So I had to repair this lady’s laptop today. Was a Compaq Presario series Twenty One Hundred and the problem it was having was random rebooting. It appeared to be a regular heating problem so the lady actually went ahead and bought a complete heatsink with fan for the laptop on eBay. She even applied thermal grease on the underside of the heatsink by the processor contact areas. Wow. Talk about being hands-on and brave for someone who’s not in the computer field.
Anyway, her laptop continued to reboot randomly, usually when she or her daughter played games on it. So they bought a external fan stand for the laptop but the rebooting continued. Also, I was informed that the rebooting would occur when the vents weren’t even hot.
The ninja was called for service. Brought my trusty Western Digital 160GB HDD packed with all my virtual tech goodies. Scanned the computer, cleared off so much crap from her laptop. Cleaned off the prefetch etc and made it run decent but the problem persisted. Also, the temperature listed under Speedfan came up as 79-85C. Bruce Almighty levels and glad the AMD chip in her laptop didn’t throw in the towel and cannibalized itself.
Checked on the laptop and noticed the heatsink fan wasn’t running. Rebooted the system and still wasn’t running. The HDD was making some clanky noises too. Damage from heat? There was barely a trace of heat seeping out from the side vents. The keyboard was warm however. So the fan wasn’t moving causing the heat to spread throughout the laptop.
Checked for any BIOS updates for her laptop but none were listed for fan control and I didn’t want to risk running an update if the computer crashed. That would fuck up the machine big time. So I did what any normal person would do: check the fan.
Had the lady open her laptop as she had done before and after locating the heatsink fan, I reseated the cable and tested the computer. It worked! Hurray. A quick glance at the laptop and you could tell where the owner had made mistakes while replacing the heatsink. Bent and broken plastic on the outside by the hinges, snapped cables and small locking mechanisms.
So I put everything back together and the fan was running. The moment of Nirvana lasted only seconds because when the Windows XP desktop loaded we began hearing a clanking noise coming from near the fan. It wasn’t the HDD this time.
The fan stopped abruptly and the keyboard started to heat up. There was this annoying loud-pitched buzzing sound that was numbing my ears. I put it sideways to allow it to cool off in the air-conditioned house. Temperature dropped from 69C to 47C. Turned it off and had the owner open up her laptop again. Found out a small piece of metal was brushing against the fan which eventually caused it to stop moving. Got that outta the way and after going through the million screws (note: TAKING APART A COMPAQ LAPTOP IS A PAIN IN THE ASS), everything was setup.
The power light came on. The screen lit up. The fan started to bay loudly. Everything was going to plan. The Speedfan app showed the temperature at 30C. Wonderful. Then the owner tested out some games which used to cause the computer to turn off. 10+ minutes of testing and no problems, only hot air bellowing out of the rear vent as normal. Awesome.
Before leaving, I gave her 2 of my fav applications, ATF-Cleaner and CCleaner and advised her on how to work their magic. Also a few pointers on laptop maintenance and battery life. I really had to run to the bathroom so collected my meager pay and rushed out.
… The answer to her 3 month long problem was something so simple. Reseating a cable.