Fixing Non-Booting Compaq Laptop

I wrote before about my Uncle’s old laptop. It powers on with lights showing on the wireless and CAPS lock keys. But it’s not booting up. Nothing on the screen. I tried all the troubleshooting tips found online with no success.

Those include:

  • Hook it up to an external monitor. Thought it might just be a damaged screen issue. It wasn’t
  • Removing the battery (in my case none to remove), unplugging power, and then holding down on the power button for 30 seconds. Then plug it in and try to turn it on. Tried it a dozen times. No luck
  • Turning on the power for about an hour then turning off and turning on again. This got me to the orange screen and the BIOS logo but then it went to a white screen and no further. And it only worked once
  • Resetting the BIOS by holding down the Windows key plus the letter B while powering on
  • Using a pencil eraser to clean off the contacts on the memory chips
  • Removed all components from the inside that I could access from the two bottom panels

My Uncle at this point decided to buy another computer so this one became mine. I’m where old tech comes in its final moments. 🙂 I either get it working and continue to use it or dissect it for its parts. I decided to dissect this one.

I hate these older models. The ones with a billion and one screws and almost microscopic cables. But now that I have it stripped down and removed the motherboard. I removed the heat sink and fan assembly and had a change of mind. I cleaned off the old thermal paste on the CPU and GPU, reattached the fan/heat sink, and wondered, how hard it would be to put this thing back together.

Some research online suggested this might be a CMOS/BIOS issue so I also replaced the CMOS battery. Had a few spares but I didn’t know if any were good. Put one in anyway and continued to reassemble the laptop.

After, I tried turning it on again but with the same results. On a hunch I tried holding down the power button again and this time it worked. Turned it off and then on, it was gone again. Tried it a second time. Working again, then turned it off. When I turned it on again it booted up and it’s still working.

So the only thing to do now is to mothball this thing until some future time when it might come in handy. I’m thinking about removing the hard drive and using it for backup purposes.

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4 thoughts on “Fixing Non-Booting Compaq Laptop”

  1. Good job!!! I just love doing what you jus did. I did the same thing with an old Dell XPS laptop, that my Son and gave to me, it is now running W11 and I use it every day. The old Dell XPS is a far better laptop than one can buy now days.

  2. In the DOS days, I tinkered with those large and heavy desktops. Replacing or upgrading various components. If it was pointless to save, I removed many parts (disks, cables, power supplies, mounting screws) prior to dropping them off at a recycle station. Have a nice supply of old part.s. Still tinker on current desktops, but much less, Mindblower!

    1. Terry Hollett

      Yes, I still have a few old parts lying around that I salvaged from computers over the years. I don’t like throwing out things that might be useful sometime in the future. It has paid off occasionally. Thank you for the comments Mindblower.

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