Toshiba laptop crash; new laptop’s slow clock – Odessa American

Question: My wife is using a Toshiba laptop that without warning, the screen will go black and it appears to have shut off since the only way to resolve it is to push and hold the power button until it reboots. It operates both on battery and AC, so it doesn’t appear to be a power source issue. Is there something that captures or diagnoses this condition, such as event viewer? I bought the laptop in 2009. Is this just a factor of old age, or is it repairable?

>> Craig B.

Niceville, Fla.

Answer: The problem is in your laptop screen’s backlight, specifically the inverter that alters the laptop’s voltage so that it can run the light module. This is a well-known issue with Toshiba laptops, and one I’ve covered in the column before (see I.T.G.M. Issue #176, Dec. 5, 2010).

The issue is not something that Windows would capture Craig. Although Windows does have control of whether the backlight is on or off, it has no way of detecting whether the inverter itself is actually supplying power to the light module. So, you won’t find anything in the Windows log pertaining to this problem. Since the fault is fully hardware-based, it is repairable.

It would be up to you to determine whether the cost is worth the benefit for a 6 year old laptop.

Q: I wanted to tell you that issue #411 (I.G.T.M. Issue #411, June 7-13, 2015) was fantastic. In about 2 minutes I had IE moving faster that it has been in two months. It’s like I bought a new computer. Thanks!

>> Beryle F.

Navarre, Fla.

A: I’m happy that you found it so useful, Beryle! Thanks for the positive feedback.

Q: My very new, high-end, liquid nitrogen cooled laptop shows 3:57 a.m. and it’s 7:33 a.m. Never, ever, ever in the history of using computers, and my history starts with Bill Gates’s father’s, father’s, father’s, father’s Abacus 100, have I seen a computer clock wrong like this.

Heck, it even tells me when Daylight Savings Time happens, often surprising me first thing in the A.M. before my first sip of coffee. I’m of course going to reset the clock, but how could this happen? P.S. It’s begun to rain today and I need to paint and cut the grass.

>> William R.

Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

A: I realize it goes against conventional wisdom, but I’m going to ask you to set aside what you “know” about your computer for a moment, and accept it when I tell you that, although it is a rare occurrence, a computer can actually fail to keep accurate time, or simply stop keeping time altogether.

The newness and high-endiness of the machine don’t really factor into the equation, neither does the gee-whizziness of being able to track when Daylight Savings Time starts and ends.

The function of actually keeping the system time resides in the real-time clock module that is built-in to the computer’s BIOS firmware. It relies on a tiny battery to power a type of integrated circuit known as a complimentary metal-oxide-semiconductor, or CMOS.

The change for Daylight Savings Time, on the other hand, is something done by Windows, and you get that same functionality no matter how expensive or bargain basement your PC might happen to be.

Several things can go wrong to cause the time to drift. Perhaps your CMOS battery is faulty, corroded, or has a bad connection. It’s possible the BIOS itself is “ticking” intermittently, and losing fractions of seconds that build-up over time.

If it makes you feel any better, visit tinyurl.com/IGTM-0423 for the story of someone who was also having clock errors on his PC. The problem may not be something that you can actually fix, so if your system is “very new” you might consider requesting the seller to replace it for you under warranty.

P.S., I’m a Geek and not a lawn care specialist, but just between you and me, I would recommend forgoing your plans to “paint and cut the grass.”

By all means, proceed with the cutting, but don’t paint it. It might look good for a little while, but nothing good can come from that in the long-run. If you insist on going through with it, at least paint it after you cut it, so you don’t mess up your mower. No thanks necessary — just happy to help!

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