This fix also works for an L300.
If you switch on a Toshiba L350 and get the message “Enter Password” with a blue background and white writing then a BIOS password has been set. You may not have done this especially if the laptop has not been used for a long time.
Switch the computer off and remove the main battery and power connector.
Open the memory compartment. On an L350 you can see the two solder points that you need to short. I have circled them.
On an L300 you have to take the memory out and lift the black plastic cover.
The two solder points are labelled B500 and I used a small flat bladed screw driver held at an angle to short the contacts. Once shorted insert the power adaptor and press the power button, make sure you keep the two points shorted. You should not see the screen asking for a password. If you do then you did not have a proper contact. Switch the laptop off and try again.
Replace the compartment cover and away you go.
I had the opportunity to directly compare and normal hard drive (hdd) with a solid state hard drive (ssd) as I had two identical laptops in for sale. The laptop on the left is fitted with an SSD the one on the right with a HDD.
Watch the difference a SSD makes by restarting the laptops.
This video has not been edited in any way, no titles, graphics or cutting. Just a direct comparison of two identical Dell E5410 laptops, one with a SSD and the other with an HDD!
When you click on the Store icon in Windows 8 the screen goes green as if Store is opening but then crashes. Here’s the fix that worked for me:
Press WindowsKey + X
Insert the following:
powershell -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $Env:SystemRoot\WinStore\AppxManifest.XML
Click Enter and it should now work 🙂
Fed up with the background on the login screen of Windows 7? Well you can change it and here’s how:
- Click Start button and type regedit
- Follow the path [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\Authentication\Logon UI\Background]
- Double Click the key oembackground key and set the value to 1
- Navigate to the folder C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds
- If the backgrounds folders are not there then create it
- Copy your image in backgrounds folder and rename it as background Default – THE IMAGE MUST BE OF JPG FORMAT AND LESS than 256 KB.
- Restart your computer and you are done!
So you have decided to install Windows 8 from a DVD or USB stick and not a recovery partition. You have removed the previous partitions so that this will be the only operating system on your hard drive. You get nearly to the end of the install when you are then presented with the screen “Your computer ran into a problem and needs to restart”
You try different media and get the same error. It looks bad, it looks like this laptop is going back to Windows 7. However the solution may be simpler than you imagine. It looks like there is a problem with the WiFi driver built into the installation media.
Simply disable your WiFi card in the BIOS (if the option is available) or completely remove it from the motherboard whilst you install Windows 8. The WiFi card looks like this:
If you are very lucky then the WiFi card will be easily accessible under one of the compartment covers on the underneath of the laptop. The card is held in by one or two screws with one or two wires (aerials) connected to it. In my example though the card was difficult to access under the keyboard and top panel of the laptop.
The screw securing the WiFi card in place is circled and the arrows point to the aerial cables that need to be lifted off.
Once the card is removed, install Windows 8, install the correct driver for your WiFi card (from the laptop manufacturers website), shutdown the laptop and then put the WiFi card back in. All should now work properly.
The Acer D257 is a lovely netbook but most come with just 1gb of DDR3 memory in its single memory slot. There is no simple cover to access the memory (or the hard drive) instead the keyboard has to be taken out, screws removed to release the bottom compartment helpfully labelled as “door” and then finally working out how the “door” is removed. Below are the step I took to access the memory and hard drive.
Firstly remove the battery from the netbook and then the keyboard has to come out. There are 5 tabs at the top of the keyboard that hold it in.
Using a small flat-bladed screw driver gently push the tabs in whilst using a sharp instrument such as a Stanley knife to lift the keyboard. I find starting at the centre best.
Once the keyboard lifts out detach the ribbon cable by lifting the brown catch up and sliding the ribbon out.
This will allow you to access the 5 “door” screws. Remove these screws.
The “door” is now only held in with 3 tabs near the battery compartment. To remove the “door” I slid the Stanley knife in at the front of the door pointed to by the red arrow and then moved it backwards using the none blade edge, flipped the knife over and then slid the knife the other way. Once the “door” is lifted at the front you can slide the plastic cover back and all will be revealed.
Now you can access the memory and the hard drive.
If you want to use the unedited photos the please feel free to do so. The images are here.
This error occurs when Windows 7 has a problem, tries to resolve it by backing up the user profile in the registry and creates a new faulty one for the user. This fix restores the original entry in the registry. The problem is that you cannot log on to your computer to edit the registry. Therefore this is a two part fix, the first part is to enable the computers built-in administrator user and the second part is the registry fix. I have added a third part which is what else to try. I have had 100% success with this fix however so far only five machines have come in to be fixed. I have never had to try part 3…. so far!
