Recover laptop after fan dies?


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I have a 7 year old HP laptop that has been totally bomb-proof, until yesterday. The cooling fan had been getting a bit noisy, and yesterday it finally locked up. I don't think it actually overheated, but Windows would not run without the cooling fan operating.

I ordered a new fan overnight, and then I had the lovely task of ripping my laptop apart. Naturally the fan was deep in the belly of the beast, but I found a good guide and I think I got it successfully reinstalled. Feeling pretty proud of myself, I fired it up... aaand no luck. After a while I realized my keyboard wasn't working properly, so I took it apart and reseated the keyboard ribbon cable and now that works right.

But I still have a problem with Windows booting up. Various things happen:
* Sometimes the blue window icon displays with the spinning circle below it, and after a few seconds the spinning circle stops. It just locks up.
* Sometimes the circle keeps spinning. Usually it will eventually go into the Windows Recovery Environment (below).
* Sometimes the boot process goes into an error detection operation. It says preparing to repair, diagnosing your PC, automated repair could not repair your system, and then there are several options to do various troubleshooting things.
* I've tried most of those troubleshooting options except resetting my PC. I couldn't restore to a restore point.
* I tried to start it in safe mode. At first it started to boot up in safe mode, then it suddenly rebooted back to normal boot with the same problems above. I tried again and successfully logged in with safe mode. Wasn't sure what I should do so I tried rebooting in normal mod -- back to the same problem. Any ideas what I could do in safe mode?
* I had an Acronis image backup from the night before the disk died, so I restored that backup. No change, same behavior.

I'm past due for a new laptop, but I really would like to keep this one around to get data off it and keep using it in the background for a while. Any suggestions how I might resurrect this faithful old beast?

Gary
 
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I noticed this morning that there are a bunch of System errors in Event Viewer -- mostly DistributedCom getting 1084 errors because it can't start some service. This is a recent thing -- I'm not certain but I think they started after I did the Acronis image restore...
 
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Also, it's quite possible the fan issue extended into other places that are not very tolerant to heat. I'd pull the HDD and put in an adapter kit, box/case type or cable type, to see if it is still viable to get your personal data off. The drive is most like a PATA/Parallel ATA model but may be new enough to be a SATA/Serial ATA, the type will determine what adapter to get. If it is a PATA there usually will be an adapter on the drive itself to match the machine. But I have seen seen a couple of SATA have an adapter.
 
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I think I would start, by using safe mode to configure a Clean Boot
OK, I turned off everything. Rebooted into normal mode, and it failed just like it has been.

So Safe Mode apparently is a subset of a Clean Boot. Something that runs in a Clean Boot but not in Safe Mode seems to be causing the problem.

What's the difference between the two? What runs in a Clean Boot but not Safe Mode?
 

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Noob Whisperer
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Typically, just some drivers.
Clean boot is mainly to guard against startup programs, processes, services.

I'm assuming that you are testing without any peripheral devices attached. No wireless / Bluetooth / RF dongles and no USB attached devices other than perhaps a wired keyboard and mouse although with a laptop I wouldn't see the need.

Depending on how far you had to tear it down, you may need to make sure that your ram is seated firmly, your wireless card is seated firmly and antennae wires are connected, the ribbon cable for your touchpad. Ribbon cables and connectors for the Hard Disk, USB ports etc., etc.,
QUESTION... IS the new fan functioning properly??
 
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I'm assuming that you are testing without any peripheral devices attached.
Good thought! The wifi card basically quit working several years ago, so I always run with a mini wifi dongle. I also had my Acronis drive plugged in, and a USB extender for external kbd/mouse. But I unplugged them all and no change. But while I was at it, I figured the wifi doesn't work anyway, so I yanked the wifi card. Might as well simplify.

Depending on how far you had to tear it down, you may need to make sure that your ram is seated firmly, your wireless card is seated firmly and antennae wires are connected, the ribbon cable for your touchpad. Ribbon cables and connectors for the Hard Disk, USB ports etc., etc.,
The RAM is all registering, the wifi card is now gone :), touchpad &etc all seem to be working fine.

[quote\QUESTION... IS the new fan functioning properly??[/QUOTE]
Yes! I can hear it change speed and it's blowing hot air. My temp-monitoring app doesn't work in Safe Mode but I can tell (by feeling the case) that it's not running hot.
 

Trouble

Noob Whisperer
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Any third party security suite installed??
 
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Malwarebytes. I run the free version, though it insisted on giving me a "free trial" of the active monitoring. I believe that has expired now.
 

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Noob Whisperer
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Nope. That's not going to be the issue.
When you boot into safemode and it enumerates a list of drivers as it's booting what is the last one in the list at the bottom before it goes ahead and loads Windows.
 
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Um, it doesn't list drivers as it's booting safemode. It just displays the blue-window splash screen until it displays the login window.
 

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Noob Whisperer
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Sorry... my error. It's so rare that I use it anymore, I was probably thinking about a previous version of Windows maybe 7, where you would see a list of drivers enumerated as safe mode loaded.
IDK.... I'm at a loss.
It boots into safe mode but not normal mode which is normally indicative of a bad or corrupt driver, but....
You are describing the same behavior with the existing operating system immediately before you began your fan replacement and what I assume is an older image from a point in time when your "hard drive failed" which I assume was some time earlier (days, weeks, months or years) so I'm guessing that my idea of a bad driver is pretty much out the window.

I think if it were mine, my next step would be to acquire a new replacement hard disk for the system and I'd perform a custom clean install of Windows 10 onto the new drive and see what happens.
Just put the existing hard drive aside for now.

My best guess is that there may be some miniscule corruption in an Operating System file somewhere, maybe even somewhere in the Windows Registry that is not called or referenced during a Safe Mode boot but is essential when booting normally.
 
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You are describing the same behavior with the existing operating system immediately before you began your fan replacement and what I assume is an older image from a point in time when your "hard drive failed" which I assume was some time earlier
?? As far as I know the hard drive never failed. I *replaced* it with an SSD a couple of years ago, and as far as I know the SSD has never failed either.

Before the fan failed, the laptop was working fine. Then the fan died and Windows displayed a message saying it wouldn't run without a cooling fan. I replaced the fan, and when I brought the system up again, that's when this boot problem started.

I think if it were mine, my next step would be to acquire a new replacement hard disk for the system and I'd perform a custom clean install of Windows 10 onto the new drive and see what happens.
Well the thing is, at this point the contents of the hard drive are more valuable to me than the laptop itself. I will probably end up hooking it into a new laptop and transferring as much data as possible, but there are some things (difficult/impossible-to-replace applications, etc) that won't transfer easily.

Thanks for trying!
 
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Gack! My bad. The night before the **FAN** died.

The disk is a 3-yr-old SSD that is still perking along just fine. I just ran a test with Disk Sentinel, which pronounced it "PERFECT."
 

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