Laptop freezes and screen begins to pixilate

August 22, 2011 at 05:25:44
Specs: Windows XP, Pentium M/ 256MB
I have a thinkpad r50 starts to turn on but as it turns on and loads the OS, it freezes up. Sometimes it freezes during the bios interval, other times it freezes during the windows xp logo loading screen, and other times if I'm lucky to get that far, it freezes during desktop loading. If I try to hard-restart, sometimes it just turns off and won't turn on. Then I have to unplug the power outlet and plug it back in to get the laptop to restart.

When the laptop freezes, first the screen freezes, then a few seconds later, the screen begins to pixilate. None of the keys (caps lock, num lock or scroll lock) appear to have any effect.

Is this a memory falilure, a hard drive failure or some other failure?

Can anyone help me out?

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August 22, 2011 at 05:55:12
Those symptoms sound like classic overheating. Because it is happening so fast I would suspect the cooling is not working at all. Probably clogged up with dirt/dust and fan may not even be able to turn.

Get a can of compressed air from the office or computer supply and blow out the vents in the bottom. If that doesn't help you will need to disassemble to perform a more thorough cleaning and inspection.

Laptops should ALWAYS be used on a hard surface. Ironically, using them on your lap can cause overheating due to restriction of the air vents.

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August 22, 2011 at 17:27:51
Thank you for your response. I cleaned out the internals of the laptop as you mentioned but the problem remains. Do you have any other suggestions?

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August 22, 2011 at 17:36:38
I explained above what you must do next. However, I didn't mention monitoring the temperatures. I suggest you downwload and install HW Monitor from the link below.

Laptops are hard to clean out due to the small vents. You may need to disassemble partially. First determine the CPU, System, and graphics (GPU) temperatures.

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August 23, 2011 at 06:04:47
Thank you for your response.

I have disassembled the entire laptop, disconnected the heat sink from the cpu, and cleaned all components. To be honest, the only dust present in the laptop was by the fan. Other areas were top notch. I always use my laptop on a flat surface and take very good care of it. It has never been dropped or spilled on.

Due to this reason, it is very hard to understand why my laptop would suddenly begin causing problems.

I wish I could install and use HW monitor but I can't even get the OS to load. It freezes midway.

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August 23, 2011 at 06:43:09
Did you apply thermal paste as per instructions when installing the heatsink? Is the fan even turning?

Can you boot into the BIOS screens? If so; see if you can sit in the BIOS screens without problems. You should have a screen in the BIOS that shows temperatures. Possibly labeled PC Heath.

The issue you are now describing could be a problem with Windows itself, not hardware. This is not consistent with your first post.

Going back to your original post I would say this is not hard drive related. One thing you could try is to snap all RAM in and out 4 or 5 times to burnish the contacts.

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August 24, 2011 at 06:27:09
Hi OtheHill,

I did not have any thermal paste on hand so I ended up just re-attacing the heatsink using the paste that was present on its body.

Initially I believed the Windows OS to be at fault so I tried to install Ubutnu. Freezing and pixilation presented themselves again during the installation process which tells me that it is most likely a hardware problem.

I don't remember ever seeing the option to view temperatures via the BIOS but I will take a look again. I will also burnish the RAM contacts as you prescribed.

Will keep you upated.

Thank you for your continued help.

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August 24, 2011 at 07:54:44
You need to get some thermal paste and apply it properly accord to the type of processor. The link below shows the proper application of Artic Silver to your Pentium M. You do not need to use Artic silver thermal compound. The instructions are valid for any brand of thermal paste. Be sure to clean the old paste/pad off completely from both surfaces.

You can buy thermal compound at most any computer shop or even at Radio Shack.

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August 24, 2011 at 09:26:37
If you do get a chance to download the HW Monitor from that link, be advised, I just downloaded it myself. In the process it gives you an option of installing the Ask toolbar. Even though I unchecked those options (telling it no don`t install Ask toolbar), when I executed HW Monitor, my Comodo firewall threw up a red flag informing me that HW Monitor was trying to dl, and install the Ask Toolbar which I blocked with Comodo, so be advised.

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August 24, 2011 at 11:23:53
Thanks for the warning Ike! Hopefully I won't have to go the route of installing HW Monitor.

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August 24, 2011 at 15:38:13
I have the link to HWMonitor bookmarked. When I made the bookmark there were no third party apps associated with the download. Now there are. Not only Ask, but Home page change to MSN and Bing added.

Do not use that link. I am editing to remove it.

The link below does not seem to have all that baggage attached. Also have versions that you don't need to install there.

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August 24, 2011 at 17:30:56
Ya know OtheHill, I think that is becoming much the trend with a lot of the freeware out there these days. I have noticed that the past few freeware downloads I have done, you really have to watch / inspect the various windows as you execute the software, as they will already be pre checked for you to take those third party apps. And even in this case I unchecked all those boxes, and they still tried to dl, and install them on me. I knew I kept Comodo around for a reason, it caught them.


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