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I've Got a Laptop Problem Here

  1. May 24, 2003 #1
    I just bought a brand new HP Pavillion ze4200 on Wednesday. I set it up, plugged it in, and thought it would charge overnight. It didn't... and according to the Control Panel, the battery had 0% charge. I looked in the user guide, and it said that if the battery light flashes when the AC adapter is plugged in, it means that there is something malfunctioning on the battery. The battery light was flashing.

    Anyway, I finally got some time out of my busy schedule to go back to the store and exchange this computer for a working one. So, I get back home, plug it in... and guess what... the malfunction light is flashing again. I've left it plugged in for three hours now and the computer still won't power up without being plugged into a wall outlet. Am I terribly stupid, or can it really be the case that I got two computers in a row with faulty batteries?

    I know what you're thinking... if they're the same model then it's possible that defective batteries were placed in all the laptops on the assembly line. Guess what though? Although these two computers are the same model, they came in different boxes which means they were assembled at different times.


    P.S. Another thing I don't like about this ze4200 is that if I type too fast (or if I don't press hard enough on the keys) then some of the letters do not appear on the screen. Has anyone else noticed this problem with other laptops?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 24, 2003 #2
    Well I guess deduction works best. You have the computer, the battery, and charger and the outlet.

    Do the regular deduction.

    Possibility that you got two bad batteries is REALLY low.

    Sometimes I replace something i bought that didn't work and guess what, it still won't...

    It always turns out to be something I overlooked.

    Dumb me!

    If the computers were different (duh) it can't be them. If the batteries were different can't be them...

    What about the charger?

    Take it into the store (do they have a repair department?) and have them plug it in see what happens.
  4. May 25, 2003 #3
    Hi eNtRopY,
    I can offer a tip that has worked on a couple of compaq laptaps. If the battery was completely drained they would not charge unless the unit (running off utility power) was turned on. In a couple of cases it took 30 minutes to 2 hours before the battery would begin to take a charge. You might try this and see if you have any luck.
    The other thing is that I'm assuming this a fairly fast computer you have purchased. What I have noticed with slower computers is that there will often be a lag before a keystroke appears on the monitor. To me, assuming your processor is a fast one, I would suspect a software problem. Because of the battery problem I might tend to suspect the laptop itself is defective. If it were mine I would wipe the hard drive and reinstall the OS...
    Good luck
  5. May 26, 2003 #4

    The new laptop I got from Wal*Mart has the same problem as the last one. The battery still won't even begin to charge. I called HP technical support, and they told me they would air-mail me a new battery which I should hopefully get by Thursday morning (since I will be leaving the country Thursday afternoon). I feel as though I have tried everything. It's weird because the flashing amber light (which according to the user manual indicates a missing or damaged battery) comes on after the machine has been plugged in for a minute or two. I am wondering if it's possible that HP has been putting the wrong AC adapters with these machines.

    Anyway, I am still noticing the problem of keyboard lag (which is very strange because before I bought the machine I checked the consumer reports which said that these machines have no keyboard lag). So, if I reload the OS, will I lose any of the free software that was included on my machine?

    Also, maybe I'm being paranoid, but I feel like this second notebook computer is slightly heavier than the first. This makes me so angry I feel like buying a brand new notebook computer shouldn't be such a pain in the @ss. I feel like I'm being ripped off. I'm pissed off at HP... especially since I've been giving them so much of my business in the past.


  6. May 26, 2003 #5

    It’s a stupid question, but are you certain the metal contacts on the battery are making contact? I have never bought a new laptop but I’m wondering if they could have some protective material either on the battery or on the connections inside the battery compartment (million to one shot but I had to say it).
    I would go to the HP support website if I couldn’t find the information in the literature that came with the laptop, and find out some details about the power supply requirements in order to check the proper one came with the laptop (which my guess would be that it did). Having the same problem with two machines in a row is often a clue that you might be doing something wrong.
    If it were my unit I would measure the voltage of battery (removed from the laptop) and see if it had enough charge to power a small flashlight bulb or DC motor. I would also check the voltage on the connections that the battery touches when it is installed in the laptop (battery removed, unit powered from adapter). I might even check for current flow into or out of the battery by using an ammeter, two wires, and a piece of tape (could be a pain depending on access to these points). If the battery wasn’t charged I’d find a way to charge it up a little then see if the laptop will pick up the charging from that point.
    It should be possible doing these things to get closer to the source of the problem. Lastly, I’d be careful to not goof something up and possibly void the warranty.

