Author Topic: Laptop Glitches  (Read 2833 times)

daverobev

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Laptop Glitches
« on: July 11, 2016, 07:24:24 PM »
I have a Dell Latitude E6420 which is mostly great - on paper, it's perfect for me.

But it has a few glitches. The audio will half-second-pause every so often, and sometimes (usually after boot) the computer will 'freeze' - I can move the mouse pointer but nothing actually 'happens' - programs do not continue to load, I can't switch windows. The computer will, after a period of time - I'd guess 20 seconds - then just act normally. This only ever happens once.

It has "properly" crashed a couple of times, but not in the last little while.

I can get a replacement motherboard from ebay, or a replacement cpu, or both. Or neither.

Thing is, I don't like things "not quite working right". The machine is a refurb, bought in March last year, and hasn't gotten any worse. I'd like to fix it, though.

Any techies care to speculate? I have tried a few different driver combinations, that hasn't changed anything. No hardware diagnostics show any issues.

I have a dock for it; when that's connected, the trackpad just turns to garbage which I can't quite understand (usually I use an external kb and m when it's docked, but sometimes those are plugged in to something else).

So I'm guessing it's the motherboard. Something in the chipset. This does have dual graphics, not sure if that causes things like this.

MidWestLove

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Re: Laptop Glitches
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2016, 08:24:45 AM »
assuming you follow normal computer "hygiene" , from your description below it is hard to say what if anything is wrong with it.

open it, clean it (blow with compressed air), primarily to prevent overheating . what you describe with delayed boot/audio glitches could be driver issues (i.e. system assuming earlier gen drivers when trying to run new OS).
install, run antivirus, they are dirt cheap (<$10)
find the manufacturer of your hard drive , get their utils, run them for safety measure
go to Dell, punch in support tag, look at recommended downloads  in general (bios, firmware)  and for your OS in particular. do you run the right drivers?
look into event log , what does it says when crashes happen?  do you get crash dump files generated, etc.

I do not know what you do on that machine or how important for it to stay up (how critical is to say be without it for few days or the week). generally for me -  'if there is a doubt, there is no doubt' , I would pitch/donate/discard/store the system I am not sure at and get something I can trust if I can not tolerate significant 'computer downtime' (use it to make money by working remotely, etc).  I would not be buying any laptop parts , there is very limited if any upgradability/replacebility, installation is cumbersome, and these things by definition are disposable.

if you want to have the features of easy replace ability, a desktop would serve you so much better and be of much higher value. a lot of people who insist they need to have laptop use them as very bad desktop, rarely if ever moving them. ..

   
« Last Edit: July 12, 2016, 08:26:51 AM by MidWestLove »

robartsd

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Re: Laptop Glitches
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2016, 08:57:21 AM »
Could the 20 second "freeze" simply be your OS opening up a bunch of background services at startup?

daverobev

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Re: Laptop Glitches
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2016, 09:02:55 AM »
assuming you follow normal computer "hygiene" , from your description below it is hard to say what if anything is wrong with it.

open it, clean it (blow with compressed air), primarily to prevent overheating . what you describe with delayed boot/audio glitches could be driver issues (i.e. system assuming earlier gen drivers when trying to run new OS).
install, run antivirus, they are dirt cheap (<$10)
find the manufacturer of your hard drive , get their utils, run them for safety measure
go to Dell, punch in support tag, look at recommended downloads  in general (bios, firmware)  and for your OS in particular. do you run the right drivers?
look into event log , what does it says when crashes happen?  do you get crash dump files generated, etc.

I do not know what you do on that machine or how important for it to stay up (how critical is to say be without it for few days or the week). generally for me -  'if there is a doubt, there is no doubt' , I would pitch/donate/discard/store the system I am not sure at and get something I can trust if I can not tolerate significant 'computer downtime' (use it to make money by working remotely, etc).  I would not be buying any laptop parts , there is very limited if any upgradability/replacebility, installation is cumbersome, and these things by definition are disposable.

if you want to have the features of easy replace ability, a desktop would serve you so much better and be of much higher value. a lot of people who insist they need to have laptop use them as very bad desktop, rarely if ever moving them. ..

