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Notebook runs VERY slow when coming out of standby - only when cold

Posted on 2007-11-30
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Whenever my Dell Latitude D520 Notebook is cold (40 degrees F or less) it comes out of standby running VERY slowly.  Also the cooling fan comes on, which it rarely does even during normal, warm operating conditions.  The problem does not correct itself as the comptuer warms up.  The fan stays on and the computer runs slowly until I restart, then it's normal again, even if the computer is still cold.  If it was turned off and I turn it on while it's cold, it runs normally -  this ONLY happens when cold and coming out of standby mode.  

Dell's solution to the problem:  don't put it into standby if it's going to get cold.  hah.

I have already reinstalled Windows and have already replaced the hard drive, neither of which solved the problem.

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Question by:kenlotterman
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JudgeDD earned 250 total points
ID: 20387184
How much ram are you running? Have you tried a bios update?
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by:kenlotterman
ID: 20388215
1GB. - I have not tried BIOS updae - last time i did that, it failed and i had a dead computer, so that's only last resort.
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by:Callandor
Callandor earned 250 total points
ID: 20388384
It sounds like the thermal sensor on the motherboard is faulty, incorrectly thinking that your cpu is overheating and kicking on the fan and worse, throttling down your cpu to "save" it from overheating.  I don't know of any way to recalibrate a sensor on the fly, while Windows is running.  You may want to check what the sensor thinks the cpu temperature is with Everest Home Edition http://www.majorgeeks.com/download4181.html or Motherboard Monitor http://www.majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=311.
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by:JudgeDD
ID: 20391018
I woudln't think its a faulty thermal sensor. I strongly suggest a bios update, it will not ruin your computer, especially a laptop. It forces you to have atleast 20% battery and be plugged into the outlet. I also suggest running a surface hard drive test. If your sensor was faulty, the bios would tell you about a "thermal event" when you rebooted, better yet your computer would shut down unexpectly. If the processor was throttled down you would be able to notice under my computer properties or system information. Try the bios update, if this does not fix the problem, run the HD test and a memory test.
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by:Callandor
ID: 20392366
Flashing a BIOS is not something that should be done unless one is certain it will cure the problem.  I hear it recommended for all sorts of problems that are unrelated to the one at hand.  Unless others have reported similar problems that were fixed by an update (and the manufacturer should certainly note what the update fixes), the risk of failure is a dead computer.

A faulty thermal sensor does not have to consistently report "thermal events", it just has to be uncalibrated enough to fool the computer into thinking that the cpu is hot when it isn't and trigger the fan.  Fan operation is completely normal when the cpu is heating up and full shutdown would only occur if the faulty sensor made the computer think it was extremely hot and not cooling off.  I have never heard of a hard disk problem or RAM problem occurring only when the computer is cold - the hard drive would work or not work, not run slow.
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by:JudgeDD
ID: 20400816
If it were the thermal sensor as you say then he should notice slower clock speeds, which have yet to be reported. Author, download cpuz, a cpu monitoring program. As for flashing the bios. It is definately a possible solution for his problems along with the others i suggsted. As for temperature, hard drives and ram are highly sensite to temperature. Hard drives are even sensitive to altitude. Please do not post unless you know what you're talking about
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by:Callandor
ID: 20408205
I think I do know what I'm talking about, if you count the number of questions I have provided the solution for.  How is it that you assume you know the extent of my expertise?  In any event, we are not here to quibble about our own talents, but to find out through collaboration what may be troubling this machine.

He stated that the problem occurs when the machine is cold, which is the exact opposite of what hard drives don't like - heat.  The same is true for RAM - heat is the enemy.  If Dell says a newer BIOS version addresses problems similar to his, then I'm all for flashing the BIOS.  But let's first recommend and try things which are non-destructive and based on observed symptoms, or we may kill the patient.  Let's check the cpu temperature and speed first, then move on if they don't resolve it.
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by:JudgeDD
ID: 20439885
I'm not here to quibble. But please do research before you speak. COLD temperatures, especially the ones the author is talking about can be damaging to conventional hard drives. There are several heating devices and tips and techniques on the internet for sale for such a problem. Hard drives not only are affected by temperature but also by changes in air pressure, air pressure is also affected by temperature. Either way, author, any changes?
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by:Callandor
ID: 20444075
JudgeDD

I have no idea why you're talking about air pressure - is it relevant to the problem at hand?

If you think the temperature is a factor in this problem, I'll let you explain why "If it was turned off and I turn it on while it's cold, it runs normally -  this ONLY happens when cold and coming out of standby mode."
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Author Comment

by:kenlotterman
ID: 20446434
hey!   easy, guys.  

Callandor is correct: "If it was turned off and I turn it on while it's cold, it runs normally..."   I'd also be curious why the problem does not correct after the computer warms up.  

JudgeDD is also correct - I put this thing in the freezer to see if flashing the BIOS fixed the problem and then it wouldn't recognize the hard drive at all.    Boy, that scared the hell out of me!!

Anyhow, so far, after flashing the BIOS, I have not had the same problem, but I am only able to *simulate* the cooling by refrigerating the computer (around 40 degrees) and I'm NOT putting this thing in the freezer again!!!  

I have installed lavalys everest and found the temperature sensors and I am watching them closely as I take the computer out of standby should the probelm re-present.    

I have not forgotten this thread, nor the fact that I offered points for a solution.  As soon as I am sure that the problem is solved, I will finish it up.  meanwhile, you guys kiss and make up, OK?

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by:JudgeDD
ID: 20446440
lol sounds like a plan...let us know how it goes
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by:Callandor
ID: 20446660
We just have a friendly disagreement about approach - troubleshooting can sometimes be an art.  The important thing for you is if your problem was resolved.
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Author Comment

by:kenlotterman
ID: 20491805
I still have not had cold enough conditions to test real-world.  THis is the first time I can remember *hoping for* cold weather (haha!)  -  I have not forgotten you, nor will I.  
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by:Computer101
ID: 20698937
Forced accept.

Computer101
EE Admin
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by:kenlotterman
ID: 20716563
I was not ready for this question to be closed.  The issue was based on cold weather conditions which we have not had in Michigan until recently, but it has returned the last couple of days.  

I came here today to close the question and award points.  While splitting the points may have been reasonable, I would have awarded all the points to  JudgeDD, as the BIOS update is apparently what has solved the problem.  

I did post a comment on 12/18 indicating that i intended to come back when the issue was resolved to award the points.  
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