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Old 10th January 2010, 11:41 PM   #1
Londoner_at_heart
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Default Help! My laptop sabotages video streaming

I have an HP Pavilion laptop (dv4050EA) which is some 4 years old. I am very happy with it, it has survived heavy usage, 3 moves (one international), a few bumps (including dropping it to the floor a couple of times), a serious virus attack (required formatting) and my general clumsiness and lack of geekiness.

But, lately it's started to go weird on me. Meaning when I'm watching videos on the internet it suddenly dies on me. Randomly, sometimes straight away, sometimes after quite a while. At first I though it was just overheating, but it doesn't happen if I'm surfing the web, working, chatting or anything that doesn't involve video streaming. Not even when I'm watching DVDs on it. Why the heck does that happen? Is there a feasible technical explanation for this? Or is my laptop just making a statement against watching series online and demanding I buy the DVDs instead?

I'm seriously fed up with the screen going black in the middle of the best moments. I need my fix of TV shows, pronto. Any ideas? Anyone?

Last edited by Londoner_at_heart; 11th January 2010 at 11:47 PM.
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Old 11th January 2010, 12:29 AM   #2
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I have no idea about the technical aspect of it, but I would make sure that you have all your computer backed up before it dies fully.
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Old 11th January 2010, 03:48 AM   #3
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Hola LAH. Let's see if I can help. But first, which web browser do you use, have you updated the browser recently and have you updated Adobe Flash recently? When you talk about video streaming, do you mainly mean sites like YouTube?
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Old 11th January 2010, 11:27 AM   #4
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Hate to sound like a tech support person but you need to post details like OS, browser (version too), video player, etc.

If you're watching YouTube vids, try switching to another browser like Chrome (www.google.com/chrome) and seeing if the problem still persists.

If you're watching downloaded vids on a video player, try VLC (videolan.org).

Both apps are free.

If you're still on Internet Explorer, you deserve the pain! Just kidding (not really). But if it's true, please do us developers a huge favor and use Firefox or Chrome.
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Old 11th January 2010, 03:12 PM   #5
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I am not going to pretend to be technically mind enough to help you, but there is some information responders will need to know before they can attempt to answer you.
We need some details of software. Browser; O.S. system, and what are you watching the films on i.e. windows media player. Also are you getting any sort of error message and do you have the blue screen of death?
The other problem could be hardware, but first lets have some details of the above because it is usually software bugs.


PS lets hope you are not watching films on those Chinese websites!
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Old 11th January 2010, 04:27 PM   #6
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hehe, no dodgy porn or snuff movies if that's what you guys are thinking, promise, otherwise I wouldn't be stupid enough to ask for help here!!!

I'll give you a few details off the top of my head but I'll check the versions this evening at home to be sure:

OS: Windows XP
Browser: Explorer (yes, I probably deserve it all). I'll change to Firefox and let you know if there's any improvements
Software: I guess that depends on the website. I normally watch series from www.surfthechannel.com, which re-directs users to other websites -my preferred ones are Guba and Megavideo. All streaming, no downloading. I have no idea if those sites use flash videos or any other format.
DVD player: Windows Media Player, but as I said I don't have problems when playing DVDs.

I don't think I've ever had any issues with youtube, but I don't know if it's because clips are normally quite short or because of the flv file type or what.

As for the problem itself, no error messages or warning of any sort. Computer dies like someone pulled its plug and it didn't have a battery. It just closes down without closing the programs or closing Windows or anything like that. I can switch it back on and it will work fine again, although I do feel it can stand the video streaming for a bit longer if I let it cool down a bit before I switch it back on. It's very weird and I can't seem to figure out a pattern other than the video streaming bit.

Thanks everyone for your advices. Pippa, I'll make sure I have a back up just in case. I think I am in denial, I don't want to think this is the beginning of the end of my beloved laptop as I can't afford a new one. So thank you for making me face the inevitable (sigh).

Last edited by Londoner_at_heart; 11th January 2010 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 11th January 2010, 05:47 PM   #7
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The bit about Chinese websites is only what I have read on line. It seems you can obtain all sorts of Hollywood movies too.
I would first do two things back up everything and ensure you have the up to date software, as suggested by Gabriel.
The PC shutting down without any messages seems rather odd. But it does seem to point my thinking towards some sort of hardware problem as usually software gives an error message.
I have done a quick search on line for some trouble sorting ideas.
This one is for a new set up but still a good checklist.
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/...-boot-problems
This next thread is a few years old but seems to point at the BIOS being at fault.
http://forums.pcpitstop.com/index.php?showtopic=123170
If either of these threads do not give you the answers then maybe post a question on one of them.
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Old 11th January 2010, 06:37 PM   #8
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After 4 years, I'm sure your notebook is pretty dirty inside. My friend sent me her dying laptop to fix and I could tell just by looking at the vents that she was watching/working with her laptop in bed, on top of a blanket or something.

I'm never comfortable opening other people's notebooks so I told her to send it in for cleaning. It came back working 100%.

You might have the same issue.

