My LapTop page "LT". (a personal Journal)
This page covers many topics, that I have dealt with , working problems on laptops , repairs , upgrades , and speed issues. (too slow), over heating,  and Virus infections. 
My new, total  death chapter, Ground zero testing (even with  no CPU/GPU TESTS !).


The HP 8540-P&W   circa 2010    (Elitebooks)  Feature rich and with finger scanner.

Basic problems.
Sick system causes and cures
Best buys for used Laptops
  Windows 10? horrors...
Slow laptops, not malware infected.
SSD makes PC FAST ! as does more DRAM.
Screen dead? Windows, ISO  install file confusions.
HP 8540w, graphic card upgrade: Memory upgrade horrors HP. "EliteBook"
Overheating , all ways from Sunday.
TIM (thermal interface materials)

See how to install, Windows 10 on the HP8540 Laptops. 

First off, I'm a HP aficionado.   Quality + Full documentation = WIN

WINDOZ, in General:
CD's and DVD installs are Dead, (bury the hatchet now)
We ISO's now. (just and image of the old DVD it is)
I now have all  ISO install FILES and made my own legal, and perfect ISO files.  (and all are now on USB flash memory STICK'S)
Personally, I build my own slip streamed install disks with all CURRENT service packs and all 260 updates (W7), one such disk ISO , that  I built  (W7-64b) is over 5 Gigs in sizes.  An Elephant.  (using WUD and NTlite)
The 260 number is W7/64b +SP1 forward... a scary number...
I  boot the ISO and run setup.exe and it installs as I sleep... 
I'd never  use the HP or DELL Restore partitions on the old laptops, for this same reason.  (3 days of updates is for squids, not me....) I'm retired not dead.
Best is to get a fresh, copy of Windows 7, 8 or 10. That is preloaded with all service pack, for sure on WIN 7 !
See many official MS download links here, and some rules.

Backup your data, is first.
Then build your own Windows install stick using a current ISO.  file.
Next do a fresh Windows install.
Then set the time and date now. or you will get infinite, online, certificate errors trying to get updates or ACTIVATE.
The bottom of all my laptops have the License key sticker and that  is OEM and works with all my ISO installs.  Done many. 

Various Issues:
Laptops (all PC computers and worse Windows based , ever try LINUX?) can have a vast array of problems (I'll make no attempt at them all, just the most serious.)
Infections top the list. (malware) 
You have 2 choices, (3)? get it fixed at a pro shop.  scan it and clean it, (1 zillion on line examples to clean malware) or reload windows.
 I refuse to cover A/V I'm an expert at this, but it's just too long a story....I now have brief comments here. (takes skill and some luck) But I do cover windows loads.
Now we deal with real hard failures, (not malware)  .

Screen dead?

BIOS DEAD?  if dead,  on all 3 screens, the DC power regulators on the Mobo (short for motherboard) are bad. (one of them at least) There are fuses on the MOBO, mother board. (test them, F1, F2, Plxx
Listen for beep codes or LED flash codes,  The service manual on my LT covers all that in details, read that... and is a big clue, like RAM dead.  Try to boot system with 1 RAM or swap them . (1 at a time)
Keyboard dead. (whole or in part) use and external keyboard (USB on left front port ) if that is dead,  the mother board has issues, or USB is turned off in BIOS. (turn it on, and try again)

Fan dead? (in the BIOS set this to enable, "fan runs on A/C all the time" It now must run (blow), or the fan is bad or you lost power.

LEDs all, are  dead.?

Power button dead.?

Best is last here, check this out... (I call this Ground zero testing)
The acid test for my mobo, all things gone, no CPU even,  I see the globe LED must glow. (then add just the CPU and all LED strobe,  over and over, trying to boot BIOS,etc, but there is no RAM , so CAN'T.) 

Do not touch any metal parts/or pins, of the main PCB mother board, unless you are fitted with a wrist ground strap (ESD happens)

  • Plastic pry bars, same as used for cell phone dismantling.
  • Jewelers screw drivers. Phillips.  A set.
  • Torx drivers , T8 size will do all my HP 8540's
  • An anti-static mat (grounded) and matching wrist strap.

Unlock Connectors.  Basics 101:
Treat these gently. NEVER force them and never pull a  cable until it is unlocked. The  U >>>L path below is short , do not force it too far.
The end tabs are locks. See keyboard below;"Kdb"
The tabs pushed out are unlocked, and pushing then out, unlocks them.   
I use CELL phone service kit ,plastic pry tools to do all prying here. For  sure on case housing, side splits that need to be pried gently. The Below is under the keyboard.  Type cell phone pry tools here.

How to make any  older laptop faster?   (it is slow, or was fast, now its slow or always was slow?)
Laptop tricks of the trade !
Laptops are very highly integrated and do not use standards for parts inside (HDD, is one exception SATA standards)
This makes them expensive to fix and harder to diagnose, (opening some can be private horror, like some CELL phones)
My HPs are much better class of laptop.

SLOW Laptops 101: LT's
All old laptops are slow, by design (to attain long battery run times)  ( so, Get rid of the HDD and put in a SSD and now it's not slow.)
Here is a list of slow causes: Not in any order. (Malware tops list every time)
  1. Infected with a Virus or Malware tops list.  clean it or fresh load windows.
  2. Over heating if the system detects over heating it will slow down or halt.  (the processor will do that a 90C all by itself or the MOBO BIOS can too.
  3. It was slow new, and is slow now, but was cheap when you bought it ?so....why is it slow well the slow CPU is one reason, old cheap and slow, or lacks enough RAM, (HDD swapping out page files like mad is it?)
  4. Slow HDD , replace with SSD and win! Clone the old to new and bam, fast. (if not? see next 2 lines) or the HDD is damaged. (read errors constantly in S.M.A.R.T GUI)
  5. Windows 7(tm) updates ran 221 updates after SP1 and is not slow, sure it will be,   updating for ever,  slow and long,  waiting waiting..  The updates can cause windows to no longer run fast on a 2GB memory machine after all this bloat ware loads.
  6. Update hell, seen many locked up in this mode endlessly, one update fails an the others stall, and the LT runs slow endlessly.  (MS updates are very poor, IMO)
  7. Upgrading  and old laptop with a much newer OS, will make it slower forever.  (how ever more memory and and SSD does help, if you update the OS.
  8. Damage, there can always be some damage not related to the above. (buy a used laptop for $100 and win, get an HP8540w (or p). and WIN.
  9. Run MEMtest86 and see if the memory fails.  If yes?, replace it.
  10. More diagnosis is here.

HDD /SSD speeds..  SATA-II run great on HDD.
SATA "ii" does 375 "mega bytes per second" (i/o speeds)  powers of 2, bytes, not decimal.  "this means the i/o cable can reach these speeds max if the SSD can  read or write this fast"
SATA "iii" does 750
MiB/s) (the best)
No SSD can do 750, (At this moment...) but most newer SSD are bottle necked, on the old SATA-ii  systems ports.
One good SSD brand is SAMSUNG EVO 850 series. It is Sata-iii rated.
As are SanDisks best SSD.


I have run experiments on many oder Laptops. (old up to 10 years old) and tried 4GB or RAM and SSD on all.
And all SCREAM upgraded,  (not for extreme gaming sorry, that is ANOTHER WORLD)''
I have many old laptops to try this on and all at full speed all the time, with SSD and DRAM update. 
There are hundreds of web sites showing how to do this:
Best Laptops to buy are those with real 64bit processors. or 2010 to present.
  • Install new SSD
  • Install, Windows, 7 on up. (64bit is the goal ,do it) More DRAM,  4GB is plenty. 1GB not good at all.
  • end story, it screams.
Older laptops than 2010 are full of bad news and issues, and not able to cope  with todays huge bloat ware, and all issues in the next frame below.

Buying old laptops. "LT"  BUYING OLD IRON !
The bad story  in the news... It's all real.
 The first or the classic LT Graphic chips bonding solder ball failures. (aka the lead free debacle) (my HP LT , don't do this, by choice)
On high end LT there is this  small plug-in card  for Video graphics.  As seen here. (used cards are like $15 so are an easy fix if the video chip dies or melts its solder balls, but my HP heat sink here is one of the best ever made for LT, so never fails.  )

GETTING THE LEAD out :(Zero Pb laws (lead), or RoHs laws caused this)  In a rush to compliance we get , CHAOS. Started (for buyers) in 2007 (USA) for California, Jan 1, 2007 dead line.  HP began the work in 2003 (engineering it)
Pb is Latin symbol for lead.  on the period chart of elements (down low).
Know failed LT (common to fail and near impossible to fix)
All Nvidia, 8400m,8600m based systems, HP/DEL/Apple. During the years (2007~) going to lead-less soldering.
 (all makers of cheap laptops did this and failed. "not found on HP Elitebooks ever")
HP has 38 model  laptops listed for recall. (Avoid them, listed below) so do the other makers.  (this is not an HP thing, most cheap laptops made have this issue) , so  buy the high end models and avoid this issue?
Dell's failed too, but they just turned up the fan speeds. (a BIOS upgrade) saving DELL a fortune in recalls. (I love this simple fix. "damn the torpedo's and fan noise"
HP; Avoid all, DV20xx, DV60xx and DV90xx Laptops (Nvidia based only bad, not ATI, not Intel graphics)  The effected chips are not easy to solder down, at all and get them right .