Part 1 – Activating the built-in administrator user
1. You need to start the computer in “Safe Mode with Command Prompt” to do this start your computer and hit F8 multiples times after the initial BIOS screen. You should see see a menu screen. If you see the Windows splash screen then hold down the power button for ten seconds and then repeat this step.
2. Highlight Safe Mode with Command Prompt and hit [Enter]. Try logging in there. If it still doesn’t work, then go to step 17.
3. If you are able to login, once a command prompt pops up, type:
net user administrator password /active:yes
You can specify whatever password you want for the administrator account.
4. If you get a message saying “The command completed successfully”, then restart your computer by typing: shutdown -r. If not go to step 17.
Part 2 – Editing the registry
5. Boot up again pressing F8, but this time select Safe Mode – not the Command Prompt.
6. You will be able to login as Administrator with the password you set in Step 3.
7. Hold down [Windows logo] key + [R] key.
8. Type regedit[Enter]
9. Once in the registry editor, use the left window to navigate to the key:
10. In the left pane, find the one that starts with S-1-5….. and ends with .BAK. If you don’t find one, skip to step 15.
11. Right click it and click Rename, then change the .BAK to .BK
12. Right click the one with the same numbering but without the .BAK and add .BAK to the end.
13. Right click the one that you renamed to .BK and click Rename, delete the .BK
14. What you are doing is switching the one with .BAK to the one without. This should be enough to fix this problem.
Part 3 -What else to try
15. If you didn’t find a .BAK entry in the registry then open Windows Explorer to:
You will have to show hidden and system files to do this.
16. If you find another Application Data below the one you’re on, then delete it. That should fix your problem.
17. If you can’t login in Safe Mode, then reboot and hit [F8] until you see the menu again, then select “Repair Your Computer”.
18. Wait until all Windows Files finish loading, then hit Next when it asks keyboard language.
19. Try logging in here. Select your user from the drop-down menu, and type the password, then jump to step 23
20. If that still doesn’t work, then if you have your Windows Installation DVD still, put it in and restart your computer.
21. Hit the correct function key to boot from the DVD or change the boot order in the BIOS (Setup).
22. Choose keyboard language then hit next. Find “Repair Your Computer” from a little below the centre left.
23. Choose Open Command Prompt and type:
net user administrator password /active:yes (again you can specify a password)
24. Close the command prompt and click Restart and jump to step 5
To disable the administrator account, type this in an elevated command prompt:
net user administrator /active:no
Normally when a laptop overheats it just switches off. In the case of this Advent Roma 1000 it would blue screen.
I knew the blue screen was caused by hardware as I had only just installed Windows and drivers before the laptop started blue screening.
Luckily the heat sink and fan are easy to get at on an Advent Roma 1000.
The heat sink should now lift up. Be careful as the copper pipe can bend.
The dust collects between the fan and the exhaust under the black tape.
Using a paper towel remove the old thermal paste from the copper heat sink. Also remove the residue from the CPU and Graphics Processor (GPU).
Carefully reattach the heat sink to the motherboard. Note that the 4 screw holes on the heat sink are numbered, carefully tighten them in that order.
All the photos are here for you to use freely.
The Hard drive on a Dell XPS 15z is easy to get out when you know how!
You can now separate the bottom cover from the rest of the laptop.
All the original photos are here. Please feel free to use them in your own work.
A very disgruntled customer brought an Acer laptop to me. She had previously been infected by a virus and the shop she had taken her laptop to performed a factory restore to clear the problem.
Note: Only in extreme circumstances should a laptop require a factory restore because of a virus.
The shop had backed up her documents and photos but had not backed up the customers email settings or more importantly her Outlook 2010 data (.pst) files.
Recovery of her email settings was simply a phone call to her ISP which she had done but losing her business contacts and emails was disastrous.
I removed the hard drive from the laptop, put it in one of my external USB3.0 hard drive readers and after a two hour scan I recovered both of her Outlook files. I then imported them back into Outlook.
This entire process took about 5 hours and I charged her just £50. She said she would have paid four times that amount as the emails and contacts were so important to her business.
If you have accidentally deleted folders and files then please contact me and let me try and recover them.
