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A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

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A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby Seabass » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:38 am

I was about to type in the document name to save a Word document and checked the computer clock calendar, which made the whole computer freeze for ages for some reason.

I took the freeze as a crash, so I held down the power button to turn off, and then restarted to find a black screen!

I held down the power button to turn off again, and then restarted to find the computer booted as normal, but then froze at the loading windows screen.

I went in to safe mode to do some research, and every time I tried to restart the computer, it closed windows, but then hung at a black screen. When I powered off holding down the power button, and then restarted the computer, I was met with a black screen (just like after the crash). I powered off and restarted again which made the computer boot as normal.

I checked the hard drive in the restore console, and found it was fine.

I couldn't find any good solutions online so I decided to format the hard drive and reinstall windows. This helped but the computer froze after the desktop loaded, maybe around 1min afterwards, forcing me to manually power off like all the times before, and go through the whole power on, black screen, then power off, then power on again to boot up.

So; Safe mode seems to be working OK (which I'm using at this moment). I've tried clean booting in to normal Windows XP, but none of that has stopped the computer freezing after desktop loads. It seems there is some problem that Safe mode doesn't encounter but normal mode does, even with the most minimal diagnostic setup in normal mode. What this issue is I do not know. Can anyone help?

I am suspecting that the restart problem and the desktop freezing are linked, since the two began happening together.

Any ideas?
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby hikaru » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:08 am

This sounds like a defective graphics card. We have numerous similar posts here and mostly it's the graphics card. The drivers aren't loaded in Safe Mode. Therefore not the whole functionality of the card is used and it works better.

The only way to fix this is to replace the graphics card.
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby Seabass » Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:57 pm

I had a feeling it was the graphics card - the screen flashed violently today when I booted up. Crap.

Is there any way of knowing for sure? How can I test it in Safe mode?
How can I test it normal mode in the small chance I have to do something before the whole system freezes?
Is the card easy to replace? I bought my comp back in 2004!
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby hikaru » Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:13 pm

You can uninstall the graphics driver in safe mode. Then it should also work in normal mode. If you then reinstall the graphics driver, the problem will most likely occur again.

Replacing the graphics card is possible but not easy. You will have to dismount the fan and the heatsink [1], remove the old thermal pads from CPU and GPU, replace the graphics card [2], apply some heat conductive paste to CPU and new GPU [3], and at the end remount the heatsink [4] and fan again.

[1] Take care of ESD for the whole process.
[2] Make sure to use one with the right interface. I don't know if it follows some MXM-standard.
[3] Paste is more effective than pads which might be important because most likely your current defect is due to heat problems. Most notebooks have a height-difference between CPU and GPU that is best filled with a copper sheet. The thickness differs between 0.5 and 0.8mm depending on the model. I'm not sure which is the best for you.
[4] Take care to mount the heatsink vertically without lateral movement once it has contact to CPU or GPU. Otherwise it might smear the thermal paste away.

You will find some threads about the same topic concerning other models in the forum.
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby Seabass » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:37 pm

Thanks for this detailed explanation.

I disabled all the graphics card stuff in the hardware manager, and restarted in normal mode. It all went fine for about 45 minutes but then it froze like before.

DId you mean completely uninstall the drivers for the graphics card, or is disabling the device in the Hardware manager good enough?

I have reinstalled the heatsink with thermal putty before; when I had to clean it out. So that part isn't so daunting. How easy do you think it'll be to get a replacement graphics card for my Amilo A 1630 since it was bought in 2004? Is my notebook a bit of a dinosaur these days?
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby hikaru » Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:42 am

I meant to completely uninstall the graphics driver.
I don't know how hard it will be to find a replacement card. This depends on the type of card and on the market in your country. Unforunately my knowledge about mobile graphics is very limited. The amilo A-series are the ones that slowly start to extinct now.
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby Seabass » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:12 am

Sorry about the delay in replying, I didn't have the time to sort things out properly before.

I completely uninstalled the graphics and now in safe mode the computer detects the hardware and asks for it to be installed - should this be happening?

What is more, the computer still freezes even with the graphics card uninstalled - both in safe mode after around 40mins and very quickly in normal mode. I am going to see if the thermal putty on the main heat sink is OK - could that be creating a problem?

I am also wondering if removing the graphics card would help - I just want o use the laptop for word processing.

Any warnings or advice before I open the laptop up to check the puty and maybe remove the graphics card (how can I make sure which bit is the graphics card?). I have replaced the putty before so I know about the dangers involved.
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby hikaru » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:51 pm

Seabass wrote:I completely uninstalled the graphics and now in safe mode the computer detects the hardware and asks for it to be installed - should this be happening?
This is normal.

Seabass wrote:I am going to see if the thermal putty on the main heat sink is OK - could that be creating a problem?
If there is no clean connection between GPU and heatsink it is very likely that this causes your problem of overheating.

Seabass wrote:I am also wondering if removing the graphics card would help - I just want o use the laptop for word processing.
The notebook won't even boot without the graphics card.

Seabass wrote:I have replaced the putty before so I know about the dangers involved.
Did you take care of the height difference between CPU and GPU when you did this? I'm not sure if it applies to your notebook, but most amilos have a height difference between CPU and GPU of about 0.6mm that can't be properly bridged by thermal paste. You either need a thermal pad or a copper sheet to do this.

I have no idea what would be the best graphics card.
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby Seabass » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:38 am

The notebook won't even boot without the graphics card.

That's a bummer.

So, if the graphics card is uninstalled, and the computer is still freezing in Safe mode, are we assuming that the only thing I can now do is replace the card completely?

