General Question

Jeruba's avatar

How can I tell if I've frotzed my mini-laptop?

Asked by Jeruba (52223points) November 18th, 2020

I have a little 10” Asus, 3 years old, that I’ve been using regularly away from my desk. Two nights ago I plugged it in to charge while it was in sleep mode rather than shut off. Last night I couldn’t get it to come on at all, not even to display battery level.

What can I look for or how can I tell if I’ve done something terminal?

I wouldn’t have thought there was any harm in having it charging while technically not shut down, but that’s the only thing I did out of the ordinary.


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24 Answers

Zaku's avatar

There should be not danger in charging a computer in sleep mode.

… Unless may there was a power spike while it was plugged in.

Are the power lights working normally? Typically, laptops have lights that indicate running on battery, charging on power, fully charged, or off (no light). What’s the light doing? If the light is off and not doing anything when you plug it in or unplug it, then I’d fear a mechanical problem like power supply (hopefully just the fuse) broken.

If the lights are not dead, then it might just be in a state. Windows 10 does some annoying things with not-really-powering-down and so on. My first hope would be that one of its pretending-to-be-off modes crashed in a way that has it be unresponsive to the usual way you turn it on.

I’m not sure what your power buttons and battery are like, but have you tried doing whatever you’re supposed to do to make it “hard boot”? Typically, holding down the power button for four or more seconds to get it to “really” turn off. Then press again to get it to turn on.

Computers of a more civilized age (before The Empire) had actual ON/OFF switches… alternative to which, can be removing the battery… IF that’s easy… on a 10” Asus laptop, that might not be something you could do without unscrewing the case, which I would not do.

But if all that fails, I’d think yeah it may be frotzed, and take it to a frotz doctor.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar


Anyway, what is the model number? There may be some esoteric procedure to reset it.

filmfann's avatar

It’s possible your charger has gone bad, and the computer is fine (though low on power).

Zaku's avatar

Oh yeah, that too. A dead/frotzed charger won’t have been charging the laptop, so the battery’d just be dead and plugging it in would do nothing.

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks for your kind attention to my small, sad problem.

Model: ASUS Transformer Mini T102HA-C4-GR Signature Edition 2 in 1 PC
Purchased: March 2017

Lights: none
Response to short and long power button press: none

Tried different charger.
Result: no response

Normally there’s a little red light when charging and a yellow-green light when charged.

When I plugged it in, the battery was at about 40%, so it should still have been running even without further charging.

There was a little spark at the outlet when I plugged the charger into the wall socket. I plugged in the charger before I connected the computer, so it wasn’t hooked up when I saw the little spark. I didn’t actually see any lights at that time because the panel was facing away from me, but I assumed it was okay.

Other things are running off that outlet just fine.

Frotz: sorry, household slang derived from an old Infocom game (but not used as in the game). Generally means blown out, fried, burnt out, cooked, toasted; transitive verb, as “I frotzed it” and not “it frotzed.”

Zaku's avatar

Ok, so as you may have deduced yourself, if a working charger won’t even cause the charging light on the laptop to come on, then some part of the laptop is no doubt frotzed, or at least on the fritz.

Take to a repair person if you care about some data or software on the computer that you wan to save.

Probably cheaper to replace than to repair, otherwise.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Frotz sounds so plausibly Yiddish or German I thought it was legit.

Jeruba's avatar

Ah, me, @Zaku, not what I wanted to hear. I love this little guy (its device name is Mercury), lightweight and easy to travel with and comfortable to use lying on the couch or doing one last acrostic at bedtime. I don’t have any nonduplicated data on it—a rule I’ve been careful to follow, for the sake of version control, although there are some photos.

But the main thing is that I have tried and failed to find anything like it on the market now for less than double the price. So I don’t see replacing it. Besides, I have a lovely Van Gogh “Starry Night” case for it that I would hate to throw away.

Is it hopeless?

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

You can buy a used replacement on eBay. I have never bought a new laptop and I have some nice machines. One is from circa 2012 and one circa 2014.

Jeruba's avatar

Hmm. Thanks for the tip. It would be nice if there were something like a AAA mechanic’s certification for computers.

Zaku's avatar

No, it’s not hopeless, and if you’re attached to it or don’t want to replace it, a good laptop repair person may likely be able to find the problem and fix it. It might even be relatively cheap, such as if the power supply fuse just needs to be replaced.

JLeslie's avatar

The spark sounds bad. Maybe some sort of power surge killed the laptop?

If you need the information in there you can probably have the hard drive removed (is that the right term?) and put into one of those cases that you can plug into a new computer and access the data.

Response moderated (Spam)
Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m naming my next grand kid “Frotzed.”

Zaku's avatar

Yeah, I think a power surge is a likely possibility.