Then there was the BAD CAP era: "Electrolytic Capacitors" (leak, crack or explode)  The true cause, was makers too cheap to buy real capacitors from Nichicon. (the 105c class, never failed)
Avoid all with bad caps from  1999 to 2007  (buy a 2008 or newer laptop)
 All mobos, all power supplies, video cards, all can have  this.. problem.. so.. avoid it. "bad electrolytic cap.'s" I call in cloned caps from H3LL"  Even car computers have this horror....nobody escapes... it seems... there is a huge wiki on this.

Now my favorite PC laptop.
The best old laptop for quality and price is the ELitebook HP8740  (or any 8x40 generation  the 4 mean gen2. 2010 year. (starts)  
The 8540w can run a 820QM (quad core) and with FX1800 graphics. <<< this is the best old lap top. (I have 34 of these gems)  the Quad runs hot, so if not gaming get the 2 core, it runs 40-40C. cool.
The Battery on fire deal? (in the NEWS) worry? (battery risk I , ignore this, as  they are consumable, and when I get a used lap top, I replace it first.)

I have the HP8540p and w.  (restored and SSD built) (the 8540w  is faster, but more expensive,  but gamers like it.)  ("p" for personal and "w" for works station business)
The xx40w quad core runs 4 DMM3 ram chips and up to 16GB max,  4GB in each slot , no larger.
The 7 in 87 prefix means 17" LED screen, nice and wide.... but the 85xx  (5 means 15" screen)but all Elitebooks are good to own.
The Elitebook is Mil. spec, quality with LED screen back light and has the i7  (4 core processor or i5 like mine 2 core).With the SSD upgrade it screams.  (as most do , even on SATA2 ATA systems)
My new SSD is only 128GB.
Do not block the side air vents. (any vents side or bottom) 
Do not run any laptop on a blanket. (blocks vents)
With speed comes heat, and with heat, you need air flow to expel all that heat, block that path and it may burn up. (the CPU does slow down with heat, detected to save its own bacon)
The HP BIOS has a check mark , for  run fan full time on line power.  (turn that on)
I upgrade all laptops now with new heat sink grease compound (TIM), Shin Etsu G751 grease.

Next topic: 

Laptop Diagnosis , and repairs are
really the same on all  Von Neumann computers, the only basic difference is physical, or more simply, "where they hide the parts" and unique cooling  (unlike desktops with ATX spec. cases,etc)
I am  very opinionated about this, I've disinfected 1000s of systems, before I retired. (I'm a hardware guy, software to me is , all expendable, "erase all, reload all")
The hard cold facts of life, are "No HDD lasts for ever", not even close, the same can be said of the MicroSoft O.S.   (what is O.S?  see JARGON)
That MS XP Windows OS is a garbage magnet and Virus / malware suck pump. (the older versions are worse)
Linux really is a better OS... in all ways. and for sure Security.

Surely, there are a vast number, of things that can fail. ( and near infinity in the  software & parameters, for sure)
I will cover, but only a few very common ways here , dead LT, dead mobo,  Dead OS, Dead screen and Slow System. (slow to boot or slow run the O.S. system)

First things first. 
The power supply pack applies 19vdc to the rear of of the laptop , if not the LT will be Dead.
If wiggling the rear power connector causes the LT to wake up, that means that connector is busted, is that hard to imagine?  my HP85's can't do that, it's protected from THAT. (with a flex cable inside)
Make sure to test the laptop with no battery using A.C line power, as batteries do short out and cause havoc.
Run with and without a battery .  All a Laptop runs perfect on line power alone, but not both with a shorted battery. (a shorted battery on many laptops , cause big problems with internal power)
My laptop has 2 batteries, so Try AC only, BAT1 and Bat2 only,  and see what's UP?
Next is the power button , is it dead? and all LEDS are dead this is NOT a good sign, with good A.C power and good power pack (the 19vdc can be measured with any voltmeter ever made, even a 1960 meter) or that  $10 Walmart meter... any...
The prime LED is the world globe iconed LED  on the HP:  See total death of said LED here.
If the LEDs work ok,  and don't flash odd codes (if they do, see flash codes below)
Ok only the LCD screen is dead. (the hinged screen) (plug in any VGA monitor. If it works and not the real screen , maybe the real screen is bad.
So, play a flashlight beam onto the front screen, see data? there. images?   Yes,  then the back lamp is dead. fix that now.  Mine is LED back light and are not known to fail like CCFL lamps love to do .
Ok, the screen (LCD) actual, is dead and not the back light.CCFL lamp dead.etc.  (we replace it, easy)  HP has my manuals here. ( only USA makers have the best documentation.
My HP finds the VGA screen with the LCD unplugged, automatically.

Is the screen dead?  Did you?:     Your LT will have its own keys to press, RTM (read the manual  your manual, not mine)
  • Plug in any Desktop screen (first) to the side 15pin XGA D-shell port? and press Function  FN+F4 called external  VGA  ) , that sends all screen output to the external screen connector, if that works , your actual internal LCD screen, may be dead.
  • If the VGA port connected to a desk top screen fails, I replace my FX1800 video card next. This card , the screen (inside or outside) must work or this car is bad, lucky for you ,it just unplugs. (HP service manual covers how, it's no secret)
  • Factoid #1, the O.S, could be totally missing or dead, corrupted , or erased or  HDD MISSING, and  the screen must work in BIOS,  as seen  Flash video   The BIOS  F10 screens must display on demand or the screen is dead, (if the External screen works)
  • Not only that, but mine runs a TV with an HDMI cable.  (yes, 3 screen choices for testing )
  • Make sure you turn up the FN+F9 brightness,  I can't tell you how to use Fn for brightness, because every laptop is unique (no standards)  Your lap top manual is free and online. Please read it.  Mine is Fn+F9.
  • Both  screens will freeze (and all else) if the processor hits 90C (the processor is internally wired to freeze, this hot, until you clean out the air vents and fan paths,etc)  True on both Intel and AMD  Processors.
  • The HDD must be heard to spin, if not , it will never boot or run. (it's just a D.C motor in there) (no spin? then it is a  bad HDD or no DC raw power to HDD  +5v and +12vdc)
  • You may not know how , but a tech. checks all DC power supply rails inside the main board, for spec. voltages, 5vdc and 12vdc for sure. (He/She uses a thing called a DMM "meter" set to Voltage Mode)
  • Do not forget, you boot to DVD/CD drive , Live windows. or Linux  disks to test the system, and you can boot to a live ISO stick memory, (I have live Windows 10 PE on stick for testing now)
Ok, the screen works now, on the BIOS page {at least} (aka: a ROM monitor page in the olden day) BIOS (uEFI) is the lowest coded form of intelligence in the system and must work at all times (on demand or at P.O.S.T).    (cheat sheet on that...)
My HP the F10 key and F9 key and ESC  keys must all work.  (BIOS hot keys)

Top of the list: OVERHEATING:  See my TIM section here.

Fan dead?
Fan packed in lint?
Bottom vent packed in lint?
Running it on a rug or blanket, or blocking those bottom or side vents, in any way? Answer  , stop that.! Mom shakes finger at you !
Hark !, clean out the lint?  from that side Radiator (looks like a tiny car Radiator that it is, it's a heat exchanger for sure) clean that and the fan and its fan box using CANNED air, sold  even in Walmart. 
Best is to  remove the key board, see all that lint,  clean all that out. (gently)
With the battery removed  my fan   runs full time, at 2200 rpm , even not booted yet,

Okay, Is it overheating, the CPU or GPU or HDD (SSD) (main processor, graphics processor or the Hard Disk Drive
To prove that? how, with software App.'s.
 ( Use SPEEDfan application program   to get the temperatures   and S.M.A.R.T for the HDD.  CrystalDiskInfo

My HP, 8540p and (w) both, never turn off the fan, ever. To witness this fact, run HWinfo32 (or 64) program,(free) this Application program. is a killer app. in that it shows 1000s of facts on the system and is very useful. But I use just the TEMPS, and RPM.
The  BIOS then raises temps 8 times. (up to) as the processor overheats. or GPU overheats. (so can you, at any time , override this using HWInfo app)
See the RPM below, using above app.  I can click max then set speed and get 5000+ RPM. The below temps are on a NON QUAD CORE:

