Twin Laptops die on same day. Viri? Karma? Death chip?

My mom-in-law and I each have a 2.5 year old Toshiba Satellite. Last night both dropped into a coma. Hold down the start button on each and the various power lights flutter for a mo', there's a little fan noise, then nothing.

What the frig??

My main computers are fine and they have been networked to mine, whereas Mom's has had no direct contact with my laptop. Lots of security on both, almost no software in common.

Ideas?
DecksawashAsked:
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r-kConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Let me guess - they each had a 2.49 year warranty?

Seriously, this seems like bad coincidence, and not a virus but some hardware problem. It could be the motherboard, battery, power supply, loose switch etc.

You could remove any devices you can, add-on cards, network cable, usb, even the hard drive if you access that, and try turning the power on again.

Sometimes holding the power button down for a few (~10) secs can also make a difference.
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DecksawashAuthor Commented:
Absolutely nothing attached to either. Holding the swith down for a long time produces the same results as holding it down for a short time:  the various power lights flutter for as long as I hold the button down, when I release the button there's a little fan noise, then nothing.

Could that suggest that it's the power switch?

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r-kCommented:
It could be, but it could also be a number of other things. What happens if you remove the battery and work with just AC power?
Can you remove the hard drive easily? Try without the hard drive, if so.
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DecksawashAuthor Commented:
Pulling the battery turns it into a doorstop. No lights, nuthin'. Trying to find the HD now. THree culte little ports in the back. Two come off with small phillips head driver revealing memory sticks (cute as baby duckies!) one showing the modem/lan I think. The third nees a star head screwdriver smaller than any I have ever seen.

I've got the Toshiba manuals out now, looking for a scematic.
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DecksawashAuthor Commented:
Crud. They don't give a schematic.
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phototropicCommented:
Hard to see how this could be a coincidence.
Some sort of power issue?
Were they both connected to mains power at the time they died?
Do you have a surge protector on the supply?
Any other electrical oddities - digital clocks displaying 12:00, freezers defrosting, whatever?
This isn't going to help you fix them, but it would be interesting to know what happened.
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phototropicCommented:
Wait a minute..."Pulling the battery turns it into a doorstop. No lights, nuthin'."
Check the external power supply/transformer. Try one of the laptops with a compatible known-good power supply.
Repacing that will be a lot easier than dismantling the whole laptop and pulling components.
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DecksawashAuthor Commented:
They were thirth miles apart.

Mine was sitting disconnected.

I called Toshiba and talked to the local repair outfit. A young'un with a tiny voice said, Hmm, that's a known issue with a different model. We'll have to take a look, but usually we can get Toshiba to cover it, even off warrently, if it's the same problem.

Interesting, indeed.
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DecksawashAuthor Commented:
"Check the external power supply/transformer. Try one of the laptops with a compatible known-good power supply. Repacing that will be a lot easier than dismantling the whole laptop and pulling components."

Normally, I'd know just where to get such a compatable power suppy. . .

Pity. My last laptop wasa Satellite, too, but the power supply Magic Box is about half the size of the new one and the output is decidedly different.
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r-kCommented:
Yes, it's sure looking like the power adapter, or the place it plungs into the laptop (the internal pins where it connects to the motherboard often come loose). All that likely caused the battery to run down, which would cause the symptoms you have.

If they'll fix it under warranty that'd be best. Else you'll have to borrow a compatible battery (or charge your battery on a friend's Toshiba) and see if that resolves it.
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DecksawashAuthor Commented:
Ya know, that's pretty much what killed my old Satellite. The power jackin cracked inside the computer. Got it fixed once, but it cracked irrepairably later. SOunding too familiar.
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phototropicCommented:
Decksawash,
what's happening?  
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DecksawashAuthor Commented:
My apologies for not responding sooner-- I kept thinking about this when I was in the car, and I was in the car all the blinkin' time.

Anyhow, this is one of those un-related symptom things. Mom brought her laptop over and I set them up side by side, intending to swap power cords to see if that brought on any different behavior. I didn't get that far. When I pulled my powercord out of the power strip I've been using for the last six months it felt a little odd, but I didn't think anything of it until I plugged in my computer and it started up flawlessly. The strip is either entirely missing a receptical in one port, or the bugger is seriously deformed. The only resistance I can feel when I shove a plug into that port is the spring slider pushing against the tines. My laptop was just plain out of juice. Odd that nothing else ever got plugged into that one receptical-- the others all seem to be fine.

As to Mom's laptop, I took r-k's suggestion and held the switch down for a long count. The computer started up just fine and Mom thinks I'm a genius. I told her it was this crowd. Really.

So thanks to all and sorry I let this linger.
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r-kCommented:
"Mom thinks I'm a genius"

Can't do much better than that :)

Thanks for the update.

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