Compaq Armada E500 boots to XP Home screen & Keyboard fails

February 17, 2012 at 23:33:59
Specs: Windows XP
Ctrl/Alt/Del doesn't work. Can do F10 to get to Bios, and reset to default setting, no luck. Any suggestions out there? Flash Bios? Boot w/config disc? (Problem started after I replaced dead cmos battery) THANK YOU!

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February 18, 2012 at 06:20:30
"reset to default setting"

Run thru all the settings & correct them.

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February 18, 2012 at 20:00:30
If you are having problems in Windows, or if Windows won't load properly, describe what your problems are, and what you're seeing and not seeing, in as much detail as you can come up with.

Have you, or is it possible someone else who had access to this computer...
- dropped it, or dropped anything on it, or otherwise exposed it to a physical jolt ?
- spilled liquid on it, or sprayed it with liquid, or exposed it to liquid such as rain ?

Since the computer last worked properly all the time, has there been a power failure event that happened while the AC adapter was plugged in ?

Those things are the most frequent reasons the keyboard or something inside the laptop has been damaged.

There is NEVER any setting in bios that effects whether Ctrl-Alt-Del works or not.

Under what circumstances does Ctrl-Alt-Del not work ?

It should always work fine BEFORE Windows begins to load from the hard drive while booting, if your keyboard is working properly,

but it may NOT work fine
- when Windows freezes
- when Windows is otherwise not working properly.

The same thing applies to the Reset button if you have one on a desktop case.

When you're in the operating system, Ctrl-Alt-Del or the Reset button working properly requires that the operating system is working properly.

When Windows IS working properly, Ctrl-Alt-Del should work fine after the desktop screen has fully loaded, when your cpu / hard drive activity is not excessive, but it probably won't work while Windows is loading before the desktop screen loads.

If Windows gets bunged up and Alt-Ctrl-Del won't work. hold the Power button in, or down - depending on bios settings, the mboard will either shut off after about 4 seconds, or it will shut off sooner than that.

If Ctrl-Alt-Del does NOT work while booting before Windows starts to load,
- are there other keys that don't work ?
- try a corded USB keyboard- it will probably work with Ctrl-Alt-Del fine

Laptop keyboards are relatively fragile, and it's common for some of the keys to NOT work properly on them after the keyboard has been used a lot, or at ANY time after you have spilled liquid on it, which is common.
They are a frequent replacement item and relatively inexpensive - there are lots of clone keyboards available on the web that are the correct one for your model.

Having a too weak or dead Cmos battery, or removing the Cmos battery, or clearing the Cmos by moving a jumper on the mboard when a good Cmos battery has been installed, sets bios settings to defaults.
The first time you boot the computer after that, you see a message "Cmos Checksum Error " or similar.
To get rid of that message, if a good Cmos battery has been installed, you must go into the bios Setup and set at least the current date and time, Save bios settings.
For a desktop computer, there may be other settings in the bios you need to change from defaults as well. .

The good Cmos battery, if it's coin shaped, must be installed so the + is on the surface of it you can see it when it's installed, otherwise it's in the socket upside down and bios will "think" it's dead.

A dead Cmos battery CANNOT make you computer fail to boot, but it MAY make your hard drive fail to load it's operating system, if setting the bios settings to defaults affects that (usually only applies to desktop computers).

If you are trying to get rid of a password that's been set in the bios Setup, removing the Cmos battery WILL NOT get rid of the password on modern laptops. The password data is NOT stored on the bios chip - it's stored on a separate chip that's soldered into the mboard that cannot have the data erased from it by removing the power to it.

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February 20, 2012 at 03:43:41
Most all of the ideas were N/A, however, the simplist (no brainer) workaround was mentioned, and it worked; I just plugged in an external keyboard to my ailing Laptop, and presto, back in business! Thanks to all for your creative ideas.

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February 20, 2012 at 08:26:17
Thanks for the thanks.

Is Windows / the laptop working fine otherwise ??

The external keyboard can't be used for some of the functions of the original keyboard because it doesn't have the specialized keys.

Your model is old enough that there does not seem to be any new clone keyboards available for it - it seems they're all used.

There are several possible part numbers for the keyboard - if you buy a keyboard you need to make sure it has the same part numer yours does.

Go here:
Scroll down a bit.
Look for the similar label on the outside of your computer.
The specific model number - that's at the end of the first line.
The Product number - that's on the third line.

Use your specific Product number there to search for parts for your model.
Don't use the # and characters after it at the end of it.

There may be only one keyboard part number listed, or several.

Maintenance and Service Guide - Sixth Edition

Page 100, 101 - touch button part numbers, removing the touch button

Page 102 - keyboard part numbers
Pages 103 - 105 removing keyboard

OR - Maintenance and Service Guide - 5th Edition

Pages 97, 98 - touch button part numbers, removing the touch button

Page 99 - keyboard part numbers
Pages 100 - 102 - removing keyboard

NOTE that there may be a stuck on label on the back of the keyboard that has it's part numer on it.

Example "hits" when I searched for: armada E500 keyboard

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