Any advice on how I can easily identify the graphics card in my notebook once I've opened it up? Are there any obvious features which make graphics cards recognizeable?
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby hikaru » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:15 am

Seabass wrote:So, if the graphics card is uninstalled, and the computer is still freezing in Safe mode, are we assuming that the only thing I can now do is replace the card completely?
Yes.

Seabass wrote:Any advice on how I can easily identify the graphics card in my notebook once I've opened it up? Are there any obvious features which make graphics cards recognizeable?
If you open the service door you will see the heatpipe which is connected to two components. One is the CPU the other one is the GPU. The graphics card is mounted to a MXM slot. So you'll probably see some pins on the side.
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby sasquash » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:43 pm

Hi,
I have exactly the same problem as Seabass with an A1630 :
It doesn't reboot (windows restart or Ctrl+Alt+Del under dos) and freeze on a black screen.
After that I have to shutdown two times before it can boot and show bios screen again.
The normal windows start freeze, XP can only start in safe mode.

More windows XP setup freeze after displaying the regional settings windows, so XP can't be reinstalled.

I made several test and found that XP Freeze can deal with ACPI :
Disabling ACPI in windows XP can be made by updating the driver of PC ACPI to PC Standard or during XP install when you are prompted to press F6 for third party driver, you can press F7 to start the installation using PC Standard (without ACPI) or press F5 to choose the PC type.http://support.microsoft.com/kb/295116/EN/

I try to setup a PC Standard but install freeze on a black screen, and updating the driver can be reversed so I manually replace some file ...

The hal.dll located in c:\windows\system32, exists in different version in XP setup files (hal.dll, halacpi.dll, halaacpi.dll ...). In fact XP Setup rename one of this file to put it as hal.dll in c:\windows\system32, in my XP the file is halaacpi.dll (look at original file name in file properties).
I replace the hal.dll in the two directories c:\windows\system32\dllcache and c:\windows\system32 with the hal.dll found in XP Setup files (or SP3 files).
The result is that XP will not freeze at boot but show a blue screen a few minutes after booting (even in safe mode). So if you replace these files you must have a backup of the system partition.

The blue screen error is Stop: 0x0000007f (0x0000000D, 0x00000000, 0x00000000, 0x00000000).
I don't know if the blue screen appears because of the file replacement I made but it is not a very good sign :
"Stop: 0x0000007F" blue screen deals with hardware see http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en;137539
and 0x0000000D is the processor exception code "An exception not covered by some other exception; a protection fault that pertains to access violations for applications" (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc939020.aspx

After replacing the hal.dll files and before rebooting, if you disable the plug and play service using msconfig, the blue screen will not appear but no driver will be properly downloaded and nothing appears in hardware manager so you can't uninstall drivers.

If anyone of you have found the solution I will be glad to hear it.
Unless i will continue to try to identify the hardware that cause this problem.
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby hikaru » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:50 pm

If you're manipulating ACPI it might result in higher temperatures which in turn can lead to hardware malfunction (e.g. blue screen) or even damage. Do you observe any higher temperatures with your replaced hal.dll than before?
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby sasquash » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:52 pm

I didn't notice higher temperature but i have no temperature monitor installed ...

I came back to the halaacpi.dll, cause i finally found what was causing the blue screen and freeze.

I disable the amd processor driver in hardware manager (amdk8.sys), and then all work fine despite CPU frequency and voltage that are at their lower level (800Mhz 1.1V).

The hardware problem should happen at a higher frequency than 800Mhz or at a higher voltage than 1.1V.
I don't know if the problem come from my CPU or from the motherboard.
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby sasquash » Sat Aug 22, 2009 3:36 pm

I installed CPUMSR (that allow to change the voltage and frequency of the CPU) and Speedfan (to monitor the temperature)
and I made a little program to load the CPU at 100%

The result is that if, under 100% CPU Load, I leave the frequency at 800Mhz I have to set the voltage to less than 1.4v.
Unless the CPU température rise 80°C and the PC shut down.

The CPU Fan seems to work well but fans are not monitored in speedfan, more Speedfan detect an ACPI Temperature that don't change and stay at 75°C ...

Maybe the CPU Thermal Paste is too old ...
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Re: A1630 Restart issue + possible connected XP desktop freeze

Postby Seabass » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:30 am

hikaru wrote:If you open the service door you will see the heatpipe which is connected to two components. One is the CPU the other one is the GPU. The graphics card is mounted to a MXM slot. So you'll probably see some pins on the side.

Are you sure the graphics card is mounted to an MXM slot on the A1630 in a removable way?

It seems all of the GPU is soldered to the motherboard.. :(

See these pics for a view of the notebook opened up with GPU and CPU heatsinks removed:
General view
Detailed view

If I am wrong, would you possibly be able to indicate where you are talking about...?

If the graphics card is not removeable, then does that mean I'm screwed? - i.e It's not worth replacing the motherboard.

sasquash wrote:Hi,
I have exactly the same problem as Seabass with an A1630 :
It doesn't reboot (windows restart or Ctrl+Alt+Del under dos) and freeze on a black screen.
After that I have to shutdown two times before it can boot and show bios screen again.
The normal windows start freeze, XP can only start in safe mode.

That's comforting to know - I had a feeling this was not an unusual thing I am experiencing - I know someone else who has had similar problems with their A1630 too. I really really hope you find the solution. You seem a lot more clued up than me.

sasquash wrote:Maybe the CPU Thermal Paste is too old ...

I replaced mine a couple of days ago and nothing has changed.

----------------

What is strange is that I am able to install many programs while in normal mode without any freezing, but once that program has stopped running, then the whole thing freezes.

Why could this be happening?
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