And yes, you could have the hard drive removed, data extracted, or even possibly put into a replacement laptop of the same type.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I don’t see anything in the user manual like a sequence to reset the laptop. I do find a few of things on the web.

First possibility starts with unplugging (go to battery-only) and hold the power button down for 30 seconds.
How to fix an Asus Transformer T102 that won’t stay on?

Second one says:
1) Press and hold the “Volume Down” button, then press and hold the “Power” button.
2) Continue to hold both buttons until the screen powers on. Once you see an image on the screen, let go of the buttons.
3) Press the “Volume Up” button. The device should power on normally.
Asus Transformer Pad Won’t Turn On – Fix

Third possibility:
“Some ASUS Transformer models suffer from a design flaw that causes the power button to get stuck within the casing of the tablet. This is extremely common on ASUS Transformer T100. If that’s the case, the button will be further inside and you won’t be able to push it like you normally would.”
Fix: ASUS Transformer Tablet Won’t Turn On

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks for all the additional help.

Fuse: Sounds good. I’m hoping for that. Right now it’s my fallback.

Spark: The spark occurred when charger went into socket and before computer was connected to charger. Wouldn’t the charger have absorbed a power surge without harm to the computer? It might have frotzed the charger then, but not the computer, right?

Charger: A second unrelated charger also got no response.

Frotzed: It’s in the past tense. Name your kid “Frotz.” In the Infocom computer RPG, as I recall, it was a spell you could cast on any object (including yourself) to turn it into a light source. This was more than 30 years ago, though, so memory is a little shaky. I am sure it was benign.

Power button: I did try all combinations of that, short and long, plugged and unplugged. Didn’t try power + volume, though. Will do.

Stuck power button: Wow, there’s an idea! I’ll see. My son has the device right now, because he helped me out with it before with a charger problem, so I’ll check when I see him.

Special thanks, @Call_Me_Jay, for your research and suggestions. I’m feeling more optimistic now.

Upside: While I’m worrying about this, I’m not thinking about something else.

filmfann's avatar

@Jeruba Lurve to you for just mentioning Infocom.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

yes, you could have the hard drive removed, data extracted, or even possibly put into a replacement laptop of the same type

The latter is a great option for a dead computer (if the problem is outside the hard drive). Swap your hard drive into a used, identical machine. Ta da! You are right back where you left off.

Jeruba's avatar

Ok, progress. All is not lost.

Forced power-on: I did the -volume / power button thing, and a startup image came on the screen. Subsequent +volume did nothing, and power-on after that did nothing. But this proves there’s something there.

Went through this routine twice, same result: brief image, then black, no further response.

Power supply #1: sparked when I plugged it into a different outlet (with no computer attached). Suggests problem with power supply.

Power supply #2: likewise in a different outlet; connected the Asus, and lo, the little red “charging” light came on. Wait—an exclamation point for that—> the light came on! (I am very sparing with exclamation points, which are rarely warranted, and virtually never in multiples.)

So, not quite dead yet. Hurray.

Many thanks again and still, @Call_Me_Jay and @Zaku and anyone else who’s rooting for me. Very encouraging. I’ll report back at the next juncture.

Jeruba's avatar

It’s alive! It’s alive! It’s alive!

After a very long interval, the little red light went green. I unplugged the charger, opened the device, and pressed the power button.

Nothing happened for a few seconds, and then—it twitched, it drew a breath.

And then Microsoft hijacked it and put it through two complete updates, from 0% to 100%, while its little battery pumped for dear life and I waited in breathless suspense.

And then Microsoft launched an installation of its new Edge browser and held my little guy hostage—no way to click out of it, cancel or suspend or postpone. ”CONFIRM” was the only option. And then screen after screen of setup options.

I was waiting for the results of heart surgery, and the doctor wouldn’t tell me anything until she’d finished her manicure.

Finally, finally, I was back to my home screen. And the first thing I tried to do was salvage those pictures.

Another roadblock: how do I plug in a flash drive when there’s an optical mouse thing in the USB port? If I take out the mouse, I can’t operate the device. The touch pad is flaky, which is why I bought the mouse.

After much pondering, I decided to send the picture files to myself via e-mail. Long upload, long send—another nail-biter.

At last, things seem normal again; but I am cautious and wary, watching for any bad signs, just as we will all do once the covid wave passes. Can’t ever be quite as relaxed as we were before. (We thought we were stressed before, but man.) Somehow I think the battery got drained that first night, and something was misaligned or disconnected to prevent recharging from taking place. But for now, reprieve.

And I won’t forget those good suggestions or lose the link to that helpful website. Once again, thanks, all.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

To plug in another USB device, you can use a USB hub for more ports. They are available for less than $10 US.

Zaku's avatar

Yay! I’m so glad you got it back to life!

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