    About the OS; if it were win98 you could delete or rename the win.com file inside the windows folder and then reinstall windows. On a full version (not upgrade) this will allow windows to be reinstalled and yet ‘find’ all your applications. You probably have winXP, however, and doing a ‘repair’ might not fix the problem. What I am thinking, however, is that you were likely given a restore CD that puts not only the OS back onto the computer, but all the original applications that were on the laptop when you first got it. In this case if you haven’t installed a lot of your own favorite applications and data files you could get the whole job done fairly easy and have it back in 'store bought' condition.
    You could check and see if your hard drive has been partitioned and assigned any logical drives. They might be hiding some restore information/data there. If you are not familiar with partitioning and formatting, I’d hate to cause you to lose your data, but if you decide to reinstall everything this could be a good time to create an extended partition and logical drive or two (depends on the size of the hard drive and personal desires). I don't know your level of computer skills.
    That keyboard lag is just not right, something screwy is going on if your second machine suffers from this problem too.

    Good luck

    I'd like to know how this all works out, esp. if the battery they are sending fixes the problems. I dont' see how the battery could fix the keyboard lag unless the power adapter is not the right unit, because the battery, I'm thinking, should charge even while the adapter is also running the computer. At least mine all work this way.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2003
  7. May 27, 2003 #6
    Boulder is right on with the suggestion to check the battery contacts...sometimes they do have a plastic strip that covers the contacts to keep it from shorting out.

    The first thing I thought about when I read your key-lag problem is that you may have some accessibility tools turned on. There are a few that prevent keys from being pressed faster than a certain speed. I forget the exact name of the tool I am thinking of, I'll look it up.

    I also had problems like that when I had "hide cursor when typing" turned on. Always seemed to lag when I first started typing.

    Definitely keep us informed, like Boulder, I am interested to see what the issue here turns out to be.
  8. May 28, 2003 #7


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    Sometimes the power meter needs to "record" the battery's performance before it works correctly. Try running the battery dead (leave the machine on until it shuts off), pull the battery, re-insert, and then recharge it.
  9. May 28, 2003 #8
    Yeah but in this case the battery never has charge. If I try running the computer without it being directly plugged into the wall outlet, it will instantly shut off.

    I am fed up with this bullsh:t. I have decided to go back to Wal*Mart and request a total refund. Last time I was there exchanging the first problem notebook, the girl working in the computer department told me that they seem to get many problem computers at their store. My theory is that companies like HP send their sh:t computers to stores like Wal*Mart where computer-illiterate people shop for computers.

    Bottom line: don't shop at Wal*Mart for computers.

  10. May 28, 2003 #9
    You could be right, a deal may have been cut to sell junk...I don't know.
    I couldn't blame you for taking the thing back, however. Two computers with keyboard lag and bad powering, hmmm, I would like to know what's behind the problem, however... but not at your expense.
  11. May 28, 2003 #10
    Buy a Dell
  12. Dec 31, 2003 #11
    Hello All. Wonder if anyone can offer me some help with a problem im having with the same laptop

    I purchased the ze4200 and it came with windows XP. I have not been pleased how XP slows down my games and other programs. Ive tryed to install windows millenium. The install went well but, the "installing of plug and play hardware" part always crashes. I tryed windows 98 then and i got that same blue screen of death b/s...

    Does anyone know a way to install anything besides XP on this model?
  13. Jan 2, 2004 #12

    You do realize that a notebook computer isn't exactly the ideal tool for playing games, especially the ones with high requirements. However, it is curious that your computer won't let you install multiple OS, could you be more detailed about what happened?
  14. Jan 2, 2004 #13
    How come laptops arent good for games?

    Well, the install goes well and the machine restarts normally. But then when it comes back and goes to install the plug and play devices the computer freezes and then i get that bastardly blue screen of death.
  15. Jan 2, 2004 #14


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    About the battery: isn't it strange that they don't charge it in the factory? I bought a laptop from Packard Bell (not available in US) and it was ready to go, I just had to insert the battery and push the 'on' button.

    I too once in a while get a flashing indicator, caused by the plug from the adapter to the notebook that had gotten loose.
  16. Jan 2, 2004 #15

    I have installed multiple OS on several computers, and I have never ran into any problem, check and see if you installed your Windows 98 on another partition, that might be the case. However, I have never used that particular model, I am not familiar with it, therefore, you should contact someone who is, such as the technicians at Compaq.

    As for your first question, well, they are just not built for gaming uses, their CPU, Ram, Graphic card, etc. are just not fast enough, nor optimized, to play today's high quality games. So, if your main purpose for buying a computer is gaming, or in any way require speed and performance from the computer, then it is highly suggested that you buy a desktop.
  17. Jan 3, 2004 #16


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    Laptops, unless you specifically ask, share system memory with the video card. System memory is about 10x slower than dedicated video ram.

    Are you trying to install one OS on top of another or reformatting the hard drive and installing from scratch?
  18. Jan 4, 2004 #17
    I've seen Gaming laptops with an ATI 9600 128 MB video card, which is good enough to play current games. The one I have now is an ATI 9000 64MB.
  19. Jan 4, 2004 #18
    Those computers are either very big or very expensive or both. Any way, I have little doubt they were unsuccessful on the markets.

    PS: They probably also produce vast heat.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2004
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