However, a little poking around on the net tells me that you have one of those laptops with a defective Nvidia GPU (graphics processing unit) which die slow deaths. By all accounts, there's nothing to be done but to buy a new notebook. Sorry.

http://forums11.itrc.hp.com/service/...readId=1328539
http://ask.metafilter.com/110323/Vid...deo-card-dying
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/26...eo-card-laptop

Last edited by annabwashere; 11th January 2010 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 11th January 2010, 06:47 PM   #9
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When you decide to give your notebook the boot (bad pun intended), then load it up with Ubuntu (ubuntu.com) so it can still serve some useful purpose.

I have 6+ year old stuff at home that got the Ubuntu treatment and it's really satisfying to see otherwise obsolete equipment perform as if it were brand new again.

(Posting from my Pentium 4, Ubuntu 9.04, hooked up to a 42" flat screen TV.)
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Old 11th January 2010, 07:41 PM   #10
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wow, people, sounds like lots of very useful advice! Many thanks for sharing your expertise, I'll try to make good use of it.

I'll have a proper look at all the links later and keep you posted on whatever I manage to make of the poor thing. Wish me luck.
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Old 11th January 2010, 07:48 PM   #11
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Yep good luck. Hopefully you find the answer.
If we don't hear from you we will assume the Laptop died.
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Old 11th January 2010, 09:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ribeirasacra View Post
If we don't hear from you we will assume the Laptop died.
...and I'm mourning in solitude... Or I just can't post anymore :/
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Old 11th January 2010, 11:07 PM   #13
switch007
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(Your native language is Spanish!? Your English reads like a native's!!!)

It is possible that watching videos online (using Flash) causes more stress than even watching a DVD and consequently heating your laptop up a lot. You'll hear the fans go crazy and lots of hot air coming out of the vents.

Have you done a Windows update recently? Is your graphic card's driver up-to-date?

If you believe it's overheating, you can buy cooler to go under it. Try not to keep it on your lap - put it on a flat surface so there's more air flow.
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Old 11th January 2010, 11:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switch007 View Post
(Your native language is Spanish!? Your English reads like a native's!!!).
Do I like you or do I like you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by switch007 View Post
Have you done a Windows update recently? Is your graphic card's driver up-to-date?
All up to date. I had a horrible virus and had to format, reinstall and reconfigure everything. The problem was happening before the formating and it hasn't gone away since, either. I'll try cleaning it and if it doesn't work I'll get the cooler. And I'll start saving cause I have the feeling Pippa is right, much as I hate to admit it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by switch007 View Post
Try not to keep it on your lap - put it on a flat surface so there's more air flow.
Why the heck are they called laptops then?!? Annoying, confusing use of language
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Old 11th January 2010, 11:52 PM   #15
switch007
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(¿oye, habías vivido fuera de España? Me extrañaría muchísimo que lo puedas aprender a un nivel como tuyo sin haber vivido ni una vez en un país donde inglés se habla, o tener un padre/madre inglés!!! .. Si no, tendrás que contarme la clave!!)

About keeping it on your lap, it depends. Some laptops, like mine, like to expel heat from underneath, whereas my work laptop only expels it from the side extremeties. A four year old laptop.. I would start to think about replacing it to!! I recommend a Samsung or another HP! (Or a dell, if the budget is tight)
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Old 11th January 2010, 11:59 PM   #16
Londoner_at_heart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by switch007 View Post
(¿oye, habías vivido fuera de España? Me extrañaría muchísimo que lo puedas aprender a un nivel como tuyo sin haber vivido ni una vez en un país donde inglés se habla, o tener un padre/madre inglés!!! .. Si no, tendrás que contarme la clave!!)
I'd like to claim I'm the exception to the rule and learnt it all by myself in my madrileño crib, but no, cinco años en Londres made all the difference

Y tu español no está nada mal tampoco, by the way!

Quote:
Originally Posted by switch007 View Post
About keeping it on your lap, it depends. Some laptops, like mine, like to expel heat from underneath, whereas my work laptop only expels it from the side extremeties. A four year old laptop.. I would start to think about replacing it to!! I recommend a Samsung or another HP! (Or a dell, if the budget is tight)
Yes, I know, I know, coming to terms with it... will wait till it dies on me and doesn't wake up again though. Budget IS tight. Sigh...
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Old 12th January 2010, 12:33 AM   #17
GabrielDeManila
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Wow. Everybody answered so fast. Ok, the other thing that could be causing your problem that I can think of is the memory. Before replacing the whole laptop or reformatting it, try running a memory diagnostic program. I think this one would do:

http://www.memtest.org/

If the memory really is at fault, then it could be just a matter or replacing your DRAM cards. On laptops I know, it's just a matter of opening up a small section at the bottom of the laptop and replacing the memory with new ones.

En fin, ¡suerte!
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Old 12th January 2010, 12:45 AM   #18
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Gracias, gracias!

I should have poste here sooner, everyone is so helpful! Hats off to you all
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Old 12th January 2010, 12:54 AM   #19
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Four years is about my limit with laptops - they never properly last longer than that. I find it's much better to buy a cheap laptop every 3 years or so and save the hassle of trying to keep an expensive one going for 5 years or so.
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