Question (Perplexing) Windows and Linuxes often fail to boot on my 2009 HP 8730w laptop

k00ly

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Oct 22, 2017
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I have posted this question on 'TomsGuide forum', a while back, a year ago, but I haven't found any good answer/solution for it.
Sorry if I double posted (I hope I won't get banned or something)... I hope I can find the answer and solution, as I have been quite perplexed by this behaviour. I hope you can find this perplexing problem / question insteresting also. I will update this thread as time goes with more info


I bought two HP Elitebooks 8730w 17" workstation laptops (Intel P8700 and ATI Mobility Radeon 3670) from eBay for about $100 each back in 2017.

One of them works just fine; while the other would often fails to boot OS, particularly Windows in the beginning. It would successfully load Grub Menu, Then it would fail to successfully boot Windows about 70-80% of the time (at least). While Linux (Ubuntu 16.04) will fail (maybe only about 10-20% of the time).

For Windows 7, it will show "Starting Windows" screen, then it will NOT go into login screen, but to a blank black-screen (otherwise, it will show a pointer and then the Windows login screen) and it will freeze as if there is no CapsLock or NumLock respond anymore. The similar thing happen to Windows 10 LTSB too, that I installed earlier before I switched to Windows 7 (I switched, because I thought Windows 10 did not support the hardware, but the same thing happens later to my Windows 7 installation).

Then it will NOT go into login screen, but to a blank black-screen as shown here (otherwise, it will show a pointer and then the Windows login screen):


I thought it was the old HDD that came with the laptop, so I also had replaced a newer HDD and even tried on a brand new SSD, but it did not fix nothing (So it was not because of the old initial HDD that came with the laptop, as I also had thought of). Already ran memtest86 too, RAM is clear, reinstalled newer OS releases. (but the Windows 7 boot problem still persists). The same Windows image runs fine on the other laptop, so it was not because of the OS image.

This failure to boot occurs only mostly to Windows (7 and 10) (70-80% or more of failure rate at least) (Sometimes it will successfully boots) (Isn't it perplexing?), while Linux (Ubuntu 16.04 or Kali 2019.01) would be successful (at least 90-95% of the time) (with Kali Linux probably 99%-100%). This is the only strange clue. If it had successfully booted, it will run no problem (pretty much normal and crashless whatsoever). The other laptop which is the same type runs just fine.

Google only take me as far as : https://www.maketecheasier.com/windows-10-failed-to-start/ and maybe a few other similar threads.

------------------------- Mid January 2020
That was the behavior for the last 3 yrs or so. Recently in the past week or two (since mid January 2020), the failure to boot increased. Windows would fail at least 95% of the time, Ubuntu 16.04 would fail 50-90%, Kali 2019.01 would fail about 50%.

Recently I found a way to get to Windows 'Advanced Boot Options' by pressing F8 during early Windows boot time.


I did 'Enable Boot Logging' a few times already. Here are the resulting logs: ntbtlog.txt

Only the last boot from 01-14-2020 16:47 of the log is successful iirc. This last boot log, shows that Windows 7 managed to load several more drivers or whatever .sys files those are, but I don't know why. I still don't know what exactly caused the boot failures.

I also tried the 'Disable Driver Signature Enforcement' option, but it still doesn't fix anything. Sometimes it boots, most times it doesn't.

All of the 3 'Safe Modes' boot 100% (but I haven't tried that many times though, maybe only about 10 times, so I consistently was able to boot those 'Safe Modes' iirc.

------------------------Update 2020-02-03

I got lucky (or not) today. I was able to boot Windows early this morning 2x. Failed Ubuntu 16.04.06 like 5 or more times, like 5-6-or-7x. So I haven't booted Ubuntu today. Kali Linux was successfull about 3-4x, failed to boot like 3 or 4x too. Failed Windows again ltr for like 4-5x, till this success 1x now.

