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HP Pavilion dv7 Entertainment Notebook PC series support

Troubleshooting Motherboard Issues

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq desktop computers.
Motherboard problems are rare. When a computer cannot start or freezes during use, the problem is usually related to another hardware component, such as a video card, or memory (RAM).
If you can identify the symptom the computer is showing, check the Troubleshooting specific symptoms . Follow the instructions in the section that matches the symptom.
If you cannot identify the symptom or do not see the symptom listed, go to the General hardware troubleshooting section for hardware and motherboard troubleshooting.

Troubleshooting specific symptoms

If you know the symptom the computer is showing, use the section that matches the problem to try and resolve it.
If Windows does not start when you turn on the computer, use one of the following HP support documents to resolve the issue:
If you perform the steps in the document and Windows still does not start, go to the General hardware troubleshooting section.
If the screen is blank, the problem may be with the power supply, or with other components. Refer to the section below that matches the problem encountered.
If no fans start and none of the computer lights come on when the computer is turned on, there is probably a problem with the power supply. See the HP support document, Troubleshooting Power Supply Issues .
If the fans start and the computer lights come on when the computer is turned on, see the HP support document, Monitor is Blank after Starting the Computer .
If your computer makes one or two short beeps before starting, this is normal and your computer is telling you that BIOS startup was successful. If your computer beeps and does not start, a more serious hardware problem is likely occurring.
The following beep codes are common to many HP and Compaq desktop computers. Check these codes first.
NOTE:Not all codes are shown.
BeepsDescription
1 short beep and 1 long beepMemory problem. See Checking the memory (RAM) .
2 short beeps and 1 long beep (repeats 5 times)Unable to initialize video or video card required but not installed. See Checking the video card .
3 short beeps and 1 long beepCPU configuration error or CPU type is not compatible. See Checking the processor (CPU) .
The following beep codes are common to many HP and Compaq desktop computers that can occur while restoring, flashing or updating the BIOS:
BeepsDescription
1 short beepLegacy floppy drive or CD/DVD drive not detected. See Checking the CD/DVD drive .
2 short beepsFloppy diskette or compact disc not detected. See Checking the CD/DVD drive .
3 short beepsUnable to start flashing (such as when missing a utility or BIOS image). See Resetting the BIOS settings .
4 short beepsFlashing failed (checksum error, corrupted image, etc.). See the HP support document, Error: CMOS Checksum Bad .
5 short beepsBIOS recovery successful.
If the beep code is not listed here, see the HP support document, BIOS Beep Codes .
Select a message that best matches the message that displays on the screen.
Try the following to troubleshoot a system freezing.
If the system still freezes, go to the General hardware troubleshooting section.

General hardware troubleshooting

These sections provide information to help you determine if the problem is actually with the motherboard or if a different hardware component is causing the issue. Follow the steps, in order, until the problem is resolved.

Step 1: Using HP diagnostic software (HP Vision Hardware Diagnostics, Hardware Diagnostic Tools or PC-Doctor) to test for hardware problems

