Hardware failed after dropping a weight on my laptop

JaxAgain

Commendable
Jan 9, 2017
4
0
1,510
0
Hi all. After dropping a weight on the keyboard of my laptop, the computer instantly rebooted but stopped at the Windows loading screen. Now I can only access BIOS. I see that the processor, HDD, and RAM are all listed in the BIOS. So I need to figure out how to diagnose which piece(s) of hardware got damaged. Any tool out there I can use?
 

thedeathclox

Honorable
Jun 22, 2012
4
0
10,520
1


I can almost guarantee that your hard drive is damaged. If your RAM was bad, you would not be able to POST or boot to Bios. Hard drives, even if turned off and looking physically okay, can be very easily permanently damaged. The reason for this is that the Hard Drive has magnetic read/write heads that hover mere micro-meters away from the surface of the platter. If the read/write head bumps the surface and scratches it (this is called a head crash), it will ruin that section of the disk and can damage the read-write head.

Now, when a hard drive is powered down, the arm pulls itself away from the platters and parks to avoid damage in transit or storage, but the drive is still made up of incredibly sensitive electronics that can be destroyed with an unfortunate bump, drop or shock. The best way to find out of your drive is indeed the culprit (and to recover data) would be to do one of the following:

A: Use an other computer and a USB thumb drive to download a Linux image and put it onto your USB stick (if new to Linux, I'd say for simplicity and familiarity, download Mint 64bit, whichever version is the latest. Use a USB imaging tool like Rufus or the Universal USB Installer tools to flash the image to your thumb drive (all data on that thumb drive will be erased, so back it up first on an other computer). Then, pop the USB into the computer and go into bios - tell it to boot from the USB. Boot the USB and start a live session (don't install linux, just "test-run / try" it. Then, once in you can use the built-in disk utilities to view the status of the drive hardware, and you can also access your data from your HDD and from there find a way to back it up. Google will be your friend here, but it's pretty straight forward and is very robust.

B: If you have access to a tower PC / you have a friend with a tower desktop, plug your drive into the tower and boot into THEIR copy of windows (make sure not to boot from your own drive). Then, they will be able use utilities to test the drive, and also read the contents of your drive to recover them as well.

Lastly, a simple thing to check is to power the system on and listen for light (or loud) clicking noises which indicate drive failure.

Please let us know how it goes.
 

JaxAgain

Commendable
Jan 9, 2017
4
0
1,510
0


https://i.imgur.com/r5PUSeA.jpg

As you can see in the picture, I disassembled the easy parts. The HDD and RAM look to be in good shape with no visible damage. Which leads me to fear that the problem is on the motherboard. If that's the case, is it safe to say it would be an expensive fix, considering the processor is an i5-2430M, RAM 6GB DDR3, 1TB HDD, Windows 7? Or should I go deeper and really check if by some miracle it's an easy and inexpensive fix?
 

JaxAgain

Commendable
Jan 9, 2017
4
0
1,510
0


Thanks.

Here is the RAM and HDD:
https://i.imgur.com/LWkqHtD.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/6aBVaLv.jpg

Mobo from the top:
https://i.imgur.com/BCEoXPR.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/vuKPNMK.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/mETI3Kj.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/7HZEBXu.jpg

Mobo from the bottom:
https://i.imgur.com/VXfdM4p.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/fQRyfYu.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/fYnBXML.jpg

Nothing looks damaged :/ What am I missing?
 

kanewolf

Splendid
Moderator
On the first RAM picture, it looks like something is missing in the middle of the 4 larger chips. There is a row of something that doesn't look right.
The residue on the top of the coin style battery looks odd also.

Either of these things could be because of the photography and not be anything.
 

thedeathclox

Honorable
Jun 22, 2012
4
0
10,520
1


I can almost guarantee that your hard drive is damaged. If your RAM was bad, you would not be able to POST or boot to Bios. Hard drives, even if turned off and looking physically okay, can be very easily permanently damaged. The reason for this is that the Hard Drive has magnetic read/write heads that hover mere micro-meters away from the surface of the platter. If the read/write head bumps the surface and scratches it (this is called a head crash), it will ruin that section of the disk and can damage the read-write head.

Now, when a hard drive is powered down, the arm pulls itself away from the platters and parks to avoid damage in transit or storage, but the drive is still made up of incredibly sensitive electronics that can be destroyed with an unfortunate bump, drop or shock. The best way to find out of your drive is indeed the culprit (and to recover data) would be to do one of the following:

A: Use an other computer and a USB thumb drive to download a Linux image and put it onto your USB stick (if new to Linux, I'd say for simplicity and familiarity, download Mint 64bit, whichever version is the latest. Use a USB imaging tool like Rufus or the Universal USB Installer tools to flash the image to your thumb drive (all data on that thumb drive will be erased, so back it up first on an other computer). Then, pop the USB into the computer and go into bios - tell it to boot from the USB. Boot the USB and start a live session (don't install linux, just "test-run / try" it. Then, once in you can use the built-in disk utilities to view the status of the drive hardware, and you can also access your data from your HDD and from there find a way to back it up. Google will be your friend here, but it's pretty straight forward and is very robust.

B: If you have access to a tower PC / you have a friend with a tower desktop, plug your drive into the tower and boot into THEIR copy of windows (make sure not to boot from your own drive). Then, they will be able use utilities to test the drive, and also read the contents of your drive to recover them as well.

Lastly, a simple thing to check is to power the system on and listen for light (or loud) clicking noises which indicate drive failure.

Please let us know how it goes.
 

JaxAgain

Commendable
Jan 9, 2017
4
0
1,510
0


I did a few things.

First, I plugged the HDD in my desktop. My desktop really struggled to boot. Eventually, it was able to boot but would not recognize the HDD, only that there was a device plugged into that SATA slot.

Second, I was able to boot my laptop to Linux as you suggested. Everything seemed to be working fine.

Third, I can confirm there are clicking sounds. They were very faint at first. Now they are quite noticeable.

So it seems only the HDD was damaged. The good news is that I didn't have any worthwhile data on it other than my copy of Windows, so the data loss is no big deal. Given that my laptop hardware is still pretty up to date despite it being 6 years old, I'll simply replace the HDD.

Thanks so much for your help.
 
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