Hi Everyone,

I am having very serious problems with my computer. I purchased a used Gateway 450 ROG model laptop about 4 weeks ago. The person who sold it to me was very dishonest and didn't bother to inform me of any problems prior to purchase. I tested the laptop before I purchased it and everything worked fine until I brought in home, plugged it in and 3 days later the system crashed. I took my laptop to 2 repair shops and neither one was able to figure out the problem.

When I press the start button, the green power light comes on but nothing comes on the screen. All I hear is the fan generating in the background. Other times, when I am fortunate enough to get it going, Windows loads but then immediately freezes on screen. Usually, I see like an electrical static image where everything becomes a blur, then instantly after the haze the whole system is locked up, forcing me to manually shut the power off. You have no idea how frustrated I am with this machine. I feel not only taken advantage off but also can't afford a new laptop. I hope you can help :sad:

Did you try entering safe mode when you manage to power it up?
(press f8 when booting)

Hi Chaky,

Thanks for the reply. Already tried that and it didn't work. When I press the power button the green power light goes on but nothing loads on the computer screen, everything just stays black. The only thing I hear in the background is noise, which sounds like revolving fans. Please help if you can.

Other times, when I am fortunate enough to get it going, Windows loads but then immediately freezes on screen.

I was referring to this when I asked you about safe mode.

I suggest that you try to enter BIOS setup. From there you can do some things that can narrow down list of suspects.

- you can disable quick boot: that will make BIOS do extensive tests on everything it can test. If errors are found they are usually displayed as codes. Sometimes, even in English.

- you can see if the memory amount is correct and if the memory settings are out of the ordinary.

- you can see if the HD is being detected. If there is no HD listed, that's the one that's giving you trouble.

My prime suspects are memory and/or power supply.
With memory, you can never be 100% certain, but with faulty power supply it, kind of, makes sense. Faulty PSU is giving some power, but not enough to recharge the battery or to supply power needed to run the laptop. That's where you get on-and-immediate-off situation. With combination of some charge still left in the battery you might (if you heat up the battery) get some boot up, but not enough to fully turn on the system. Freeze you described could easily be nothing but a lack of power for the CPU, memory and LCD display (that's why it becomes blurry).

To test the PSU, you'll need to take your battery to another Gateway laptop, not necessarily same model, charge it and try it in your laptop.
If it works, you have faulty PSU on your hands.

You also might take a look here to see if you can replace your battery without charge.

Hi Chaky,

Yes, I know that's what you meant. I tried that in the safe power mode when the computer would turn on and nothing happened and I pressed F8. My laptop doesn't have a battery, it didn't have one when I bought it, only have the ac power adapter that goes in to the wall. Memory tested good. I don'dt know what a power supply is or how it affects the computer, could you explain it to me? Also, do these symptons sound like a power supply problem, computer not starting up, when Windows loads on to the screen it freezes? One computer tech told me it may be the motherboard but didn't have the equipment to check it. Oh my, I'm so worried about this and I am far from being a computer expert. Please help if you can. A motherboard would cost $250 alone, which I don't have. Why do they make computers so fragile? It would be nice if the problem would appear as a message on the screen so you know what to do. Anyhow, thank you all for lending an ear to my woes.

One more thing, the freezing of characters may be related to memory you said? Does that refer to not having enough memory or not using the right memory? What is adequate memory for a laptop? Thank you

PSU (Power Supply Unit) provides various currents to your motherboard and all of the equipment (2.9 V for memory, 3.3 V, 1.4 V for processor core, 12 V and 5 V for HD, DVD...). Unlike desktop PSU, laptop's PSU are more complicated. They get one voltage from adopter or battery and split it into the needed voltages I've mentioned.

Usually, PSUs fail completely and there are NO activities going on. No fans spinning, no hard drives spinning, no lights blinking... nothing. BUT, PSU can gradually fail. When PSU is failing, it has all the symptoms of a failing mobo. Only when mobo fails, it generally does not "resurrect" every now and then.
With dead mobo you wouldn't get blurry screen like you did. Blurry screen comes ONLY because of insufficient voltage coming to the screen.
And those weird characters you see... that could mean 3 things:

- Memory is failing drastically. In such case you would most probably get memory test error during POST (Power-On Self-Test - the test that every PC is running when started)

- Memory settings in BIOS (Basic Input-Output System) are wrong. That would occur if you've removed original memory module and replaced it with not-so-compatible one. Problems like this would occur immediately after the memory was replaced, and not some time after.

