View Full Version : [ubuntu] Trying to fix a laptop after bad HDD.

November 29th, 2010, 08:43 PM
My sister-in-law owns a Gateway laptop that is at least a handful of years old. She told me that she was getting warnings that the HDD was "unstable" or something but ignored them. Then one day the computer just crashed and stopped working. Assuming it was the HDD, she bought a replacement HDD, put it in, turned the computer on, and nothing happened.

Now I am in charge of trying to fix this problem and I do not know where to start. I tried putting in a Boot Disk to see if the laptop would let me run Ubuntu from the disk. When I start the computer it makes noise and power lights (etc.) turn on but the screen stays black.

I am also noticing that the left hinge attaching the screen to the body of the laptop is broken. There is a wire there that looks like it is getting split and frayed from the broken hinge pinching it. Maybe this is has something to do with the screen not coming on?

Any help or suggestions would be very much appreciated as I don't know much about laptops.

November 29th, 2010, 09:08 PM
If you never get anything on the display it sounds like you do in fact have a display issue. Your motherboard should at least allow you to see the first splash screen where you can F2, F12 or DEL into your BIOS settings. If you never get a display then you have hardware issues beyond the HD. Do you have a local computer repair shop where you can get free estimates? They can see it in person and know what exactly is happening without tearing it apart to find out.

It's possible all the other hardware is fine and the HD just needs an OS, but without getting to a display the best you can do is maybe connect a monitor to it and see if you can boot it up that way. That's what i'd do as a first step. There should be a monitor output on the side of the machine, but you may have to use key combinations of some sort to get it to provide an output. Depends on the machine.

With laptops so cheap right now you could end up spending more to fix that one than you would on a brand new one, but no way to know for sure until you see what exactly is wrong and what the cost would be to fix it.

November 30th, 2010, 09:28 PM
I do have a local computer repair store near me but I don't know if they give free estimates (I'll check that out).

The laptop does have a monitor output (which I have never realized). If it turns out that my problem is a screen problem only, would that be something I could remedy?

November 30th, 2010, 11:14 PM
Probably not. It's tough to get the parts to fix those. I used to work in a facility that did repairs on those. (please don't hold that against me)

Call Gateway and see if they will sell you the cable. Also ask what they would charge to repair it. Make sure if you send it off you get an estimate before repairs are done just in case it's the display panel and not just the cable.

You should also replace the hinge since that seems to be where the problem started.

Any chance Sister in Law would be happy using it with a monitor attached, or does she still need the portability of a laptop ??

Another thought: Can you post a picture of the laptop ?? I might recognize it and be able to give you a rough idea how to get to the cable to replace it.