In this post I explain how to reinstall factory operating system. This should work for most laptops running Windows Vista or Windows 7 OS.

This could be useful if your OS stopped working properly, got corrupted or infected with a virus.

WARNING! Running system restore utility will erase all personal data on the hard drive and re-image it back to factory defaults. Make sure all personal data is backed up before reinstalling the OS. Also, make sure the laptop is running on AC power during the recovery process.

These days most computers are sold without recovery discs. Instead they have a hidden (or visible) recovery partition with the factory image. In order to re-image the hard drive back to defaults it’s necessary to initiate the recovery wizard and it’s very similar for many different brands.

As an example I’ll show step-by-step operating system re-installation process on HPs.

How to start Recovery Manager on HP laptops.

STEP 1.

Turn on the computer and press the F8 key when HP (or any other brand) logo appears on the screen.

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In this post I explain how to repair broken touchpad cable connector on a motherboard.

Let’s say you were fixing a laptop yourself and accidentally damaged the touchpad connector or any other similar connector. The problem is the touchpad connector soldered to the motherboard and it’s impossible to replace it with regular soldering tools. Also, these connectors are not sold separately which makes the replacement even more impossible.

Let’s try to repair it. We’ll do it using the same technique as for fixing the keyboard connector.

On the following picture you see a typical touchpad connector. The connector has а white base (permanently attached to the motherboard) and locking tab (moving part).

In order to unlock the connector you lift up the left side of the locking tab. The locking tap opens up at a 90 degree angle and releases the touchpad cable. After that you pull the cable from the connector.

Touchpad connector

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In this post I will summarize most common laptop hardware related problems and give some suggestions how to troubleshoot or repair them.

Problem 1.
Computer doesn’t turn on at all.

When you plug the AC adapter into the laptop, there are no lights turning on at all. When you push on the power button, nothing happens. The laptop appears to be completely dead, makes no sounds, no indications of life.

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In this post I provide a few liquid spill repair tips.

IMPORTANT: If you spilled something on your laptop you should stop using it right away, even if it appears to be running good. Right after the spill you should turn it off, unplug the power adapter and remove the battery. The laptop should be disassembled as soon as possible and all internal parts should be inspected for liquid damage.

Liquid spills are very unpredictable. Even a small liquid spill can cause serious damage.

IF YOU SPILLED A SMALL AMOUNT OF LIQUID

Let’s say you spilled less than a teaspoon of liquid on the keyboard and it stopped working properly, but anything else works fine.

In this case it could be enough to remove just the keyboard to evaluate the damage. Turn off the laptop, unplug the AC adapter and remove the battery. Now remove the keyboard and take a closer look underneath.

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In this guide I explain how to recover files from a laptop (or desktop PC) with crashed, failed, damaged operating system.

WHEN CAN YOU USE THIS RECOVERY GUIDE?

1. The guide will work if the OS is damaged but the computer hardware still works fine.
2. The guide might work if the hard drive has some minor damage, like a few bad sectors.

PREPARING FOR RECOVERY

For this recovery I’ll be using a Ubuntu CD (Linux OS). Also, you can create a bootable Ubuntu USB flash drive. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a Linux guru for that. The Linux interface will be very similar to Windows OS.

You need another working computer to download and create a bootable CD or USB drive.

1. Download the latest version of Ubuntu OS here. When you click on the download button you’ll start downloading an ISO image.

2. Burn this ISO image on a CD or create a bootable USB stick. It’s explained on the same download page, just scroll a little bit down.

3. Find the target drive where you going to save recovered files. You can use an external hard drive or USB flash drive. The target drive can be formatted with any common Windows file system: FAT, FAT32, NTFS.

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In this post I explain how you can fix a motherboard with failed NVIDIA graphics chip. This repair might apply to some HP/Compaq laptops and probably some other brands. If this repair works for you, please mention the brand and model number in comments after the post. This will help other readers.

This method should work for the following models: HP Pavilion dv2000, Pavilion dv6000, Pavilion dv9000, Compaq Presario v3000, Presario v6000, HP Pavilion tx1000, Pavilion tx2000.

By the way, I just fixed my son’s Xbox 360 with red ring of death (error 74) using exactly same technique.

MOST COMMON PROBLEM SYMPTOMS

1. Laptop turns on with garbled video on the internal screen and external monitor.
2. Laptop turns on but there is no video on the screen or external monitor.

MY UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROBLEM

The graphics chip soldered to the motherboard. When the laptop runs hot for a long time, the graphics chip separates from the motherboard and video fails.

HOW TO FIX FAILED CHIP

Before I tried baking the motherboard in an oven or use bubble-wrap. But today I’m going to fix it using a heat gun.

Basically, I’m going to heat up the graphics chip with a heat gun to solder it back to the motherboard (reflow). I think this method is more reliable and the repair should last for a while.

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My computer runs very hot and eventually turns off or freezes – this is one of the most common complaints I have been receiving from my customer for many years.

Why it’s happening? Is there an easy fix for that?

Most likely this problem is heat related. Take a look at the following picture.


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The screen started showing strange or wrong colors. What could be wrong? I’ve been asked this question many times and today I’m addressing the issue.

In this post I explain some basic troubleshooting techniques in case if your screen started showing strange or incorrect colors.
You have to know how to disassemble your computer in order to use following troubleshooting techniques.
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Today I show how to fix a known video problem on some HP laptops using bubble wrap.

Most likely the fix is not permanent but this will buy you some time, enough to backup personal files or even use the laptop until you get a new one. There is no guaranty this fix work 100%.

Here are some HP models affected by this known video failure problem: HP Pavilion dv2000, dv6000, dv9000, tx1000 tablet PC, Compaq 700, v3000, v6000 and probably some others.

If you know more models, please mention them in comments after this post.

CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM:

As I know, the video problem somehow related to NVIDIA graphics chip located on the motherboard. Overtime the graphics chip separates from the motherboard and the video fails.
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In this post I explain how to troubleshoot battery charging problems. I will discuss most common failure examples and suggest some troubleshooting steps.

Example 1.

Laptop shuts off when AC adapter unplugged.

When you move the cursor arrow over the battery icon while the laptop is connected to AC adapter, it show the remaining charge and says “charging”.

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