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HELP - Laptop is possessed and restarts

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 24, 2009 2:19:49 PM

Long time reader first time poster. I am at my wits end and Google has not been able to find a solution.

I have an Alienware M9750 - Vista which has worked great for 2 years.

2 days ago I restarted it and crazy things started happening.

1. Laptop keyboard didnt work anymore (or touchpad pointer)
2. The battery light turned constant purple (indicative of battery not taking charge the manual says)
3. When I shut dow (BOTH software and by holding the power button down 5 secs) the laptop restarts.

I eventually fixed the keyboard issue by removing the hard drive and booting up off the CD recovery disk. For some reason after that it worked. So I removed the battery, shutdown and ninja removed the power cord right as it restarted, and re-connected the hard drive. On reboot I was able to access Bios.

What I have done:

1. Looked in BIOS (AMI 8series) but there is not option to disable auto restart on network activity or anything similar. In fact the BIOS has very little options)
2. Re-installed windows vista and fully updated.
3. Installed latest drivers.
4. Reseated all hardware.
5. Made sure the power button was not stuck etc.


My only problem left is I can not shut the Laptop down. Whether I hold the power button down for 5 secs or use the menu Shutdown command the computer will shut down - all the lights turn off but the AC power cord light, and then a half a second later it starts booting again. The Laptop physically shuts down, but immediately restarts.

Help!
a b D Laptop
August 24, 2009 6:50:29 PM

Remove the hard disk and run the notebook for a while off of a Linux live CD. See if you still have your restart problem.

Also, if you haven't taken the time to clean out your heatsinks, now is a good time to do it. Lots of dust can get clogged up in there.
August 25, 2009 3:17:39 PM

When you said your keyboard wasn't working before, was that just in Windows, or was it even not working during POST?

If these symptoms are (were) happening even during POST, then it doesn't sound like a drive issue to me (although that's still possible). I'd suggest trying to reset the BIOS. Unplug the laptop, take out the battery, pull out your CMOS battery, then let the system sit for 5 or 10 minutes. Put everything back in and boot it up.
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August 25, 2009 3:25:12 PM

Thx Anotech thats exactly what I have done. I flashed the BIOS up a level as one of the trouble shooting steps. The keyboard wasnt even working during POST - I couldnt get into BIOS.

I think I am basically at the point where I think the mobo has a problem on the supply. Knowing that the problems I see are the purple battery light which it never has displayed befrre, coupled with the fact that a Hardware turn off (holding the button down) still restarts makes me think that this is probably a hardware problem.

@Frozenlead - I cleaned the whole thing when I had it open. Do you have any site where I can download an ISO and burn a Linux live CD? I found one but there were multiple asc and .shal and other stuff that was fairly confusing to me.
August 25, 2009 3:38:14 PM

Is your power button located on the same panel as all of your LEDs? If so, you may have a wiring issue on your panel. If that's not the case, I'd have to say you could have an issue with your motherboard.

Either way, it sounds like something is shorting out in the hardware...it's not going to be a software/OS issue.
a b D Laptop
August 25, 2009 4:29:09 PM

Ah. You didn't mention the keyboard didn't work as soon as POST. I agree - OS/software is out of the question.

I'd fear a major hardware fault here, too...though I don't think it's as drastic as a short.

I would take the machine completely apart and use it without it's case. Get an external monitor and keyboard. Then slowly add components until you find a config that doesn't work (assuming when you disassembled it completely, it worked - if it doesn't, your motherboard is probably to blame).
August 25, 2009 6:44:14 PM

If it's not the wiring on your LED panel, doing as frozenlead said (dissambling and testing it, adding one part at a time) is your best bet for finding the issue.

If you pull it apart, go slow to avoid breaking any plastic snaps, and keep track of where each and every screw came from so you don't end up with extra screws when you're done reassembling it ;) .
August 25, 2009 7:57:47 PM

Yeah that is what I will do this weekend. By the way I want to put this out for everyone to read.

I called Alienware to get some help on this problem. Upon verifying my info and pulling up my records the computer tech informed me I was out of warranty. I told him I knew this, just wanted some questions answered like had they heard of this before etc.

I was told immediately and quite forcefully that they would not/could not answer any questions I asked because I was out of warrantly. My options were I could pay $150 to have them speak with me on the phone, or send them $305 and the laptop and they would let me know the additional parts and labor required to repair the laptop.

Needless to say - I will never purchase another anything from Alienware. The technician actually started talking over me repeating that he cant answer any questions when I was trying to ask him even basic questions like "is this a known problem?"
a b D Laptop
August 25, 2009 8:54:02 PM

anotech said:
and keep track of where each and every screw came from so you don't end up with extra screws when you're done reassembling it ;) .


I find the best way of doing this is using large magnets to place the screws on as you take them off. You can use the magnets as kind of a template for the notebook, placing the screws on the magnet in relation to the place you took them off the notebook.
August 25, 2009 10:04:47 PM

I don't think that most manufacturers are all that helpful these days once the warranty has expired. Basically, they'll just refer you to articles on their website for known issues.

FWIW, I agree that it's some sort of hardware issue--quite possibly just a loose connection that should be relatively simple to fix once you've identified it. Just take your time and very carefully disassemble and reassemble the laptop. Also, be sure to ground yourself. Good luck.
April 18, 2012 8:41:43 PM

frozenlead said:
I find the best way of doing this is using large magnets to place the screws on as you take them off. You can use the magnets as kind of a template for the notebook, placing the screws on the magnet in relation to the place you took them off the notebook.

That is one of the best ideas I've heard off.
!