What the heck is wrong with my laptop?

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dubsola
Posts: 2292
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:55 am UTC
Location: Sunny Snakeville

What the heck is wrong with my laptop?

Postby dubsola » Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:59 pm UTC

Howdy folks. All help welcome.

Backstory
Dell XPS 15 running Windows 7. Purchased new in 2013, nothing wrong with it until a couple of months ago. I was trying to stream the Tour de France and it was jerky as hell, the system was being unresponsive and I got impatient and hit the power button. After that, the machine wouldn't boot - it would get stuck loading Windows - the Windows logo would appear, then disappear leaving a black screen.

The Fix
I figured the OS was corrupted and tried to re-install Windows 7, but had some issues with it detecting the HD. This is the first time I've re-installed Windows on this laptop. In my BIOS, I have three SATA Operations options: ATA, AHCI, and Intel Smart Response Technology, which was the option chosen when I first looked at it. I set the BIOS to AHCI and Windows could then detect the drive. I installed Windows but it took a ridiculously long time - hours and hours to copy the files.

Now
Now it takes about an hour to boot up and get into Windows. Explorer takes minutes to open a window. Something is still wrong with it, but what?
- I can change the BIOS SATA option back to Smart and Windows will boot, but no matter which option I choose it's still slow
- Ubuntu LiveCD will boot (slowly, but I don't know how quick it is normally).
- Hard drive issue? I ran Crystal Smart drive checker and here's the output. I think it's saying the SSD is fine and there may be an issue with the HD, but I don't know what to look for to definitively say the HD is the issue.
Spoiler:
-- Disk List ---------------------------------------------------------------
(1) LITEONIT LMT-32L3M : 32.0 GB [X/0/255, cs]
(2) WDC WD10JPVT-75A1YT0 : 1000.2 GB [0/X/X, pd1] - wd

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) LITEONIT LMT-32L3M
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Model : LITEONIT LMT-32L3M
Firmware : LWDA
Serial Number : TW04NG445508531J2052
Disk Size : 32.0 GB (8.4/32.0/32.0/----)
Buffer Size : Unknown
Queue Depth : 32
# of Sectors : 62533296
Rotation Rate : ---- (SSD)
Interface : Serial ATA
Major Version : ATA8-ACS
Minor Version : ATA/ATAPI-7 T13 1532D version 4a
Transfer Mode : SATA/600
Power On Hours : Unknown
Power On Count : 18 count
Temparature : Unknown
Health Status : Good
Features : S.M.A.R.T., AAM, 48bit LBA, NCQ, TRIM
APM Level : ----
AAM Level : FE00h [OFF]


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
(2) WDC WD10JPVT-75A1YT0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Model : WDC WD10JPVT-75A1YT0
Firmware : 01.01A01
Serial Number : WXC1A9203399
Disk Size : 1000.2 GB (8.4/137.4/1000.2/----)
Buffer Size : 8192 KB
Queue Depth : 32
# of Sectors : 1953525168
Rotation Rate : 5400 RPM
Interface : Serial ATA
Major Version : ATA8-ACS
Minor Version : ----
Transfer Mode : SATA/300
Power On Hours : 12323 hours
Power On Count : 1643 count
Host Reads : 16591 GB
Host Writes : 32190 GB
Temparature : 36 C (96 F)
Health Status : Caution
Features : S.M.A.R.T., APM, 48bit LBA, NCQ
APM Level : 0080h [ON]
AAM Level : ----


Any suggestions for next steps?

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Jorpho
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Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: What the heck is wrong with my laptop?

Postby Jorpho » Thu Oct 22, 2015 2:53 am UTC

Sounds an awful lot like miscellaneous hardware failure – quite possibly it was starting to go bad when you were trying to watch the Tour de France and has just been degrading further. If this was a desktop, you could try swapping out individual components, but since this is a laptop, you're kind of out of options.

- Ubuntu LiveCD will boot (slowly, but I don't know how quick it is normally).
That's what I was going to suggest. I think if you press Escape during boot you can see the kernel output and check if anything is taking longer than it should.

cphite
Posts: 1297
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:27 pm UTC

Re: What the heck is wrong with my laptop?

Postby cphite » Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:27 pm UTC

When you say that Ubuntu boots slowly, how slowly is slowly? If we're talking a few minutes, that's not entirely abnormal. Booting from a CD will generally take a little longer than a USB stick. Anything over 3-4 minutes is probably suspect.

I would run a thorough RAM test - MemTest86 is a good one to start with.

If that passed, I would generally recommend pulling hardware until you find the culprit. That can be difficult with a laptop however... especially with something like the XPS 15 where they're cramming so much into a small space. If nothing else, you might be able to find a local PC shop that'll take the time to diagnose. I am guessing it's not under warranty anymore.

Also, if you boot into Ubuntu, search for an app called Log File Viewer and you can view the boot logs; if there are issues and/or delays you might find them there, even if they are a bit cryptic at times :D

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dubsola
Posts: 2292
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:55 am UTC
Location: Sunny Snakeville

Re: What the heck is wrong with my laptop?

Postby dubsola » Wed Nov 18, 2015 8:29 am UTC

UPDATE: I tried all the things suggested here and did not find any smoking guns. I ended up taking the laptop to a qualified professional who removed the hard drive, ran some diagnostics and determined that the HD was screwed. The rest of the laptop is fine, so I am buying a new HD and hopefully I'll have a working laptop again.

Thanks so much for all your suggestions and help.


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