HP Pavilion Random freezes in Afghanistan

Hewlett-packard Hewlett packard pavilion...
May 20, 2010 at 09:51:42
Specs: Windows 7
Firstly, I had chosen my laptop as the gear to be displayed with the subject but it still doesn't show it. It's an HP Pavilion DV7-1135nr.

Oh man what a nightmare. I took a few pieces of my computer off in order to blow out and dust or sand there may be in there. Just precautionary measures (thought to be preventative maintenance) since I’m currently on my first deployment to Afghanistan and I didn’t know what type of internal beating my lap top might be taking. Turns out there was no sand and only a little bit of dust from routine use over a year and a half. All I removed was the hard drive, keyboard, speakers and power button panel. I was grounded for the whole thing, and as soon as I turned my computer back on there were problems, however I know everything was replaced correctly.

Firstly, I have a HP Pavilion DV7-1135nr with Windows 7 Ultimate, 17 inch monitor, 4 GB of RAM, AMD Turion X2 64 bit processor and a 250 GB HDD. I don’t know what other information may be pertinent, however I should be able to answer any questions you have for me.

Initially for about 3 minutes, my computer wouldn’t even power up (don’t know why or what could have affected that). It was plugged in and the battery was in and charged. A friend of mine said that’s normal for some reason. Anyhow, I walked away came back and it started. (I sighed in relief).

I was on the computer just typin’ along and bam, it froze. It had been like 15 minutes or so. (My computer hadn’t frozen in the year and a half I’ve owned it) I turn it back on, a little distraught and it freezes again after like 5 minutes. I turn it back on, stubbornly, and it doesn’t get passed loading windows. I’m thinking “I jacked something up” (which I did) Next time I try to start it it barely makes it to Windows, and the screen flickers up and down (that has only happened a few times). Next time I start it, I just get a black screen with a cursor then it freezes up. If I let the lap top sit for 24 hours it can be on for anywhere between 30 minutes to an 1h 30 minutes. It’ll then freeze up and I’ll go through the cycle described above. Considering this started happening about 2 weeks ago – I don’t even try to use it after it freezes the first time. My buddy and I have attempted to troubleshoot and fix the problem, repeatedly.

I don’t know too much about computer hardware but I knew a little bit which I figured would help me trouble shoot. I fix electronics so I wasn’t too worried about taking anything apart for troubleshooting purposes. I quickly suspected a heating control problem because of the “cycle” and how the computer would freeze quicker and quicker after restart as if maybe the processor was getting too damn hot to run. I figured heat sink or fan. I detached the heat sink and reattached it after cleaning the compound off the processor and putting more.. that didn’t work. Then I suspected the fan wasn’t working but it was. I don’t think the processor is overheating despite AMDs supposedly having a reputation for overheating (like I said I don’t know much so if I’m wrong, oops). Anyway, after that didn’t work.. the next time it froze, I was feeling back behind the fan to see if it was hot, and it was blowing cold air (I don’t know why I didn’t do this to start). So then I figured it can’t be the processor getting to hot, it’s not even hot back there. I had the little processor meter on my desktop and it was barely being used last time it froze.

Next we took out the ram, and tested each one individually on the lap top. It froze with both and a different 2gb stick. I was skeptical about the RAM in the first place since I hadn’t even come close to touching it. So then I was like maybe it’s the hard drive. So I installed a new HDD only 80 gigs but it’s all I had and I just installed W7 on there and the same thing happened. I ended up formatting my 250 anyway, but I definitely don’t think that’s the problem. I unplugged the bios battery from the motherboard tried that – I’m still freezing. So I completely took everything apart, I unplugged all the USBs from the MOBO, the audio card, all the batteries, the power, the fan pretty much everything, then I put it all back together. I’m STILL freezing. I’m kinda worried I have a problem with my motherboard or processor because that’s not stuff I can easily replace out here… so I’m hoping there’s something out there you all know that I don’t.

Just to add, I definitely don’t think it’s a software problem considering I put a whole new formatted hd in there and reset the bios. I’m hoping it’s something like maybe a temperature sensor is broken or I changed something that wasn’t supposed to be changed in terms of processor temp control. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for taking the time,
Semper Fi

I feel like I should mention, I blew out the computer with canned air. I heard air compressors could cause ESD. I also run my computer propped up so air can circulate underneath.

See More: HP Pavilion Random freezes in Afghanistan

May 20, 2010 at 10:17:29
Assuming you didn't encounter any ESD then the only logical conclusion is that something isn't assembled right. RAM and/or HS/fan come to mind.

