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My computer won't boot.

boot bios failure

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9 replies to this topic

#1 DarkLordCthulhu

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 07:21 AM

So I tried to start my Debian box earlier today, and it wouldn't boot up at all.  Most of the hardware seems to be working fine, but the monitor won't turn on.  I'm not seeing the boot screen, it's just black.  Also, the caps lock and num lock keys are blinking.

 

A little background on this computer.  It's an HP Pavilion model, and I've installed Debian GNU Linux on a hard drive partition.  I had it off and unplugged for possibly a year or more, then I turned it on for a few minutes, then turned it off again.  Now when I try to turn it on it won't start.  It was working perfectly fine before, no signs of imminent component failure whatsoever.  The only thing that happened between then and now is it was off and unplugged for a while.  My best guess, based on my limited understanding of computer hardware, is that the CMOS battery died due to not charging for two long periods of time.  This would mean that the BIOS settings are lost and I will have to take my computer in and have someone manually reset the CMOS.  I think that if the BIOS was working properly, and the problem was, say, a hard drive failure, I'd get some sort of message like "Operating system not detected."  If I get no message whatsoever, common sense dictates that it's probably a firmware issue.

 

So my question is, based on what I have told you, have I made an accurate assessment of what is probably the issue?  If not, what other problems could have occurred?  I don't have a lot of money and won't be able to get it diagnosed by a professional for a long time, so I just want to get some idea of what's going on.


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#2 Vaielab

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 09:50 AM

Do you have access to the bios?

 

Do you have access to the boot loader (grub)

 

If you have access to a other computer, try downloading a live version of linux, and boot from the cd (first one in mind is knoppix), and see if you can start your computer

 

If you open (physically) your computer, do all the fan start spinning?


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#3 DarkLordCthulhu

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 03:59 AM

Do you have access to the bios?

 

Do you have access to the boot loader (grub)

 

I tried holding down F9 to get to the BIOS setup screen and nothing happened.  The bootloader usually starts up immediately, and it's not doing that.  I'm pretty sure there's something wrong with the BIOS.


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#4 Vaielab

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 05:07 AM

Have you tried to reset the bios?

Find your motherboard manual (either paper, or on their website)

And there is a section on how to reset it, pretty simple, you just move a little jumper and start the machine with it


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#5 Sundance

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 05:22 AM

I tried holding down F9 to get to the BIOS setup screen and nothing happened.  The bootloader usually starts up immediately, and it's not doing that.  I'm pretty sure there's something wrong with the BIOS.

 

Try different keys like F8, F2 or F10, it varies on a system to system basis.


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#6 Alexander

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 02:47 AM

The BIOS itself is usually not able to be modified, it consists of a non-volatile flash memory loaded by the OEM. The user-configurable settings in the BIOS, including the real time clock (keeping time between shut-downs and unpluggings) is stored in a volatile memory, turned non-volatile by a non-volatile SRAM controller connected to the coin-cell battery on your motherboard.

 

If you remove the battery for some time, and maybe as well hold the power button down while unplugged (forcing any capacitors holding charge to discharge a little) may fix the problem by setting the BIOS memory/clock back to default state.

 

If you list your model number, there should be a more simplified repair manual found online as well. Your keys flashing is NOT random, the motherboard clearly is doing this for your benefit. It could be "cpu failure", or whatever the manual tells you the flashes mean!

 

Alexander.


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#7 lespauled

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 06:47 AM

Most motherboards have a reset switch (or button) on the board to set it to factory specs, in case you screw with it too much.  This has saved me in the past.  :biggrin:

 

Check the motherboard manual for this switch/button.  If you no longer have it, there should be a copy online at the manufacturer's site.  It will also tell you the beyboard button to press to get to the bios settings.

 

Other things to try is to make sure the inner workings are completely blown out and vacuumed, free of dust, etc.  Also check all connectors, etc.  If it won't start at all, verify that your power supply isn't shot.  BTW, also blow that out, and remove any dust inside the power supply.


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#8 DarkLordCthulhu

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 10:26 AM

I appreciate the advice, but I'm not opening my laptop.  I have neither the confidence to work with the inner hardware of a computer, nor the physical dexterity to handle tiny components.  I will have to take it in to get it fixed.  But at least now I have a good idea of what the problem is and I don't think this will require anything drastic like a component replacement.  I should be able to get it fixed at relatively low cost.


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#9 Sundance

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 12:20 PM

I appreciate the advice, but I'm not opening my laptop.  I have neither the confidence to work with the inner hardware of a computer, nor the physical dexterity to handle tiny components.  I will have to take it in to get it fixed.  But at least now I have a good idea of what the problem is and I don't think this will require anything drastic like a component replacement.  I should be able to get it fixed at relatively low cost.

 

No offence but you never specified it was a laptop...but yeah I think you'll get away with it costing about $50-60ish


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#10 Alexander

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 10:03 PM

Mentioning it were a laptop, and which model would have been relevant to finding the troubleshooting guide (the blinking is likely a direct answer to your question*.) It is a good idea to be sure to collect all available information before asking for help.
 
Being a laptop, I agree, there aren't usually any user-serviceable components within and repair might be possible.
 
Alexander.
 
* http://h10025.www1.h...cname=c01732674

LEDs blink 1 time CPU CPU not functional
LEDs blink 2 times BIOS BIOS corruption failure
LEDs blink 3 times Memory Module error not functional
LEDs blink 4 times Graphics Graphics controller not functional
LEDs blink 5 times System board General system board failure
LEDs blink 6 times BIOS BIOS authentication failure


(an example of a relevant diagnosis guide for an HP laptop)

All new problems require investigation, and so if errors are problems, try to learn as much as you can and report back.





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