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Windows 7: HP G61-327CL Notebook PC Will Not Boot -- Bad BIOS?

18 May 2012   #1
LenB

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 
HP G61-327CL Notebook PC Will Not Boot -- Bad BIOS?

First and foremost, thank you to all who read this and offer suggestions. I'm an old hand at building and repairing desktops, but don't have a lot of experience with laptops. So I truly appreciate the help.

Here's the problem...

My wife tried booting up our HP notebook, but it didn't seem to do anything. She tried again, and noticed it shut itself off... she told me about it after trying a few times -- not sure how many.

HP G61-327CL Notebook PC will not boot. Will not enter BIOS utility much less get as far as the Windows splash screen. Indications are:

- SCREEN BLACK
- FANS ON.
- POWER LEDS ON.
- WI-FI LED ON (AMBER).
- BATTERY POWER LED ON.
- BATTERY LIGHT LED (LIGHTNING BOLT) ON.
- HARD DISK DRIVE LED OFF
- CAPS LOCK AND NUM LOCK LEDS BLINK TWICE, THEN REPEAT INDEFINITELY.

When I checked the HP support site, the blink codes seem to indicate a corrupted BIOS. But if that's the case, the computer should restart and try to restore/repair the BIOS, then restart again normally. Unfortunately, this isn't the case -- it just continues the two-blink cycle indefinitely.

One source I found suggested pulling the BIOS battery to force the BIOS to reset back to factory defaults. (After unplugging the power supply, disconnecting the battery, and pushing the power button for 15+ seconds to drain all residual power). So I tried it. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Still have the same indications as before.

**NOTE: I should mention the battery on the notebook needs to be replaced. It only holds charge for 15-30 minutes -- but that shouldn't be the problem because we always use it with the power supply plugged in.**

I also came across a reference to resetting the BIOS using jumpers... but I wasn't able to find any. So I don't know if that would work or not.

If anyone has any suggestions -- or has encountered the same problem -- please share them. I'm nearly at wits end with this machine!

Thanks!

LenB


PS: Almost forgot -- the last time the computer was used before the problems described above, it automatically installed an update from HP. I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it or not... but a friend's HP installed an update around the same time, only to somehow corrupt whatever file tells Microsoft if a copy of Windows is genuine. (Hers was, and had worked fine -- and passed the verification many times for 2+ years... until the update.)


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18 May 2012   #2
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

I've seen this a few times now with batteries going bad.

Remove the battery and try to start with just the power supply connected. Let's see if that works.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 May 2012   #3
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

While I'm waiting on that test^

There are no jumpers on a laptop motherboard like a desktop.

If the hard drive light does not blink at all you might check the drive to make sure it is positively engaged.

And it is also possible that your display has fizzed out. But when this happens you can usually hear Windows start up through the speakers, and the HDD light would blink.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 May 2012   #4
LenB

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 

Thanks, TVeblen...

Pulled the battery and tried restarting with just the PSU -- same result/symptoms.

Tried booting with an external monitor plugged in (borrowed from my desktop, so I know it's good) -- again, same result/symptoms.

Will open the laptop back up and verify the hard drive is seated and that its cables haven't come loose -- and will report back what happens.

Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 May 2012   #5
LenB

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 

OK, hard drive was fully seated (of course, no cables in a laptop). Tried restarting, same symptoms.

On a whim, I pulled out a Norton 2010 install/recovery CD and tried booting with that in the drive. Sounded good for a moment, as the laptop did access the drive momentarily... but didn't actually do anything. Just the same old fan sounds and two-blink code...

I actually forked over $59.99 to HP Troubleshooting (the computer is out of warranty)... but they refunded my money after coming to the same conclusion I had: Corrupt BIOS. Their solution: Send it to them for repair... which would cost up to $329...

Hoping someone out there can tell me how to repair the BIOS myself instead. I used to troubleshoot and repair satellite communication systems for the US Air Force... I should be able to handle this. Dang it!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 May 2012   #6
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Carefully inspect the bottom of the laptop to see if you can see a very small hole - just big enough for a straightened paper clip wire to fit in - in the plastic case. Some older laptops had a RESET that could be switched by sticking the wire in to trigger the switch on the motherboard that resets the BIOS (same as ClearCMOS).
A long shot, but figured I would mention it.

It is late here. I will look to see if I can find any other info in the morning.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 May 2012   #7
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

OK. What you have done is what you do to reset the BIOS on the HP. Keep in mind that the order you do things is important.

Normally, you remove the power supply, remove the laptop battery, then press and hold the POWER button for 10 to 15 seconds.
If the Clear is successful you will need to manually reset the date and time in the BIOS.

Sometimes it is necessary to remove the Real Time Clock battery (the coin sized 3v battery on the motherboard.
In this case you remove the power supply, remove the laptop battery, open up the laptop to expose the motherboard, remove the 3v battery, then press and hold the POWER button for 10 to 15 seconds, then put everything back together.
[Note: on modern motherboards, with flash memory BIOS chips, the 3v battery usually just maintains the RTC (Real Time Clock).]

So that is for resetting the BIOS. Which you have already done correctly.

************
Before reading and trying the stuff below I would spend some time exhausting all possibilities that the problem is a power issue. Check the battery (get a replacement), the power supply, the switch, everything you can think of to eliminate power issues as the problem.

But the 2 blink code on the CAP LOCK/NUM LOCK LEDs for that laptop does mean BIOS corruption so all of this may be just hopeful thinking.

************
More disturbing is what I found on the HP support site for your laptop:

HP G61-327CL Notebook PC Will Not Boot -- Bad BIOS?-hp-1.png

HP G61-327CL Notebook PC Will Not Boot -- Bad BIOS?-hp-2.png

Which sure looks like your symptom and would mean it is a known BIOS error. The problem is that HP uses a Windows based BIOS upgrade utility, which means you can't fix the issue unless you can boot into Windows (Nice one HP ).

**********
There is one other more drastic solution, one that requires some circuit board soldering experience. That is to order (get them to give you one) a replacement BIOS chip with the updated BIOS already on it.
This is advanced work and maybe suitable for a repair shop but if you are up to it and could survive a mistake with the wife's laptop then it is an extreme possibility.
Replacing a Laptop BIOS Chip at TimsComputerfix.com - YouTube


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 HP G61-327CL Notebook PC Will Not Boot -- Bad BIOS?




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