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This is Debi hyperventilating. 
1st-Oct-2009 01:54 pm
So remember this morning when my laptop wouldn't start?

It's still not starting.

The error message in question is IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL. I've had it before, once or twice, when using my laptop at my parents', but today in my own flat I'm getting it with any attempt to start up that's not in Safe Mode (without networking, so I can't even back up my thesis)

So I Googled that error message, on my desktop, which is working (it needs a soft and a hard clean, but it's working).

Microsoft TechNet are pretty much useless, blaming a newly installed hardware I don't have, and telling em to open with the Last Good Configuration, which doesn't work, then telling me to disable memory cachig in the BIOS (not an option) or check the System Log event viewer (no idea how to do that)

TweaksforGeeks says that usually this is a problem with the CPU overheating. Nicely compatible with the fact that this appears to be a physical location issue (it works fine in the cool environs of the NHM palaeontology department.) My living room isn't exactly baking hot, but maybe those few little degrees help. TfG go on to say I should check the CPU temperature in the BIOS, but my good old Sony VAIO's BIOS setup doesn't appear to contain a CPU temperature monitor.

My laptop is, incidentally, physically filthy, thanks to being carted back and forth for five years, and my dirty dirty desk habits. I hoped taking the back off and clearing out some dust would help the fan work better, but I had trouble physically removing the case. Of course, now, typing this, I have discovered this page, which not only confirms my suspicion that it's an overheating problem, but has better instructions than just "remove all screws you can find and shake".

Yes, I am someone who does the DOING before the READING. It's a thing.

A few years ago, incidentally, I really would have been screaming and crying and throwing things. Now, I'm pretty pragmatic about it all. I have errands to run this afternoon - and I guess now that includes buying some compressed air while I'm out. Then I shall try again to dismantle it and clean out all the dust. I haven't backed up for a while, but I have got all the raw and processed data backed up, and I have sent out drafts of nearly all my chapters recently. So I'm missing a month's work at most. Aaand I have plans, that involved giving it a jolly good clean. If that doesn't work, I'll call in a professional geek (though at £25 an hour I'd rather not)

I mean, I'd rather not have to fork out for a new laptop right now, but I bet I could if I needed to. After I've spent over a laptop's worth on a new annual travelcard, of course.
1st-Oct-2009 01:09 pm (UTC) - This is not as helpful as I'd hoped it would be ...
A few years ago, I had the same problem with my old laptop. I found all the online instructions and followed them to the letter for opening and cleaning inside the computer, but when I put it back together ... nothing. It wouldn't even begin the boot process. So I went through again, step-by-step, just in case I missed something. Again, nothing. I repeated this several more times, in a growing state of total panic, and was just about to move onto the part of the procedure where I threw the now-useless piece of metal and plastic around my room, when I noticed a small padlock symbol next to the mount for the processor (which I'd had to remove to clean the heat sink).

Turns out Dell had neglected to mention that there was a small, almost invisible screw that locked the processor into place, and that prevented the computer from booting.

The lesson here, if there is one, is that panic and fear are mind-killers. Also, I hate Dell. Also, cleaning out the computer didn't really do much in the long-term, and the computer was dead in a few months anyway (although apparently my model had been recalled at one point without my knowledge for having a defective heat sink in the first place, so your mileage may vary).

I doubt there's much I could do, but don't hesitate to drop me an e-mail if you could use a second opinion, and if things seem hopeless, take a break and come back with fresh eyes.
1st-Oct-2009 01:24 pm (UTC) - Re: This is not as helpful as I'd hoped it would be ...
Thank you!

I'm sort of running on the assumption that it'll be dead soon, but I'd like to extend the run time at least until I'm done with the blasted thesis. Then I can get me something small and fun and use it for nothing except browsing the internet from my lap.

So we'll see. Cleaning my desktop everytime it got slow has kept it perfectly functional for eight years.
1st-Oct-2009 01:42 pm (UTC) - Re: This is not as helpful as I'd hoped it would be ...
This all seems reasonable. Cleaning the dust from my laptop did make a temporary improvement, but I was hampered by the heat sink defect. Yours should respond better, I would think.

Good luck!
1st-Oct-2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
If all else fails your data, at least, is completely recoverable at a relatively low price. You just need an IDE hard drive enclosure (IDE because your computer is old enough to be using that connector.)

That said, a good cleaning should help with any heat problems if only by making it possible to ventilate the case properly.

Fingers crossed and huge hugs,
1st-Oct-2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
I had that error on my desktop pc, giving Blue Screens if it asked it to do anything strenuous. Turned out to be bad RAM. Replaced all the RAM, problem never happened again.

More common in laptops. I think the google searches I did on it mentioned that it could be something on the motherboard either, but was much more likely to be the RAM.
1st-Oct-2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
A few years ago, incidentally, I really would have been screaming and crying and throwing things. Now, I'm pretty pragmatic about it all.

It gets to that point doesn't it. Fingers crossed that it gets sorted out. I guess that was one advantage of the ridiculous coldness of the NHM offices.

I'll probably be in London some point next week to remove/put back all the things from my office so I'll attempt to return your comics then (if you aren't about, I guess I could leave them with someone?)

Edited because I have been away from LJ so much I've forgotten how to code

Edited at 2009-10-01 23:00 (UTC)
2nd-Oct-2009 09:13 am (UTC)
Grah, I'm off to PC World to get it fixed today.

If I'm not in (and you can phone me if you're not sure), leave it with Dave, and he'll get it to me. I would like to go for coffee or something, though.

2nd-Oct-2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
Good luck with PC world, they took much longer than they told me they would.

Coffee would be great, I'll be in contact to sort something out (I wasn't sure how busy you were).
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