Author Topic: Working on a damaged laptop.  (Read 1802 times)

FORTRANS

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Working on a damaged laptop.
« on: December 27, 2016, 08:01:03 AM »
Hi,

   Someone gave me a laptop computer that he said was not
working.  And after trying to get it cleaned up a bit (smelled of
cigarettes and had random bits of tape and gunk or crud on it)
I found that the keyboard does not work.  I put a USB keyboard
on it and get to a Windows 7 log in password box.  Out of
communication with the donor and don't have the password.

   First question, when Windows 7 offers to reset the password,
what will happen if I accept?

   Second question, I am familiar with dead and dying computers,
but not so much with reviving such poor beasts.  Is trying to
remove, clean, and reseat the keyboard likely to work?  Or
is that generally a lost cause?

   The external keyboard seems to be inactive until Windows starts
up.  Therefor I cannot seem to access the BIOS setup.

   Is going to someone's shop to have them fix it worth while
or are they going to charge more that it is worth?  On average
at least.  If they are likely to be cheap, I could feed them a half
dozen old computers

Thanks,

Steve N.

hutch--

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2016, 08:18:58 AM »
Steve,

I doubt that a laptop is worth the price of fixing it and depending on its age there may not be spare parts for it. I would give the "Reset password" option a blast as its the choice between trying to get it to run or throwing it out. Probably once you can get into it the OS will recognise the USB keyboard and then you may be able to access the BIOS.
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sinsi

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2016, 09:34:06 AM »
If you use "reset password" I think Windows 7 will ask you to insert your previously created password recovery disk - catch 22.

Download a password reset utility like http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/ either ISO or USB bootable image.
Easiest way is to activate the Administrator account and log on with it - no password by default.
I can walk on water but stagger on beer.

mineiro

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2016, 10:03:04 PM »
Some notebooks changed the del key to enter bios setup with F2,F10 or Alt+s. Try these. On a sony vaio this differs too, when computer is off we should press 'assist' key, so computer turns on and you can press F2 key to enter bios setup. I was thinking if this assist key was broken, don't have on default keyboards, I probably try to search the scan code of this key and try to emulate with other keys combinations.
I have used the program that sir sinsi said and works ok, only don't work if my memory is good when windows partition or user account have been encrypted, well, it's said on manual I suppose, that program have a linux version to mount windows registry under linux.
I'd rather be this ambulant metamorphosis than to have that old opinion about everything

FORTRANS

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2016, 01:28:26 AM »
Hi,

If you use "reset password" I think Windows 7 will ask you to insert your previously created password recovery disk - catch 22.

   Ah, yes, memories of Windows 9x recovery diskettes.  Those
never proved useful either.  Either nothing went wrong, they were
never made in the first place, or were lost.

Quote
Download a password reset utility like http://pogostick.net/~pnh/ntpasswd/ either ISO or USB bootable image.
Easiest way is to activate the Administrator account and log on with it - no password by default.

   Thanks that looks useful.  Hopefully usable with an extracted disk
on another computer as I can't change the boot order with the
external keyboard.

@hutch:  Thanks.  That is what I would expect.  Too expensive to
be worthwhile.

--

@mineiro:  Good that you have used the program sinsi mentioned,
thank you.  One would hope for non-encrypted by default.

   The external keyboard does nothing before the computer boots
up Windows.  But thanks for mentioning the alternate keys to enter
setup.  It may help someone else.  Haven't seen Alt-S myself, and
you can add F12 to your list.

--

   I guess if I have to open the thing up to get at the disk, I should
see what it takes to get to the keyboard.  Everything has to come
out from the bottom up.  Ick and/or yuck.

Regards,

Steve N.

anunitu

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2016, 04:32:33 AM »
Sometimes an old system is only really good for spare parts.

FORTRANS

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2016, 09:39:56 AM »
Hi,

   I got the password for the computer.  Goes from the login screen
to a dark, gray, blank screen.  Vaguely interesting but not too useful.
I can get to CMD.EXE by accessing the Windows Task Manager.  Looks
like there is a lot of stuff on the drive.  The Windows directory looks,
more or less, intact.

   Any hints, suggestions, or remedies?  There is an Acer directory that
mentions something about recovery.  Didn't look at it too much as
there is just so many files.  And they seem different from the brands
I owned.

   Last time I tried fixing something on a scrambled computer,I used
MalwareBytes.  But that was quite a while ago on an XP system.

