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Laptop PC Problems: Fixing Laptop/Notebook/Netbook Computer Problems - Page 3

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1. - When I connect my laptop/notebook PC/computer to my HD TV via a HDMI connection. only part of the Windows XP/Vista Start menu is visible

2. - My laptop computer has a broken power connector. How can I replace it?

3. - My external USB hard disk drive works with my desktop PC but it won't work with my laptop computer

4. - My laptop computer's USB ports don't wake up from standby

5. - Permanent white lines have appeared on the screen of my laptop/notebook PC

6. - Why does only one of my two laptops connecting to the web via a wireless G+ router have a very weak signal strength?

7.- How can I replace my laptop/notebook computer's faulty keyboard

8. - Why can't I sent email from wireless hotspots using a laptop computer and Windows Vista's Windows Mail?

9. - The website of the laptop PC/computer I want to buy says: "This computer does not have an internal optical drive for software installation."

This laptop problems section of this website consists of three pages.

Click here! to go to Page 1

Click here! to go to Page 2

Click here! to go to the full list of hardware and software problems dealt with on this website

When I connect my laptop/notebook PC/computer to my HD TV via an HDMI connection. only part of the Windows XP/Vista Start menu is visible


HDMI is a digital (as opposed to an analog) connection, but many HD TVs are to able to or won't display the graphics signal coming from the computer pixel for pixel, which is required to display the laptop's screen as is on the TV screen; they use an overscan system that zooms in on the image slightly. Overscan is employed because the images of a television broadcast are slightly larger than required in order to make sure that there are no black areas if an old-style CRT TV places the picture incorrectly.

A high-definition HD TV can have an inbuilt video scaler that provides one-to-one pixel mapping and which prevents over-scanning, but not all HD TVs have one.

If your HD TV cannot map pixels one-to-one, you could try changing the screen resolution of the laptop PC to find out if doing so makes the HD TV display other screen resolutions correctly. In both Windows XP and Windows Vista, you can do that by right-clicking an empty space on the Windows Desktop and then choosing the Properties option. Look under the Settings tab for the Screen resolution slider that allows you to choose an alternative screen resolution. Note that the best resolution is the native screen resolution for an LCD display, which is the type that all laptops have.

You can also have a look at the laptop computer's graphic-card driver's user interface to find out if it provides HD TV modes. You do that by opening Display Properties as instructed above. You then click in the Settings tab followed by the Advanced button. Look for a tab in the window that comes up the describes the graphics' driver. In my laptop that has an integrated graphics chip instead of a dedicated graphics card the top tab says: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver for Mobile. HD TV modes are only likely to be provided if the laptop has a dedicated video/graphics card instead of what many laptops have - a graphics chip integrated on the computer's motherboard. There might also be an option for overscan and underscan, which is often called image resizing. Both Nvidia and ATI graphics-card drivers provide this option, but image quality will be sacrificed when scaling the screen to fit the image-size.

My laptop computer has a broken power connector. How can I replace it?


I have a Toshiba A60 notebook computer that runs Windows XP Home Edition. I thought that something had gone wrong with the power adapter, so I bought a new one. Using it didn't solve the problem, so I examined the socket where the AC power adapter attaches to the notebook. I discovered that a spike inside the socket had broken off and was stuck in the original power adapter. Is it possible to fix or replace the broken spike?


The spike is one of the two contacts that feed power from the AC adapter to the notebook. They are prone to breaking off, even in Toshiba notebooks, which use a much stronger socket than most other notebooks. They can break off if the computer is dropped with the adapter plugged in, so you should always disconnect it before moving the machine. At the moment (September 2006), only Apple MacBooks don't suffer from this problem, because they use a magnetic power connector that comes away without breaking anything.

The standard warranty doesn't cover this kind of damage. The connector is part of the motherboard, and Toshiba's current policy is to replace the motherboard and leave you with a hefty bill. But policies are always changing, so you should find out what your local Toshiba support can do for you.

If Toshiba's offer isn't satisfactory, I suggest that you find a local repair shop that is able to undertake the repair, which involves replacing the socket, which, in most cases, is soldered to the motherboard. Ask several shops for a quote on the cost of the job, because costs can vary greatly.

It is possible to buy a replacement from an online source such as eBay for about £5, so if you or someone you know has reasonable soldering skills, you should be able to unsolder the old connector and solder the new one into place. Fortunately, Toshiba's motherboards have very few circuits around the power connections. Unfortunately, you will have to disassemble the machine completely in order to turn the motherboard over and gain access to the power connector's solder points. You should make careful notes and diagrams of where every screw goes and lay the screws out carefully in the order of removal. Believe me, it is relatively easy to disassemble the machine, but it can be hell reassembling it if you don't take it apart in an orderly fashion.

