Mar 4, 2010

HP Pavilion DV6000 hardware failure

I've been returned my laptop. It's brain dead. The power goes on, but no one's there. Feels a little bit like a zombie.
I thought I'd document this for anyone with similar problems to read, hopefully you'll solve it with the least amount of hassle. Use your browser's search function to check if I covered a specific problem, or scroll down to jump straight to possible solutions.

UPDATE: Andre from Germany has a suggestion that would hopefully stretch out the lifespan of your motherboard for a little longer. Read it in the comments below.

The length does not even begin to illustrate how much time was spent trying to fix the computer by myself.

The main issue here is that Windows won't boot normally but can boot in safe mode.
If you can do this, it's probably a good idea to save any files you want to keep. You never know when it may fail.

  • Vertical lines appearing on screen. An indication of hardware failure.

  • The computer puts on a "lightshow". After a while, the screen changes to the black line blue background image above.

  • System restore from desktop (safe mode) and System Repair failed to fix the problem.

  • Because computer can't boot normally, auto restarts from system restore and diagnoses fails.

  • Diagnoses all pass or yield no distinguishable root causes.
    There are all sorts of things you can do yourself, assuming you are not a complete tech idiot. You can do a Hard Disk Self Test (F12 for HPs), Memory Diagnostics (F12 in certain models, but you can also run it from System Repair), CHKDSK (run from System Repair or cmd), etc.

    Here are the instructions for an HDD self test, taken from my communication with HP Techs:
    Step 1. Perform a Hard Disk self test and Memory Self test in BIOS.
    • Power on the system and keep tapping the F10 button when the HP Logo screen comes at startup.
    • It will redirect to BIOS setup.
    • click on Diagnostic Tab and select the HDD self Test.
    • Once the hard Disk test is completed perform a Memory Self Test(optional in some unit).

    Always perform a thorough test. It should take approximately 60-90 minutes. If the test fails then get back to us with error code. No need to perform the 2nd Step.

    Step 2. If the test pass, boot the unit is safe mode, and Click on Start> Search> type 'msconfig' ( without quotation mark). Under General Tab > Start up Selection> select 'Selective Startup'. Remove the Tick Mark from 'Load Startup items', click on Okay and restart the unit. Then check if the issue persist.

    However, if the issue still persist, you need to fix the issue from Service Center.

  • After all that, I decided to reformat, which sort of made things worse. Probably because I discovered more problems. I was pretty much going to throw myself out a window, at this point.
    Reformatting kept failing and pressing F8 only gave me "Bootmgr is missing". So I did some digging.

    With the recovery manager failing when I reformatted my computer (with a recovery disc, not the HP_RECOVERY partition), my own research suggested a pre-existing fault in the HP Recovery Drive. Basically, when you create a recovery disc, you burn that fault onto the disc.

    There are two parts to the reformatting process - reformatting and reinstalling. This fault appeared as "Error 1002" in the second part. What it meant for me was, my computer successfully reformatted, but failed to "reinstall original content". I still couldn't load Windows in normal mode. But when I load in safe mode (F8), the recovery manager runs, and it fails again when reinstalling original content, then tries to restart itself, and obviously, fails AGAIN. It's a perpetual cycle.

    Possible solutions:
  • A suggested solution is to order an HP Recovery Disc from HP.
    That's if you're from the US and Canada. If you're from Malaysia or Australia, good luck, you're on your own. For other countries, check the link.
    Alternately, you could scout around for an HP recovery disc from online stores. However, they go for about USD $100 and above.

  • Alternately alternately, if you know someone who uses the same laptop model, try burning a recovery disc from their computer and use it on yours. It MAY work. If you need to burn another recovery disc (each computer is limited to one only), you have to rename the hpcd.sys. Read this for more info.

  • As a last resort, if your mobo is a-OK, but recovery discs don't work for you, buy a new OS, assuming your computer's not as screwed up as mine. But you should really send it to a service technician before buying a new OS.

  • After a whole weekend of trying to fix this myself, I gave up and sent this to the professionals.

