My laptop fell over and will not boot now

posted in: Computer Dropped | 29

My daughter has an Acer Aspire 3100 which fell over a couple of weeks ago. It sounded just like an HDD failure to me so I bought a replacement drive and fitted it. I then tried to restore the system using the restore disk that I had created when originally setting it up for her. Everything seemed to go fine until it got to a point where the message at the bottom of the screen said it was loading Windows – when it hung – no activity at all. I immediately assumed it was a problem with the boot disk and tried a Window upgrade disc – similar result, I scrounged a Dell XP system disc from work – no go. Then I popped the old HDD into a remote enclosure to see if it worked – and it did, nothing wrong with it – so it wasn’t the HDD… My local laptop shop had a look and said – it’s the motherboard or the video card (but the Acer splash screen appears when you try to boot it). So, as a last thing to try I set the BIOS to boot from a USB HDD and connected the original hard drive, in its new remote housing, and the thing immediately booted not to Windows but to DOS! It says Windows 98 but it comes up with the C prompt. It says there is only one file on the disc… So I am utterly confused! Can I save this machine?

Here something you can try in order to narrow down the problem.

1. Try reconnecting the memory module. If you have two modules, reseat both of them. This problem may occur because of loose connection between RAM module and motherboard.
Download Memtest86+ and burn it on a CD. Run this utility to test laptop RAM. Make sure it passes test. If you have two modules installed in your laptop, remove them one by one and test the laptop with each module separately. It’s possible that one of the memory slots on the motherboards was damaged when she dropped the laptop. In that is the case, you still can use the laptop with one good memory slot.

2. Download Knoppix (live Linux) and burn it on a CD. Try booting the laptop from this Knoppix CD while the hard drive is removed from the laptop. If you still cannot boot to the desktop (similar to Windows desktop) even with the hard drive removed, most likely this problem is not related to the hard drive and something else is going on.

3. I don’t know if you feel comfortable opening up the laptop. If you do, you can try reseating internal components (wireless card, DVD drive, video card, CPU, cable connections, etc…) just to make sure it’s not connection related issue.

4. If the video card in your laptop is a separate module, try reseating the video card. Make sure it’s making good connection with the motherboard.

29 Responses

  1. shweta

    My Compaq 8510w laptop fell down. It was on at that time. Now its not working. The power LED keeps blinking. What is wrong? Please replyyyyy… :(

  2. My Thinkpad laptop suddenly had an error saying “NTLDR is missing” , it’s been a couple of months now that i wasnt able to use my laptop, im just using my one super slow laptop, maybe you can help me fix the problem?

  3. I have a Toshiba Satellite. I fell on the laptop while it was closed, and now it won’t even come back on. Can I get a little help as to what might be the problem?

  4. Laptop Freak

    Try reconnecting the hard drive, maybe it’s not making good connection with the motherboard. Disconnect the hard drive and then connect it back in place. Test the laptop again.
    If the hard drive is OK you can recover your files using an external USB enclosure.

  5. My Sony VAIO which was working fine has stopped working after my young nephew shook the laptop violently.

    The laptop starts normally — shows the VAIO spalsh screen — then displays several modes for restarting (Safe Mode, Safe Mode with DOS, Safe Mode with Networking, Last Known Configuration, and Normal) — clicking on any of these modes will then show the Windows splash screen — then the laptop will restart again! It’s a continuous cycle. I hope this is not a hard disk issue as I have very important documents saved in my hard disk! Please advise!!!

  6. Ryan Kalle

    Our Dell Inspiron 1720 was dropped about 2 feet onto a tile floor and now it will boot up but once comes to the desktop we cannot open any programs. I’m reluctant to crack it open without knowing what exactly what I am doing since I am not familiar with laptops

  7. Laptop Freak


    my laptop fell over its still has power but the screen is black and you can bearly is the picture

    If you still can see the picture on the screen then your problem could be related to:
    1. Loose connection between the video cable and the inverter board. In this situation reseating connectors on both end of the inverter board can fix the problem.
    2. Bad inverter board. It’s unlikely bad possible. I doubt that you can damage the inverter board if you drop the laptop, but I had to mention that. In this situation you’ll have to replace the inverter board.
    3. The backlight lamp has been damaged. In this situation you’ll have to replace the whole LCD screen because the backlight is located inside the screen. It is possible to disassemble the LCD and replace just the backlight lamp but it’s not easy.

  8. my laptop fell over its still has power but the screen is black and you can bearly is the picture

  9. Had EXACLY the same problem on a Tosh Sat Pro. Boots from a boot floppy ok but the Restore disk loads the files for W98 ok then halts on the W98 splash when it retarts. Checked with MS MemTest on CDROM and it fails every test. Have only got onboard memory so it looks like its bricked.

  10. Roger Stone

    Many thanks for the help – interesting results after trying as much as I dared! Reseating the memory chips and what I assume to be the video card – the only card I could see – made no difference. Memtest86 wouldn’t run, I put it on a usb stick and told the Bios to boot first from that but no joy – I just got a message saying failed and check cable – but I got that if I left the USB stick out too (no HDD fitted at all). When I try to boot the Acer splash comes up, followed by the Windows splash and the animated blue bar plus evidence of HDD activity and then it just stops….

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