My external USB hard disk drive works with my desktop PC but it won't work with my laptop computer


I have an external USB hard disk drive that I bought so that I could use it to backup my laptop and desktop PCs. However, for some reason, it only works from the USB 2.0 ports on my desktop PC.


Windows XP can still find USB devices that are not a keyboard, mouse or printer tricky to deal with. The external USB drive might not be receiving enough power to initialise, so try the following remedy.

Open the Device Manager by entering devmgmt.msc in the Start => Run box, or right-click on My Computer and click Manage in the menu that comes up to access it. Open Universal Serial Bus controllers and double-click on all of the USB Root Hub entries. There should be three or more such entries. Click on the Power Management tab for each one and remove any check mark in the box that has Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power next to it. Then disconnect the drive, restart Windows, and connect the drive.

If doing that doesn't work, the drive may have come with a USB-to-5V cable, which you should use, because it provides more power.

My laptop computer's USB ports don't wake up from standby


Sometimes the USB ports on my Toshiba Tectra M5 notebook, which runs Windows XP SP2, won't wake up from standby mode when the system does. My USB mouse and printer don't work. I have to restart the system to get them working. I have done some research on the problem by using various search terms in a search engine. Apparently, the the problem occurred in Windows XP SP1, and were supposed to have been fixed by the SP2 update.


It is not uncommon to discover that a PC or laptop computer has a problem when resuming from power-saving modes of operation, such as standby mode. These problems can often be fixed by reflashing the BIOS with an update that has been programmed to put known problems right, or by updating the motherboard chipset device drivers, downloaded from the computer's motherboard manufacturer's or the computer manufacturer's site, or by updating other software that is installed, such as the power-saving and fingerprint-recognition software used in laptops.

Your computer is one of the early Intel Centrino Duo notebooks, and there is a known problem that can prevent the system from using power-saving modes of operation when it is connected to a USB device. Attempts to fix that problem in the BIOS, motherboard device drivers, or other software, might have been the cause of the problem that you are experiencing.

Doing nothing more than updating the BIOS should fix the problem. Make sure that you install the latest BIOS for that particular model of the Toshiba Tectra M5. Check the model number to make sure that you install the correct BIOS update. If you don't know how to install the update, Toshiba's site should provide you with the necessary information for that model. The process usually just involves downloading the update utility, which you then run from your system. It downloads the update and installs it when the system is rebooted.

If doing that doesn't fix the problem, try downloading and installing the latest Intel motherboard chipset drivers for that model, and Toshiba's Power Saver and Fingerprint software, all of which should be made available by Toshiba's support site. Bugs in the Fingerprint software that cause that sort of problem have been reported on the web.

Permanent white lines have appeared on the screen of my laptop/notebook PC


Two permanent vertical white lines have appeared on the screen of my HP Pavilion zd8000 notebook PC one after the other. They are there no matter which software is running. I have tried using System Restore, the drivers for the graphics card are the latest ones downloaded from its manufacturer's website, and I have also formatted the C: drive and restored a backup of the whole system. The computer is running Windows XP SP2, which is fully updated. Is this a permanent fault that the screen has developed, or is there some way of getting rid of the lines?


This is most probably a hardware issue. The notebook can be connected to an external monitor, so, if you have access to one that has the correct type of connection (standard D-sub VGA, DVI, connect it to the notebook. If the lines are no longer there, then the problem is probably caused by fault with the screen or with its ribbon cable the connects the screen to the notebook's motherboard. However, it could also be a problem with the computer's graphics processor.

If the lines show on both the screen and the monitor, the problem is definitely being caused by a fault with the graphics processor (chip).

If you don't have access to an external monitor, take the notebook in to a reputable repair shop that specialises in the repair of notebook computers.

The computer's ATI X600 graphics processor is not on a separate graphics card, it is built into the computer's motherboard, so it would be very expensive to replace it.

According to information on the web, the HP Pavilion zd8000 and zd7000 series have problems with overheating. This is because they use an Intel Pentium 4 desktop processor that is not designed for use in a notebook. Special mobile notebook processors are designed to use less power (to save battery life), and run much cooler than desktop processors. Both the Pentium 4 processor and the graphics chips produce heat that the internal case fan probably cannot remove quickly enough to prevent the computer from overheating.

