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My Samsung NC10 laptop has a completely blank screen on startup. The power and on light come on, the HDD whirrs but the HDD whirring orange light on the front doesn't work. After 60 secs or so, the HDD stops.

So far I have tried disconnecting everything for 10 mins and repowering; running with power on and no battery or power connection and reseating the RAM.

Ideas?

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Last Post by gerbil
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No fan. I just left it without power or battery for a bit, restarted it without battery and got a screen display from the BIOS, which gave the option between setup and continue. Neither worked. I powered off and can't now get any screen display again.

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OK, I have the BIOS screen again which ends with 'System Configuration Data Write Error' then f1 and f2 as options. Neither work. Bios battery problem?

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No, not unless you have a REALLY old machine. Could be a hardware issue. But first, the simple option: go into BIOS setup, the Advanced? section, and learn about the PnP options to reset the data. Else there [may] [is likely to] be an option for the OS to read hardware configuration data itself, and not to copy it from BIOS. Try that.

Edited by gerbil

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OK, I can't get into the BIOS set up. On the rare occasions when I get a display with an error message from the BIOS it gives choices of F1 to continue and F2 to reset but neither key work. Could I boot it via diskdrive with a Linux programme attached via a USB?

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Does the F2 key not get you into BIOS Setup?
Without BIOS running a Linux pgm won't get loaded, even for a boot. You would have to pull the hdd, slave it elsewhere, to get data off it.
"No, not unless you have a REALLY old machine." was in reference to the CMOS battery question; in modern machines the sys config data is held in memory elsewhere [not CMOS]. BIOS builds such a table and stores it, and will pass it to the OS if you set it so, but you can force the OS to read its own hardware data by a BIOS setting.
A hardware item can cause an error such as you are getting. Or BIOS itself.
I don't like to recommend BIOS flashing, but it might help...

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Thanks. Unfortunately, F2 won't get me into BIOS setup. The computer freezes at that point. I notice from some posts that an RTC reset of the BIOS might help: otherwise, what's the best way to flash the BIOS?

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Ah. Well, you could try a RTC reset by pulling the battery, but this sounds easier [battery is tough to get at?]: http://www.sammynetbook.com/forum/threads/9287-cmos-password-NC10
Funnily enough, that procedure on most machines also resets any BIOS password that may exist.
Still cannot enter BIOS Setup with F2? Ok, flashing....
Make a bootable flashdrive; use HPUSBDisk from:
http://www.softpedia.com/progDownload/HP-USB-Disk-Storage-Format-Tool-Download-123786.html
and boot files from:
http://www.sevenforums.com/attachments/tutorials/42023d1260810265-ms-dos-bootable-flash-drive-create-win98boot.zip
or from:
http://files.extremeoverclocking.com/file.php?f=196/
Next, load the correct BIOS update utility onto it: choose the correct DOS Executable from this page:
http://www.samsungpc.com/08/products/nc10/firmware.html#firmware

Insert USB key, start sys and it should flash directly.
Problems during flashing can be dire. Take care, read up on it. If a flash does not work, try again, and then perhaps again with another Dos executable

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Thanks. Well, I tried shorting the RTC and that didn't work so am looking at flashing the bios. But which DOS executable should I use, there seem to be about a dozen. Fix CPUID Fail during Post sounds the closest.

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OK, is the logic here load a reduced version of Windows 98 via a USB, enough to start 'sys' and then flash the BIOS from that?

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Ah, no. You have to get BIOS to run. Try holding down the Esc key as you power it up [or even F2]. Esc may get you to the drive boot option menu.
If BIOS still will not run then I suspect a hardware problem as above. Disconnect your hdd coupling and try.

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OK, I have tried taking out the HD but still get the same problem. The BIOS screen freezes, whether or not I press Esc, F1, F2 etc. Any further ideas, or is it time for a new netbook (this one is only three years old!)

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Mmm, it's looking bad. If it will not boot further without the hdd [it would ask for a boot device] then it comes down to video [it's integrated, untouchable], BIOS itself corrupted, or a mb failure. RAM failure [you would need to test the stick in another system] should result in beeps sounding. If the BIOS is corrupted then things get expensive : a preprogrammed chip and a technician to solder the new chip.
I cannot think of any fresh approaches. There may be an internal voltage supply failing, but you would need a tech to check/repair those.

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