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Laptop XP often fails to respond to keyboard - yet DOS does

Posted on 2007-08-04
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Acer Laptop (Aspire 3000) often won't accept input and stops responding to the keyboard.
When XP stops accepting typed input, the mouse continues to function and folders open as normal, but pressing the "Close Down/Start" button has no effect and I have to wait for the battery to go flat, and then restart. If I use START/CLOSE DOWN the computer freezes.
 If I call up a DOS-based GWBASIC program, the selected program functions as normal, accepting keyboard input without problems.
If I click START > RESTART the computer freezes with a non-revolving egg timer, which the mouse can still move around.
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Question by:Christieau
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by:cerrmj
ID: 19632699
I'm assuming you have already tested for viruses & spyware...  If not, please do that first.  They can cause all kinds of havoc.

The next step is to check that your hard drive is healthy.
Then run error checking on the drive (My Computer->C: drive->Properties->Tools->Error Checking->check now) be sure to check both boxes (automatically fix.. & Scan for..).  This will rule out any problems with the drive.

Next will be to check your RAM.
Then check to see if your laptop has a bootable diagnostic partition (I tried to find the manual on the Acer site, but the link appeared to be broken).  If it does, boot to that and run the system diagnostics - making sure to run the memory test.  If you don't have a bootable diagnostic partiion, you can create a bootable CD with the Microsoft Memory Diagnostic (http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp) and run that.

Next is to check for corrupted Windows system files.
If both of those come back without errors - you may want to try a system file check (http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/system_file_checker.mspx?mfr=true) and make sure that none of the windows files are clobbered.

If all of that doesn't give you an idea about what is wrong, you may need to backup your files and format your c drive and reinstall from your original CDs.   If that doesn't clear things up, then there must be some other hardware issue.

Good luck.
Bob.

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by:nobus
ID: 19633843
since itbresponds to another program, your OS is likely at fault.
 try running sfc /scannow from the run box, and if that does not help, a repair install :
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm      
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by:Christieau
ID: 19635651
I do not have an XP disk.  All that came with the copmuter was a set of disks for distribution with a new Acer. They include instructions on "Recovery",  1 System disk, and 3 recovery CD's. Using the recovery system described reformats the Hard Drive.  Without the XP Home Edition I was unable to run the sfc /scannow utility.  (At the moment it is accepting input - I can't guarantee it will on next restart!)

Frank
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by:nobus
ID: 19636734
>>  I was unable to run the sfc /scannow utility.  <<  look here :
http://www.updatexp.com/scannow-sfc.html
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by:cerrmj
ID: 19639222
Frank,

Can you borrow an XP Home disk from a friend to use with sfc/scannow?  

You didnt' say whether you checked your drive & memory yet.  If those checks come back clean, then I would backup your files and do a system recovery.  Unless you have programs installed that you don't have the disks for a recovery is pretty straight forward.  It is a kind of pain to do - but it is better than having a laptop you can't use.

Bob
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by:Christieau
ID: 19642744
Yes. I checked the drive as you advised.  It was clean.  At the moment input is being accepted but I have taken all comments on board for study as I don't believe the problem is over.  The computer has become very slow and I may be forced into doing a recovery. I'll keep you informed.

Regards - Frank
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by:Christieau
ID: 19650849
A question.  The  Laptop has a hard drive partioned as C: and D:   If I action the Recovery proceedure,  will this effect the D: partition, or may I use D: as storage while C: is formatted?
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by:nobus
ID: 19651903
i guess it is a recovery partition (check your manual to be sure). then you cannot use it for storage.
you can also look what is in the partiton (or is it hidden ?)
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by:Christieau
ID: 19659166
The Partition is part of the C: drive - and is designated as D: drive.  Like C: it is about 20 GB and we use it to store extra files, such as music, photos and DOS programs.  Our "Manual" is very miniscule and only gives brief details on how to operate the recovey disks, (about 20 lines in 11 languages) plus a mini-booklet on XP. The large retailer I bought it from (over 2 years ago) is no help.  They are salesmen, not IT savvy.
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by:nobus
ID: 19660149
post the size of both partitions; - can you access both?
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by:Christieau
ID: 19660161
Yes, . They are about 20 GB each.  I'm not sure I understand you question.
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by:nobus
ID: 19661137
so, you can access both partitions? and what is in them ? can you post some folders / files ?
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by:Christieau
ID: 19666656
The C:Drive  is the main drive and contains Windows, My Documents and all the usual folders & files.
The D:Drive was originally empty, and I created folders such as Photos, Music, Basic, Movies etc, and store the appropiate files in those folders.  It is treated the same as a seperate drive would be, but is actually a partition created and existing (when we purchased the Laptop) on the C:Drive. What I need to know is:  If I action the Recovery disk,  will this effect the D: partition, or may I use D: as storage while C: is formatted and Windows is re-installed?  Will the Recovery disk ask: "Do you wish to format C:drive only and re-install Windows, or do you wish to format both drives?"  I am also trying to contact ACER (the Laptop manufacturer) to ask that question, but have, as yet, recieved no response.
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by:Christieau
ID: 19667726
I recieved a reply from ACER.  The Recovery disk will format the C:drive only and leave the D:drive (Partition) untouched. At the moment the ACER is accepting input providing I start it on battery with the power off - then turn the power on. (I know it doesn't make sense, but that's life - and electronics!)  I am still trying to avoid doing a recovery however.
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by:nobus
ID: 19668409
ok - then you know what you want; feel free to ask a refund of points
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by:cerrmj
ID: 19674058
Here is another idea, given you can start on battery but not plugged in.  Try looking at your power scheme settings.  Perhaps the Acer power management software is to blame by somehow turning off your keyboard somehow.  Try turning off the power management software and see if that makes a difference.  Acer has a download of version of there eManager software v1.0.27.40 which includes their power management stuff.  If you have an older version, you might try  this new one.  
http://www.acerpanam.com/flex/acerdrivers/bin/drivers.html?CFID=3096079&CFTOKEN=91739384

I would first try to disable/uninstall the Acer power management software first and see if that makes a difference.  I would also like you not to have to do a recovery.

Good luck.
Bob.
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by:Christieau
ID: 19818544
Well - It appears that a disk format is the only answer.  I tried the "scannow" function with a borrowed XP disk, but it would not accept the disk.  If we start on battery only, it is usually O.K.  and if not, it comes O.K. if left for 20 minutes or so.  I tried other recommended methods - but no luck.  I'm sending this from my Windows 98 computer. I have less trouble with 98. (Unlike XP, all DOS functions work well, and will even permit "Long Name" copying in a BASIC program - which XP will not. Some day perhaps someone will tell me how to restore DOS on XP)
Thanks to all who offered help and advice. Frank
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by:Christieau
ID: 20553838
I found the solution.  With the battery removed everything worked perfectly!  Just a faulty battery

Christie au 31 Dec 2007
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