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Gateway P6860-FX - strange problem during boot-up Follow

#1 Oct 27 2011 at 6:09 AM Rating: Decent
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My laptop just yesterday suddenly began behaving oddly. During the boot-up POST, it will make a loud repetitive beeping during the memory check, always at about 400 meg, then it will apparently recover and continue to boot normally. I ran memtest for a bit and there were no errors. I blew out the dust with compressed air, but the problem persists. I have been unable to find any explanation for this bizarre behavior, but it worries me greatly, to the point where I am doing backups everyday now. This laptop is only 3 years old. I hate to think that a $1400 computer is kaput after only 3 years.

I recorded it doing this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3lmupTDCaA

Any insight you guys could provide would be great.
#2 Oct 27 2011 at 8:13 AM Rating: Excellent
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It could be two things. THe first and easiest to check for could be a stuck key on the keyboard. Either the laptop keyboard itself, or a wired or wireless keyboard. Check all the keys for movement and travel, make sure none of them have anything sitting onthem even slightly, if a key won't move or is stuck, or has something like a crumb jammed underneith it at POST, it can make that repetitive beeping until the motherboard keyboard bios disables that key. Once booted, if any of your keys don't appear to work, thats the one.

The other thing it could be, and possibly more likely given when and how the beep is occuring, is a power on self test (POST) beep error code, possibly indicating a failing ram module. power supply module, or system board problem. That beep code can indicate any of those things, or just a stuck key.

If its power supply, that could be the voltage regulator module on the motherboard itself, the power brick or the battery. try booting on just battery or just power brick to eliminate one or the other of those. Ram, you'll want to download a memtest ISO file and burn it to a disk using something like nero and then run memtest. Or just buy upgraded ram since even laptop ram is cheap enough these days and swap it out.

If it isn't a stuck key, power supply, and it isn't the ram, its the motherboard or the voltage regulator on the motherboard. You will require a new one of those, which depending on your technical skill level and part availabilty, may mean a new laptop.
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#3 Oct 27 2011 at 8:18 AM Rating: Excellent
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Poked around a few forums and the Phoenix Award BIOS you seem to be using if I read your screen correctly uses the "continuous beeps" to indicate a RAM problem, all right. Even though your laptop seems to recover and boot normally, you've got damage to one of the sticks someplace.

I assume since you blew the dust out of the memory slot that you have access to at least one of the sticks. Can you access both? if so, boot the system up with one stick in one slot, that same stick in the other slot, and then switch sticks. The laptop should still boot with only one 2 gig stick in place. If the beeping stops when you remove one stick, then you know that's the stick that is going bad.
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#4 Oct 27 2011 at 8:47 AM Rating: Decent
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Yea, I think I will try the one stick at a time thing. As I can type normally, I don't think there is a stuck key. I did run memtest for a bit and no errors showed. I generally boot only from AC power. I will try with only battery.

Thanks guys.

ETA:
Is it normal for memory to just go bad like that, or could there be some underlying problem. It's strange because I just had a module go bad on my parent's computer (desktop, which I built myself 6ish years ago - then gave to them when I bought this) last month or so.

Edited, Oct 27th 2011 10:56am by ShadorVIII
#5 Oct 27 2011 at 2:47 PM Rating: Good
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Update:

It was, in fact, my USB keyboard, or more specifically, the 3 years of accumulated dust and debris in it. Smiley: lol

Kao, you get a Smiley: cookie. And a Smiley: wombat. Thanks.
#6 Oct 27 2011 at 10:34 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yay! Glad you got it fixed! Best buy would have charged you $120 to diagnose that haha!
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#7 Oct 28 2011 at 10:25 AM Rating: Good
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Princess ShadorVIII wrote:
Update:

It was, in fact, my USB keyboard, or more specifically, the 3 years of accumulated dust and debris in it. Smiley: lol

Kao, you get a Smiley: cookie. And a Smiley: wombat. Thanks.


Kao wins!

To prevent your keyboard from getting too cruddy, look for the "As Seen On TV" CyberClean goo. Run it over your keyboard once a week and it'll prevent gunk from getting down there too far.

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FFXI: Catwho on Bismarck. Once again a top bard on the server: Dardaubla 90 on 1/6/2014
Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and the League of Extraordinary Crafters
#8 Oct 28 2011 at 12:10 PM Rating: Excellent
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Quote:

To prevent your keyboard from getting too cruddy, look for the "As Seen On TV" CyberClean goo.


Huh. I've never seen that stuff before. I actually just ordered a thing of it, we'll see if it works. I've got some really nasty looking keyboards at other work I can try it out on.

Edited, Oct 28th 2011 11:11am by Kaolian
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#9 Oct 28 2011 at 5:02 PM Rating: Good
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It's better for getting crumbs out and preventative stuff than fixing a too far gone keyboard. If they're in really bad shape, you can run them through the dishwasher without any soap and then let them dry for a week.

Yes, I've done it. Yes, it got another six months out of a fairly expensive keyboard (before a glob of ice cream got on it. It didn't make it through a second time.)

These days, though, I just buy a new $18 Microsoft Comfort Curve when one gets destroyed.
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FFXI: Catwho on Bismarck. Once again a top bard on the server: Dardaubla 90 on 1/6/2014
Thayos wrote:
I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

FFXIV: Katarh Mest on Lamia - Member of The Swarm and the League of Extraordinary Crafters
#10 Oct 28 2011 at 5:46 PM Rating: Good
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Yea, my keyboard is a cheapie, so even if something happened where I had to replace it, no biggie.

Also:
Quote:
...fairly expensive keyboard ... ice cream...


These two things do not belong together.
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