I have compiled some Linux logs now. They are from my Kali 2019.01. But I think, the failed boot is not recorded on any of the logs, because I don't see the timestamps from those failed boot. It really sounds stupid to post these right? But I think maybe who knows someone can spot something that causes of the boot problem, as it contains sum HW logs.

My Kali Linux syslog for today (1500 lines long), this day starts at 3xx lines
My Kali Linux kern.log for today (1000 lines long)
My Kali Linux daemon log for today (500 lines long)

To be honest, I don't believe there is anything sensitive on those logs. As I have already set the laptop to be a test laptop. (Only maybe you could set up a Spectre or Meltdown attack on me lol...)

Anyway, I am not expert on Linux, so I can't really understand those logs. I hope someone can spot an error or a few and let me know, whether it be a software/HW/set up problem. Again, I certainly hope it can shed light on the boot problem, as I am out of good ideas.

What could be the problem here? As replacing the HDD and reinstalling OS doesn't solve the problem. I haven't checked the GPU or other hardware connections, but the strange thing is that Linux starts (boots) fine mostly. (They have boot problems as like Windows do now)-- Only Kali Linux has close to 50% boot success.. Ubuntu fails almost like Windows, above 90% fail rate..

I kinda think that the VGA or other HW is the problem. I will try switching the VGA from the laptops and see..

I will certainly update the post if I got any more infos or if i solved it..
Thx in advance and I appreciate for all the helps.
 
Last edited:

Third-Eye

Distinguished
Run memtest86 to see if you get memory errors. If there are no errors it may be a problem with the motherboard. Depending on how the OS drive is installed, it could be a problem with the SATA dataor power ports, the M.2 port, or a problem with the OS drive itself. Consider running linux from USB, live or installed and see if it consistently boots up every time you power down and start up.
 

k00ly

Commendable
Oct 22, 2017
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Run memtest86 to see if you get memory errors. If there are no errors it may be a problem with the motherboard. Depending on how the OS drive is installed, it could be a problem with the SATA dataor power ports, the M.2 port, or a problem with the OS drive itself. Consider running linux from USB, live or installed and see if it consistently boots up every time you power down and start up.
I ran memtest86, the one bundled with Ubuntu 16.04 install , ran it till 5 passes for about 3 hours... No errors.

I don't think that there are problems with the HDD or OS image, as I have said on my original post, that I hv switched (tested) to brand new SSD, to no fix. The same OS image boots fine on the second (same type HP 8730w) laptop that I bought with.

If there is a problem with the HW, I think it would likely be the ATI VGA or maybe even the Mobo/Bus like u said.. I will explain ltr..
and
I will detail the Linux behaviour at other time.
 
Last edited:

onespeedbiker

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Apr 13, 2019
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Are you running the laptop with or without a battery? Are you using the same AC adapter on both laptops?

Before you try and boot the laptop try a hard boot, by disconnecting the battery and AC adapter, hold down the power button for about 10 seconds, wait 10 seconds and then connect the AC adapter and try booting.
 

k00ly

Commendable
Oct 22, 2017
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Are you running the laptop with or without a battery? Are you using the same AC adapter on both laptops?

Before you try and boot the laptop try a hard boot, by disconnecting the battery and AC adapter, hold down the power button for about 10 seconds, wait 10 seconds and then connect the AC adapter and try booting.
I run the laptop with a non-HP Chinese/HK made replacement battery. I believe there is no more HP battery at this time. But the laptop is able to run fine if it able to boot. And I only have one running AC adapter, the other one is dead. So I run both laptops using this one AC adapter.

The hard boot option, I already tried 4 times, only works 1 time, I believe out of luck.

I am gonna switch the GPU when I have the time and see..
 

k00ly

Commendable
Oct 22, 2017
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I figured it out. I switched the VGAs from both laptops. Now the bad laptop boots 100% all of the OS installed. So turns out the VGA is bad..

But it's still a bit strange that Kali Linux would have better boot rate (like 50%ish) and that if it successfully boots (with the bad VGA), the laptop would run as if normal / no problems at all. That I could not explain...

Anyway now I gotta figure out what VGA to replace it with.
 

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