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Old February 20th, 2012, 01:05 AM
Thunderousskies Thunderousskies is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 19
BiOS overheating message (laptop is now working fine)... but what happened?

Windows Vista Home Premium, HP Touchsmart tx2.

Okay, here's the series of events:

-3am yesterday my laptop fan whirrs into action (why I had it set to look for Windows updates at that time God only knows), and I see it's trying to install new updates. Previously it had been closed and in Hibernate. As it's 3am and some of us have work in the morning, I re-close the laptop and it starts hibernating again; it can update later.

-Get up in the morning, and open up laptop. It restarts just fine, but my wireless connection is on the fritz and I have like 10 minutes before I have to leave, so I decide to forgo my morning email check and close the 'top back up to hibernate again.

-8 hours later; home from work. Open laptop, and screen is just as before; I'm just looking at my desktop, as I have no programs running. Mouse pointer freezes, and screen goes black (but fan is still on). Stays like this for quite some time; I ctrl-alt-del; nothing. Eventually I switch the power button off.

-Turn power back on; boots up, but tells me I didn't shut down properly before, what mode do I want to start it in, yadda yadda. I decide to live life dangerously and attempt to start normally. Windows begins its startup, then suddenly crashes; black screen, no fan, dead.

-Take out battery, unplug, press power button for 20 sec, re-plug. Laptop whirrs into life, but lights by CAPS and NUM LOCK flash twice. I google this, and this is HP's code for a BiOS corruption failure. Joy!

-Attempt to boot again; gets halfway through boot-up; goes black. Decide the hell with it; go out for a pizza.

-Pizza consumed (stuffed crust! Awesome.), return home. Replace battery, press power button and pray. Boots up, and this time I get the following message:

The system BIOS has detected your notebook PC was placed in hibernation to avoid overheating. The system is now operating normally and your data should remain intact.

I press Enter to continue, and... everything's normal. Boots up normally, everything's absolutely fine. So... what happened? I have a couple of theories, and I wondered if any of these sound plausable:

1. It tried to install a major update that included updates to BiOS, and the extra fan power needed to keep it cool while it was doing this conflicted with the fact that the laptop was closed and in Hibernate (when the fan is off), and it spazzed out and overheated.

2. I have dust in my system somewhere (a cursory look wouldn't suggest a major buildup, but I haven't, nor do I currently intend, to take off the back panel to look further. I keep my laptop on a cooling mat with a built-in fan whenever it's running, by the way; no, I don't block the vents

3. Something in the update itself failed/messed with my BiOS settings and it started spawning error messages at me that might not actually have anything to do with an overheating error.

I have since changed my settings to update manually in case Theory 1 is correct, but I would like any input anyone might have. Also, for full disclosure, I usually keep my laptop on its cooling mat on the floor, and usually Hibernate it rather than powering down when I'm done using (I usually only power down/restart it when I have to move it somewhere or some update can't be installed until I restart.)
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Old February 20th, 2012, 04:30 PM
pip22 pip22 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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Age: 74
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"1. It tried to install a major update that included updates to BiOS"

Automatic updates never include BIOS updates - they can only be downloaded & installed manually. Windows & Windows Applications updates simply cannot change any BIOS settings. So I'd rule out your theory #1 altogether.

You'd be surprised how much fluff can be pulled in through the vents underneath.
I took a vacuum cleaner to my vents one time and a great wad of fluff appeared from deep inside and exited through the ventilation slots into the vacuum cleaner. My laptop has never shut down mysteriously since then (so now I know it was shutting down because of the heat build-up).

So I'd have to say that your theory #2 is the most likely.
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