Now some QUAD core data. (tests)
Ambient is 68F today in shop.So all below are CPU rises in temps.
Day one with bad HP TIM, old , hardened and cracked , was near 80C. running, and liked to creep up faster and higher, "unstable" is the word.
( My hottest running processor, 820QM runs at C2 (hottest core C1,2,3,4) WIN7(64b) at 80C (with MASSCOOL STARs700 <<< not so good IMO.! it runs too.... which I do not like...)
I run the vary good program (bench)OCCT load test Linpack selected (hottest load) and C2 hottest  core)
In no way, does any M520 2core (pussy cat) processor ever going  to need SHIN grease, as  that -40p laptop runs very very cold even with fresh Dow 340 (even relic tubes of 340 work here well on the pussycat ) My 8540 runs at 30-40C.(room is 20C) 25watts.
Back to my quad core.... 820, it makes  ton of heat 50watts as does my F1800 GPU.  100watt total is possible.  (nothing trivial that)

TIM (thermal interface materials) or as tech's call it , "heat sink grease".  (vast brand names and lies, endless and boring)
I offer this recommendation:
 I tried, my new tube  TIM of " for sure real"  Shin-Etsu X23-7783D" (does at least 5 laptops for $7 for 0.5 grams)
The 2 core CPU based system runs 30 to 40 C ( will do this even with cheap $1 grease (TIM)
All my 4 core (QM)  run  50 to 70C both running above grease. (SHIN Etsu) and needs it. (as does the fastest GPU)
I cover more TIM facts here.

PC runs slow.

PC Dead.
PC infected. (run A/V full scan, or reload windows,  a coin toss here)

So, if you boot from a live CD (Hiren's wins my vote) and it runs great, then guess what, ? your Windows is corrupted, or HDD is bad. (read errors can happen to any degree on bad HDD (SSD).
When I say boot live CD, mostly I mean my bootable ISO running off a $4 USB flash memory stick....
PC infected:  If it's infected , run a deep virus scan.  or boot from a boot CD with an off line virus scanner, BINGO? nothing works better ! except, , if not, then you need to reload Windows fresh.

First things first ( make and use a Live boot CD  from Linux , there is even a MS live Boot PE)  It is an OS that runs from CD (or DVD) and proves the whole system is ok, and that only the HDD or its OS are bad.

One of the best CD's  is Hiren's BOOT CD, seen here in my short slide show... running HDD removed!.  (send him money I did) Fee Down loads.

Even more cool?  is the LIVE Windows by Lady Fatima. (burn it to stick)!

Get a CD with , hard drive testing programs to test the HDD.  Hiren's boot CD with HDDscan or  Falcon4.  none work (today) with GPT formated discs or will it boot at all with BIOS secure boot set true.
Got an old HDD laying around try tests using IT (we save them all, just for moments like this)
If this works,  we then use our backup bootable HDD.
Why not own a spare HDD,?     or better  yet,  up grade to new SSD , now the old HDD is a spare test drive. see the value of that?   ( If all the above tests pass, then the old HDD 0.S was bad)
We found that the OS needs to be cleaned or replaced. (or at the least a Repair install)
Most online, so called experts say,  reload the OS, (OS = operating system)  and are correct, but they are lazy, as they don't give a crap,  that you the customer have 100 apps loaded (CAD ,CAM , Development tools,etc, and tons of data too.
But if you are  data free, then bam,  do a fresh OS install, now, end of story. (unless the HDD is bad, but It will tell you that, during the install , hangs, with errors "CRC error and Sector error X, etc, etc..") or using the above BOOT CD's.

Personally, I have an extra partition called DATA, and I keep it backed up, all the time to external ESATA HDD. So I'm free to nuke the OS at any time. (but reloading apps is a pain)

You could be proActive (before trouble) and mirror your good HDD to a spare HDD or any external USB HDD. but you didn't.

Lets stop  and make a list of ways first; ( for slow systems and bad boots)
The shorter list:
  • Screens not dead.
  • Boot from, Live CD work? (google that)  see UEFI.
  • Boot from your mirrored spare HDD,  work ok?  If yes the base system is good.
  • Install and old HDD in the system and install say, Windows 7, does that work?
  • Did your do the steps below for Slow running and booting systems.? (clean the system , help?)
  • Boot from the laptops makers, secret hidden, recovery partition (RTM)? and do a Repair Install or full install?
  • Make up  a boot ISO flash USB memory stick and boot from that , vast types of ISO live disks exist, even Repair ISO disks aplenty. (even run advanced disk checks from live CD!)
  • On mine , I can boot to drive bay 2 ( I removed my old useless DVD drive and put in a  $9 Caddy there and my old HDD into said Caddy, and can dual boot now , I can have Linux there, if I want)

Before  spending all week end , or if reloading 100 APPS is not for you read on....  or worse doing all post SP1 Windoz 7 updates all 100 of them... if not savvy.?
Test 1: I boot to a live Linux CD,  it runs perfectly (Evidence 1) (no , then bad mother board) This assumes you  know how to enter BIOS screens and go to boot order.   I run HDD testing programs off this Live CD and they pass muster.
By the way, modern systems boot to USB Flash Stick ,with ISO''s of any kind, (windows install, LIVE CD ,etc)
Test 2: I try my spare (ready to go )HDD, it runs perfectly, ok so the original HDD is bad or corrupted.
Test 3: If the Laptop don't boot, did you try booting to a live Linux CD? (or ISO flash version)?  My gosh this works. So all the expensive parts work great,  leaving original  HDD + OS , as  cause.

Microsoft O.S cleaning, 101: (the endless story if ever there was...)
If a live CD runs great , try the below , to clean the pee out of the public pool.
Lets do the #1 all time common failures, first (not overheating )
Runs slow: (or worse) CLEAN IT? Time to filter the pool?  Gee  , I sure wish chlorine would work! "like soak the whole thing over night as I sleep"?
Seriously we must:
  1. You make sure your A/V software is up to date, right?  I run MS defender, that is all, I do a full scan, first.  ok done. all is well.  (run YOUR ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE now, do not have 2 A/V software, installed at 1 time, or it will run slow forever.
  2. I don't need to run S.M.A.R.T, it's already done above, for temperatures,  and you look there and OMG the HDD has unrecoverable errors, time for a new drive , huh?
  3. Next I run Check disk. on the C: drive fully checked.  I click "This PC", (my computer, MS changes the name just for fun, jokers!) and then right click C: drive, then click Tools ,next click Check disk , after that, I click, General tab and Disk cleanup,   using defaults.
  4. No errors? , so  then use an elevated (so called) command prompt,.  (DOS for old farts, like me) Click start , in run box type CMD, then right click cmd.exe above and pick, run as administrator. (elevated be thy name). 
  5. In the DOS like , Command Window type sfc /Scannow (and enter)
  6. Run MS CHECK DISK,  Best run in safemode F8  command prompt, run box,  type chkdsk /f.  
  7. This command checks the operating system for corruption and cures it.  (ok , that passes, no errors) run it 2 or 3 times, as this can, in fact cure more problems.
  8. I install free Malwarebytes, and run a full scan and if it fails,  the corrections solve most problems here,  millions of folks cured JUST HERE. Never run without this great free product !!!  This is not A/V software.
  9. It's  still slow?, I run CCleaner, in default mode, It too, is  free. (use defaults)
  10. It  is still slow, at this point, I run Windows Install disk (DVD/or Flash ISO) and do a repair install , on some laptops there is a  hidden Repair partition, that is activated with  a custom hot key at boot, RTM, read your manual. (all Laptops vary here)
  11. If a repair install does not cure this problem, then do a fresh full install load, after backing up all data to an external HDD first (use and external drive box)
  12. Last and very powerful (not MS WPR appl. that takes a class 10 Geek) is this cloud based app. (no privacy lost here >) Called SOLUTO , it is cute and does work well, but I don't like the cloud method.    or     Read this one other method  Process Monitor 3.1
  13. On one machine, that was always slow,  we found 50 applications all set to auto update by default , stupid huh?, will slow all systems down, like that, turn them off.
  14. In the same light, I have MS updates set to manual (but tell me  mode) and I only do it once a week,  the machine is mine, and I'm in control, Not  MS or anyone.  These updates ,all turned on, will slow any system way down.
  15. The updates, some, do run at windows boot time, with a black screen, (also dumb that) and makes the boot slow, and confusing to many. Dumb how MS Don't put in the dead black screen "boot scripts running..." 
  16. In many cases, the above cleans the O.S .  If not? then back up all your data. and reload the O.S. <(the endless online mantra)

Installing Windows fresh,  and getting a good ISO file is top of the list:

First the Confusions:  (the best downloads of all are here!) 
What will MS do next? (a fast moving target)!
All links to ISO's changed and the rules too.  2 times this year.
2015: (these are official files, and only a legal COA key is needed to activate them)  "First Buy a COA key"  Then get the ISO.
  • Windows 7 , you go here and type in the COA key and get yours download for free, ISO.   (good keys work only , OEM keys fail here)  This CD supports all version of W7, Home to PRO and Enterprise. But you need  a legit key.
  • Windows 8.1 , does not ask for the key, and just downloads
  • Windows 10 same. (asks for 32 or 64bit) 
  • New flash,  all my Windows 7 Pro keys on the bottom of 4 laptops all allow me to clean install Windows 7 , ISO , and Activates (until the end of July 2016)  I did.
XP, 2000, Win 95 or 98 are all dead. RIP (but on old slow machines DO put in 4GB of RAM and a new SSD and now it will run Vista or maybe Win 7)  RUNS Fast, and my last, if you use a top A/V product.
The above may have updates installed. (for sure CDs will not, in most cases(being old), making them very hard to install, due to old CDs have no Service packs ore missing over 220 updates !)