- Memory voltage is too low. In that case, data stored in your RAM gets corrupted, including data in Video memory (one that is represented on screen) and thus you see weird and out-of-place characters on your screen. That can be due to BIOS settings for memory voltage or failing PSU.

The "equipment" you need to test the parts, is another healthy laptop of same manufacturer/model. With laptops it is more tricky to open it up and remove the parts. (That's why I prefer desktops) Especially PSU part.

And regarding the correct memory for your laptop.
With laptops there isn't much of the choice when it comes to memory. Only reliable way to upgrade or replace memory modules is to buy it off the laptop manufacturer, and the best way to learn what exact memory it is, is to hear it from the "horse's mouth" (excuse the expression). Gateway site has a Memory Locator Tool to track down exact memory modules your laptop has (and their prices) according to the laptop's serial number.

Regarding the battery...
(you won't like this part)
Batteries have 1 year warranty. I don't know how old is your laptop, but I do think that the previous owner owes you a battery. Regardless if it is dead.

You can also buy the battery you're missing here.

I believe that this is the one you're using.

I suggest that you borrow a battery from similar model and try to turn the laptop on with it. If it fails try convicing service guy to test your PSU (not the adopter but the part inside the laptop - it is much cheaper than motherboard)

Hi Chaky,

Thank you for the info :) I appreciate you helping me narrow down the problem as I i'm feeling very frustrated with this machine. The tech told me that it is the motherboard and said that the power supply unit checked out fine. Maybe I should take it back and have another tech look at it huh? Second opinion never hurts right? Gateway 450 ROG model, not really sure how old it is, I believe a few years perhaps. The guy that sold it to me was very dishonest and only cared about the money, I see that now. He told me that I didn't need the battery unless I was to go wirreless and that the battery has long been dead. One time when the system crashed it gave me the message "Mobility Radeon is responsible for the crash" What that means I have no clue? When I spoke with the tech, he gave me the impression that it's a "very serious" problem and an expensive one at that. I get the feeling that he just didn't want to deal with it being it was a laptop. I don't know anyone with the same model to perform the test, any other options you recommend? Thank you

I suggest that you do get a second opinion. And try to find someone that you can trust. If I was a repair man looking for a quick profit, I would say "your $250 mobo is fried" knowing that the cause is $20 circuitry.

Also, check if the warranty is still valid for the laptop, regardless of the absence of the battery that has 1 year warranty.

Hmm.... What's the point of having a laptop if you can't move it beyond the radius of a cable?

Mobility Radeon is a graphic card that is embedded in the motherboard. If it is toasted, then the motherboard is useless.
Again, I repeat, it either works or it doesn't work. There's no middle area. It doesn't go dead, and then it starts to work again, even if it is for a minute or so.

Remember, video card has it's own memory chips that need proper voltage.

Hi there,

Yeah, I know, what's the point of having a laptop if you can't take it past the radius of the cord. That was funny...Thank you. I was planning on buying a battery but don't need it at the moment since I can take it to wireless cafe's and plug it in there, anywhere where there is a Hot Spot. The problem is getting it to work. It's so frustrating when you hit the power button, the green light come on but the screen remains black, nothing loads. After tunring it on and off 40 times it will initialize once and then freeze upon loading, this also happens when you "movee the laptop" even an inch everything on the screen freezes. The tech's don't seem to know what's going on and like you said are in it for the "quick profit" I still believe that there are good people out there who want to help people "unconditionally" afterall, wouldn't you like the same? Thanks so much Chaky, I'll ckeck in later.
Maaybe I can fix the problem myself if I open the laptop?

Oh, please excuse the spelling errors, I'm typing rather fast. :)

Oh, I was meaning to ask, how common of a problem is this and how much do you think it would cost to fix? Darn it, I wish the warranty was still good but unfortunatley it's expired. Anyhow, warantees are usually good for the first owner of the machine, once transfered they are void :(

I know that PSU for desktop hardly exceeds $50, but for a laptop, you depend on the laptop manufacturer only, if you want the original piece replaced and the prices of such detail parts are not displayed at their web-site.