If your computer was purchased after 2001, it probably contains a software program called Hardware Diagnostic Tools or PC-Doctor. These programs test the hardware components and provide useful information about any components experiencing problems.
Follow the steps in one of the following sections to use this program to test the motherboard and other hardware components for problems.
HP Vision Hardware Diagnostics can perform quick hardware troubleshooting at system startup.
To use Vision Hardware Diagnostics, complete the following steps:
  1. Turn off the computer.
  2. Restart the computer and do one of the following as soon as the computer starts:
    • For computers with BIOS version 6 or lower, press the F9 key repeatedly until the HP Vision Hardware Diagnostics start.
      Figure 1: Finding the version for BIOS version 6 or less
      Finding the BIOS version
    • For computers with BIOS version 7 or greater, press the F2 key repeatedly, about once every second, until the HP Vision Hardware Diagnostics start.
    Figure 2: Finding the version for BIOS version 7 or greater
    Finding the BIOS version
  3. Wait while the diagnostic automatically runs the following tests:
    • CPU test
    • Hard Drive Connection test
    • Boot test
    • S.M.A.R.T. test (hard drive test)
    • Memory test
    When the testing is complete, the results display on the screen.
  4. Press the R key to reboot the computer.
If your computer was manufactured in 2008 or later, you may be able to run a hardware diagnostic test during the startup process. To do so, turn on the computer and press the F9 key during the screen with the HP or Compaq logo.
Figure 3: Example of Boot screen that displays the key press to enter the BIOS test.
Diagnostic Tools opens and performs a variety of hardware tests. Green checkmarks appear next to hardware items that pass the test. Any problems found are reported.
Figure 4: Screen example: Diagnostic Tools test
After the test is complete, the results display. If a test fails and an error code displays, write down the error code number and Contact HP (in English) for further assistance.
In Windows XP, use PC-Doctor Offline DOS Diagnostics to check for hardware problems. For more information about PC-Doctor Offline DOS Diagnostics, see Using PC-Doctor Offline DOS Diagnostics to Verify Hardware Problems .

Step 2: Resetting or updating the BIOS settings

Incorrect BIOS settings can cause problems with the computer. Follow these steps to reset or update the BIOS settings:
If the computer starts and gets to the HP or Compaq logo, you can use these steps to reset the BIOS settings:
  1. Turn off the computer and disconnect all connected devices except the mouse, keyboard and monitor. This includes USB flash drives and memory cards.
  2. If your computer originally came with Windows 7 or Windows Vista, turn on the computer and press the F10 key repeatedly at the first screen to open the BIOS setup screen.
    If your computer originally came with Windows XP or earlier, turn on the computer and press the F1 key repeatedly at the first screen to open the BIOS setup screen.
  3. For computers with BIOS version 6 or lower, follow these steps:
    Figure 5: Finding the version for BIOS version 6 or less
    Finding the BIOS version
    Press the F5 key to reset the default BIOS settings. Use the arrow keys to select Yes or OK, and then press Enter.
    Press the F10 key to save settings and exit. Use the arrow keys to select Yes or OK, and then press Enter.
  4. For computers with BIOS version 7 or greater, follow these steps:
    Figure 6: Finding the version for BIOS version 7 or greater
    Finding the BIOS version
    In the BIOS Setup utility, select the File tab.
    Select Apply Defaults and Exit.
    Figure 7: Setting the defaults
    Setting the defaults
  5. Turn off the computer.
  6. Remove the power cord.
  7. Press and hold the power button for five seconds.
  8. Reconnect the power cord and turn on the computer.
You can use these steps even if you cannot see anything on the monitor.
In case an item was changed in the BIOS, such as the primary display device setting, use the following steps to reset the BIOS back to its default configuration:
  1. Turn on the computer and repeatedly press one of the following keyboard keys. Press the key about once every second for 5 seconds after turning the computer on.
    • For HP and Compaq computers that came with Windows 7 and Vista, press F10.
    • For HP and Compaq computers that came with Windows XP, press F1.
    • For Compaq Presario desktop computers built prior to 2002, press F10.
  2. Wait another 5 seconds.
  3. For computers with BIOS version 6 or lower, follow these steps:
    Press the F5 key. This restores the default settings of the BIOS.
    Press the Enter key. This accepts the changes.
    Press the F10 key. This saves the changes.
    Press the Enter key. This saves the changes and exits from the BIOS.
    For computers with BIOS version 7 or greater, follow these steps:
    Press the Down arrow three times.
    Press the Enter key two times.
    Restart the computer.
  4. The monitor should display the first screens received from the computer (the logo screens). If not, find and download the latest BIOS update if one is available for your computer.
  5. If a BIOS update was not available or the monitor is still blank, continue to the next step.
A BIOS update may fix the computer's problems. To update the BIOS, follow the instructions in the HP support document, Updating the BIOS .

