I have just come back from a long(ish) trip through UK and US, and decided it’s time for me to go back to some simple OSS tasks, while I finally convince myself to talk about the doubts I’m having lately.
To start on that, I tried to turn on my laptop, the Asus UX31A I got three and a half years ago. It didn’t turn on. This happened before, so I just left it to charge and tried again. No luck.
Googling around I found a number of people with all kind of problems about it, and one of them is something getting stuck at the firmware level. Given how I had found a random problem with PCIE settings in my previous laptop, that would make it reboot every time I turned it off, but only if the power was still plugged in, I was not completely surprised. Unfortunately following the advice I read (take off the battery and power over AC) didn’t help.
I knew it was not the (otherwise common) problem with the power plug, because when I plugged the cable in, the Yubikey Neo-n would turn on, which means power arrived to the board fine.
Then I remembered two things: one of the advices was about the keyboard, and the keyboard itself has had problems before (the control key sometimes would stop working for half an hour at a time.) Indeed, once I re-seated the keyboards’ ribbon cable, it turned on again, yay!
But here’s the other problem: the laptop would turn on, the caps-lock LED on and stay there. And even letting the main battery run out would not be enough to return it to working conditions. What to do? Well, I got a hunch, and turned out to be right.
One of the things that I tried before was to remove the CMOS battery — either I kept it out not long enough to properly clear, or something else went wrong, but it turned out that removing the CMOS battery allowed the system to start up — but that would mean no RTC, which is not great, if you start the laptop without an Internet connection.
The way I solved it was as follows:
- disconnect the CMOS battery;
- start up the laptop;
- enter “BIOS” (EFI) setup;
- make any needed change (such as time);
- “Save and exit”;
- let the laptop boot up;
- connect the CMOS battery.
Yes this does involve running the laptop without the lower plate for a while, be careful about it, but to the other hand, it did save my laptop from being stomped on, on the ground out of sheer rage.
Tried this tonight on my UX32VD, hope it works! 🙂