This is usually a bad GPU. That said while this is a common symptom shared amongst the DV series (and other 2007 nVidia systems), it can also be a bad LCD but this is rare. Plug it into a monitor and see if it locks up or does the same thing. The symptoms you have are things I’ve seen before when the GPU fails.
- When the GPU’s fail, you tend to have POST problems. Try the RAM if you want, but if it persists the GPU has failed.
- The GPU failure is usually indicated by a solid black screen. This may be a backlight or LCD problem, but it’s very unlikely. If the external is bad, the GPU is dead.
- These systems have a tendency to lock up when the high level driver kicks in. However, garbage on the LCD is also common for partial failures. Both of these indicate a bad GPU and that you’re wasting your time troubleshooting it in most cases.
When this happens, the laptop is toast. Get your data off and scrap it or give it to someone to strip for parts. The problem is caused by poor cooling and the problem still occurs, even with the upgraded heatsink which requires the revised motherboard to install since the GPU placement changed as a part of the “fix”. HP only acknowledged fault when they were sued and only covered one of the 2 bad machines and it was a shut the lawyers up hack.
- In some cases, it may be possible to pull the data in safe mode but only if the GPU is partially dead. You will need to press F8 to do this. If your GPU is totally dead, you will need to remove the hard drive(s).
- Log into the hidden admin account or your account on XP. This is disabled in Vista by default, so you will need to enable it or use your account.
- Save the data to a USB flash drive or DVD. I use DVD’s for clients because it’s cheap and I don’t need to worry about liability; once I’ve given them the data I’m free and clear.
If the GPU is so bad the machine is beyond Safe Mode recovery, the hard drive(s) need to be removed. You can save these as your backup, but I’d really recommend copying the data off to another drive as these drives can fail. This is what I did on a DV9000 (factory dual drive configuration), but the procedure isn’t any different on single drive machines.
- You'll see two doors on the bottom of the laptop that hold hard drives. These are marked with 3 platters and are marked 1 or 2 on dual drive systems. On single drive models, look for the 3 platters only. Remove the 2 screws that secure the cover.
- Remove the screws that hold the drive in. Put these with the caddy or screw them into the chassis.
- Remove the SATA adapter(s) and stick this in the machine.
- Remove the drives from the caddy you want to get the data from if needed.
- Plug the drive into another PC and extract your data. Check Users for Vista and Documents and Settings in XP for common data; some is stored in more obscure locations in programs like Works.
- Copy the data from the drives to another machine.