Step 3: Reducing heat inside the computer

Many problems can be resolved by reducing the heat inside the computer, including the following:
  • The system freezes.
  • Windows stops responding.
  • When starting the computer, it often stops at a black screen and does not open into Windows. Windows usually stops responding when it does open.
  • Mouse and keyboard stop responding.
  • Windows 7, Vista, XP - Computer unexpectedly restarts or displays a blue screen.
    Windows 95, 98, and Me - Frequent Fatal Exception, Illegal Operation, or General Protection Fault error messages occur in several software programs.
    NOTE:These errors are not predictable. If these errors occur only in one software program, the issue is probably related to that software program and is not heat related.For more information, see Reducing Heat Inside the Computer . If the steps in that document do not resolve the issue, continue with the next Step.

Step 4: Checking connections of internal components

If internal components, such as RAM, video cards, and drives are not seated or connected properly to the motherboard, the computer does not run smoothly. Follow these steps to check the connections:
  1. Unplug all cables except for the power. Write down each cable location if you do not already know where it connects.
  2. With the power cable removed, press the Power button on the front of the computer for 5 seconds.
  3. Remove the screw(s) that retain the panel or cover from the rear of the computer.
  4. Slide the side panel off from the rear of the computer.
  5. Gently press down on the outside edges of all cards and memory modules that are inserted into the motherboard to better seat them. Do not press too hard.
  6. Gently press down on the connectors of all cables to seat them.
  7. Replace the panel or cover and screw(s), reconnect the computer cables, and turn on the computer on.
    If the issue is resolved, you are done. If the issue is not resolved, continue with the steps in this document.

Step 5: Removing and replacing hardware components to find which one is causing problems