According to information on the web, some owners of the Pavilion zd7000 series have had the motherboards of their computers replaced many times during the 12-month warranty period. In fact, because of the high number of failures with this series of notebooks, HP has agreed to replace motherboards with failed graphics processors free of charge - even if the computer is out of warranty. This policy doesn't appear to apply to the zd8000 series, but, if the graphics processor has failed, you will probably be able to have it applied in your case, because the design of that series isn't markedly different from the zd7000 series.

To prevent a netbook computer from getting hotter than it should, always use it on a hard surface, never on a bed or couch, because it needs air to circulate under it. Stands are also available that raise a notebook above the surface so that the more air can circulate under it, and you can purchase a cooling pad that has fans inside it that the notebook is placed on. Such a cooling pad reduces a notebook's temperature by a few degrees, which might be enough to cure the problem.

Why does only one of my two laptops connecting to the web via a wireless G+ router have a very weak signal strength?


I have two laptops running Windows XP Home Edition that I connect to the web via a wireless G+ router. Each laptop has an internal mini-PCI wireless network card installed. The signal strength for Laptop 1 is very weak. It will only connect properly when about 10 or fewer feet from the router. If it is only 15 feet away from the router the signal strength is very poor. However, the signal strength of Laptop 2 is very strong, even when it is positioned more than 50 feet away on the other side of the house with several walls between it and the router. For some reason, Laptop 1 also disrupts with MW radio broadcasts, but Laptop 2 doesn't.


The quality of different brands of mini-PCI wireless network cards can vary significantly. If you have a card of poor quality installed in Laptop 1, then that could be the cause of the problem. For example, cards made by Broadcom tend to be of poorer quality than the cards used in laptops that carry Intel's Centrino brand name. Moreover, Intel's wireless mini-PCI cards are very good at locking on to weak signals compared to brands, such as Broadcom. You should also make sure that the latest drivers are installed for the card being used by Laptop 1. You can obtain them from its manufacturer's site.

Of course, it is also possible that the card in Laptop 1 is faulty, in which case replacing it with a good card would fix the problem. You should also download and install the latest drivers for any new card you install, because the drivers that come with adapter cards are usually out of date, and, as such, won't implement the latest bug fixes and improvements, etc.

Intel 2200BG mini-PCI network cards are currently going for around £20 on You could identify the network card installed in Laptop 2 and buy one for Laptop 1. To remove the old card, you usually have to open a panel on the computer's bottom side that is held in place by a single screw. The card is installed in a mini-PCI slot in much the same way as a SODIMM RAM memory module is installed in a memory slot.

The antenna might not have been connected properly. In most laptops, the antenna goes round the edges of an internal space around the screen. If you can't do so yourself, you could get a technician that specialises in laptop repair to check to make sure that both of the antenna wires (one is usually black and the other white) are connected. If only one wire is connected the signal strength will be reduced, but if both wires are not connected it can still be possible to connect to an access point or router if the laptop is a few feet away from it. In either case, you could find that turning the laptop through 90 should weaken the signal strength dramatically. Moreover, note that the antenna might be of poor quality or poorly designed, in which case, you could try using an external network card that fits into PC Card slot. Just make sure that Laptop 1 has a slot that supports the card you buy. Most current laptops have a slot that supports CardBus or ExpressCard adapter cards.

PC Card (CardBus) FAQ -

ExpressCard Frequently Asked Questions -

Medium-wave radio stations broadcast on the AM radio frequencies. A laptop with a wireless network card is more likely to disrupt them than FM broadcasts, because Wireless G itself uses the FM frequencies.

In order to reduce radio interference, the relevant components in a laptop are covered with sheets of aluminium. If they weren't installed properly, or a grounding wire wasn't connected, the effectiveness of the shielding would be reduced significantly. However, note that computer's power supply unit is more likely to be the cause of radio interference. You could find out if that is the case by running the computer on battery power.

How can I replace my laptop/notebook computer's faulty keyboard


I had the keyboard of my MSI M510C laptop computer replaced by a professional laptop repair company about a year ago. Now, all of a sudden, only three of the letters on the QWERTY line of keys on the keyboard work. Would it be possible for me to buy a new keyboard and install it myself?


It is possible to replace the keyboard of a laptop PC yourself, but first you must find a supplier, which can be difficult, because laptop parts are usually specific to a particular model. The components used in desktop PCs are standardised and interchangeable, but this is not usually the case with laptop PCs. Some other makes/models may use the required keyboard, but there is no easy way of finding out which of them uses it.

