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HP Laptop Startup Problem Bypass

Posted by Chris (chris) on Oct 03 2009
Blog >> Public

Many HP Laptops have a startup problem where the machine never gets beyond the initial startup and continually restarts. The cycle lasts up to 10 or 15 seconds where the lights come on but there is no display. You may see the Hard Drive light flicker but not much happens. The machine then shuts down and immediately tries to restart again. This continues indefinitely.

I have managed to get past this and my bypass/solution might work for you. If it does, please provide a response to this item so we can see if this is unique to my machine or a more general bypass.

My Laptop (DV9201)

  • Purchased in early 2007
  • AMD processor (not Intel)
  • Has the latest bios (issued in 2007 for AMD machines)
  • Motherboard was replaced more than a year ago (by HP under extended warranty) because of a failure with the wireless facility.
  • Runs Vista. I tried a new hard disk and used XP but I had the same problem.

The Problem
The symptoms are pretty consistent across a range of HP machines so it would seem that they probably all have a common cause. It is claimed that the NVIDIA chip has a problem that it can't cope with the heat generated in laptops. Mine fails when trying to boot (in the POST - Power On STart process) and continually restarts. From the many online postings that I've read, this is exactly what many other users have seen as well. There is an attempt underway to initiate a
Class Action suit against NVidia for this problem. HP has a Limited Warranty Extension Progam but I believe that this only applies to machines with Intel processors. If you are inclined to pull the whole machine apart, this hardware fix might be worth a try. That uses a version of a BGA reflow (Ball Grid Array solder reflow). Here's the toaster oven version.

My Bypass
I tried many suggestions that I found when I was browsing postings for the problem. Most didn't work at all. This one has worked consistently for me but it may take a few tries.

When you start the machine, hold down the delete key as you press the power button on the machine. Keep holding the delete key until you see the initial HP Logo on the screen or until the boot fails and it shuts down. If it fails, then you need to shut it down and start over. To shut it down, hold the power button down until it shuts down and doesn't try to restart. Then start the procedure over again. In my experience, it will probably start within 5 tries but it might take more.

After It Starts
Once it starts up, what then?

I suggest that you immediately turn off the power saving options (Sleep and Hibernate). I have had problems with my machine trying to bring it back to life from either state. In some cases, Sleep was ok but not not consistently. I have had to force a reboot in a number of cases and then struggled to get it to start again.

Since I first encountered the problem in mid-July (now it's October), I have mostly left the machine running 7/24 (without any power saving). This has kept the laptop usable even though it isn't ideal. With the alternative being to make it a door-stop, it's the much better of the two. I experimented and shut it down overnight a few times, The first few time, it restarted ok and then it went into the restart loop again so I stopped shutting it down. I had the same experience with Sleep.

I can do a restart and this has worked every time so far. When there are Windows updates to be processed, it restarts the machine on its own and so far that has not been a problem. Generally, if the machine is hot, it seems to restart. It is mostly when it is allowed to get cold that the problem occurs. 

Your Feedback
I encourage you to try this and see if it works for you. Either way, I'd appreciate a response so I can find out if this bypass works for others (especially on other models and machines with Intel processors). If any of you have used the Limited Warranty Extension, did that really fix the problem or has it occurred again?


Last changed: Oct 06 2009 at 10:50 PM



DV 9000 repair issues By Unknown on Oct 06 2009 at 8:30 AM
It seems to me that you are simply bypassing the CMOS from memory. Loading default settings each time. That is all the DEL key does when booting. Filling the Keyboard Controller buffer and initializing the default settings.

This could truly be a defective CMOS chip/ROM chip or heat issue not allowing changes to be written (a bad resistor could do that too by not allowing the write state to be turned on).

Most techs that solve the nVidia heat issue (reflowing BGA) also do not clean the inside of the Heatsink, reapply new thermal compound, or as I do -retrofit the aluminum pad under the CPU with a copper pad- The Aluminum pad fails when the CPU gets too hot and does not draw off enough heat. Visually you can see that the aluminum is damaged. I try to repair them once and be done with it.

It is a combination problem. HP/nVidia/HannStarr not just nVidia alone. And yes I am an Doctor/Engineer in Electronics
hp laptop won\'t start up By Unknown on Nov 12 2009 at 2:59 AM
why don\'t you try this link and see if it worked for you!!!
Worked on dv6700 By Unknown on Nov 23 2009 at 1:21 PM
Wow! Thank you so much for this information! I used this method on dv6700 which had similar behaviour, except it would POST and try to boot sometimes, but quickly shut down. After the DEL key method i managed to successfully boot, modified date/boot options in BIOS and saved the changes. And since then laptop ALWAYS boots perfectly fine either hot or cold!
Also, it is worth to mention that I replaced thermal pad between GPU and CPU with a copper penny to help with heat transfer.
By Unknown on Nov 24 2009 at 11:08 PM
I had the motherboard replaced TWICE by HP, and that still hasn't fixed the issue. Apparently, in talking "off the record" with the HP tech, there was a bad batch of solder that was the only thing corrected with the motherboard swap. (which deals just with the wireless card falling off the motherboard issue)

For sure it's a BIOS issue... I actually had one tech try and tell me that it was just a Windows Vista issue. So I asked him how "Windows Vista" could cause the same thing to occur while I was running Ubuntu 9.04, as I'm running a dual-boot on my rig... especially since I was dual-booting with Windows 7 RC, with no Vista remaining on the thing. That shut him up pretty quick. ;-)

Anyway, I'll be trying your DEL key suggestion the next time it happens to me, as it occurs about once every two weeks right now. (totally random times too)
DV9000 By Unknown on Dec 02 2009 at 8:53 PM
Bypass trick didn\\\'t work on my dv9000. I might try the heat gun trick...
By Unknown on Jan 29 2010 at 1:26 AM
Thanks for this information! Helped me get a machine going long enough to rescue the encrypted data.
For the record, POST stands for Power On Self Test.
Its a display issue By Unknown on Apr 05 2010 at 7:22 AM
What worked for me, start the computer, wait 3 seconds from after you press the power on button, then jiggle the screen from 70 degree to 105 degree angle. Just keep wiggling it quickly but not too rough that you break it. The screen will come on, its ridiculous how this works.
asd By Unknown on Oct 19 2010 at 7:59 AM
no a good fix By Unknown on Jan 26 2011 at 9:51 AM
let me explain what's happening. the dell key is situated exacly on the vga cooler. when pressing the key, you acctualy press the vga card to the motherboard, though making contact between them. It's not safe at all. I advice you to reball the video card.
worked for me By Unknown on Mar 16 2012 at 10:21 PM
thanks alot worked for me so
Thank you! By Unknown on Jun 13 2012 at 4:50 AM
Holding the delete buttonand pressing the power button fixed the problem I was having with my Toshiba Satellite. The Laptop would never power on completely. It would only power on for a couple of seconds and cut back off.
By Unknown on Jun 06 2013 at 12:14 PM
Thanks, it worked on this useless HP dv9700.

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