 

Thanks.

It's not overheating. It was clean when I got it (Dell Outlet), there is no dust inside. It has an SSD transplanted from my previous laptop so it's not that. It has done the same thing since day one, no driver upgrade has changed anything. It does not have any viruses or malware or anything of that sort; it had a fresh install of W7. Drivers are current.

The crashes are really really infrequent. It's not them I'm worried about - one bluescreen every 4 months is not an issue.

I need a laptop. I do have a desktop. This particular laptop has a removable CPU. It is, basically, exactly what I need in a computer. It is my work machine.

This is a Latitude, which is Dell's professional line - Mg chassis, decent screen etc. I may just buy another refurb and see if that's better. I think swapping the motherboard would be the cheaper option, but it is, as you say, some effort. Not the end of the world, but not a five minute job either.

dirtyhippy

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Re: Laptop Glitches
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2016, 02:45:41 PM »
When you say the HD was transplanted, did you reinstall everything or literally move it over and boot up?  One recommendation before changing the motherboard would be to invest some time in installing a "live" OS on a usb or cd and booting up to run off of that.  I would be highly suspect that hardware was causing these freezing problems, if you've got bad memory or a bad motherboard etc, you're probably going to get crashes rather than weird mouse problems.  What does your CPU/RAM usage look like?  I would suspect something killing your CPU.

daverobev

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Re: Laptop Glitches
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2016, 07:56:58 PM »
When you say the HD was transplanted, did you reinstall everything or literally move it over and boot up?  One recommendation before changing the motherboard would be to invest some time in installing a "live" OS on a usb or cd and booting up to run off of that.  I would be highly suspect that hardware was causing these freezing problems, if you've got bad memory or a bad motherboard etc, you're probably going to get crashes rather than weird mouse problems.  What does your CPU/RAM usage look like?  I would suspect something killing your CPU.

Fresh install on previously good hard drive.

It's not overheating. CPU usage is fine, ram usage is fine (6Gb total, sensible amount used by OS, ridiculous amount used by Firefox, plenty spare).

There is nothing killing the CPU. I am a techie, to a point. I can only assume a dodgy capacitor or something - *something* - is causing the oddness.

A live CD is a good idea. If a live CD plays music with no glitches I know it has to be driver related.

Though, as I've said, I have tried a few different driver revisions for audio and chipset.

neo von retorch

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Re: Laptop Glitches
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2016, 07:50:12 AM »
Though you've ruled the SSD out, I actually had very similar behavior on two different machines with SSDs. What kind of SSD is it? While unlikely, maybe the format/reinstall pushed it over the edge and you're hitting rough patches on it. When the OS tries to swap out RAM, and hits an I/O bottleneck, it can put everything else on pause while it sorts it out. I'm sure there are other possible causes, but since I've had two similar experiences, I thought I'd throw in my anecdote. In my case, it was an early, rebranded Intel SSD. (I cannot remember the brand right now, but I think it began with an 'A'.) Since then I've almost exclusively used Samsung.

daverobev

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Re: Laptop Glitches
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2016, 09:01:24 AM »
Though you've ruled the SSD out, I actually had very similar behavior on two different machines with SSDs. What kind of SSD is it? While unlikely, maybe the format/reinstall pushed it over the edge and you're hitting rough patches on it. When the OS tries to swap out RAM, and hits an I/O bottleneck, it can put everything else on pause while it sorts it out. I'm sure there are other possible causes, but since I've had two similar experiences, I thought I'd throw in my anecdote. In my case, it was an early, rebranded Intel SSD. (I cannot remember the brand right now, but I think it began with an 'A'.) Since then I've almost exclusively used Samsung.

Hmmm. I guess I'll try a live CD or USB stick. I think I had the page file turned off at one point, not sure if that's still true.