You are fortunate, because you know that MSI is the actual manufacturer of the laptop. Many laptops built in Taiwan by the original manufacturers are given their brand-name when they are delivered to the factory of the brand-name manufacturer. If that is the case, the original manufacturer won't be interested in supplying you with a keyboard because it only deals with the brand-name manufacture it builds laptops for. But MSI manufactures its own laptop PCs.

The MSI M510C laptop is also known as the MS-1003, so you might have to use both names if you have to search for a keyboard. The keyboard you require is a Zippy KW-300-UK, MSI part number S110000030-Z05. You won't be able to buy one from Zippy Technology of Taiwan, because it sells them only in wholesale quantities.

Laptop keyboards can sometimes be found on eBay. At the time of writing, only keyboards for the more popular MSI L6101 model could be found on eBay.

You can also try non-UK eBay sites, such as the US eBay, which usually has more parts for sale than the UK site. If you pay using PayPal, bargains can often be found. Alternatively, you can try online laptop parts specialists, which usually charge a premium, but are useful if you can't obtain a part anywhere else.

However, you should be able to obtain a keyboard from MSI Computer (UK) Ltd. The current address is: 3, Swallowfield Centre, Swallowfield Way, Hayes, Middlesex, UB3 1AW. The phone number is 020 8813 6688 and the website is

When you have a keyboard, you'll have to know how to fit it. If you don't want to attempt the fitting yourself, you could ask MSI UK if it will do it for you.

You'll have to know which screws to remove to release the existing keyboard. Some manufacturers mark the correct screws with the letter K for keyboard. Some of the screws could be concealed under other covers or even inside the memory slot. Some keyboards are held in place by a combination of tabs and screws. With the replacement in front of you, you should be able to see how it is screwed or fixed into the laptop and remove the corresponding screws. Take care, because, unless you know how to do it properly, you could easily break something, so, if in doubt, get an experienced technician to do it for you.

You might be able to find a guide for your model by using a search query such as msi + m510c + installation + guide in a search engine. You could also try using its other name - MS-1003.

Be careful as you lift the keyboard off, because it is attached to a delicate ribbon cable that fits into a plastic socket on the laptop's motherboard. The socket has two parts. One part can be pried upwards a little to release the ribbon. Take care not to break this socket or you'll probably have to send it to MSI for repairs.

Why can't I sent email from wireless hotspots using a laptop computer and Windows Vista's Windows Mail?


I am using Windows Vista with Windows Mail as my email program. When I have my laptop/notebook PC at a wireless hotspot, or when use someone else's wireless connection, I can receive emails but I can't send them. Can you explain this and tell me what I can do to resolve the problem?


Originally most Internet email systems were using a POP server, from which incoming mail was collected, and an SMTP server through which outgoing email was sent. The POP server required users to log in with a user name and password, but SMTP servers usually allowed the user to send email without logging on. Unfortunately, because there was no need to log in, spammers found that they could send as much email as they wanted through any SMTP server in the world. Internet service providers (ISPs) therefore had to prevent anyone except their customers from sending email through their servers. The best way to do that would have been to require senders to sign into the SMTP server in the same way they had to sign into the POP server to collect their email.

At that time, many email programs did not have an option to provide a user name and password when sending email, although almost all of them use one now. Many ISPs now set their outgoing mail servers to accept mail only from users who had dialled up or otherwise connected using the ISP's own services.

The Office of Fair Trading in conjunction with the US Federal Trade Commission are encouraging all ISPs to stop spam-sending 'zombies' - computers that have been infected by a virus that has brought them under the control of the hackers. They recommend preventing the use of port 25 (of the computer's Internet connection) for any outgoing SMTP mail except that sent through the ISP's own SMTP servers. Most UK ISPs have complied with this requirement, which probably explains why you can send email from home using your ISP, but not from other locations that use different ISPs.

This problem has affected so many laptop/notebook computer users that many ISPs now offer an alternative way to send email. Some email servers, such as the BT server, allow the user to select 'log in to authenticate' It then accepts email sent from almost any Internet connection. You might have to change the SMTP port from 25 to 587 in your email program if you are not connected through a BT connection. Some ISPs provide a separate outgoing email server that requires a secure connection. These servers usually use the same user name and password as the POP3 server, but a different port number. Virgin Media is an ISP that suggests using web-based email to send messages when you're away from home.

A good alternative solution is to create a free Google Mail account and use that to send your email.

Note that in Since March 1, 2012, Google has unified its privacy policies into a single set of policies that cover all of its products and services, allowing it it make use of your personal information provided in them to create a personal profile on you that can be used by its search engine and advertising network to deliver personalised ads to you as you surf the web. New Gmail accounts require the user to sign up to a G+ account, which is Google's social network much like Facebook. You cannot opt out of signing up to a G+ account. If you value your privacy, it is advisable to stick to using (or set up and use) the email address that all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide for the users of their service.