Keys ?
COA keys? there are lots of key types,  I'll not mention enterprise, or corporate type licenses.
Just OEM  COA keys, say from HP (it's just a sticker on the bottom of the laptop )
The MS OP.SYSTEM installer  box set has a  COA card, my W7  boxes are green for home basic  , has 2 DVD inside 32bit and 64bit, but the key works with both bit systems. (no, not 2 laptops at once, that would be dreaming)

Mine are boxes with the Hologram etched DVDs and are for upgrading Vista to Windows 7.  (Vista is really Windows 6) this keys does not  work with the above full version green box.
But can be fooled, to work, say your W7 install , the HDD crashed, dead.  so do you need to install vista first, well no.
What I do is get the ISO and then add IE-11, and all updates first (all service packs and ALL updates).
Personally, I build my own slip streamed install disks with all service packs and all 220+ updates (W7), one such disk ISO , that  I built  (W7-64b) is over 5 Gigs in sizes.  An Elephant.  (using WUD and NTlite)
This will save a wasted 3 days getting over 200+ WIN7 updates, and rebooting 10 times to get it, done.  (and see windoz update fail, hard, locks up, due to missing IE11 and or, the missing Netframe update.)
My advice, don't ever install and old W7 disks or old ISO's, get the most newest ISO. (or make one yourself,  with WUD&NTLITE)
MS update service is JUNK ! it's near brain dead.  It never does it, in the right order, then fails. (using install disks/iso's)  (Linux uses smart dependency rules: what is MS doing ?)

Here are some keys direct direct buy....
PURE SPEED (Installs)
The most brilliant post world wide was this.
The person took a very fast  but old, 30GB SSD, (near free) and puts the ISO Windows installer there   and all updates Using WUD above. The boots to it, to run setup.exe from there..... yes, brilliant.
Nothing on earth loads Windows faster. nothing. SSD are blinding fast. (worst is DVD)

Windows 10 or is it "Marketing 10":  (Vista 10?) Win 10 , W10...
In my Opinion.
The purpose of W10 is to milk you for all your money , every day of your life, Like CELL phones do....    (there is a simple free cure, and I have 6 systems all like that here)
No lie, Windows is not for everyone , despite MS hype, and silly task bar demands! 
Do not run W10 on :
  • Old computers. say over 5 years old.  It must have ran new windows 7 or newer  ,when the computer was new.
  • Computers with 1GB memory. (buy more, get 4GB)
  • Computers with signal core processors. (hopeless)
  • Computers that W10  has no drivers that work for  major parts of your system (like wifi or video), why not  run windows live first ,see if works first. (then jump at the BAIT in the task bar.)
  • Expecting Win 10 HELLO to work,  really?
  • There never was  any windows release that works on all computers, do expect things to not work,  be that forever or takes hard hard work or delays to get support.  (like printers and flat bed scanners dead now?)
  • Or install it, then when unhappy , uninstall it. (winkey+settings.+update-security+recovery+ Go BACK to WINDOWS (7/8/8.1) (you have 30 days to decide) (good luck with that...) "LIKE TWO HINDENBuRGs PARKING IN ONE HANGER"  ?
I agree with a lot of this author statements , but not the look and feel complaints (gee change it?) , just  security  and auto-update  are the core elements of serious debates!

What I do, is kill all there  (MS)  spying in 1 click. using O&O below.  A  free program. (but do donate...  It is the  best and he did a great job !)
Then, load START 10  (a whopping $5 or the 30day trial ) "a standalone program that does not install" (just like START 8 , on all my systems) it works,  get rid of the MS
I also love and run Stardock Fences(tm) 2.13,  wow,  a long long horizontal desk top... love it.
I killed the store, and all...things like that.

I do not like forced updates, unless I have the power to delay them for 1 week,  lets say I want to do some "real work" and not have to deal with this auto update crap. (crashing and updates messing up, or causing a slow PC, etc...)
Or at an air port,  they call last boarding, and my stupid laptop yells (W10)  "I'm updating now,  do not turn off your lap top",  or OMG  what if the battery is drained near dead?  A STUPID IDEA of the year!

I'm lucky I  can run WIN10 pro. allows some changes (too damn few also)  using gpedit.msc.
In no way do I ever delay updates longer than 1week , (win 7 and up) 
If fact, I like to just let up update, when I am asleep.  (but never every night! and for sure not working or expecting to get real work done.)

I see MS is changing the update rules NOW (Dec.2015), after I update (wow!) now it lets me ,DELAY updates,  for 24 hours at 3am.... 
 Ok that is something I can agree with mostly, but what if you don't need the lap top until next week. (bam tons of updates and you can't work,  gawd I hate this crap!)

I do know for a fact, that we will WIN in the end, we WILL have hacks to the OS that lets me do AS I PLEASE.   (I WILL and you  can NOT stop me)
So, here is one way, run O&O , set updates Dead (3 check box) As seen below.
Get all your critical work done....  for your boss or the freak'n IRS, or financial work...
Then reverse the O&O check boxes (just on updates) this is what I DO NOW. This works, and is just 2 clicks.
Be nice to have a  TASK bar, update ICON, red off, green on...


This  free application I'm using,  does full security shut down, and kills auto-updates (u-Pick what you want)!
There is O&O  SHUT UP10. (at the least run this to see ALL THE SPYING MS DOES !!!!)

This is what you get during...install time W10 (below)
( click (tiny words "customized settings", setup NEVER EXPRESS) and  "JUST SAY NO"   to all those questions. (ends some spying)  (use the rule, "say no", now, adding is always easy later, but removing spy software, can be hard)
End MS spyware now.
Win10 allows some changes after the install. (could change at any time)  (but not all) seen below:

All the above can be moot, if MS wants, they can run "your PC", anyway they want at any time, after that is what any update can do.."They have the power, not you , now". so keep upgrading O&O, !!!
Linux wins here.... hands down... (the power deal)
I have seven (qty) Windows 7 pro licenses, and four 8.1 licenses.  I can reload them any time I desire,  in a flash, off my flash USB stick.  ( all that is needed is a COA key , legit) (be ready, like a boy scout)

Windows 10 upgrades my HP 8540s or clean installs ok, with only these issues.  HP does not authorize or recommend Window 10, for this laptop.... but that never stops me... google finds all files below, use Google and search (bingo)
  • SD memory slot (Ricoh) is  dead,  the win7 driver for same works just fine, off HP download page. load it now. Fn: sp46972.exe
  • The HP Drive Guard will not install (w7),  there are 16 versions, now, the last installs and works great, but not with SSD, it installs and shuts itself off, after all, SSD has no heads to park. The chip that does this is located on the rear center of MOBO, next to the display port, fn;=sp46972.exe
  • The HP Softpaq, will never work (w7),  it installs all drivers as needed (hands free). but since there is no w10 support , this app is dead. AS EXPECTED.
  • The HP Software Security pack will not load . (its w7 only) but the new one does,. Here it is :FN:   sp63797.exe ,  Security Client v.8.3 or newer 2015  (has Blue-White logo, not gold) I have my finger print reader working to log in to WINDOZ.
  • My CP device manager tree, is now showing no errors.  Everything works. 
  • "Microsoft Hello", does not work, but they tell you that, if you read there page on that. (no eye ball or face scans yet, sorry)
  • I have no MS account and never will.  So can't tell you how the store works, nor care. In fact, I block all spying.

I did this to 4 laptops (same brand model)
It  works better that I could ever dream. (all ports working even VGA, and Display port on left side)
Sound , SSD, DVD bay, all work.
I have a boot Windows PE 10 disk,  to try all this out before jumping in the deep end, but I have test bed laptops, to sacrifice.

