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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please could somebody please help, I recently received a Dell Inspiron 5100 laptop which seems to be working fine except it switches off without warning on its own.

The LCD just goes off and the status lights and fans then also go off a few seconds later. The computer does not turn back on until you press the power switch upon which it reboots.

This is definitely not a power problem because it happens even when the computer is connected to AC mains and the battery seems to be working fine.

I suspect it could be a virus or some setting that is causing the problem. The problem is worse when you are carrying out a demanding task like watching a movie(the most you can watch is 30mins before it switches off), playing music or anything else that requires more resources, but when typing or reading documents you can go for hours without any problem. If it switches itself off then it will continue to switch of soon after you switch it back (say within 10mins of relogin to windows) But if you “leave it to cool” say for 20mins after it would have switched off then when you switch it on again you can use it for hours on end provided all you do is type and read documents.

The other thing I suspect is a hardware problem that somehow power is cutting off, but I think this is unlikely as there is a definite pattern if it was a random fault in the hardware the switching off would not have a pattern. Also the switching of is a bit different from what happens when you switch off with the power switch, if you press the power switch everything goes off at once(LCD, status lights and fans) and upon reboot you are taken to the “windows shut down abruptly screen” however in this case the LCD goes of first and the status lights and fans remain on for a few seconds then also go off, and upon reboot you are taken to the “welcome to windows” screen as if the shut down was normal.

I am running Symantec Corparate 10 with updates from yesterday(7/2/07) and have run several quick scans that have not found anything, I have tried to run full scans but the computer inevitably switches off before it completes. I have also tried to view the event log and as far as I can tell nothing is abnormal

What could be the problem and how can I fix it? Please help I am running XP home edition.
 

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Sounds like it might be a heat issue, any idea what your temps are? If not, check into installing either SpeedFan or Everest Home edition. These both give you temps of certain components. In this case, i'd suggest SpeedFan as is has a graphing option so you can see relative temperature changes over time. Set it up on the graph mode, and then fire up a movie or a game for say 10-15 minutes, and see how high the temperatures get.

As you stated these are more demanding tasks and will quickly heat up components.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks it certainly sounds likely that it is a heating problem now that you mentioned it, my friend who was owned the computer before giving it to me lives in the us, and i am in africa so there is a great difference in climate.

I will do as you suggest, and see how it goes if it is a heating problem how can i solve it?
 

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When i travel to the UK i can do without my cooling pad no problem but in the humidity in Australia my laptop reaches temperatures of up to 66c, which is the maximum over here with a cooling pad. Try cooling it down, blow a fan directly into the intake vents see if that makes a difference. You can run prime95 and put your laptop under a torture test of a 100% CPU usage and have speed fan running too. So when the temperature gets too high it will turn off, your bios may have these settings too, to protect your hardware. Yours uses a desktop cpu so around 70c would be the hottest, so anything below is good. around 35-50 is good for and idle cpu depending on the ventilation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys it was definetly overheating, i installed i program to monitor my cpu temp which was about 63celsius on no load and then i started many applications (2 movies simulataneously plus a virus scan) and the temperature quickly started to climb and had hit 78celsius in no time at this point i shut down the machine and used an electric blower (the kind that is used to blow dust from computers) to blow into the air vents.

I then restarted the laptop and the baby was cool as a cucumber the temp dropped at one point to 37celsius and when it was on full load it peaked at 61celsius, on normal operation it the cpu temp is between 40 and 50 celsius.

I have just completed my first full scan which took a world record 40mins and found no viruses. I am glad you guys pointed me in the right direction and i didnt do any serious damage to my laptop while trying to fix or diagnos the problem.

If you have a dell laptop and suspect overheating check out this link
http://www.diefer.de/i8kfan/index.html

there is a program specially designed to monitor cpu temperatures of dell laptops. It works superbly and donate to this guy he is a saint and knows what he is doing.

Thank you
 

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Glad it was something simple :smile:

Remember to periodically blow out the vents/fans/heatsinks every so often to keep that problem from returning.
 
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