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Troubleshooting Laptop Hardware Problems
By: Barzan "Tony" Antal
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    Table of Contents:
  • Troubleshooting Laptop Hardware Problems
  • Hardware Failures: Doesn't Boot Up
  • Hardware Failures: No Display
  • Taking a Break

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    Troubleshooting Laptop Hardware Problems

    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Laptops and notebook computers often require much more attention when the user decides to troubleshoot specific hardware problems. Because of this, very few people actually manage to get to the stage of disassembling the laptop to search for potential sources of hardware failures. This two-part guide covers some of the most common issues that your laptop might suffer from along with tips on how to diagnose and fix them.

    Due to the nature of this article series, please don't ignore the following disclaimer:

    This guide should be used just for educational purposes and does not replace professional assistance, technical consultation, or expert service by any means. You really should not try out the techniques described here unless you feel totally comfortable working on your laptop and you understand the possible consequences of your actions. Experience in the field helps a lot!

    On the other hand, if your laptop is past its warranty period and you cannot afford (either financially or the required time it takes, herein including a standard RMA process) to take the notebook to a qualified expert or repair shop, and you have a little bit of experience working with desktop computers and electronics, then you may want to try troubleshooting and "doing it yourself."

    Laptop computers are sometimes more "sensitive" compared to desktops and chances are that you may not succeed at first. It depends on the hardware problem. It can either be piece of cake or weird as hell, and then luck of draw applies; or you may not even diagnose or locate the root of the problem. It's still worth a try though, right?

    Throughout this series, our main focus will be on the technical hardware side. Therefore, we won't recite the overused software clichés of getting rid of malware and spyware, doing an antivirus check, defragmenting, and so forth. Rather, we are going to see what you should do when your laptop doesn't power on, beeps like there's no tomorrow, runs without displaying anything on the screen, overheats due to inadequate cooling, etc.

    Once we locate a problem, we will describe a potential fix. However, sometimes the troubleshooting routine must be re-started if more problems occur. Other times, unfortunately, we might find out that the LCD screen or the circuitry that powers the LCD is faulty, and then there's little to nothing we can do ourselves. It's likely that replacing the screen will cost more than a new laptop.

    The first part of this series targets the main hardware failures -- basically, what to do and how to troubleshoot if your hardware issues are so critical and advanced that they prevent your laptop from working appropriately (i.e. doesn't power on, no display output, etc.).

    In the second segment, we're going to cover techniques to diagnose and fix system instabilities, such as a faulty memory causing BSODs, an overheating notebook, touchpad, or accu-point. These are the kinds of problems that do not prevent a laptop from booting, but do cause countless headaches because they are frustrating.

    If you feel totally prepared to begin, then let's move on.

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