Good thing is that you can order any piece there is in laptop (at least, that's the story with HP's laptops). Each piece has it's code, and by that code you can order a replacement. I'm afraid that, after that, you are pretty much on your own, since every manufacturer will not be responsible of your deliberate actions with your laptop.
Well, it's not working and there is no warranty to be void (unless you get the previous owner to act on your behalf), so there isn't much to lose.

It is hard for me to guide you step-by-step if I'm not in the same room. Hell, I didn't even know what that laptop looks like before I looked it up on Gateway's web site.

I know that it sounds somewhat scary, but opening a laptop and replacing a part in it isn't such a big deal after all. If I managed to fix my monitor several times with nothing but soldetron, I guess anyone can do it.

Hi Chaky,

Hope you are well. Thanks for the help. I need to make a decision as to whether to replace the part or sell the laptop or donate it as is. I suppose a charitable organization can benefit from another computer, afterall most have IT people who know what they're doing. It is a nice laptop and I do need it but I can't imagine how much the repair/diagnostic will cost. Afterall, they will have to take it apart to locate the problem. Also, laptop parts are more expensive than desktop. But if you're certain that it's the power supply then I can have a technician look at that component specifically. I felt brave a few days ago about putting the part in myself but now feel discouraged. Is this a common problem with laptops or desktops in general, meaning system wont turn on but the green power light is active and screen freezes?

Here is what I think:

You can't do more damage than it has been already done. If it is not working, one wire being cracked or whole motherboard being fried does not make any difference. The sell value is the same ($0). Who wants to buy a broken laptop, besides some (extremely rare) people that are collecting laptop parts for building their own? And giving it away might be considered as an insult, and not as a nice gesture.

Your only risk is that I'm wrong regarding the cause, and you end up paying for the part that doesn't need replacement and the service man if you don't feel brave enough to do it yourself.

Bottom line is, worst-case scenario equals present situation minus couple dozens of $ for the expenses.

It's your decision.

Hi There,

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving? I talked with a few people in IT and they mentioned that they think that it's the "graphics card" that's causing the problem. They said that if the Motherboard was shot "completely" then the computer wouldn't start at all. Since the graphics card is "part of the motherboard" then I assume you have to replace the whole board as opposed to just the Graphics card/chip? And if that's the case then the laptop is essentially useless unless you spend $300+ dollars, am I seeing this correctly? I wonder how this problem starts, like where it stems from? Maybe the prior owner dropped it and didn't let me know.

Thanksgiving is not a holiday where I live. We have lots of supplemental ones.

Graphic card, you say.... laptops have on-board (or integrated) most of the parts, including graphic card. If it is fried, then that is it for the motherboard. There's no way of replacing graphic card. You would have to replace the motherboard, and I think that you'll be better off with another laptop for that money (maybe one with battery, this time).

How did the problem start is hard to say. I guess it's wear-and-tear. If the previous owner did do something to it, it wouldn't have worked when you bought it.

I guess that the lady luck wasn't on your side of the table this time.

Make sure you keep the hard drive.

Yeah, I guess you're right it would be better to purchase a whole new laptop. I was hoping that perhaps the card could be replaced, but if it can't than so be it. Maybe the manufacturer's design them on purpose this way so that you will be forced to buy a new motherboard each time something goes wrong.

I was hoping to donate it to charity and would, if it wasn't something that serious, meaning a cheap replacement part and not the main board. Oh well, you live and you learn right? Time to start looking for a new laptop grrrrr tee hee.....

Care to recommend any good brands, models that are inexpensive

The main reason why "everything" is on-board with laptops is the size of it all. If it had replaceable video (or any other) card it would look more like portable TV rather than a nice thin laptop.
Anyway, laptop manufacturers would be more than happy to make more replaceable parts for laptops. It would make more income than laptops.

I can't really give you a good advice on what to buy, 'cos I'm a pro-desktop kind of guy. I dislike laptops for the very reason you have to buy another, so I don't really keep up with laptop news.