Question about Acer Aspire 3680 Laptop

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3680-2249 intermittently refuses to boot

Running Vista Home Basic and 1GB RAM. About 2/3s of the time, when powered up, all appropriate lights come up and the fan runs, but nothing is displayed on the screen an nothing further happens... I'm also running Ubuntu (v.7.10) and have a dual boot option. When I'm able to get to the boot menu, I can choose Ubuntu or Vista and all is well, all the time. I can't figure out why a boot problem would occur periodically and not all the time. I've tried all power configurations and it's the same--fully charged battery, partially charged battery, ac & battery on and in place, battery only, ac only (battery pulled out). Any and all suggestions would be gratefully considered--I'm considering a reformat of my 80Gig drive and changing to XP and not Vista as my only OS on this laptop.

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  • Jack Davis Feb 07, 2008

    I neglected to add that I always perform a complete Windows shutdown when I'm finished working and the laptop never fails to shut itself down appropriately. A format and OS reinstall is my last resort. My fundamental bewilderment is why this boot problem happens sometimes, but not every time. Seems to me that the problem should manifest itself always or not at all.

  • Jack Davis Feb 11, 2008

    Thanks for a very well written explanation of what could be causing my problem. Belarc reports that I have a Slimtype DVD C DS24CZP optical drive. I was unable to get my Acer 3680 2249 to perform as you described when I hit the "escape" key. So, I decided to go to my bios and change the boot order to go first to my hdd, thinking that that might avoid the optical drive entirely during boot. I'm going to see if that changes behavior. I will report back and meanwhile if you have further advice, I stand ready to listen and act. Thanks again.

  • Jack Davis Feb 11, 2008

    Thanks danasaur; will do and let you know. Again, am very appreciative of you time.

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Check to see if you have 2 of the same size ram installed eg 2 of (512) or 2 of(1gb) there is intermittent bootup problems. Yry putting in 2 different size ram eg 512 & 256, 512 & 1gb, etc

Posted on Sep 01, 2008

I've got a acer aspire 3680, vista, 80 gig HD, gig of ram. I get the same problem of somtimes booting, sometimes not. except it sounds and feels as if it's booting fully, i just get no display. and finally after a few attempts and i boot up, it tells me that the system didn't shut down properly(beacuse of holding the power button to shut off a no display boot) So it IS booting, but not giving me a display. i had discovered that more ofthe than not, moving the screen back and forth during the boot, it will give me my display. this is not 100%(and in no way a solution) but i was wondering if anyone else has success this way. it makes my think that there is a connecton problem with the screen, but everything LOKS alright

Posted on Jun 08, 2008

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I have two NEC laptops here that started out with the same problem/symptoms. Similar hardware (14 inch WXGA, 1280x768), 80gb HDD (these are Hitachi, not the best). NEC and Aspire use almost the same hardware (may be related, cooperative or joint op). Also, these are both dual boot win/Lin, although we have several flavors of Linux to choose. The Linux is NOT the problem (rarely ever is the problem, although I am convinced VISTA is VERY bad for laptops!).

Anyway, both laptops started having the same exact boot problem you describe, intermittently, with the GRUB boot loader being "hit or miss'. But the problem increased in frequency, then eventually, they failed to boot EVERY time. It was quite baffling... the problem turned out to be that the HDD was not recognized at boot. But not due to any HDD problem it was the Philips DVD/CD-R drive that was causing the problem! It is defective! The ROM gets corrupted, and it starts reporting that it is the "0" drive (reserved for HDD) instead of "1" (reserved for IDE slave or SCSI CD drives). I have contacted Philips, since I have two that died exactly the same "confused" death, and Philips is unresponsive, so I plan to start a class action suit against them.

The question is, do you have this same problem? We can presume it is possible, but let's be sure. To eliminate all else, do this:

You can usually escape your boot screen by pressing ESC at boot, to get the black screen ("BIOS post") instead of the Aspire "ad" screen. The black screen allows you to watch the BIOS boot process, memory check and count, IDE discovery etc.. At the end it will display any errors. If at the end of the post process, it fails to list your 80gb HDD (and whatever brand it is) and instead, says "hard drive 0: Philips SCB5265 DVD-ROM/CD-RW Drive". Then of course it stalls, because CDRoms have no MBR or sector zero configuration for BIOS to locate the OS. Even selecting CD as boot device fails, because it is already listed as a HDD which fails to report its size/sectors/LBA in the usual HDD method, so iBIOS never reaches the next step (recognizing the CD in its usual "drive 1" location).

If you have this DVD/CD-R drive and the symptoms I describe, your ONLY course of action is to replace the DVD/CD-R drive! Easy. One screw under laptop is usually all that is required. It will be in the middle of a line centered from the CD drive tray, about 4 inches in towards center of laptop base. Turn off laptop, flip over on a soft towel, remove that screw, and open the CD with a paper clip to open the tray. Then pull gently on the tray and the whole CD body will eject. Remove the dual-screw adapter at the back of DVD drive and put it on any new or used CD drive, and it will slide back in and connect automatically. Just put in the screw and change tray covers and your laptop will boot fine thereafter.

If you do not have the Philips drive listed above (or any similar model, close to same model number). This may not be your problem at all. Let me know what black screen says, and I will be able to share other experiences that might isolate the snag.

Posted on Feb 11, 2008

  • Dana Stienheimer
    Dana Stienheimer Feb 11, 2008

    So you can get into BIOS? If so, un-check "quiet boot" if you have that option. This will get the black post screen every boot, without needing to hit ESC. Then you can see if there is an error reported after/during HDD and optical report.

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It may be the operating system problem.reformat the hard disk and install it again.

Posted on Feb 07, 2008

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