You can send email through Google and still use your ISP's address (e.g., [email protected], where is the ISP). In fact, if you switch to Google Mail for your email, you don't have to worry about changing your email address if you switch to a different ISP. Google can also collect mail sent to your ISP's email address.

How to use Google Mail to read and send email from multiple third-party email addresses

When you have logged into your Gmail account, click the Settings link at the top-right of the screen and then click Forwarding and POP/I MAP. Enable Enable POP for all mail because doing so enables SMTP access. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.

Next, while still on the Settings page, click on Accounts. You can add another email address and specify your usual email address. To verify that you own this account, you have to enter a confirmation code that Google will email to your email address. After you have entered the confirmation code, you can make your email address the default. Email that is sent through Google will then appear to come from your email address.

Now open Windows Mail, click the Tools menu and choose Accounts. You might find that the settings are complicated to get right, so I suggest that you first add a new email account and then enter your Google Mail account details, following the instructions provided by Google at Windows Mail - Then try sending and receiving some test email messages.

After you have this working, click Tools and Accounts again. Select your (non-Google) email address and click Properties. Click on the Servers tab and then change the outgoing server to Where it says Outgoing Mail Server, you need to choose the My server requires authentication option, and then click the Settings button next to it. In the window that appears, choose the Log on using option and enter your Google user name, which is the part of the email address before the @ sign. Enter your password, then click OK. Return to the Properties window and click the Advanced tab. For outgoing mail, enter the port number 465 and tick the box next to This server requires a secure connection (SSL) and then click OK. All of your outgoing email will now be sent through Google's servers, but will still have your current email address on it, which means that email can be sent from any Internet connection.

Consolidate Multiple Email Addresses with Gmail -

You can also redirect Google Mail email messages to another email address.

How do I forward my mail to another email account automatically? -

Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3) -

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol [SMTP] -

The website of the laptop PC/computer I want to buy says: "This compute does not have an internal optical drive for software installation"


While searching the web for a Windows XP or Windows Vista laptop PC, I noticed that several online stores and manufacturers provide a note stating that: "This computer does not have an internal optical drive for software installation," or words to that effect. Does this mean that I won't be able to install any software that is not preinstalled on the computer?


It simply means that the make/model of laptop PC does not come with a CD/DVD or Blu-ray optical drive, which means that you won't be able to install software from a CD or DVD or Blu-ray disc unless you buy such a drive, which could be an internal drive if the laptop has a free bay for one, or an external drive that is connected to the laptop via a USB 2.0 port.

Cheap as they are now, low-end, inexpensive laptops may not be provided with a CD/DVD drive/writer. However, such a laptop may have an empty bay for such a drive. If that is the case, you may have the option, at extra cost, to have a DVD drive/writer installed by the seller or manufacturer, or you could just buy and install one yourself. You also may have the option to install a Blu-ray writer, or you could buy one yourself. However, note that if the laptop only has provision for an IDE ATAPI drive (old technology), you cannot install an SATA drive (new technology), because the wiring is different between those two standards. Blu-ray drives/writer use the SATA interface, not the IDE ATAPI interface. If the laptop only has provision for an IDE DVD drive/writer, you must not purchase an SATA DVD drive/writer.

In new laptops, optical CD/DVD drives are modular devices that are very easy to slide into place (plug in). When you are upgrading the optical drive in a laptop, you usually only have to remove two or three screws to remove the old drive, then slide the new drive into the bay and replace the screws. If there was no old drive to replace, just an empty drive bay, you would just insert the new drive into the bay. It will probably come with the required screws. If it is a bare OEM product (supported by the vendor not the manufacturer) that doesn't come with screws, you should be able to obtain some from a computer shop. Just don't try using your own screws, which may be too long and damage the drive.

Ultra-portable laptops may have no room for a drive in their case. Sellers/manufacturers of such laptops usually provide an option an external optical drive that connects via a USB 2.0 or FireWire port. You don't have to buy an external optical drive from the computer's supplier, because they are easily to obtain. Generic external optical drives are very cheap now - under £20. However, if you want the device to have a wonderful-looking case, to operate at the highest burning speeds and provide advanced playback and disc-burning capabilities, the cost will be higher.

This laptop problems section of this website consists of three pages.

Click here! to go to Page 1

Click here! to go to Page 2

Click here! to go to the full list of hardware and software problems dealt with on this website

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