HP ProBook 4520s random freezes when starting up to W10

  1.    #1

    HP ProBook 4520s random freezes when starting up to W10

    Hi, I am facing one of the weirdest most difficult problems I've ever faced. A friend of mine gave me a HP ProBook 4520s laptop because it was really bad: random shut downs, freezes, very slow... it had Windows 7 Pro. By the way, the battery is damaged so I can't use a battery, it only has the powercord, it constantly warns about low battery and also the BIOS gives warnings about battery 's poor condition while booting up. I will sort it by days so it's clear:

    Day 1: First, I created an USB boot drive with the latest Windows 10 via Media Creation Tool. I boot from the USB, formatted the original HDD and clicked on install Windows 10. First step of the process conpmeted, then it asked to reboot, it did correctly, but when booting up again, it got frozen, showing a black screen, no cursor, nothing. It was supposed to show a screen saying "installing devices" or something like that, then it should reboot again and then it should start the Windows 10 intro and initial configuration: user name, etc...

    So, that was weird, I can't even install Windows 10 without problems... I thought it could be the Media Creation Tool process, that it went wrong, so created again another USB boot drive using another pendrive. The exact same thing happened, but this time I left it for 2 hours. Still frozen blank black screen. I was starting to think that the original HDD was broken.

    Day 2: I for no reason tried it one more time, and surprisingly, after the first reboot while installing Windows, it didn't got stuck. The "installing devices" screen appeared, then the laptop rebooted again, and then I got to the intro configuration where you got to put the user name and all that stuff. I did all the configuration process and got to Windows 10 desktop, no internet yet. Ok, finally. I restarted a few times to check if it was solved and every thing seemed OK. I updated successfully the BIOS to the latest available just in case it was an outdated BIOS problem with W10. I rebooted and started the Windows update process, so I had to get connected to my WiFi. Then installed the Windows updates it asked (which include drivers for GPU, WLAN...), rebooted, and when it was shutting down, frozen. I hard reset it, and when booting up, when it's loading the lock/start screen with the user image, gets frozen again, with the moving balls animation. Hard reset again, turn it on, and gets frozen after loading Windows, right before the lock/start screen. Tried this several times and I gave up. The original HDD is broken, I guessed. I disassembled the laptop completely, repaste CPU and GPU and clean everything, making it fresh new with nice temperatures, just in case it was a temperature problem, but I believe it wasn't. It had bad temperatures and it was dirty, but that was not causing the problem.

    Day 3:
    I replace the original HDD by another HDD, use the USB boot drive, install W10 from scratch again, and this time everything works at first try, no freezes when rebooting for the first time while installing Windows 10. The installation gets completed, and I thought OK, it was the original HDD. Then I connected to my WiFi, Windows update, etc... and when rebooting, again, frozen when shutting down. You gotta be kidding me. I started to think it was a driver related problem, may be Intel HD graphics which is not supported in Windows 10 I guess.... but that couldn't explain the freezes with the original HDD when installing W10. Anyways, I install Windows 10 from zero again, no problems in the process, formatting and all, but this time I don't connect it to internet after the installation. I use it for a few hours installing programs from pendrives, rebooting, shutting it down... no freezes. OK, I guessed it was a driver problem.

    Day 4: I remove one RAM module (x2 2GB) so I have 2GB because I thought it could be a RAM problem as well, and since it had 2 different brands of ram modules, I had nothing to lose. Then I connect it to internet to check if it was just a RAM problem and not a driver, install all Windows updates, reboot, and no freezes happen. OK, it was the RAM, I guessed, incompatible modules, it made sense. Since I wanted it to be really fast, I replace the HDD by a SDD and start the whole process again. After installing Windows updates and all, I restart it a few times, shut it down, etc... and one of the times, suddenly, again, frozen in the lock/start screen. As you can see, the freezes occur always when loading windows, or right after that while loading the desktop in the start/lock screen or when shutting down/restarting after the desktop is gone, they never occur while loading the BIOS, or once I successfully access the desktop or while installing Windows 10 before the first restart. I started to get really frustrated. I tried this time to hard reset it until it boots up correctly, since it freezes in different stages of the booting. I ended up provoking a Windows start error with all the hard resets, and I got to the Windows boot troubleshoot screen. Fine, let's check safe mode then. I selected advanced options, etc and selected restart to boot to safe mode. I restarted, boot to safe mode, and now Windows loads correctly. OK, it gotta be something with the drivers, I guessed, since safe mode boots up correctly. I reboot and this time I successfully access to the desktop. Looks like if I reboot from safe mode, I can pass the frozen loading bug.

    Day 5: I install some programs, restart it, turn it off/on... after a few minutes, I get the same behavior, frozen while loading Windows or desktop. I go to safe mode, it loads correctly, restart, and Windows 10 loads correctly. I replace both RAM modules by others of the same brand, or sometimes I just put one slot. Basically started to try different scenarios. Nothing really solves the issue: randomly, it will freeze while loading Windows or desktop. One of the times that Windows 10 loads correctly, I note that there's no WiFi, as if the WiFi card was unseen, but it was there in the device manager. Windows in safe mode always boots correctly, so that's good news. One of the times I mistakenly boot in safe mode with network activated, and guess what, it freezes. The first time I see safe mode freezing while loading. That suddenly gave me an idea: let's remove the WiFi card.

    Day 6: I remove the WiFi card, connect to internet via ethernet cable and use the laptop normally. It's been 5 hours without a single freeze while booting up or shutting down.

    I guess it was the WiFi card, may be the driver of the WiFi card, but that can't explain the original HDD problem while installing W10, which I believe is the same problem. I've checked of course the original HDD and none of the HDD testers have warned about it, no bad sectors, no errors, nothing.

    Any ideas?

    The problem seems solved, or may be I've been lucky for 5 hours, but I can't really imagine that the WiFi card caused all of this.
    Last edited by rambomhtri; 27 Aug 2018 at 12:27.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    #2

    My friend, I had the same laptop with Windows 7 Pro and it was great!
    Once updated to Windows 10, it started misbehaving and I put it to rest late 2015. Sorry to disappoint you, but I think it was not meant for Windows 10.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    #3

    Well, it's very fast and works perfectly fine if this annoying error doesn't occur. I keep shutting it down, rebooting, but after the WiFi card removal, I've got no freeze yet. It's hard to believe for me that the WiFi card or its drivers caused all of this.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    #4

    Hope that the removal resolved your problem, for good. Cause as I said before it was a very good and reliable laptop (with W7)
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    #5

    Any idea, anyone?
    I still have not experienced any freeze, the laptop is working fine and fast. Could it just be a bad WiFi card driver?
    How could that explain the freezes with the original HDD, where it happened while installing W10, no WiFi card involved?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    #6

    Surprisingly, the laptop has been working fine for more than a week.
    Could it be the WiFi card? It seems weird.

    That could explain the hang ups when installing Windows updates, which included drivers for the WiFi card I guess.

    But then... how could be explained those freezes I experienced when installing Windows 10?
    It would freeze after the first reboot, right before the "installing devices" screen, never when installing Windows 10, before the first reboot. Could be that after the first reboot, the WiFi card comes to play and could be problematic. But it seems weird that it was all caused by the WiFi card.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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