Laptop doesn’t like standby

So, back at fixing my sister’s laptop. It’s a 6 or 7 years old ACER Aspire 5520G. Last major repair was the baking of it’s GPU module because it was completely dud, few days ago I’ve reapplied Arctic MX4 thermal paste for the CPU and now I had to take out the entire optical drive electronics because it was clicking the entire time for no reason. She’s not using it anyway, so I just removed it. Just fixing it with minimal possible expenses, because it’s too old to invest in it anymore. Latest issue? It’s bloody standby mode…

And guess what. Standby problems seem to be by far the most complicated, frustrating problem of them all. I say that mostly because out of like 50 cases that I found on the internet, I don’t remember a single one that would have an easy solution available to that problem. That’s quite scary actually. If you get standby functionality issues, you’re pretty much fucked. All you’ll find are bunch of generic posts from Microsoft techies or vendors to check this and that which never resolved anything.

In my case of this ACER Aspire, I’ve tried reinstalling pretty much every single possible thing and the damn thing just wouldn’t wake from standby anymore (it used to work fine few weeks ago). As soon as it enters sleep mode, it just collapses. Power light shows like the laptop is working, but it just doesn’t wake up. After flying over the Event Viewer logs, there were some pretty scary events related to severe hardware failures (could be CPU or RAM) that I couldn’t properly diagnose even after checking the crash dumps. And since they don’t happen during normal usage and not during Memtest86, I had to cut some more corners again to get it working. And the solution is quite funny, but it works.

Workaround solution

So, this laptop locks up as soon as it enters standby (or tries to wake up from it). I could just disable standby altogether, but since she often leaves laptop unused for several hours, half a day or even entire day, it would be a waste of power to keep it running idle on desktop. So it made me thinking, why not just skip the standby and go straight for hibernation. Set the laptop to turn off display after 10 minutes, disabled Standby and set Hibernation after 15 minutes. Left the laptop running idle and guess what, it hibernated perfectly and also woken up without any issues. This test confirmed that this little trick works, so I’ve extended the Hibernation period to 120 minutes (2 hours). This way it will now first turn off the screen after 15 minutes and then go into full shutdown with hibernation after 2 hours, skipping normal standby mode entirely. Brilliant. No more messing around trying to debug the damn standby issues, it can be used as usual, it will save power when not used and it will still wake up quickly from hibernation when needed.

So, here we go. Yet another day, doing crude fixes on ancient hardware that has zero BIOS and software support these days. And I got it working again. Oh joy 🙂

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