Help Needed With Compaq Presario F579wm Laptop

December 14th, 2009 | Posted in Hardware, Misc Assorted General Stuff, Technology | 23 Comments

This laptop has the most infuriating behavior problem. Any clues how to repair it are welcome (note: replacing it is out of the question without substantial donations to finance said replacement)

[tags]laptop, compaq, presario, f500, f579wm, doesn’t boot, boot, failure, diagnostic, infuriating, POS, HP, Crap[/tags]

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23 Responses to “Help Needed With Compaq Presario F579wm Laptop”

  1. I believe you are right, it is definitely not software related and your OS isn’t broken or you would have been brought to BIOS or something. It probably is a cracked sodder… or something of the like. I would not recommend trying to fix this yourself without any prior experience, but I would also not recommend taking it to any computer repair place because you can’t trust any of them anymore =/. If you want to test if this is what is wrong, I would jostle it around a bit but don’t break it. You may get something to reconnect and verify that that is the problem and perhaps even narrow down it’s location. From the looks of the problem, it most likely has nothing to do with hard drive, power input (directly, distribution maybe), cooling fans. I doubt it would be any cards, hell it may be your motherboard.
    Google is key in cases like this, because somebody else no matter how weird it is has this problem and has found a solution somewhere. Best of luck!

  2. I’ve spent a good amount of time googling for answers and haven’t come up with much.  Though if I find a bad solder joint my soldering skills are up to doing something about it.  I’ve even once re-soldered a surface mount component or three (with VERY good lighting and a fresh tip on the iron that is)

  3. I had this sort of problem on my desktop.  The problem was the ram became unseated after I moved it.  Try Opening up the memory panel, removing the ram and then replacing it securely.

  4. That’s one of the early steps I’ve tried, having had to deal with another machine that had socketed chips that would occasionally need to be re-seated.

  5. Found this through Stumble. 

    HP is known for their heating issues. Try blowing out any fans or grilles on the laptop and see if that helps. We may need more information.  When it tries to boot up, do you hear the fans/hard disk spin up, or not?

    Other things to try:

    Unseating the battery and running on AC power only.
    Unseating and reseating the battery.
    Testing the harddrive in another computer.
    Running a diagnostic scan with a LiveCD such as Ultimate Boot CD:

    I would also try taking it to a local repair shop to see what they say.

  6. The fans are working, the hard drive is silent but then it always has been so there’s no way to tell if it’s spinning up or not.  The only clue I have there is that the HD activity light comes on for about half a second when it’s powered on and then goes off and stays off.

    The next thing I’ll be trying is to test the HD in my desktop as soon as an adapter card arrives to do it with.  I’ve tried all the other steps you mention with no results except for booting from a live Cd… I’ve tried both a live CD and a bootable flash drive (which has been used to boot that computer quite a bit in the past) and it simply won’t boot from anything, not even the recovery DVD’s

  7. The problem is unfortunately-for-you probably motherboard-related (or less likely CPU-related). Over the years we had 3 or 4 issues like this on desktops, it was chipset or motherboard related all the time.

    If possible, change the mobo, (still on waranty ? no ? sad..), otherwise, try another brand :-p

  8. Well I’ve got an adapter coming that will let me test the hard drive in another computer.  If it turns out to be CPU / Mobo related then I’ll see if I can find bad solder joints and repair ’em.  Definitely out of warranty.  As for trying another brand, If I had the $$$ to buy another machine I’d have already done it.

  9. My guess is it is the hard disk motor. I had the same thing happen with a desktop drive. One week it worked fine the next it would not spin up. Seeing how the BIOS checks for hardware present, the disks controller reports itself, but the motor does not spin up. This leaves the BIOS in an uncertain state (waiting for disk read of Master boot record) and then just gives up and restarts. I would suggest borrowing a hard drive from someone and switching them. The drive is relatively easy to replace on laptops. Usually one screw holds the HDD cover on the side. You unscrew it then pull the door up away from the case. In the direction you remove the screw. Then pull out the drive. Once out you, should be able to figure out how to swap the cradle. Hope it helps.

  10. That sounds fairly likely and I’ve got an adapter coming that will let me test the hard drive in another computer.  If that turns out to be the problem then a replacement hard drive should only be a few months of saving away… much better than the couple of years it’d take to come up with a replacement laptop.

  11. I got something like that on my Motherboard. My computer would keep trying to start, but nothing ever came up on screen. The CD drives kept clicking. Turned out that the motherboard had broken. A quick blast with a heat gun and a checkover fixed it: must have been a faulty joint, and I’m guessing it’s the same with that.

  12. I would first download and run a live linux cd like Ubuntu. My guess is that it is not a broken sodder or a bad hard drive but the live cd will determine that. My guess is that the monitor ribbon has come loose or is crimped because you don’t even see it post to the bios. It could be starting up and it doesn’t detect the monitor. You can easily test this theory by hooking up an external monitor. Good luck!

  13. I tried connecting to external monitor.  It didn’t work.  I have a live CD. It didn’t work.  I now suspect the hard drive because for some reason this thing is designed so that it will not boot without a working hard drive connected.  Even if a Live CD or a bootable Flash drive is used, they will only work if the main hard drive works.  Stupid design.

  14. its probably a restart vbs script in your startup folder… ive done this once to my friends computer and he had to buy a new one

  15. I seriously doubt that it’s any kind of restart script.  If it were, then I would have been able to get around it by booting from a CD or Flash drive and remove it because such a script would not affect the ability to boot from other devices.  However a failed hard drive or mobo would.
    On a related note, that’s a really shitty thing to do to anybody.

  16. im just spitballing here… but you have checked all the physical hardware like your battery, and stuff, just to make sure nothing is loose or slightly disconnected.
    And about my vbs script: it was just supposed to be a prank! haha it was when i was just learning about the scripts and ithought it would be funny… it wasnt. lol

  17. oh yeah, that was very early on.. disconnect and reconnect everything I could to make sure all connections were seated tightly.

  18. It looks to be a video card issue. Since its a integrated video card, its a matter of replacing the motherboard in order to fix that problem. I have no idea of the history of your laptop is, but on most occasions its due to over heating. 2005+ laptops have gotten pretty good at controlling the heating issue, but if its left on a soft surface, your in danger of having it over heat. But if Im right about it being a shorted video card, then it would be more effective to just get a new laptop. I suggest seeing what the manufacture warranty is and possibly, if you didn’t buy it directly from the manufaturer, then to inquire as to what warranty is for the location in which you bought the laptop from. To further the idea of it being a video card issue, during your boot on the video, I noticed it going through the checks of ram and hard disk, so I doubt its hard drive or ram related, and like stated earlier I highlly doubt its software related.

  19. Unfortunately this is something over three years old and definitely out of warranty.  As for heating, I knew about that possibility which is why I always kept it on a cooling pad with a couple of 3inch fans in it.

  20. O and another thought on how it could of happened is based on your location in the world, if you live in a very humid location, like Florida, there is a chance if you spend alot of time outside with your laptop then you are subject to water damage. Just a thought more on the subject.

  21. Not a lot of humidity here in Arkansas and I almost never take the thing outside

  22. I had the same problem with a compaq evo.  It was a bad stick of RAM.  replaced it and now it runs like a champ!

  23. My thanks to all who have provided input on this.  The next step I’m going to take is to disassemble the thing down to the motherboard, clean out heat sinks, test fans, check for bad electrolytic capacitors, check all internal connections and voltage regulators & such.