mbam, spybot, hijackthis, etc... i would also try some type of bottable cd or usb stick with removal tools if safemode fails. UBCD is a good one but there are others out there.
ryko
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Re: Laptop BIOS Issue?

Postposted on Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:25 pm

ryko wrote:all of that being said, it could be a nasty virus. not being able to access restart or shutdown is strange as is the restart on f2 or f12. those could all be trying to prevent the removal of the malware though. are you able to get into safemode with f8 at all? if so try all or some of the following rkill, tdsskiller, hitmanpro, combofix, mbam, spybot, hijackthis, etc... i would also try some type of bottable cd or usb stick with removal tools if safemode fails. UBCD is a good one but there are others out there.

The virus would have to install itself in the BIOS to affect the BIOS boot options. Not impossible but uncommon these days.

More likely explanation for not having "Restart" or "Shutdown" on the Start menu is that the OS is not able to identify the ACPI hardware interface and access the soft power control. It couldn't load an appropriate driver so it doesn't present the option.
mnecaise
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