Regards,

Steve

hutch--

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2016, 11:29:27 AM »
Fixing a damaged OS is usually a nightmare, I would give it a blast with MalwareBytes just to make sure it has no infections then try your luck with CHKDSK /f. Something that may help is to get the latest rollup update and install it as it may fix any of the damaged files. If you had the exact media that the OS was originally installed from you may be able to re-install the OS but you would have to be able to get hold of the original serial as well which may be no joy.

Now as you can get CMD.EXE to run, can you start Explorer from the command prompt ? I vaguely remember from long ago that a problem like this occurred from a messup in the disk order but this was on a multi-disk desktop.
hutch at movsd dot com
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sinsi

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2016, 12:29:01 PM »
Download WinRepair http://www.tweaking.com/content/page/windows_repair_all_in_one.html
Boot to safe mode and run.

Alternatively, get a Windows disc with the same version and service pack and run setup from Task Manager - don't boot from the disc.
Choosing upgrade will do a repair install (or repair upgrade).

Acer recovery will factory reset Windows, all data will be wiped.
I can walk on water but stagger on beer.

TWell

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2016, 12:32:23 PM »
Try to run Explorer++ in that machine https://explorerplusplus.com

Try to start explorer.exe from commandline.
What happens?

How regedit.exe works?

GuruSR

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2016, 05:03:55 PM »
Not sure if you can get into the account to do anything (think you did, wasn't sure), though if you did, here's a few things to do...

First thing to do:

Chkdsk /f /r   <- R is important, don't forget it.

Second thing to do, is:

Run Malware removal software, the MalwareBytes software isn't enough, you need the higher end stuff they offer, but it's at a risk, using the normal one will not catch the nastier stuff out there.  Stuff they deem (and a lot do) as malware but cannot place it in their signature files due to legal reasons.  Scam/scum/etc/ware started digitally signing their code and started sending out cease and desist orders to various companies requiring them to remove their software from their signature files as their software was "legit".  MalwareBytes offers a piece of one time use software called JRT (Junk Removal Tool), as well as the newly added ADWCleaner to their lineup (download it too) and ComboFix is also a decent one for Windows XP to 8 (not 8.1).  Run JRT, then ADWCleaner, once they are done, you should be good to go, though if any of the infections (if any) are serious enough, you could "brick" the machine (basically means it won't boot into windows).

If you get past all of them and are able to continue, hit Start, type CMD, right click on it in the search list and "Run as Administrator", then repeat the below:

sfc/scannow

Let it finish, reboot, repeat until it says nothing is wrong, very important.

This will repair the OS files, but sadly, not the registry, and I don't recommend using a registry repair program (99% of the time, they do more damage than good).  If the system still misbehaves, your only recourse is to Reset this PC.  Link -> http://www.howtogeek.com/132428/everything-you-need-to-know-about-refreshing-and-resetting-your-windows-8-pc/

Good luck.

GuruSR.
Learned 68k Motorola Asm instruction set in 30 minutes on the way to an Amiga Developer's Forum meeting.
Following week wrote a kernel level memory pool manager in 68k assembler for fun.

hutch--

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2016, 06:15:37 PM »
> Chkdsk /f /r   <- R is important, don't forget it.

You are confusing a couple of issues here, the /f option is to fix errors on the disk from OS writes where the /r option is aimed at recovering data from defects in the disk. If the disk is physically damaged then the problem is not one of data recovery but one of mechanical replacement, possible after recovering whatever data can be recovered from the disk.
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FORTRANS

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2017, 01:16:51 AM »
Hi,

   Thanks for the feedback.  I will try things out as time allows.  Yeah,
one of the reasons I did not look too hard at the Acer recovery was
that I figured it would lose data.  So the easy stuff for now.

CHKDSK runs, no squawking though.  CHKDSK /F will run on next boot.

EXPLORER does not run.

REGEDIT runs.

   Basically, it would have been  interesting to have a Windows 7 system.
Went from XP to 8.1 and skipped the ones in between.  (Worked on
someone else's systems briefly.)  I will put some effort in later, but have
a short attention span to overcome.

Regards,

Steve N.

anunitu

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2017, 01:45:56 AM »
You "Could" begin your own personal collection of OLD computers like this guy.

http://oldcomputer.info/pc/

Hoping the image isn't to large..


If you search "old computer collections" some of them have HUGE collections requiring a warehouse to hold them all.(some have main frame components also)

Like this guy.
http://www.futurebots.com/cpu.htm

TWell

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Re: Working on a damaged laptop.
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2017, 01:50:53 AM »
So now you can expect that explorer.exe or it's register settings are damaged.
Now try that Explorer++ and tell us how it runs and what features are missing.
That program try to use some explorer features and something what is missing gives to you a glue to some features.
It means to to clean the explorer register setting somehow.