I assume this is a desktop computer. If you re-installed some items in different slots or ports that could cause problems.

If you have a SATA hard drive (smallish usually red data cable) then be sure there are no sharp bends in the cable.

Re-seat all cards, RAM and cables by removing and plugging back in. Be sure there is a memory stick in the first slot.

You may have some success by clearing the CMOS while the computer is unplugged. This will force the BIOS to reconfigure all the hardware. You will need to reset some values. Time, date, boot order, to name a few. Clear the CMOS by means of the jumper provided for that purpose or by removing the coin shaped battery on the motherboard for a minute or so. Be sure to replace the battery in the same polarity as it was installed.

Post back after you have tried these suggestions with the results.

Report •

May 20, 2010 at 12:14:37
He said it was a laptop :)

And ya, some canned air isnt safe for the inners of your computer. Make sure its for computers, they can create static unless a specific ESD-safe compound is added.

Report •

May 21, 2010 at 06:51:40
Laptop so there are no SATA cables, I had already cleared the CMOS and installed it the way it was before. I have taken everything apart literally, anything that can be unplugged or removed has been and put back together twice. No luck. AlsoI have 2 sticks of ram in.

I guess I'll never know if I caused ESD then huh?

My buddy says he is a computer genius and he has no idea what the problem is.

Thank you all for reading.

Report •

Related Solutions

May 21, 2010 at 07:07:19
If the computer boots and runs for a limited period of time it sound like you didn't damage the motherboard or the processor.

Overheating could cause the problem you describe. I haven't worked on any laptops but there has to be a method of securing the heat sink to the processor. If that connection has been compromised then the symptoms you have described would fit.

Try booting into the BIOS (setup) when first starting the laptop. Look for something like PC Health and just stay there and monitor the temperatures and also the operating frequency. Your processor should not normally run at the rated speed unless something demands more processor power. This is done to conserve battery life and prevent overheating.

When the processor begins to overheat the system automatically throttles the processor speed. If the processor is throttled and still overheats, it will shut down to protect it from damage.

What sort of tasks were you performing in those 5 minutes before shut down?

Report •

May 21, 2010 at 07:38:08
lets see sometimes, Im just watching a video, the other day it froze while i was doing nothing but installing avg and sometimes it freezes when I'm trying to transfer files from my external to my hard drive. It hasn't really frozen when I wasn't doing anything but I'm always only doing 1 thing at a time. I make sure if I'm not using something I shut it off completely. The only time I was able to see how much of the processor was being used when I was installing avg and it froze. I don't know if that windows sidebar cpu meter is accurate but it said I was using 6%, also the fan was blowing nice cold air and I was in air conditioning at the time - I just really didn't think it was over heating, because the air was cold still. Also the hs is screwed down around the processor and there is heat sink compound between the processor and the hs that I have recently applied. I'm gonna try your suggestion of monitoring the temperature in the bios. Appreciate the help.

Report •

May 21, 2010 at 07:45:50
Try re-seating the removable RAM stick/s 4 or 5 times.

If you recently reapplied thermal compound you may not have applied correctly. research the proper method for your chip. Keep in mind, too much compound is NG.

Report •

May 23, 2010 at 00:39:27
Ive reseated and tested the ram, its working well. No problems. I wasnt able to find "PC health" in the bios. After my computer had already done its first two freezes of the day, I tested both my hard drives and they both failed the test in the bios. I dont think there's anything wrong with them though. I still have more troubleshooting to do - thanks for everything.

Report •

May 23, 2010 at 07:10:03
I installed a program called speccy and at first when I turned it on, it showed me that my processor was 70 degrees celsius and I was like MAN that is way too hot. Then the temperature dropped slowly. I put my buddy's little cooling pad underneath the already raised laptop and it had me hovering around 49degrees however that was running nothing. Whatever I were to do it would jump closer to 60 degrees and I understand that as being high but not crazy. I noticed something with the CPU, Speccy had mentioned that I had a dual core cpu which I already knew however it showed me that they both were either completely synchronized and running at the same speed or only one core was working? That's what I figured. How can I know if only one core is working? I looked my buddy's dual core and on speccy it has two different temperatures two different speeds and everything.. Another thing that I never mentioned is that when it freezes, it freezes - it doesnt shut down. Usually I manually shut it down well today I decided to leave it frozen to see if it would unfreeze. It stayed frozen for like 5 minutes then the screen started to flicker. So I am almost a hundred percent positive its a heat problem because the problem that caused it to freeze kept getting worse after it was frozen (apperantly). I realized something though something else as well, my fan is running but it never kicks into overdrive like it used to - can I do that manually somehow. Control how strong it's blowing. If I sent my laptop to HP, which I can't but if I did - what would they do, just give me a new one?