MidWestLove

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Re: Laptop Glitches
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2016, 10:33:05 AM »
for sanity check- are you still running Windows 7 or upgraded since?

I had something very similar to your experience and it was all drivers two things
- audio
- video cards.

in my case it was HP laptop originally built and intended for Windows 7 (so all drivers HP provided were for Windows 7 only). The laptop also worked under 8, 8.1 an now is working under 10 but I had to hunt down exact drivers to make it happen as HP refused to provide new drivers (and responded to support request that it will not do it for new OS, happy to ship you original CDs to reinstall the system as it came from factory) and some of it did not work with new driver model of later OS versions.

the worst was getting the multiple video cards to work as that implementation was always very OS/driver specific for both AMD and Nvidia (Optimus I think). good idea overall (use built in video for longer battery and switch computer to dedicated GPU when performance is needed) , however very buggy at start and very implementation dependent.

fwiw


daverobev

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Re: Laptop Glitches
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2016, 12:22:25 PM »
for sanity check- are you still running Windows 7 or upgraded since?

I had something very similar to your experience and it was all drivers two things
- audio
- video cards.

in my case it was HP laptop originally built and intended for Windows 7 (so all drivers HP provided were for Windows 7 only). The laptop also worked under 8, 8.1 an now is working under 10 but I had to hunt down exact drivers to make it happen as HP refused to provide new drivers (and responded to support request that it will not do it for new OS, happy to ship you original CDs to reinstall the system as it came from factory) and some of it did not work with new driver model of later OS versions.

the worst was getting the multiple video cards to work as that implementation was always very OS/driver specific for both AMD and Nvidia (Optimus I think). good idea overall (use built in video for longer battery and switch computer to dedicated GPU when performance is needed) , however very buggy at start and very implementation dependent.

fwiw

Clean Win 7, still Win 7. I don't like in-place upgrades anyway. And I am not keen on Win 10.

It does have nVidia and integrated Intel graphics. It could well be that. I'm just taking a copy of my expansion bay hard drive and replacing it; that's where the music lives, so if the hard drive is junk it could be that (crapped out cache? I don't know).

The expansion bay caddy is a cheap fleabay one but it is a straight SATA passthrough... I don't even think it's a pass through, the HDD SATA connects straight to the computer. Anyway, it's currently only a 60Gb drive, I have a newer 250Gb one here so I'll stick that in and see.

Regarding the graphics, I do have it docked and connected to a DVI monitor, not sure if one screen is driven by the intel and one by nvidia.

Not easy to test all that. Especially when it is an intermittent fault to begin with!

MidWestLove

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Re: Laptop Glitches
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2016, 12:54:16 PM »
"It does have nVidia and integrated Intel graphics"  - you are probably on the right path. these implementation (optimus http://www.geforce.com/hardware/technology/optimus)  were notoriously driver dependent and buggy.




daverobev

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Re: Laptop Glitches
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2016, 02:13:31 PM »
"It does have nVidia and integrated Intel graphics"  - you are probably on the right path. these implementation (optimus http://www.geforce.com/hardware/technology/optimus)  were notoriously driver dependent and buggy.

Oh well, if I have to live with it, so be it. Different drive is in the expansion bay, copying stuff down. If that still glitches I'll try a live USB drive. But, of course, Linux on a stick won't test the sata stack nor the nvidia side of things.

geekette

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Re: Laptop Glitches
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2016, 09:31:24 AM »
I have a Dell Latitude E6420 which is mostly great - on paper, it's perfect for me.

But it has a few glitches. The audio will half-second-pause every so often, ...

DH has a Latitude E6410 with the same audio stutter problem.  Upgrading from BIOS A06 to A12 seems to have fixed that.  He had to upgrade from A06 to A09 first though.  Upgrading from A06 directly to A12 would act like it was installing, and reboot the computer, but the BIOS version would still show A06.

The A12 BIOS also allowed him to test out Windows 10, but he quickly scurried back to Windows 7 (nothing compelling for him in Win 10, although performance seemed a bit smoother).