UPGRADE: GPU ! Graphics Processor Unit... (a card.)
HP 8540w (820QM i7 ) laptop Graphic card up grade. from the 880 card to the FX1800 card, with 1600 resolution.  ( posted 2015 for 2010 laptop)   The QM means, quad core, and M means Mobile (intel,  jargon)
To pull this off,  you need 3 parts, the CARD, the HEAT SINK (HS) and the HR screen. (mine already had the screen)
Unlike cheaper consumer laptops this pro grade has a CARD that plugs in, (lots of choices in it)

You will need,  a new heat sink assembly (the parts list shows the ----595766-001  (old one was x66-001)
This swap only works on LT with the  optional high resolution LCD option,  called   LED-back lit FHD1 anti-glare (1920 x 1080) (I just bought one, the screen used)

The free book (service) from HP covers the swap.. but leaves out some key facts. (no spec. on pads, they are 1mm  ) BUT, they do show the HS (heat sink) has factory processor super thin pads, and the sink has those thick  pads below for the memory (GPU)
Both the CPU thermal compound and GPU was bad, on both my laptops. (like dried paint) this is real bad and near rock hard, as that allows the interface bond to crack and not conduct heat. (mine failed like that)
I'm going to use  real TIM compounds on my processors. (main and GPU) not pads.
and replace the thick pads from the memory banks (8 +1)

The CURE:   Thermal Interface materials or TIM.
 TIM ! issues, Thermal compounds,  (only an  issue with the quad core, the 2 core is and ice berg that runs 30-40c temps.)
My goal here is to get the quad core cooler... running.  runs at 50C+ to 80C.
The best advice is not to read web sites,  that do TIM SHOT OUTs, or 100 greased tested. Not one uses a lab.  (1 in 1000, sure)
The only tests that are valid  are in a real lab  using controlled and  fixed, cold object ) Using ASTM-D5470 methods ! Lacking this? , it's pure

Dow Chemical invented this and sold there Dow 340 grease back in 1968. (this is the standard that all tests should use, and few do!,  after all, if it can't beat 340 what is the freak'n point?
( and alternate that year, and now  is
Wakefield 120)
There are 4 product classes here.
Grease,  normal thin pads, thick pads and with some sold at Phase change)
The Thick pads have no place on top the actual CPU or GPU, they have no chance.
Below I will use thick pads on only the GPU  RAMS and the better greases (SHIN) on the CPU/GPU.  My Processors are mirror like and flat.  

Typical usage:
The heat sinks are spring loaded and these DOW  products EXCEL  with these types of, heat sinks, the springs, help make the compound get thinner day by day and gets better ,as it thins out to  "max thin".
In a real world computer makers  apply the grease with a  SUPER thin film, using a tensile or use the hyper thin pads.
The DOW  products are all independently tested  and always pass the Mil. spec. tests. Every year,!
but are very hard to buy, as they only sell to large commercial users in huge sizes. (Dow 340 is one exception, zinc oxide based)
Dow does make a super quality product.
The  DOW TC-5022 and 26  sold only in 1KG JARS ,  Expensive repackaged tiny sizes are sold.

I like this SHIN grease, best (best spec. and most easy to find in that category)

See the  assembly  tilting up and removed.
The CPU and GPU chip thermal areas get   special Silicon grease. "thermal compound"

I did some reverse engineering here. (using calipers, data sheets)
(my 9 other chips are, 8 GDDR5 Graphic memory chips) and  regulator., The RAN are Samsung K4G10325's that can suck 1.8 amp (at 1.5v) current each, full hog (gaming? or CAD? Etc) and in total, run 24 watts. (that heat is NON TRIVIAL)
Plus 1 voltage regulator (blue pad below 1mm think) adds to that 24watts.
 If you don't remove that heat with pads ,  the Graphic  rams burn up.!..  (Tj = excessive, per data sheet) I'm sorry GPU memories run hot,  deal with it or pay the piper.

The  thermal pads, must have (I  used,  15 x 15mm by 1mm pads, (U-cut or?)  rated 4w/m*K) or better. <my Spec. !,  HP does not sell the pads nor state the size.
Here is a good source with all sizes.

My HP, has a total of 9 GPU CARD memory pads.
Never use grease for those orig.  RAM PADS, the gap is huge  TOO WIDE  a GAP( my accurate measurements of  0.8mm air gap) (yes, look again, it IS and no grease works here EVER)

You can use the super thin 0.010" thick pads on the processors, as many computer  factories do.  (the are not fun to buy or apply !)

These thin pads, work at about the same performance levels as OLD DOW 340, not the best IMO hotter  (quad cores, up) and faster GPU's.
 The commercial grease  is superior , for the main processors and the thick pads work best for RAM. period.
My HP Grease turn to a gray rock hard glue, (paint?) it also cracked.  (Use SHIN and win) (no pun)
The below is a real factory heat sink, with factory pads, just removed.
Note the extra pad for the video card regulator. at 12pm? Right side GPU sink? (more   blue color?)

The Photos I took of the HEAT SINK. See those 5 pads, if missing?  (9 total) or damaged? (are they flat as tin foil?, they are no longer viable) get new ones  now, or the 8 memories will for sure OVERHEAT.   (15mm x 15mm x 1mm thick)
The copper tubes are not solid cooper, they have  coolant INSIDE.  (yes, it flows inside too....)
Do not molest them!  , with soldered on fins or other .  The tube needs to send all heat to the radiator on the left ,  LET it do its job.  The copper pads are super conductive.
Do not sand the copper pads, do not sand the tops of processors, see them shine like mirrors?, that is not some ACCIDENT, as flat and mirror perfect, transfers the most heat over  time. (facts!)
HP 8540w with faster GPU.

Next, is the GPU card bottom memory landing pads, same deal. same reason, same parts. and same effects (bad) ignored.
All of this is thermal dynamics, not electronics, but is still  real and very important.
Fast laptops and GPU all make HUGE heat. (as much as 100watts max, both processors)  
This photo (quad core 820QM) is with the GPU card removed.  The GPU CARD is removed.  (no ,those pads are not double sided picture hanging tape)

Here is my 820QM processor on the left and the 880 GPU on right, just before the swap, to FX 1800

 Here are DOW products, The 4.0 (W/m-k) is all you need, a GOAL that....

sold by the gallon (joking a little), and  hard to buy.
Dow is a trade mark of Dow Chemical, company, I use their name only to comment on their fine products.
Any of the Dow TC-5xxx products are the best in this class , all work perfect under those heat sinks...

The Dow grease does not need a break-in or cure time, it's ready for prime time, in 1 minute flat.
It does not drip or run out later.!  and neither does SHIN grease that even beats DOW.

My HP:
The 2 screws on the GPU card, outer edge (right) , clamps the thermal pads. 
The gap:
The gap is 0.80mm   using metric feeler gauges. Seems this number is common, inside the HP system for all pads.

The 8 other HEAT screws, are spring loaded and clamp via the springs full time, all the time. (this works best) 
The GPU forms a thermal sandwich, and must be setup correctly or the chips will overheat.
There is just one review on TIM on the internet, worth reading IMO, and that is Bretts.
See  Bretts review here, best of best. "real science not consumer marking HYPE and bull.  (best link on topic to read, Brett  NAILS IT !)

 I find the 340 works great in 1968 and in 2015.  No issues at all. (until I hit quad core heat levels)
 The laws of diminishing returns rules here...  why go overkill , when 340 works so good, or Wakefield 120. (same stuff really)  DOW says the 340 has been improved greatly over time, (40 years is a long time)
 For hot quad core,  this SHIN SHINES!.

Grease pattern. serious overkill in most cases, I use one rice size dot .

Choices? (besides grease)
CPU thermal pads (SUPER THIN) are sold    (work great, but are hard to find with a trip to say Best BUY, aka. Phase change pads, super tiny, as thin as .008")
The Honeywell pcm45f, pad   .0015" thick pads  on the  processor or GPU. (used by many makers of PC's etc)
The Startech pads Sold at Newegg. (a buck a pop, but must buy 5 to the get 1 pad., at  0.008" or 0.2mm thin.
The Phase change on some is at 58F ;the pads change from hard to soft and stay soft."called phase change" (starting as hard makes them more easy to apply,dig?)
The chart below, shows how some TIM products work ok , even applied too THICK.

This shows  how well 5022 works in DIY mode,  not controlling thickness, it EXCELS !
 Back to greases:
One maker (unnamed) sold "bla bla silver grease" with NO SILVER IN IT. (there excuse?, "China lied to us", so we lied by proxy, wow ! no  quality controls?  , ZERO ?)   (I guess they never heard of lot QA sampling plans?)
The second lie was that NUMBER. or was it just a decimal point, or was it pulled from their cans?
How can you trust a company? (IMO) that fails the lab tests ? and there spec., is off ONE full decimal point  per link below? (or just some one typed in the spec, wrong?  , blame Suzy the typing clerk?)

"US National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that SILVER grease,  was only 0.94 W/(mK)"  read Brett page read the word!

I think I can post my copy, due to US Gov. regs allowing that.... (my taxes paid for this report) (note the usage of real thermal testing instruments and jigs... shocking hard science....!