Report •

May 23, 2010 at 16:45:07
your BIOS should have some info/setting on your processor and maybe your fan, check it out and see whats there.
As far as what HP would do...all depends on if your laptop is still under warranty, if it is theyll likely try to fix the problem first...if they cant theyll replace it.

Report •

May 25, 2010 at 05:39:53
I updated my BIOS, and still the only fan setting in the BIOS is "Fan always on - enable/disable" It's obviously enabled. I checked the bios for any other settings and it didn't say. I got a program called speedyfan or something, and it seems like exactly what I need but apperantly doesnt support my chipset. Is there any other possible way I can control the fan speed? That program seemed perfect.

Also I took my heat sink off to try a different heat sink pad stuff for the processor and when I took it off, I think I messed up the pad for the AMD Radeon chip, the result was - my processors temperature stayed between 29 and 52 degrees which is perfect, however the computer froze on me in a different way. It was like when I would play a movie or anything it would last a few minutes than freeze. I think I need to apply something between the heat sink and amd radeon chip. Since they used a pad and not heat sink compound (which they did on the processor), im kinda worried because I have no more pads. Is it safe to replace the pad or even apply compound on the pad so it transfers the heat better? what should I do. I think the AMD Radeon chip is overheating and before when the heat sink was connected better it was causing the processor to overheat as well because the fan still isn't blowing hard enough. (theory) I'm just trying to get this working. I don't know if I mentioned this but I wanted that speedy fan program because my fan stays at really low RPMs the whole time. Its only high when I hit the power button, for maybe 1 second. Any opinions??

Report •

May 25, 2010 at 11:29:47
As long as there is a mechanical method to hold on the heatsink either a thermal pad or paste is acceptable.

The latest version of Speedfan is a beta 4.11. It is available at the link below.


Report •

May 25, 2010 at 14:41:38
some fans you just cant control like that...i know i cant change the speed of mine, in my dell XPS gen 4.
If you CANT change the speeds, its just automatic...it speeds up when it needs to cool more.

Report •

May 26, 2010 at 21:02:00
@rock - the reason I wanted to try and control it was because mine was no longer kicking up when my cpu was reaching high temperatures.

Next question - does something happen to thermal paste when it stays over night somewhere that gets to be like 40-50 degrees fahrenheit? Yesterday I applied some paste between gpu and heat sink and my computer ran like a champ and didnt freeze allday thereafter. Today the cpu stayed at nice low temperatures, but the graphics started flickering leading me to believe the GPU isn't correctly bonding to the heatsink? should I clump more paste? should i try and change where I leave my laptop?

Also there is nothing mechanical holding it on, only at the cpu does the heatsink screw down around it. at the gpu it just kinda hovers? should I try to mod this?

Report •

May 27, 2010 at 04:38:27
Thermal paste is not going to hold a heat sink securely by itself. Are you sure there are no pins or spring clips in use?

If there aren't then you need to use thermal adhesive or tape.

Report •

May 27, 2010 at 09:37:21
akh ok, im in afghanistan so i guess ill have to order some of that. The only thing being held on is the heat sink over the CPU, but the heat sink continues to the gpu where as far as i know there are nothing to hold it on. What if I bend the heat sink? I'm going to be taking apart and reassembling the laptop in the morning so, we'll see what happens. I'm gonna look for clips and pins. Again, I appreciate all the help! I've learned a lot in the past few weeks. Thank you..

Report •

June 1, 2010 at 13:42:33
Ok, first off dont modify your heatsink if you bend the copper tubing it will change the cooling properties in ways you dont want. Second have you verified the reconnection of the ribbon cables? you said you pulled off the keyboard, speakers, and power button panel, they have the flat cables that dont have connectors on the cables but the connector is mounted on the MB. Here is a link I find useful at my job when I have a new laptop that I havent disected yet: www.insidemylaptop.com
Also the thermal paste will work just fine you dont need to get the thermal pad, just make sure the old pad is cleaned off completely first.
Sometimes I have noticed that the hardware dosent seat right when you connect it to your MB, I have fixed this issue by simply taking out the hardware and reseating it.
Good luck and keep your head down. :)
<-- Balad,Iraq may 2003- dec 2004 32nd Signal.

Report •

Ask Question