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Question DetailsAsked on 3/14/2014

HP laptop, 15 years old, will not boot. Repeating pressing escape button sometimes boots. Has Win XP.

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3 Answers


First of all its old. XP will no longer be supported by Microsoft after April 2014... more than likely the hard drive is dead. Guarantee you its an IDE drive which will be hard to find new, but you may find a good used one cheap.

I normally tell my customers that after 5-7 years max, its time to replace, even though sometimes I realize that may not be an option.

BUT.. your HD is more than likley dead (around 99% sure). It will need replaced and reloaded with XP at minimum. Maybe look at a cheap used drive and using Zorin Linux..or one of the other Linux builds for older computers.

Thats about your best and cheapest shot.. past that get a new one.

Mike at Mitek


Answered 5 years ago by mitekcomputers


If it boots sporadically, I too would venture to guess it is in it's dying throes, but you may be able to get the data off the hard drive if there is something of value on it. The drive should be taken out of that laptop and cabled to a working computer, copy your data off, then through away the laptop. Laptops go through constant heat up and cool down cycles which basically cook the internal components over time. I think your hard drive may have enough life left to get your data, but the system will never be reliable.


Answered 5 years ago by Zybercom


One other thing that can cause this is a virus program loading as an auto-load program - one that loads as an init file every time the computer wakes up. Hitting ESC during the startup can abort the init file loading, allowing Windows to load and run.

Either way you need to get your personal files and data off the computer the next time you start it up because if it is a hard drive going out you don't know which startup it is just falt going to refuse to start on, and lose all your files - backup on say on a large capacity thumb drive or external hard drive, and don't forget eMail files and address book and Browser preference and bookmark files. Then decide if you want to try to get it fixed or dump it - has negligable resale value if 15 years old - probably less than $100. A repair shop diagnistic and either software cleanup and virus removal, or a new hard drive install ifthat is needed, probably about $150-300 I would guess - so that is half the price or more of a new one.

If you are prepared to learn a bit AFTER backing up important files, look up how to do a clean boot in diagnostic mode - if that works dependably then not hard drive problem, and most likely either corrupted Windows or a virus.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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