Computer-Savvy? Great! I Need Your Advice

My computer needs you, my tech-savvy darlings. It won’t boot. The fan runs, and the capslock light slowly blinks, but that’s it. I’ve tried resetting as the HP website advises by removing all power, holding down the power key for 15 seconds, and then plugging back in. No result. It’s not beeping or anything. I suspect a CPU problem from what the HP website says, but I’m not positive.

Of course the last backup failed, so I have a lot of files I somehow need to rescue.

Does anyone know a solution, or the best place to take it in order to get the data recovered? Thanks in advance for your help!



Computer-Savvy? Great! I Need Your Advice

14 thoughts on “Computer-Savvy? Great! I Need Your Advice

  1. 1

    Withoput the computers specs, it’s hard to give specific advice, but in general, unless the harddrive did a headcrash or something, data recovery is just point of taking the harddrive out of the crashed PC and plug it into a working one (even possible for laptops). If the HD crashed, then you most likely need an expert to retrive the data, as in comercial data retrival company. As for the repair, I would go to a vendor for PC components close by. At least were I live (Germany), almost all of them offer repair service under the assumption that you get the necessary spare parts from them.

  2. 2

    I believe the technical term for what your computer has done is “bit the dust.” I recommend you have a professional computer weenie (more properly called a technogeek) look at it because it might be relivable. Unless the hard drive has crashed the data on it should be easily recoverable even if your computer has become recycle bait.

  3. 3

    So the fan runs, but nothing comes up on the monitor? It may be as simple as your monitor is broken. Other possibilities are that the video card has become unseated (it can vibrate loose from the socket) or has burned out.

  4. 4

    Piggybacking on Gregory in Seattle. Open up the computer and push on everything that can be pushed on (reseat things): video cards, cable ends, memory cards, those sorts of things. You said, the fan runs, is it the cpu fan or the power supply fans? Check to make sure that the cpu fan is plugged in. Check for dust and blow it out of the things that collect dust (especially the cpu fan and cooler). It is amazing how often that these tricks fix things.

  5. 6

    For a laptop, you don’t really want to check or do most of these things yourself.
    Blow out the things that collect dust safely. Best is to use a can of compressed air made for this very purpose, but using your lungs is fine too. Do not let fan blades spin when you do this.
    If you aren’t getting BIOS beep codes, try the key combo that is supposed to bring up BIOS setup.
    And yes, if it looks like the monitor isn’t getting a signal at all (the difference between an active black screen and off), it could just be the power or signal cable to the monitor.
    That doesn’t sound like a drive problem at all, so unless the system went down hard with an electrical fault the zapped the drive itself, just stick it in another system or an external drive enclosure with the proper power and data connectors.
    If you want more geekery from the IT set, post the HP model number
    Finding Your HP Product Model Number

  6. 7

    Not sure if I want to put my direct contact info in a public forum, but if you go to, and look on the left sidebar, down at the bottom, you’ll see a little panel for “Mean Old Computer Man” and that will take you to a page where you can find contact info, if you are so inclined.

    Ok, enough of that.

    I specialize in bringing ’em back alive, and do an awful lot of work over the phone with people, and seem to have developed a fair-decent facility for doing so. I live in Florida, and just yesterday I bailed one of my regular customers out, over the phone, talking to her at her place in New Mexico. I do not work by remotely taking control of anyone’s machine, but instead walk people through whatever steps may be necessary, strictly via conversation on the phone. Many years ago I had a couple of incidents where people became convinced that I had “hacked” into their machines, a fair bit of time after working via remote control on their machines, and was therefore the source of all their present ills, and I have ever since refused to have anything whatsoever to do with taking control of someone’s machine, remotely. If nothing else, perhaps I can help you zero in on the precise nature of the failure, and wouldn’t it be nice if we somehow managed to fix things?

    This one will fall under the heading of “community service” and I’ll be glad to do whatever I can, gratis.

    Based on your very brief description of things, I would trust your data to be safe and sound on the hard drive, so that’s always a comfort to know. Expanding on what jufulu said, sometimes it’s better to actually remove, and then firmly reseat, things like memory and expansion cards. This is something I can walk you through over the phone, easily enough. You did not specify if your machine is a laptop or a desktop, and this makes a bit of a difference in things. Again, we can sort out the details over the phone, without having to wave everything around in a public forum, and frankly, that’s the way I prefer to do it.

    I’m generally up till 9 or 10pm Eastern Time (early to bed, early to rise) so if you call much later than that, I’ll be snoring along, blissfully unaware of any attempts to reach me.

    Dunno if you’re willing to take a chance on this or not, but I figured I’d at least toss the option out there for you. It’s the least I can do since I’ve been very one-sidedly enjoying the fruits of your own blogged labor for a fair bit of time now.

    Regardless of how you attack your little conundrum, I wish you the very best.

  7. 8

    Thank you for the offer and the compliment. I’d love to take you up on your offer if it still stands! If you’d be available Tuesday, shoot me an email at dhunterauthor at gmail and we can set up a time. Thank you so much!

  8. 9

    Thanks for the advice, everyone! And thank you for the reassurance. You kept me from utterly freaking out over the potential loss of lotsa stuff.

    The machine is still unwilling to boot, but the good news is, the partial backup was pretty darned complete as far as files go, which means that even if the worst happened and the data got zapped, you’ll still get most of your delicious geology photos once the big machine’s up or replaced. In the meantime, I’ve got a wee little laptop to work with, so I’ll be able to keep you all in posts. Everybody wins!

    By the way, who else here hates the ever loving fuck outta Windows 8?

  9. rq

    Good luck! This is among the worst things that can happen.
    I am currently experiencing a monitor issue on the laptop. *sadface*

  10. 11

    Good luck getting it taken care of!
    We are having a similar problem, except that now even the fan won’t go. Everything was initially cleaned and reseated, and nada. At least it’s almost Christmas sales time?

  11. 12

    Email has been sent to the Gmail address. We’re on for Tuesday, it would appear. And yes, Win8 is one of the most terriblest pieces of shit in the known universe. Which is actually sad, because beneath that horrid exterior, there beats the heart of a pretty nice operating system, truth be told. I regularly “denature” the sonofabitch for my people, with either Stardock Start8 or Classic Shell, and once denatured, it can be used normally for the most part, like the Little Baby Jeesus Up In The Sky always intended for a computer to be used.

  12. 13

    You can try booting a live rescue CD [1] — if your hard drive is in any way at fault, it’ll come up and give you access to the system without altering anything accidentally. If it does come up, you can read what’s readable on the hard drive and even do a non-destructive copy of the drive image (not contents — the drive as a box of bits) for later recovery or analysis.

    Try Knoppix — pretty much a from-the-ground-up rescue disk.

  13. 14

    And oh, yeah:

    By the way, who else here hates the ever loving fuck outta Windows 8?

    Never used it. In fact, haven’t used Windows since 95 (but have cleaned up a bunch of people’s systems who have.) But that’s another story for another day.

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