Most DIY consumer level tests (sic)  FAILED TO USE the ASTM-D5470making the tests USELESS  drivel (IMO)

Per all top real labs:
The target to reach is 1.4 to 4.0 W/m-K
(better will NOT cause greatly lower processor temperatures)  (beyond this is OVERKILL)
TC-5022 does just that, at a vary good price. The formula is a secret,  as it MUST BE. (why teach China how to make good grease?, tell me that?)
China sells (magic grease) now for $1 a stick, what's in side, is ANYONES GUESS.

Important features, of heat sink compounds.
  • The maker is consistent,  every tube sold (or stick) is same as the last or better.    SHIN ETSU does that, as does hard to get DOW.
  • Has independent laboratory testing, and matches the data sheet,  every time its tested in a real lab. (DOW/SHIN) does.
  • Works and has good W/m-K spec, (higher is better   7.5 is overkill.  even DOW TC -5022  at 4.0 is more that good enough.
  • Easy to find and  buy ,  ?  (my SHIN grease take me 7 days to get, so keep it on hand)
  • Does not melt and leak out, as many do.  Dow does not nor does SHIN.
  • Does not get hard in time, as many do. (then it cracks, and CPU then overheats)
  • A Shelf life of +5 years or more (DOW) (it's really far longer.. so is SHIN.)
  • Does not conduct electrons and then shorts out CPU pin? "silver can do that easy"   oops ?(needs high electrical resistance spec, and many do not,  the  old zinc oxide greases, do not conduct electricity) TC-5022/6 does not short out your CPU, EVER.
  • If over-clocking? (rich kids do that...), USE SHIN
  • Some Silver products use dirt cheap useless aluminum powder, to fool the gullible consumer,  avoid that too. (and the fake gold grease) .

I still  USE  Mil spec, Dow DC-340 since 1968  works on any  2 core processor. (a life time supply? for near nothing.)

The TC5022/26 is a good choice  if you can find it and its not counterfeit.  (Dow does not sell small amounts, only SHIN does , with commerical qualities.)
Dow said "Innovative products such as TC-5026 have enabled Dow Corning to
capture close to one-third of the worldwide thermal grease market since
entering this market segment three years ago." Sept 2007.

(me)This product is used on many electronic heat releasing electronics world wide, including high powered LED lighting and power transistors.

Now the heavy lifter SHIN-Etsu.   The Do make small syringes.  As small as 1 gram.  and sold for $5
The tubes (small) I buy are packaged by SHIN, not by garage 1kg can suckers.... (and sealed in a SHIN wrappers)
Shin-Etsu-Material- -G751 (real) is SHIN-Etsu really in the syringe? some are counterfeit....  .. and well stated here,  found runny SHIN that is NOT  SHIN at all.

AMD list 2005 (old) quote:  list of 5 below:

  1. Bergquist TIC-3000 Grease
  2. Shin Etsu G751 Grease 
  3. Shin Etsu X23-7762 Grease
  4. Shin Etsu X23-7783D Grease  (one of the best,  for GPU/CPU   are.   The company complains loudly (I listen) that Fleabay sellers ,sell fake Shin Etsu or dilute it.  And finding it outside UK is hard, why is that?  The real facts are here.
  5. Thermoset, Lord CPD TC-350 Grease
My first order : ( use this honest person, to get the real product  7783S)

Or from this Indiana store a full 1 gram. (all future orders)

Zinc Oxide based. (vast copies of this product exist  today,  why buy clones? from China, and not the real thing?)

Many Consumer "enthusiast" greases sold at PC stores and fleabay (vast) are just Dow 340 with some added color to make it look "cool, better, fancy, pretty, or just different"  None of these are tested in REAL LAB.'S.
They mix in aluminum dust, or silver paint or gold paint or what ever  to fool the average consumer.
The Dow is real, , it is a long time sold commerical product:
Dow 340 spec. is  0.55 W/m-K ( many other makers, put this in there tiny tubes and sell it, as their product,   any thing to make a fast buck off the  poor consumer)
A similar product is Wakefield. 120 does 0.735 W/(m)(K) , and is almost as old as DOW 340,  both sold from 1968 to now.
Shin Etsu is real  too, and is a commerial product, and is tested, to do what they say, and is used by our USA military.

The fake labs, all pretend they know how to do the testing. THEY DON'T in almost every case.  "the 80 TIM , shoot out  bull crap tests.."
They fail at every step too:
The STANDARD  ASTM setups.
Using the below is 10 times more accurate and repeatable than testing grease on your real heat sink in your real computer. (sure if your grease fails, hard,  then that is valid statement and test,  but printing heat variations is crazy, your numbers are wrong)
In the below real test for GREASE, each layer is 100% controls using real lab equipment, not some garage setup.
At the least you dont have control of processor heat. nor the Grease thickness. Nor can you measure where the conductivity is poor... The below solves these problems and is a STANDARD, (test standards)
Photo of a real lab, using the real standard for testing TIM's.
All things here are fully controlled (called Science), and only the test sample changes (the variable),  this is what a REAL  lab does. Using ASTM methods.

end grease/pads.

Memory madness :
(This  PC is runs 1.5v  DMMR3 memory, but can run dual voltage DMM3L just fine)   Many web sites lie about this (using rumors as facts)
 The schematic shows, 1.5v and so does my METER ! So no guessing here...
The goal here is to get 4GB SO-DIMM cards to work! (for sure 2, at once and paired)

Both my old (4-5years ) HP have generation #1 processors,  one is Gen1 i5 and the other is i7 (gen1) are fussy on the larger sticks.
The i5 dual core  and i7 quad cores the  IMC are different e. IMC (integrated memory controller, means  ICM is hiding on the CPU die)
The memory tables are not the same on both , if  you read the intel data sheet on both , you will have seen this clearly.
The Dual core is 8GB max, the  quad  is 16GB. (5 years ago that was the rule , and is still true with old processors) 
The Quad core has 4 memory slots, the other just 2,    (both motherboards have slots on top and on bottom) so not looking in both places (under keyboard) you miss the boat. and guess wrong. (bottom hatch , see 2 stick slots ,bingo QUAD CORE)
You can not use,  huge sticks larger than 4GB per slot ever (aka high density). The ICM inside your processor can't handle  that, per the chart below.
The Quad core needs matching pair  memories, in parts to run in dual channel more (means FAST). Do no mix speeds. here. or sizes in pairs. (pairs means pair on top or the pair on the bottom of mobo)
All SO-DIMMS slots site smack dab ,  on the 1.5vdc  (VDD) power buss. (my meter proved that and have the full schematic I do)
Sorry the computer can NOT lower the VDD voltage ever. It's fixed. (say after the CPU reads the SPD chip on the memory and discovers this difference)  The processor does run at the lowest speed of memory but can not run faster than the CPU it self can run (over clocking is for silly kids)
The  2 core (say M520 ) runs with many different STICKS, 1.35 or 1.5v or DMM3L with 1 to 2 GB per card, is very happy here., Not fussy.
But not those 4GB sticks, you need  to run the F cards shown below.
The reason, is that it (ICM) don't like the 8 chip  4GB cards  ,  only 16 chip cards work here.  (getting rare by the minute) 
The one HP document that hints of this limit  is below "service guide".  The 4GB stick  , limit is very strict  on the limit of 256 M X8 chips.. the larger density sticks fail hard, totally failure and lockup.  aka: 2 ranks of 8. (or 8 chips front  and rear)
The processor connects to the DMM3 direct and dictates all rules for what you can and can not use.
 (The HP BIOS reads the SPD chip and may also mess up here (PnP plug & Play) , on speeds,etc) I'm running BIOS F50 (newest 2015) 
Now a secret,  if running 1.5v HP computers on the newer DDRL3 sticks, the sticks will run hotter and all DRAMs go slower hotter,(pure physics) so buy the faster sticks than the HP needs. See why? (heat)  Buy 1600s.R
Dram VDD rules:
All DDR3L modules are fully backwards compatible with DDR3, meaning that 1.35 volt memory will run just fine at 1.5 volts. (but touch slower) The reverse is hopeless in most cases, (eg using old memory in a 2015 computer ,  you are on your own)
The DDRL3 memory speeds are all tested and spec'd out at 1.35v, the 1.5v (spec says, just "compatible" and not nothing more.
I try to buy only PC3-10600 (1333mhz) or better DRAM. 1.5v only , so they don't overheat and run slower.

Over 2GB sticks, you must not use high density memory.  Each stick needs a total of 16 chip, 8 front and 8 rear, or it fails.
All  1.5v work if you use low density memory,  for 4GB sticks.,
Avoid all over 4GB single  sticks.
You will find that using the total chip count correctly below,  and 1.50v rule any sticks (SoDimm3) will work.
DMM3L may work. but again these are newer sticks and most have  too few chips. and will run hotter at 1.5v and slower when hot...
In my opinion buy the faster sticks.
The below is the official intel, rules for your ICM memory controller. HP does not spec this out, they just say "buy our memories",  at our high prices and in most cases not even sold now...
Circa, 2010 i7. this list can NOT  look forward in TIME. So YMMV.
My guess is once I cross the 256 M x 8 density, it fails, and in fact seen it do that.
Todays newest sticks are no good.  Some new 4GB sticks today, and they do not work they are too high density and violate rule of "F" above.  The are said to be too high density,  and are.
Some sellers, sell with the words Low density (most compatible) that rings true.