This is one of the easier Sony Vaio’s to get into. Undo all the screws on the bottom of the laptop. Remove the battery, hard drive and DVD drive and the base separates away from the keyboard part. There is a clip above the memory that attaches the cable from the USB ports to the motherboard. Undo this before separating the two halves.
In this article I am going to show you how to inspect and remove dust and dirt from inside an Asus K53E laptop. I will also show you haw to remove the DVD drive from the Asus K53E as it is not like other laptops in the fact that the retaining screw is under the keyboard!
This will take less than one hour and is one of the easier laptops to take to pieces 🙂
All the original photos are here. Please feel free to use them in your own work.
The system detected that a cooling fan is not operating correctly
And looks like this:
The error is caused by the system cooling fan not spinning. Notice I said “Not spinning”. The most likely cause is that the fan is stuck or has fell off its spindle. Rarely are any new parts required for this fix but you will need thermal compound paste as you have to remove the heat sink from the processor.
In this example I have used a HP Pavilion G6 but this article is also applicable to many other laptop models as well as the CQ series from HP Compaq.
This procedure should take less than one hour. You do risk damaging the fan but it may be all that is required. More likely you are going to have to take the laptop apart which is described as follows:
All original photos are here please feel free to use them as you wish.
I bought a compatible battery for a Sony VGN-CR42S laptop but it would not charge. After a little trial and error I found it was down to a Sony application called ISBMGR.exe. This is located in the Sony programs folder. Rename this, restart the computer and hopefully your compatible battery will be charging properly 🙂
On a 32-bit machine the file is in C:\Program Files\sony\isb utility\
If you are on a 64-bit pc then the file is in
C:\Program Files (x86)\sony\isb utility\
A computer had been infected with a virus. All traces of the virus I removed but when I went to install the free version of AVG Internet Explorer told me the installation file I downloaded was a virus. I also tried to download the file via Google Chrome.
To stop this from happening a registry edit was required:
Open regedit via the command window.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE> SOFTWARE> Microsoft> Windows> CurrentVersion
and rename “Policies”
After the computer is restarted the download worked as it should
An Asus K53U came in where the charger connector was no longer long enough for connection to be made to the laptop.
Once open I could see that the plastic holding the charger socket in place had bent out of the way (red arrow) allowing the actual socket to drift away from the casing.
Glue Gun glue now holds the charger socket in place using the existing plastic by bending it back onto the socket.
Feel free to use the photos, the originals are here: Asus K53U photos
A Sony Vaio CR42S laptop came in with a back light issue. Both the screen and the inverter seemed OK. The laptop started up and would work through and external monitor so I took it to bits to check the connections on the other end of the screen connector. All was OK so I put the laptop back together.
I switch it on an all I got was VAIO in the middle of the screen. I have not seen this before.
Turns out that if the DVD/CD drive is not in properly it will prevent the laptop from starting up!
This article describes how to prevent your Acer Aspire 5315 from switching itself off after just a few minutes of use.
The most likely reason your laptop does this is because the Central Processing Unit (CPU) is getting too hot.
Over time dust builds up inside the laptop and the thermal paste which aids the transfer of heat from the CPU to the heat sink dries up and hinders rather than helps the transfer of heat away from the CPU.
Luckily with the Acer Aspire 5315 it is a relatively easy job to clean out the dust and replace the dried up thermal paste with a new coating. This task does not require the laptop to come completely apart and the keyboard does not have to be removed.
Whenever I am taking a laptop apart I always remove the hard drive. This prevents loss of data. Undo the two screws circled to remove the hard drive cover, once the cover is removed the hard drive slides to the left and then lifts out.
Next undo all the screws on the main compartment cover as shown below:
With the main compartment cover removed you will see the heat sink, fan and other main components.
You can see the dust build up on the fan. You need to remove the fan as dust collects at the top of it. You then need to remove the heat sink from the motherboard.
Now you should be able to see the dust. If there is no dust then your laptop is switching itself off for another reason.
Using a paint brush and a vacuum cleaner remove the dust from the fan and from inside the laptop (carefully).
Next the heat sink and CPU needs the dried old thermal paste removing, I use a paper towel and some a citrus based solvent. Do not remove the processor from the motherboard as it is easier to clean whilst it is in place.
Once cleaned they should look like this:
No apply fresh thermal paste to the processor.
Carefully put the heat sink back onto the CPU fix it using the screws, note that each prong on the heat sink has a number 1 through to 4, tighten in that order but not too tight.
Screw the fan back in and reconnect the fan to the motherboard.
