Tech question for laptop experts

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Jul 2, 2007
My trusty HP laptop is having a bizarre intermittent problem. It mimics either a RAM fault or over heat condition but is not consistent. System info: HP DV7-2270us notebook PC, Intel Quad core 2.0Ghz, 4 GB RAM, discreet ATI video card (1 mb), Win 7 64bit. BSOD's, app lockups while in Windows requiring hard power down to terminate. Reboot may fail @ black screen before even bios POST and caps lock and num lock LEDs flashing in unison, hard drive LED flashing in orange color (normal color white). If I unplug it and let it sit a while, plug back in, it will start as normal and be stable for anywhere from 30 minutes to indefinite, upwards of several hours. Changed the CMOS battery with new thinking that was the problem. No help. Removed and reseated RAM dimms. No help. The RAM test offered in the POST menu pre-boot declares the memory passes tests. Hard drive test in pre-boot POST same thing-- passes S.M.A.R.T. tests. Have ruled out thermal buildup because it will run stable through demanding apps that spin the fan at max rpm and exhaust hot air out the vent (e.g. Crysis Warhead in 64 bit DX10 mode, or a benchmark stress test app). Then the next day for no reason just idling in the desktop it will either BSOD or otherwise lockup hard. Scans clean via Microsoft Security Scanner, MalwareBytes Premium (registered version), and Kapersky free scan. Last night I regressed the BIOS back to version F.44 (previous ver to F.46) and it has been stable since, but same thing happened when I re-flashed F.46 a few days ago-- it was stable for a couple days through all sorts of apps and then began flaking out again. I will delete all System Restore files in case some malware has hidden there and is able to hatch out of System Restore and wreak havoc, but then it would seem that the scanners would pick up while active. Have heard of rare BIOS infections but would think re-flash would kill that. Unless it's dwelling in System Restore and re-infecting the newly flashed BIOS (?) If that is even possible. The laptop has been in service 4 yrs and 9 months and has been rock stable until this started a couple weeks ago. The battery has been shot for two years now and it relies on AC power. Running with battery removed does not help the problems it has been having. Also possible the AC adapter is beginning a slow decline and randomly sending dirty power bursts or otherwise fluctuating the power quality (?)

The MalwareBytes Premium runs real time protection and has been pretty good at catching threats before they can get a foot hold, as well as malicious website interceptions.

Just throwing this out there for opinions, has me scratching my head.
P.S. I have looked at the chart for POST crash diagnosis on HP's support page where the # of Numlock and Capslock LED flashes tell what component is failed, but no match. They flash continuosly and the chart stops at 8. Counted 17 last episode.

Could be the motherboard faulting out too. That is the worst scenario.
download and make a linux boot usb/dvd

run that for a day and see if it locks up.

you need to determine if its a hardware or software problem.. this is an easy .. pretty definitive way to do that.
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ditto with the air can.

It could be a motherboard problem, they aren't unheard of in laptops.

How long do you want to fool around with it? New laptops are pretty cheap these days from the competition with iPads, etc.
hey loneranger have you ever thought of using paragraphs? your post reads like nails on a chalkboard
Originally Posted By: L_Sludger
hey loneranger have you ever thought of using paragraphs? your post reads like nails on a chalkboard

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Have you checked on HP to see if they have forum?

Lenovo has forums that are incredibly helpful with odd issues. I will state we have some HP laptops at work i7's that exhibit similar behavior and mostly been donated away!
If these issues started after the bios was flashed to the new version, revert to the previous one.
Your post states that the problems stopped after doing that, so I'd leave it with the older bios.
A bios update isn't always necessary and if it's not done right or issues start it can be terminal.
What was the reason for doing the bios update in the first place?
I agree with Roob.

It sounds like problems started with F.46 bios, going back to F.44 bios fixes the problem, but going back to F.46 caused the problems again?

Solution, stick to the F.44 bios.

It looks like the problem probably is thermal in nature. If you read the release notes in the F.46 bios, it says the following:
"- Updates the thermal table to fix an issue caused by noise from the system fan."

They probably reduce the fan speed across the board, reduced the maximum fan speed, or raised the temperature at which the fan speed runs higher to reduce the noise "problem".

Also, if that is the only change from the F.44 bios to the F.46 bios, I see no reason to upgrade to the F.46 bios anyways.
sxg6, that is the exact reason I fell back to F.44. I figured that in F.46 they simply slowed the fan down in answer to fan noise complaints which were a common gripe on this model. But, it was running F.46 since August 2011 when that version came out, and had been rock stable on F.46 ever since then. These issues cropped up a couple weeks ago out of the blue.

I did blow out the vents with compressed air. I used my garage compressor and the air blast attachment but on a low psi. Puff of dust came out but nothing major.

I'm inclined to buy a couple new memory DIMMS and throw those at it. If that doesn't solve it, then it's something profound enough to justify retiring it and getting something else. Been wanting a iPad for awhile. Might be time. Or maybe one of those laptops that convert to a pad and back into a laptop again.
Last night I ran Crysis Warhead in 64bit DX10 for about an hour with zero problems and not one hiccup, fan was cranking and venting a lot of heat, that game gives the system a workout. Internet use after that for a while and no glitches.

After work today, fired up Crysis Warhead, launched same mission as last night...crashed less than 20 seconds into it.


Fan wasn't even venting much heat yet due to the short time into the game. Restart (after 4 second power button hold down) brought a BSOD as soon as windows desktop finished loading.

Not much of a game player anymore but Crysis 64bit is a good stress test.
I might look into this more later, but for now I would backup any important data just in case it is the hard drive failing, if you haven't done so already.

I think I might have the answer. After waking it from suspend this morning, noticed delay in responses. Checked Task Mgr for an inventory of running processes, nothing unusual noted. Ran some system utilities and it is only showing 2 GB of RAM installed. It is a 4 GB system with two DIMMS. Rebooted. Still shows only 2 GB of RAM.

Looks like a DIMM may have been dying and is now gone. Either that or something in the memory controller is fried.

Will try a couple new DIMMS.
Write down the error code you see on the BSOD - that's not just random data; you can look them up for troubleshooting ideas.

The 0x________ is what you want
Thanks to each and to all for the help. Just ordered two new PC8500 (1066mhz) SODIMMS, matched to the voltage and timings etc. Worth the $40 to try it.

System is now showing only 2 GB in POST, with the 2 original 2 GB SODIMMS still installed so looks like one of them died. Right now running stable (but slow) @ 2 GB on whichever one is the survivor.

Thought about upgrading to 8 GB total w/ two 4GB SODIMMS, but the laptop will be 5 yrs old in January and I don't do much other than email and internet on it anymore so no point putting the extra $$ into it.
My favorite place for memory is Data Memory Systems.

Once you drill down to the page for your system, it will tell you the memory installed on the standard system, number of slots, and the max memory.

Sometimes the max memory is more than the manufacture states...
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