These are reported to work. (but Crucial doesn't   publish real data sheets!, like Kingston does, (a good choice they are, the KING?) 
 Why Crucial can NOT mark this as DDRL3 and total chip count perplexes me. (they recommend these)  the 4GB may not work at all.
Kingstons says:  (one of the best makers of sticks and has real data sheets, and amazing Idea  that , no?
They only make 19 SODIMMs total. and 10, 4GIG sticks and only 4 in SODIMM.
Only 4 that are 4GB or less. just 4. new and only 1 listed at 1.35v. and working on the LT.
KVR16LS11/4  but is DDR3L runs dual voltage but is 2 times the limit on density. 512M x 8-bit  (I'll pass and buyt used RAM that work)
Good luck trying it.
What I do, is buy  DDR3L with  16 chips total and they usually work.
Most 2GB sticks work,  many do. The chart above show why.  (1.5v or DDR3L and even some with high density chip sets)

Known to work by me are.  (passes my memtest86 off a boot stick to )
 Took me long hard work to find these nice sticks.  They work good when fully warm, as many do not.

  end memory saga.... will add more, as I find more to test.

You are here because the  Laptop is dead. (battery in or out,  a fresh battery is good idea after 5 long years of service) HP8540p  or 40w
I call this , "Ground zero"  testing 101:
This nice laptop is   Mil spec rated, has GPU card (means if it fails, you can fix it cheap for $15) unlike laptops that the GPU can not be removed. (ball soldered on main board that love to fail) The Power jack will never break (has floating jack back side (quality!)
If the lap top fails to run on line power  , check the voltage in to the LT next.
Got +19vdc to the mother board, using the DMM  volt meter. (if yes, the pack is ok)
The reason MINE is  dead, is because I inserted  DVD drive that is bad.  (boom blew up my MOBO (u301 chip smoked)).  The DVD has a power side internal short. (it is in the trash now)
All LEDs are DEAD ! now,    I did the HP long reset, and removed the CMOS  3v coil cell, battery for a hard reset.  (no help)
I removed, all extra parts, to prove they are not causing this, Screen, HDD, DVD, LAN, WIFI, memory, all things that unplug, are gone ( even CPU and RAM) Bluetooth, finger scanner, smart card module, gone, video card removed.
Leaving..what?..not much. (a mobo +  power on/off LED strip only)  HP calls this the CAP switch panel (needed to turn the main board ON)
I removed the mother board, totally , the HP service  book shows every step and every screw, no need to guess. (but I've done this no need for the book, PDF)
My power strip "globe" icon LED is dead, as is the power button, dead. (total deadsville) and no more 3vdc ! The loss of that supply means the power switch is dead forever.

I checked every fuse on the card "mobo", all are good and all inductors , PLxx SMD chips,  all good.   (yes , there are many fuses on board and all have Fx or PFxx I.D.'s
The schematics are a HP secret or,  Don't you just hate secrets?, (where is Edward Joseph Snowden  when I need him, LOL !) seems we do have it in the hackisphere.
Hark, I  found the schematic, from China friends. (Snowden would love this... and me)

 The schematic is here.  48 pages.

The chip that blew up was U301, (3 and 5v regulator) That keeps the power on switch powered, with power at all times. (the power switch is Digital, I does not source power to the mobo)
To prove this, I removed all parts, from the MOBO , CPU and GPU too.
One easy test is to measure the battery pins, battery removed and line connected.

19vdc is power pack and jack voltage. (if not 19v, the pack is toast)
This is the battery compartment,  2 long pins on left,  are  normal, if 3v or 5v are missing the mobo is toast (power pack 19vdc)


Step by Step,  Ground zero tests.
QOD= Questions of the day):
Above pins pass the voltage test.
What does a good stripped down MOBO do? No RAM, NO CPU. Just the MOBO and the Power strip/LED assembly attached. (and line power)
Nothing works better that a video example , next.
This is NORMAL:
Answer, it just flashes the power strip LED's D1 to D10 , strobes fast then delays off for 6 seconds , same with front lip LED set,.WATCH A 9 SECOND VIDEO. (MP4)
If this test fails. the MOBO is TOAST.

Lets say yours, LED strobe like this, turned on. (mine didn't)
QOD: Does the  fan run? ,  NO, not with out CPU ever ! (needs BIOS UP to work the fan.... takes a processor to do that and some memory, even 512MB works.)

SECRET TRICK, this HP runs the fan  full time,  with battery removed, but not with.
So, to do safe ground zero testing?, with out any Operating system loaded and running,,    keep the battery OUT. (so the fan runs full time)

To add the CPU , even sans, GPU, you need the heat sink and fan plugged in, and the rear CPU mount has this  weak 2mm very tiny screw that if the base is missing, like below 1st photo, the CPU floats up from its rear side and overheats.
I used a C-clamp to hold this bracket down. (ignore this is MOBO is mounted to bottom case proper.

If I add a CPU the lights stay on, longer, tries longer to boot, but there is no RAM,  so can't boot, the Caps/Num lock LED flash code 3. for no ram.

Next I add RAM now just one 1stick is all it takes, top #1, and the mian lights all stay on for a long time, and waits for me to hit F10, but I have no key board. (the Caps/Num lock LED no longer flash !

If I can't get this far, I check all voltages (power supplies) (coin battery is 3v, then  on board the mobo, B+ (19v), 3vs, 5vs, 1.5vs,1.05vs, and 0.75vs, and core voltages. (see schematic for these locations)
F10 key now works,  even with External VGA screen and USB keyboard attached.
To see the BIOS:
Add USB keyboard to left USB port. (the real key board has an aluminum base so don't put this on  top of  any naked MOBO or you will short things out. use the USB KBD next. (if the MOBO is truly naked)
To watch the Caps lock keys blink (codes) If they toggle normally that means the BIOS is working

NEXT, ADD a  external desk top display  to the rear 15pin VGA jack. see  the display come  on line, showing HP and the hit ESC message, so I hit F10 and get the BIOS UP.  The Keyboard toggles the keyboard caps light (hitting same key) on demand,  a good sign.
Also, you can:
Add the   smart card reader audio board installed, to see it's LED's  glow, there,  the power LED is here below, RED Arrow.
The smart card  outrigger daughter board LED's are:   (Audio Jack Media Card Reader Board LS-4954P)
L to R 
Wifi, Power, charging,  HDD activity.  (the power lamp should glow) (all  4 LED will be dead if 3V power is lost.)  Can be seen in the VIDEO above.
arrow is power lamp.


 OK the HP BIOS screen is active. (progress !)
 The BIOS is smart, it knows if the original screen is missing and only the VGA is active, and just runs what is active automatically. no fiddling function keys.
If you get this far , you can F9 boot select  ,  DVD boot disk , or boot USB stick  , or even boot to live Linux. (USB, CD or DVD live) and last boot to HDD, with any OS installed.  ( I have a LIVE WIN10 PE boot stick with full diagnostic on it)
KEYS for BIOS, F10 is setup.
F9 is boot options,
F10 + F1 is INFO PAGE.
One laptop proved to be a hard case, (some one had all boots shut off, except, Boot from Ethernet server)  I had to force my self in to BIOS using the F10 and reset BIOS.
I set my  boot order in configuration.  USB drive, CD drive, drive bay2, and HDD/SSD.
I then boot my USB stick with with memtst86, I must pass  tests, if not you get to buy a a new MEMORY of SO-DIMM3

IF dead   LED's (like 1 of  mine was) ? check PCB fuses (bottom of PCB they are there marked F1 and all PLxx (inductors), and the power regulator, < is as seen here.  (PCB means printed circuit board or MOBO)
The globe lamp may strobe, (per video above) this too is a  very good sign.  See that connector to the top right curve of the fan hole, that must have 5v and 3v on its pins, or all hope is lost. 

Photo2: (next I added, CPU and GPU , no ram. and all LEDs wake up. and flash codes, for NO RAM.... no screen either. Make sure the cpu bottom screw 2-56  in there to keep CPU cool.

Photo3:  (added RAM and Screen)  Now the BIOS comes up with   BIOS F10 or F9 hot keys.  Below is ESC  Some times the Esc key is dead. (I don't know why but all 5 of mine do that.)