Put the compartment cover back on. Fit the hard drive and put the hard drive compartment back on and then test the laptop.
All unedited photos and more for this article are here for you to use freely. Acer Aspire 5315 photos
This article explains how to resolve a System Fan (90B) error from appearing when you start up your HP Compaq Presario Laptop. The laptop featured in this article is a CQ56. The full error reads:
The system detected that a cooling fan is not operating correctly
And looks like this:
The error is caused by the system cooling fan not spinning. Notice I said “Not spinning”. The most likely cause is that the fan is stuck or has fell off its spindle. Rarely are any new parts required for this fix but you will need thermal compound paste if you have to remove the heat sink from the processor (very likely).
In this example I have used a HP Compaq Presario CQ56 but this article is also applicable to many other laptop models as well as the CQ series from HP Compaq.
If you are very lucky you could poke a straightened paper clip through the holes for the fan and try and get the fan to start spinning. You do risk damaging the fan but it may be all that is required. More likely you are going to have to take the laptop apart which is described as follows:
Remove the battery and the screws holding the hard drive and memory compartment panels in place and then remove the panels.
Once the panels are removed the laptop should looks something like this:
Pull the tab pointed to at the lower right of the picture above, this disconnects the hard drive from the motherboard. Then undo the three screws holding the hard drive in place. The hard drive will then lift out.
Also unclip the black and white wire from the wifi card pointed to by the two arrows on towards the middle of the photo, the undo the screw holding the wifi card in place. The wifi card should spring up allowing you to remove it from motherboard.
Note: You could remove the memory modules at this point if you want to. However, I leave them in so that I can test the basic functionality of the laptop before putting the whole thing back together once I think the fan is fixed.
Your laptop should now look like this:
Next remove all the screws holding the base to the top including the screws that hold the keyboard in. The screws are all circled in the photo below. Make a note of where the shorter screws come from. Also pull the DVD/CD Drive out from the left of the laptop.
Next the keyboard needs removing. Using a sharp knife lift the keyboard starting at either of the points pointed to by the arrows and work to the other end.
You should now have a laptop that looks like this:
Now put the laptop onto its side so that the DVD/CD drive is easily accessible. Carefully separate the top of the base from the bottom as shown below:
Carefully work your way around the laptop so that it is open all the way round. The two parts should separate completely showing the motherboard.
Next you need to remove the wires connected to the motherboard and undo the screws holding the motherboard to the base.
Undo the two screws circled. Then remove the ribbons by un-clipping the brown clips pointed to by the red arrow. Pull the tabs on the connectors pointed to by the orange arrows and gently pull the cables out of the sockets pointed to by the purple arrows. The motherboard is now ready to remove though the power connector pointed to by the green arrow is still connected.
Lift the motherboard from the right hand side slightly so that you can disconnect the power connector. Once removed the motherboard should lift out. Ne careful as there is a metal clip at the top left holding the motherboard in, you need to slide the motherboard down a little before completely lifting it out.
Turn the motherboard over to see the fan
At this point you may see that the fan is full of dust, has something stuck in it (in my case there was a screw loose in the fan). Try and move the fan, does it spin freely? If not try squeezing the top and the bottom of the fan housing, does the fan click into place? If it does then the fan had fell of its spindle. Clean the fan with a vacuum cleaner and a paint brush to remove dust.
If you need to investigate further then undo the three screws securing the heat sink to the processor.
Note that if you do this then you are going to have to clean the processor and heat sink of thermal paste and then reapply thermal compound paste to the processor.
If you want to test the fan then you need to apply a maximum of 5 volts to the red wire and use the black wire as neutral.
Providing the fan spins then reassemble in reverse.
Original pictures here -> HP Compaq Presario CQ56 photos
This article shows that dust can cause your desktop computer to slow down.
A customer brought in a Dell E520 desktop computer. He said it ran well for about an hour but then slowed right down.
The reason was heat, the computer processor and motherboard was getting warm because cool air was unable to circulate the computer case freely. To protect itself a processor will reduce its power to lower the heat produced. This then slows down the computer.
From the two photos of the same Dell E520 computer above you can see a clue to the amount of dust to expect, there is dust in the corners, on the case, on the graphics card and on the motherboard.
The black plastic box with the 6 holes and a clip on covers the heatsink that cools the processor. To remove it you need to use a long positive screw driver to undo the two screws either side. Once they are undone use a little pressure to lift the screw end and it should come out revealing the dust causing the actual problem.
