Friday 24 August 2012

Care Before Jumping In

A great customer with whom dealing is a pleasure opens their case one day and says " the Laptop DVD does not play movies". My first impression was that the issue was codec related and that the matter would be solved simply by finding the right codec. Not so simple and a headache during one evening.

The laptop computer is presented to back me after a month of use. The machine was pristine to start with. So a software issue is suspected immediately.  The machine is picked up and returned to beeping computer headquarters for  diagnosis and work.  It is essential to keep breathing when in the midst of problem solving,  What can look like the problem is not necessarily the case. This can lead to more holding of breath and  more frustration. So breath! Long slow breaths. Another technique is to leave the job altogether. Stretch the legs and you may find   a new better way. 

So now I am located back at the work bench. The machine is turned on and there is a beautiful blue screen asking for a password. Fortunately I knew the administrator password because I was the one that set it. Changing the password seemed like a good idea. Removing it altogether , even better. So the machine was rebooted. The BIOS was entered and  what I thought would be simple was not. The BIOS would not accept a blank space for a password. So the enter key was pressed and then save.  This is where one begins to question their existance. Breathing patterns beging to increase. I cannot find the password. The original is gone and the new one is unknown. At this point I remember an old saying. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. How true! But now the small dilema of password remains. What does one do now?

To remove an administrator password the machine must be virtually completely dismantled.  If this is you then be ready for lots of small screws of different lengths that must be returned to their respective screw holes when reassembling.  Store them in a container. Label them if you must. Just remember to put them all back. So what is the object of dismantling? It is to remove the  small battery that looks like a coin. It must be removed for the NVRAM  to loose the password and go back to defaults

After some time away I return to the bench and reaasemble the laptop. There is some good news. the machine starts up and the administrator password is gone. The next step is the login password. Was given permission to crack the password by the owner of the laptop who gave it to their son. Attempted to use Ophcrack but the password is too long and it will not unravel the code. A quick call and the code is received. The machine reaches the desktop. Now breath!

The original problem was the laptop could not play commecial movies. A quick try with one and that is correct. The assumption that the problem is a driver is incorrect. The driver is fine and there are no drivers that are better. Codecs installed would not assist in the playing of  DVD movies even though it plays them using a thumb drive.  Looking more closely at the drive and it is noticed that the drive is labelled DVD - RW. This is leading to the conclusion that DVDs cannot be played because a  DVD +/- drive is required. The DVD  runs CDs and some DVDs just fine just not commecial movies.

Upon coming to this conclusion  my  head bends over forward and leans into the wall. Breath I think, take another breath and relax. All that was required from the begining is to realise that the DVD player is just not meant to play commecial movies.

For those that have read this article, this far, and know somewhat more than I about this issue please comment.



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