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Windows XP troubles

is the blue screen of death now grey?

3:26 am on Jul 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi all, i have an NEC laptop which came with windows xp pro. it's only 3 months old so in theory it should be roaring along. Unfortunately the screen freezes frequently if i walk off for longer than 15 minutes or so and i have to re-boot the system, usually losing all my work.

this is similar to the old blue screen of death, but in my case the screen is grey, is NEC branded and i get a message telling me to press F2 to enter setup. at this point i need to re-boot. Once i have re-booted, i get a message saying that XP had reported an error and aksing if i would send the report to microsoft. i usually click on no (no reason other than good old fashioned distrust) and continue working.

NEC have recently paid me an onsite visit and replaced my motherboard (which seems extreme) but the problem remains. Today they talked me through re-installing XP but i am reluctant to do so as it will mean a massive re-install of all my software and i dont' really want to spend days doing this if it's not the source of the problem.

Has anyone else experienced anything similar? is there a chance that it could be a hardware problem rather than o/s?

ta for any insight

3:52 am on July 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I've been running XP since it came out and I've never seen a grey screen...or anything that told me to hit F2.
4:40 am on July 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I have never seen this either.

Try going to your control panel> power options> and see what happens after 15 minutes...it may "hibernate" or put the hard drive to sleep. I am new to laptops but have always hated these features on my desktop. They always seem to mess it up.

I would turn the screen off after 5/10 mintes though.

5:51 am on July 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Is there anything that triggers this or does it seam to happen at any time?

At first read I though it may have been the bios set wrong because i thought it only happened at boot up. When i read your post again I am under th eimpression it happens when the system has been in use.

When you switch it on are there any audible beeps?


8:17 am on July 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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i've just checked power options, but hibernate is disabled (ie it's on "never"). it happened about once a day when i first got the laptop and increased to a few times a day after that until eventually the motherboard was replaced last week. It is now back to about once a day since i got the new motherboard.

my laptop is on for about 10 hours a day. it only happens if i have walked off for about half an hour or more (screensaver kicks in after about 10 mins of no activity). the exact message is "NEC" in big letters and then underneath that "Press F2 to enter setup or ESC to enter BIOS". it never happens at start up and never while i am actively working. only if i leave the machine for a while after start up. the help desk guy today insisted that it had to be an XP problem because of the report that is generated and requested to be sent to Microsoft once i have re-booted. but lots of my friends have told me that this report will be generated for all conflicts - not just XP problems.

i am trying to escalate the issue but the NEC Help desk refuse to give me any access to a manager (apparantly all big computer suppliers have this policy - you can call for tech support but you cannot speak to help desk or customer service managers?) and they won't even give me an email address of a manager. The best they would do is offer to pass my number on and get a manager to call me. naturally they haven't. my frustration is increased because i had no computer at all for 2 weeks while waiting for my new motherboard (the PC died completely last time) and want to avoid this happening again. It also meant 2 weeks of not being able to work - i'm self employed - and i still don't appear to have solved the problem. Hence my reluctance to re-install XP.

i guess what i am doing now is trying to see if this is a common XP problem experienced by others. my gut feeling is that it is a hardware issue.

sorry to be whinging - just very frustrated and trying to solve the problem before it costs me yet more time and money:-) every time i call them it costs me AU$2.50 plus at least 45 minutes of dreadful hold music before i get through (so far i have called about 30 times in the past 3 months) let alone the time off work a broken laptop costs!

11:05 am on July 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I don't believe this problem is WinXP related. I definitly sounds like a setting on your machine is causing it to go into "stand by" mode and may not be waking up. This could be a windows setting, a bios setting or a fault graphics adapter.



11:13 am on July 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The default setting on XP is to reboot on fatal errors, but you can change this in the Control Panel. At least this way you'll get to see the BSOD rather than have the laptop automatically reboot, and hopefully some of the onscreen garbage will point to the (probably vxd) file or driver that's causing the problem.

My money too is on the machine's power management settings. Turn off ALL screensavers, sleep modes, power saving, screen sleeping settings and see what happens after a period of inactivity.

1:46 pm on July 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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got a spare 2.5" HD? why not install a fresh copy of XP on a spare disk, and run it with that - then you'll know if it's software or hardware.
10:09 pm on July 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I came across an article about a week ago about how to "turbo" the tech support people -


That might get you the tech support you need.


FWIW - it sounds like a bios problem to me.

6:53 am on July 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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thank you all...i have a result from NEC and thought i would let you all know the outcome.

The grey screen is the screen that appears on start up (which is why it gives me the option to enter setup or bios). what is happening is that my machine is going into standby or shutdown after periods of inactivity but is conflicting with a bit of software (i have loads so not sure what is it) or a process running in the background and is not starting up again properly when i engage the machine again. The outcome? Disable ALL power saving, hibernating, etc as accurately diagnosed by several of you. I have done this and so far, so good! not sure if this is good for my machine long term, but i am happy nothing major is wrong. the other plus is that it motivated me to finally do something about backing up my work!

On another note, just to let you all know how i managed to get to speak to the Support Manager:

Firstly, I "turboed" the issue as suggested by PatrickDeese. I snuck in the back door by "obtaining" their switchboard number from the user manual (not the helpdesk / support given to me and listed in the phone book) number, and got the manager of the section via the CEO's assistant. (ask to speak to the great man himself and inevitably his assistant will put you onto a lower, but more helpful, manager:-)

The Manager was much more familiar with the product than the first level telephone support person and because i was quite pleasant and reasonable about it all he was very keen to help. he diagnosed the problem in a few minutes and hopefully we have the result i wanted. he agreed that re-installing XP was not the solution and would be time consuming/wasting for me.

I also wanted to say that the feedback i got here gave me the confidence to pursue the issue more intelligently and vigorously, so thank you all!


7:10 am on July 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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blue screen of death is still blue in win xp.i get it around 1-3 times per week or so..but this BSOD is even worse than in previous windows - in previous windows you could hit escape and there was some chacne that you would get back to system.in win xp when you see blue screen then everything is blocked!