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old Dell laptop randomly shutting off

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by Arlo Kalon 2.0, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. Arlo Kalon 2.0

    Arlo Kalon 2.0 Very Active Member

    Oct 21, 2004
    Reno, TX
    I have a friend with an old Dell laptop that was given to him. He has had a liver transplant and hip replacement and after 6 years is getting back on his feet as an insurance adjuster. He needs laptop for job and will be awhile getting the money for a new one. His problem is it randomly shuts off in the middle of anything he's doing on it - making it hard for him to finish paperwork. He knows the battery is shot, but plugs it in with power cord. Any ideas from you tech gurus?
  2. Dice

    Dice Active Member

    Jun 23, 2008
    Your friend is most likely out of luck, it's most likely the internal power supply, video card or main board. Most likely one of the capacitors has gone bad.

    If it was a desktop you could replace one of those parts at a reasonable cost but since it's a laptop it's not cost effective. Better to look on craigslist or browse a deal from dell on a used or new one.

    It might be also that the laptop is getting too hot. The fans and the heat sink could be full of dust. Take a can of compressed air and put it in every hole you can find in the laptop and blow.
  3. slangsc

    slangsc Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    Could also be faulty memory. Just had that happen with my laptop. Just replaced the memory and I'm good now. The memory could be failing due to it being too hot.
  4. noregrets

    noregrets Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Overheating can cause this, maybe try one of those cooling fans that sits underneath it, they are fairly inexpensive. You could also check the dust build up in the fans - blow them off with some compressed air.
  5. p3

    p3 Member

    Jun 3, 2009
    Well its not a power supply, since its all through the battery. If the battery is shot, that will start this problem. If let alone, it will cause more problems later on with capacitors and other hardware. You can do a mem test to see if its the memory, but usually, if that was the case it would just most likely freeze up or shut down when opening a program or multiple ones. I have had this problem and it was a combination of things. 1. Hard drive, was getting way to hot. 2. Battery, as you have already said, and last, was the power cord. Ended up having to go to best buy and buying one. I've also had this happen with a desktop and that was memory that went bad from a power supply getting too hot and not pumping enough juice.
  6. ratchet

    ratchet Member

    Apr 12, 2010
    Start by cleaning it up... check that the fan works, and test the RAM (if it has more than one stick, remove one and test... then check the other).

    As a last resort, you may try reformatting... but like the others, I'm afraid that this is likely hardware-based, and not likely economical to repair.
  7. rjpjr

    rjpjr Member

    Apr 21, 2008
    I have first hand personal experience with an older lap top that randomly shut down just like his. The above suggestions may resolve the problem, but more than likely the fan is not operating as it should and will need to be replaced.

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