In most cases, issues are caused by a different hardware component than the motherboard. Use these sections to test the other components that could be causing problems.
Problems with memory can cause the computer to freeze, the computer to beep and not start, and other issues. Follow these steps to check if memory is causing problems:
  1. Remove all memory cards, USB flash drives, and CDs/DVDs from the computer, turn off the computer, and then open the computer case.
    NOTE: If you need product model specific graphics and instructions for opening the computer, search for a support article that pertains to your computer. Enter the computer's model number into the Product field at the top of this page and search for opening the case.
  2. Locate the memory (RAM).
  3. If the computer has one module (DIMM), replace the DIMM with a new one.
    If the computer has more than one DIMM, remove one of the DIMMs.
    NOTE:If you need help locating and removing a DIMM, see the HP support document Upgrading Memory (RAM) .
  4. Plug in the power cable and turn on the computer.
    CAUTION: Keep any items away from the internal area of the computer to avoid damaging the computer.
  5. If the issue is resolved, the DIMM needs to be replaced.
    If the issue is not resolved, shut down the computer and unplug the power cable. Then replace the DIMM and remove the next one. Repeat for each DIMM.
  6. If you test each DIMM and the problem still exists, continue with the next Step to check the video card.
Problems with the video card can cause the computer to freeze, a blank display, and other issues. Follow these steps to check if the video card is causing problems:
  1. Remove all memory cards, USB flash drives, and CDs/DVDs from the computer, turn off the computer, and then open the computer case.
    NOTE: If you need product model specific graphics and instructions for opening the computer, search for a support article that pertains to your computer. Enter the computer's model number into the Product field at the top of this page and search for opening the case.
  2. Locate the video card.
  3. Disconnect any cables connected to the card and remove the video card.
    NOTE:Removing the video card can be difficult. If you need more information about removing the card, do one of the following:If your computer has Windows XP or earlier, see the HP support document Installing or Replacing a Video Card .If your computer came with Windows 7 or Vista, enter the computer's model number into the Product field at the top of this page and search for Removing and Installing an Expansion Card.
  4. Plug in the power cable and turn on the computer.
    CAUTION: Keep any items away from the internal area of the computer to avoid damaging the computer.
  5. If the computer starts without beeping, the video card needs to be replaced.
    If the computer still beeps, continue with the next Step to check the hard drive.
Problems with the hard drive can cause errors to display, a blue screen, a blank screen, and the computer to freeze. Follow these steps to check if the hard drive is causing problems:
  1. Remove all memory cards, USB flash drives, and CDs/DVDs from the computer, turn off the computer, and then open the computer case.
    NOTE: If you need product model specific graphics and instructions for opening the computer, search for a support article that pertains to your computer. Enter the computer's model number into the Product field at the top of this page and search for opening the case.
  2. Locate the hard drive.
  3. If necessary, remove the front panel from the computer.
  4. Disconnect the power and data cables from the drive.
    NOTE:If you need help locating the hard drive or disconnecting the cables, enter the computer's model number into the Product field at the top of this page and search for Adding or Replacing a Hard Drive.
  5. Plug in the power cable, and turn on the computer.
    CAUTION: Keep any items away from the internal area of the computer to avoid damaging the computer.
  6. If the computer starts and does not beep, replace the hard drive.
    If the computer still beeps, continue with the next Step to check the CD/DVD drive.
Follow these steps to check if the CD/DVD drive is causing problems:
  1. Remove all memory cards, USB flash drives, and CDs/DVDs from the computer, turn off the computer, and then open the computer case.
    NOTE: If you need product model specific graphics and instructions for opening the computer, search for a support article that pertains to your computer. Enter the computer's model number into the Product field at the top of this page and search for opening the case.
  2. Locate the CD/DVD drive.
  3. Disconnect the power cable from the drive.
    NOTE:If you need help locating the CD/DVD drive or disconnecting the cable, enter the computer's model number into the Product field at the top of this page and search for Adding or Replacing a CD or DVD Drive.
  4. Plug in the power cable and turn on the computer.
    CAUTION: Keep any items away from the internal area of the computer to avoid damaging the computer.
  5. If the issue is resolved, the CD/DVD drive needs to be replaced.
    If the issue is not resolved, continue with the next Step to check the processor.
Follow these steps to check if the processor is causing problems:
  1. Run the CPU test in PC-Doctor or Hardware Diagnostic Tools. For more information on these programs, see one of the following:
    Using PC-Doctor (for Windows XP)
  2. Remove all memory cards, USB flash drives, and CDs/DVDs from the computer, turn off the computer, and then open the computer case.
    NOTE: If you need product model specific graphics and instructions for opening the computer, search for a support article that pertains to your computer. Enter the computer's model number into the Product field at the top of this page and search for opening the case.
  3. Locate the processor inside the computer.
    The location of the processor is included on the motherboard specifications. Enter the computer's model number into the Product field at the top of this page and search for motherboard specification.
  4. Check the processor's connection to the motherboard.
  5. Check for dust around the cooling fins.
  6. Plug in the power cable, and turn on the computer.
    CAUTION: Keep any items away from the internal area of the computer to avoid damaging the computer.
  7. If the computer starts and does not beep, you are done.
    If the computer still beeps, you may need to replace the processor or motherboard. For information about replacing the processor, see Upgrading or Replacing the Processor . For information about replacing the motherboard, Contact HP (in English) for further assistance.

Step 6: Using HP Vision Hardware Diagnostics, Hardware Diagnostic Tools or PC-Doctor to test the system again

After performing the troubleshooting steps, use HP Vision Hardware Diagnostics, Hardware Diagnostic Tools or PC-Doctor again to test the system. For help using these programs, see Using HP diagnostic software (HP Vision Hardware Diagnostics, Hardware Diagnostic Tools or PC-Doctor) to test for hardware problems .
If the steps in this document do not help, have the computer serviced. HP recommends using an Authorized Service Provider. To find a service provider, Contact HP (in English) for further assistance.
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