    Professional Diagnosis:
    Mr IT Dude explained, the video card was detached from the heatsink (due to extreme heat I think I heard?). The heat generated could've damaged the chip.
    True enough, when the problem occured, it was sweltering.

    He suggested that I change the motherboard (mobo). He also said that they've received a few of the same models with similar problems, that there's a known fault with HP Pavilion DV6000 motherboards.

    So now, I'm sourcing for a replacement mobo. It's a hit or miss with this one because I could buy a lemon (from eBay), or a part that is from the faulty batch or fails for some other reason. But the Gods must really hate me for that to happen.

    Or, I could just get a new laptop. But I'm unwilling to put in too much time and effort in looking for one. I have insanely long reading materials this semester.


    sean said...

    i would just get a new one.

    sean said...

    I would just get a new one. then the misery ends right away.

    _VeL_ said...

    Ya lo. Can you get a new one now? Or your parents would prefer to get one in M'sia and send it to you?

    Or have you survey the price in Perth? Expensive mou?

    cheahwey said...

    I'm getting a new one. Buying from Malaysia is cheaper. But have to factor in postage to AUS.

    Australia close to RM4k. But they offer different graphics card and HDD space.

    _VeL_ said...

    Different but is it better? Same model but different graphic card and HDD space? And, I think you don't need huge HDD space also la. U have external hard disk wett.

    Check the postage price? If really cheaper a lot then best buy from M'sia la.

    cheahwey said...

    it's better. just costs more. overall, i can live with what malaysia offers, so Im pretty sure we're buying from them.

    Anonymous said...

    If it's still under warranty? HP should fix it for free, since it is a wide-spread defect in the graphics chip on the motherboard. You can also find the do-it-yourself video fix on YouTube.

    cheahwey said...

    nope, warranty ended just two days before the errors occurred.
    i was planning on switching the mobo out myself next... fun fun fun!

    Andre said...

    Hey, I had the same issue with my HP DV6011ea Laptop this week. I found a solution that could also work for your laptop. I completely disassembled the laptop and heated up the Nvidia chip with a hot air gun on both sides of the board (other parts of the board masked by aluminium foil), each side for ~30 seconds. This seemed to fix the connection problem of the bumps between the chip itself and the substrate. Why the chip fails , can be read her (so you will also be able to understand that the heatgun is able to reconnect the bumps):

    Of course, I do not know who long it will take until the problem reappears, but until now it works fine. I also substituted the heat conductive pad with a copper plate (what the hell thought HP by using this ugly pad?), thus the idle temperature of the GPU is about 20 degrees less then before.

    Maybe you should try this, before you by a new laptop or another used board. Nearly all Laptops of the 6000 series get this problem sooner or later...

    A howto can also be found in youtube....

    Greetings from Dresden, Germany

    cheahwey said...

    Wow, thanks Andre. I think I'll try it. Don't know if you'll be coming back in here but, can i substitute a hair dryer for the air gun?

    Andre said...

    Hi cheahwey, no you can´t. A hair dryer is by far not hot enough! If it would be, you would not need a hairdresser any more ... ;-) You need to heat up the chip quite much so that the solder or whatever material is used for this is able to melt and can reconnect to the bond pads. You could also use a soldering lamp working with normal gas for pocket lighters. You can by it cheaply on ebay, for example. The advantage hereby is that you have a smaller heat spot when heating up the chip. A normal hot air gun would heat up the surrounding curcuits of the nvidia chip much more. I don´t really know how much temperature is needed for the best result. You can only try... Maybe the best would be to heat the chip up in two contempory steps so that the heat is able to spread uniformly accross and above all has enough time to "reach" the bond pads underneath the chip.
    P.S.: Until now, my repaired HP laptop works fine....

    Best Regards André

    sadiya said...

    Hi, i have Hp DV6000 laptop..
    and its not working properly
    it hangs tooo much...and takes lot of time to switch on....
    some times a blue screen appears which says Dumping your ohysical memory and goes off and then restarts...
    i have reinstalled vista, everything is ok no virus,..still hangs
    RAM is only 1 GB with 32 bit Vista...
    what should i do....m fed up?
    should i extend RAM?like 3GB
    or should i just change the laptop??
    please help...