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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lenovo Y530 Freezes

I wanted to take this opportunity to write about my recent trip to Canada, but there's a topic that's much more pressing for me: My laptop.

My laptop, a Lenovo Y530, has a weird behavior where it freezes up and becomes totally unresponsive at random points. This happens once every few days, and I can't seem to figure out what causes it. I thought that it was a heat issue, so I've been very careful to keep the bottom uncovered and make sure it has proper ventilaton. However, it happened again tonight with no signs of over-heating, so I guess that is not the cause.

This crash happened the first night I got it on WinXP, and it happens now on Linux too, so I doubt it's a software issue. I'm becoming convinced that it's a hardware issue, but at the same time I'm damn certain that I've voided my warranty by installing Linux. I need to go back to the fine print to double-check it, but most OEM computer manufacturers don't have a history of being too tolerant of things like that.

The behavior is quite a simple one: The computer locks up at random times with no aparent warning. The screen freezes and it becomes completely unresponsive to user input. I haven't tried to connect it to an external monitor (to isolate any potential problems caused by an LCD failure), but I doubt that's the issue anyway.

When it freezes, the caps-lock and num-lock indicator lights start flashing in unison. The flash rate is about 1Hz with no patterns or variations. One time I left it in this condition overnight, and when I came back in the morning it was still happening. I've also tried any other things I can think of to "snap it out of it", to no avail: hitting sequences of control keys, clicking the power button, closing the lid, unplugging/plugging the power cord, etc. I'm trying to think of things that would trigger an interrupt and maybe snap the computer back into a functional mode. Nothing. The only solution is to hold down the power button for several secods until the computer turns off, and then power it back on again.

I've done some quick google searches, and was a little dismayed by what I've seen. Nobody else has mentioned this problem. The user manual doesn't mention this condition at all. I can't find any mention of it anywhere. What I have found, however, is a long series of cut-and-paste "reviews" about the laptop. That, in a word, is not helpful. Tomorrow I may try to get in touch with technical support, but I don't have high hopes for that conversation ("Is the computer plugged in? Do you have the latest drivers? Oh you're on Linux? Sorry, we can't help you"). Tech support, in my experience is rarely helpful or supportive.


  1. I had the same problem when I installed ubuntu 8.10 x64 on my y530. Strangley enough, I also had the same problem on an acer with the x64 version. Didn't try jaunty or fedora. I switch to windows 7 and haven't noticed the behavior. What distro are you running?

  2. I originally had Windows Vista when I was experiencing the problem. That's one of the reasons why I switched to Ubuntu because I thought there was a problem with Vista support for my machine drivers.

    I'm currently on Ubuntu Jaunty 9.04, and haven't experienced the problem in a few months. I would like to know what caused it though.

  3. Unrelated: Do all of the speakers and microphones work? How about hibernation?

  4. Andrew, Do you still have the freeze problem with your Lenovo Y530. I have exactly the same problem on my Y530 and have no idea what to think. It seems that most often the freeze happen, when I move the Laptop from one room to another.

    Alexei Alaev.

  5. I haven't had the problem in a while, no. I've been very cautious about keeping the bottom open to ventilation to prevent it from overheating, so that may have something to do with it.

  6. What do you mean "keeping the bottom open"? Do you mean the lead open?

  7. Oh, I mean that I keep the air intake vents unblocked.


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