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Should A Laptop Turn On/Attempt To Power Up If The Hard Drive Is Dead?

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August 8, 2012 1:21:03 AM

Should A Laptop Turn On Or Attempt To Power Up Even If The Hard Drive Is Dead/Broken?

About 2 months ago my girlfriend was having problems with her PC so she brought it to me - it would start but the hard drive wasn't being recognised or the light flashing. I think all this started when she tried to copy a large amount of data onto the hard drive at once. I think she may have deleted some windows data she shouldn't have too.

I took out her hard drive, backed up the data, wiped the drive and reinstalled windows vista fresh and it worked great for the time being although in my opinion didn't sound too healthy (apparently has always sounded noisy) and failed a s.m.a.r.t. test.

Today I has just been switched itself of randomly. And now it won't switch on all all.

She has also been having some problems charging the battery which i presume is down to the PSU. However the battery is currently charged so should turn on without the psu anyway.

I was inclined to think it was no coincidence and am advising her to buy a new hard drive to see if that works. However reading various guides on the internet they seem to suggest it is probably the motherboard. Also last time when we were having problems with the hard drive the computer did turn on at least - just didn't boot windows as it couldn't read the hard drive.

Trying my best to advise her - she's a fair distance away so it's not like I can test it with a spare hard disk or something.

Thanks,
Pete
August 8, 2012 1:31:07 AM

A computer will turn on even if the HD is dead, it will just say missing operating system. Obviously her laptop has bigger pro-
blems, a new HD will not fix that.
a b D Laptop
August 8, 2012 1:43:50 AM

Did the SMART test state what failed?
Related resources
August 8, 2012 1:45:29 AM

I can't remember what It said now. Time to get a new laptop then?!
August 8, 2012 1:55:27 AM

If you have a dead PSU, possibly motherboard, and hard drive, I would say it is time to move on. You can get a really nice laptop for under $500 as long as you aren't playing hardcore games.
a b D Laptop
August 8, 2012 2:00:42 AM

If you still have the desktop at your location, see if you can find what part failed in the SMART test.

BTW, you've mentioned that a PC, and also a laptop in your posts, Made in Machines, which is it?
August 8, 2012 2:19:10 AM

It's a laptop. I just call them PCs because I have a Mac. She doesn't have another PC. Yeah she's only into tetris battle so shouldn't be a problem. Yeah a new hard drive and psu alone will probably end up being 1/3 of the price of a new laptop. Looks like she needs a new one.
August 8, 2012 1:29:05 PM

Update....

Something weird has happened. Apparently the laptop is working 'fine' again after not being on all night. Any clues?

Thanks
a b D Laptop
August 8, 2012 2:16:03 PM

A defective HDD normally cause an error mesage " Missing operating system" HOWEVER, it is possible depending on how the HDD is failing to cause NO power on, ie it is loading the +5V down.

A good check the next time is to remove the HDD, stick a bootable CD/DVD into the DVD drive and see if it boots to the DVD/CD. Alternative is simply remove the HDD and see if you get the error mesager "no operating System" if powers on (either to the CD/DVD, or erro message) with the HDD removed then Most likely it is the HDD. If it fails to attempt to power on, then it is either the AC adaptor or the MB.
a b D Laptop
August 8, 2012 5:15:29 PM

Made In Machines said:
Update....

Something weird has happened. Apparently the laptop is working 'fine' again after not being on all night. Any clues?

Thanks


I would tend to suspect that it is the hard drive. Like I also said before, re-run the SMART test in the bios, or if the laptop has one inside Windows itsself run that. You could in addition use Retired Chief's method, but that is more of a last resort if you can't run a smart test.
August 8, 2012 5:39:23 PM

Machine should come on even with a bad drive, but it is easy enough to test by simply removing the drive.

Power issue can be a few different things.
* AC Adapter
* Bad Battery
* Bad converter (switches from AC to Battery and Battery to AC)
* Bad system board

Remove all power sources (AC and battery) and then hold the power button down for about 45 secs.

Then try plugging it in and see if it will power up. If not, it needs to be serviced or replaced.

If it powers up, try putting the battery back in and seeing if it charges it. If not, probably a bad battery but could still be the converter.

If that all works try using just the battery.
a b D Laptop
August 8, 2012 5:54:01 PM

^ I have seen both desktops and laptops where a defective drive will NOT allow the system to power on. Normall this is caused Be a LOW impeadance on (desktop drives) the +12V or +5 V rail. For laptops, no +12 V, but a low imppeadance on the +5 V rail could prevent Powering up.
agree Not Normal, but does happen.
August 8, 2012 6:05:23 PM

Made In Machines said:
She has also been having some problems charging the battery which i presume is down to the PSU. However the battery is currently charged so should turn on without the psu anyway.

Today I has just been switched itself of randomly. And now it won't switch on all all.



These two statements make me believe that maybe there is an issue with the power port on the laptop. Laptops are notorious for having issues with the power ports.

If it's charging intermittently, that would explain why all of the sudden the laptop started working again (assuming you left the laptop plugged into the wall). At some point the battery started getting a charge again. Then when the issue pops up again, the battery is no longer being charged and the laptop shuts off after the battery drains.

Just an opinion obviously but something I think you should check.
a b D Laptop
August 8, 2012 6:32:34 PM

Made In Machines said:
Update....

Something weird has happened. Apparently the laptop is working 'fine' again after not being on all night. Any clues?

Thanks


This happens. sometimes on dell desktops after a power surge. the power switch will glow amber and will not power up, and pulling the power plug and pressing the power on switch for several seconds will clear out any capacitors. Then you plug it back in, and it works. I assume that there is something similar going on with the laptop. If it happens again, have her pull the power cable, take out the battery and press the power on button for several seconds and then install the battery and see if it starts.
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