I have glasses under board to allow air to suck in to the fan port, (don't skip this step using a non conductive object (wood is best) Never run CPU  or GPU with out the fan and magic heat rod working) The heat rod if full of coolant.
My wrist has an antic static strap. (to earth )
Next, is my newly assembled base (cost me,  price of potted plant) $20
Photo 4:   No screen (real HP )but  has an external VGA screen attached (A Viewsonic)
 The real keyboard is missing, using USB external Dell keyboard. The BIOS sees all that missing and boots to F10 Bios screen and I hit F1.  (the info page)

Above has 1 stick of SODIMM DDR3  2GB  , mobo is 1.5v (measured by me) but this stick has DDR3L that runs 1.35/1.50v   The horrors of memory

A Bench setup. (tricks of the trade 101)
Here is the way to get the CPU happy, with a tilting heat sink rear bar, easy, I used a tiny  C- clamp (tiny vise grips work too) this gets the heat sink in full contact with CPU via the TIM grease.
I'm booting to live Linux OS, and it warns at boot time,  that the processor has detected a "too  fast heat gain" and so boot is going into "slow speed". (now that is some fine software, unlike crappy MS OS.
Photo : A COOL fix. I can connect up a VGA screen, power pak, power panel (&D1-D10) above  and a USB keyboard and test all things, and add things and test more.  (later I have a spare case bottom ,that allows me to mount mobo and do more testing)

My Failures:
I have one MOBO with PU301 blown up (3vdc reg. on the bottom) its the size of a small fly. 0.16" square , have 5 spares, and right tools but can not get it replaced. (done 1000's of boards but never this tiny.
I'm too old or to brave. (got another board for $10 so, this is not necessary but wanted to try 3 times... and failed, (I have a full schematic on this card)
If you don't get 3v, there is no hope of the card booting. period.  The power button runs off 3vdc as do the LEDs there., ,so..... there you have it.
These are the key voltages. 3v tests are first. if missing , all is lost. (check fuses ! yes, they are there, and marked F1 ,F2, etc.)  If pin 16 is not 19v then you lost main power into board.

end my 1 failure:

Photo 5A &B , The boot up HP LED flash codes:  CAPS & NUMLOCK BLINK.
for sure  code 3 happens with zero memory installed, I checked this. (same with code , no CPU)

I have tested, the following , error states, no CPU, no RAM and no GPU.  The CPU dead or missin , kills the fan dead.  (a running BIOS runs the fan)
Do not run the board naked like this with a battery present, as the BIOS shuts the fan off, if the battery is present.
Leave the battery out until the case and mobo are married, and the HDD/SSD are booted to  a running OS.
This happens in software to keep the battery from draining too fast.
Do not overheat you CPU doing bench testing.


Most Laptops (or PC's) fail, for overheating and malware/virus infections.  (almost all)

I have never failed, at cleaning out malware or viruses. I go the distance, because my customers  did  not want to lose data.  (some folks know there is data  there and forgot where it was stored, but want it badly) I'm the guy ! The man with a plan....LOL.
In many cases, I install the infected drive, as a second drive (not booted) to my Desktop and then sweep it clean with 5 or more A/V cleaning engines, there are tools that do this with one click. (CD boot based , portable cleaners of A/V) ,<<< can be easy and 100% EFFECTIVE.
I usually find one virus that will not clean easy , but I have its name and I look it up on line and find the manual way to get rid of this virus (best is with the infected disc  not booted)
Some times we just install a fresh SSD+ OS (W7) and use the old disk (in and external E-SATA case) as his/her data source later. (to search it and find content and files needed, what ever, later and drag them back to your new SSD) 
If your data is worth more that $100 consider doing the new SSD path.   It is the best way , in most cases where the CLEAN fails.  Then use  the old drive to find that data and capture it.
My fast windows install stick ISO (Sandisk USB best) loads onto the fast new internal SSD very quickly. 
I connect the wired RJ45 ethernet port on the LT side,  to my GIGA-LAN, (the wifi will no work yet) using my CAT5/6 cable. Bam  I'm connected. (direct to your router)
I then activate windows. (after doing a few live updates, but I have most already loaded with my custom ISO.
Last, I went to the HP support pages and downloaded there amazing programPick Enterprise 64b. then pick. Software Solutions (28) and then the HPsoftpak down load manager, 4.0 or newer, (it will load all drivers with a signal click after installed.)
I went to bed and it's loaded in the morning, looks like a brand new HP LT. Runs like new too.  (I build 4 old HP LT , this way last month)
HP really is the best, best in CLASS ,  HP Elitebooks, and workstation version #1 of all.

Happy trails to all.
 Ichabod Mudd.

Jargon:  Buzz words, Geek-Speak. etc.
MOBO= Motherboard.
CD or DVD (optical media bay)
SATA (i,ii, or iii)  The common interface ports that make the HDD (or SSD) work.  Serial Advanced Technology Attachment. (THAT, which replaced PATA - IDE)
HDD, Hard disk drive (spins slow on LT and is slower)    The HDD is spinning magnetic memory DISK , it is slow and fragile, runs hot, and wastes huge energy. The heads move slow, and always will.
SSD = Solid State Drive ( non rotating, fast memory , huge enough  to replace funky HDD H= hard) Shock proof, lower power (vastly) and way faster, 10x at least. No more head crashes, No noise. Makes the OS snappy ! and battery run times, way better.
LT = Laptop
O.S.  Operating System,  Microsoft Windows  or Linux.  (a PC with no OS is what?, answer: a brick)
Live CD,  a bootable non HDD/SSD device that runs Linux or Windows. ( I only use USB memory sticks with ISO boots, today)

CPU is central processor,  GPU is Graphics Processor unit (both are large CHIPS that must be cooled.)
A/V means Anti virus  software (MS defender,  AVG, Avira,  Norton, McAfee, Panda, etc)
DOS, Disk Operating system,  or Command prompt in todays jargon, or CMD.  It's a program called CMD.exe now. It allows you to give , manual commands to the OS, or run non GUI utilities.
SFC is the System (OS) file checks  , like being your own doctor.
ISO file , is a CD or DVD image file.  It is now used for all fresh MS operating system installs, because CD/DVD IS now Obsolete , new machines lack CD drives, (note pads, and thin note books , kill this concept dead)  We used USB flash memory sticks.
MS, MicroSoft (aka. Microshaft )
Windows aka. WindoZ, is MS O.S. the  virus suck pump of epic proportions. (yes, Linux really is x100 better, security wise and speed) I consider (IMO) Windows 10, as Malware. (but have a cure! )

BIOS ROM: (read only memory)
Unified_Extensible_Firmware_Interface  (or boot firmware)  Watch out , UEFI blocks booting from most devices (not main HDD, SSD) (a feature!) so turn off  BIOS secure boot first ,say you want to boot, to a live DVD , etc.
BIOS (B.I.O.S) Basic input out put system  ROM , that which always works, even with no boot media in the system , aka, called ROM monitors in the olden days. That is what it is, ROM code, that controls booting and other very low level functions.
P.O.S.T is power on self test (a BIOS Feature set) Now called UEFI  ,  UEFI is still BIOS and is still Firmware, but the makers felt compelled to use UEFI and not BIOS2 or BIOS-II, making vast numbers of books now obsolete. (silly huh?)
UEFI , blocks booting from non HDD/SSD bay one media.. Go into this (F10)new BIOS and shout off SECURE BOOT.
BIOS is now a SUBset of UEFI, called Legacy BIOS.

A COA key. or Windows COA,  the sticker on the bottom of  PC or laptop or in the box, of 2 CD's (DVD) that the OS came in, new. (on my HP LT, the sticker is hidden under secret bottom cover, so others can't steal it , is my guess)
the number here is fake... 25 characters is the COA number. (or key) This key is and OEM key.
The words Product key and the crazy numbers and letters a the end , are what you need to Activate Windoz. Yes, 25 characters long.  I use the KEY last, after install then click , in the system page,  activate or type activate in the run box.
Do not buy a computer (wanting Windoz) unless you have this sticker. (other wise its a $100 cost, later if needed)  but if lucky the system maker (HP or?)  has the install disks for $15 (5 years old or less)
My old laptop has this sticker and works with my official MS install USB ISO stick.  (win7-64b+all service packs and all updates)  GOOGLE "how to make a ISC USB install flash memory stick"  vast information on topic.

USB stick, thumb drive, USB memory, or the like, that thing that works on all PC's that you can store backup file or even turn into a BOOT disk or LIVE OS boot disk, Windows is even sold with these devices, now.
CCFL = cold cathode florescent light (back lighting , of old skool, now a relic of the past, after LED back lights are now ubiquitous.)

Retired-Tech.   50years as and ET, Electronics tech.   My private Journal. 
rev 21
+++ 9-21-2014,+++ 9-28-2015 revised.  (added many topics,  upgrades to hardware, mostly) 11-23.2015, added, lowest level of mobo, testing (naked) and repair. Added  the fix for total dead mobo. Added video 9sec. run time.

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