The photo above shows dust blocking the cooling fins of the heatsink. This dust is stopping cool air from passing through the fins therefore trapping the heat.
The fix requires a paint brush, a vacuum cleaner with pipe attachment, paper towels to wipe the dried thermal compound from the processor and heatsink and fresh thermal compound.
Using the paint brush gently brush all the dust so that the vacuum cleaner can pick it up. The vacuum should pull all the dust out of the heatsink but a gentle tap may help loosen some of it. Once all dust is removed clean the old, dried thermal paste from the processor and the heatsink. Reapply thermal paste and put the computer back together.
A customer brings in a dead Dell Inspiron N5110.
Not the case on a Dell N5110, the hard drive is attached directly to the motherboard and worse still you have to take the laptop to bits completely to get at it.
- Remove the battery and power supply.
- Undo all screws on the bottom.
- Remove the panel covering the memory modules.
- Pull the DVD-RW drive out from the side.
- Using a sharp knife and a screw driver gently remove the keyboard. There are four little clips at the top of the keyboard.
- Detach the keyboard ribbon cable from the motherboard along with all the other visible cables.
- Separate the two halves of the base. It can be quite tight. I start above the DVD-RW slow and pull apart.
- You will now see the top of the motherboard. The hard drive is underneath!
- You could replace the CMOS battery at this point. They last a few years and the first you know they are dead is when the date and time are wrong by years.
- Unclip the black and white wire from the wireless card. These two cables come out of the right hand side screen hinge.
- Undo all screws that have a solid white arrow pointing to them on the motherboard.
- Undo the two screws on each hinge that attaches the screen to the base. Gently remove the screen and the plastic cover from the base that goes from one side to the other.
- Remove the Dell blanking card from the SD Card slot.
- The motherboard should now come out.
The hard drive is now out.
A customer brought in a Sony Vaio VPCEB2M0E that was cutting out within an hour of switching it on. This is usually a sign of the central processor unit (CPU) overheating.
This particular Sony Vaio is not too difficult to take to bits. All screws on the bottom need undoing, there are a couple in the battery compartment. The hard drive needs to come out as does the DVD rewriter. Once all the screws are out of the bottom the keyboard comes out by placing a knife carefully at the top of the keyboard and levering out. Careful as the ribbon cable attaching the keyboard to the motherboard is quite short. Undo the other connectors and then the bottom black plastic will separate from the main unit showing the motherboard.
Once both the CPU and the heatsink are free of old thermal paste clean both items with a CPU cleaning fluid to get the remaining residue from both. Once clean they should look like this:
Now apply new thermal paste to the CPU and fix the heatsink back to the motherboard. Remember to screw opposing corners of the heatsink in first.
Put the laptop back together and all should be well.
Original photos here Sony Vaio VPCEB2M0E images Please feel free to use as you wish.
In a word Yes!
You can normally tell very easily if a computer has had liquid spilt over it. A small drop over the centre of your keyboard and your laptop may survive. In the case of a keyboard spillage you may get sticky keys if the liquid contained sugar eg wine, fruit juice, fizzy pop etc.
The keyboard has a backing so there has to be quite a lot of liquid before it seeps beyond the keyboard. When it does then your motherboard is at risk and usually if a laptop of any age requires a motherboard it makes more sense to buy a new laptop!
The picture above shows what the liquid has done once it got past the keyboard. The owner of this laptop must have turned the laptop over straight after the spillage to get the liquid out as these marks are underneath the keyboard just along from the track pad.
In this case the laptop was OK.
Other clues that liquid has been present is burnt components and a white powder on the motherboard. Some laptop manufactures (and phone manufactures) have a sticker that changes colour once water has been detected.
If your laptop gets covered in water then quickly turn it so the keyboard is upside down. Whilst upside down remove the power/charger cable and then the battery. Let the excess fluid seep out of the keyboard and then put the laptop somewhere to dry out for a couple of days. Hopefully when you put the battery back in and power up everything will be ok.
A customer brought in a Toshiba Satellite Laptop saying that the microphone did not work on Skype. She went on to say that she was not sure when it stopped working but she had the screen replace a few months ago.
The microphone on most laptops is part of the webcam. In theory if the webcam is working then so should the microphone.
I took the surround off the screen and found this:
As you can see there is a piece of rubber with a hole in it that is not square on the microphone below. Therefore the microphone has been muffled by the rubber.
I removed the rubber to show the microphone hole: