Boot up or die tryin' starring Systemax N34AS1
January 25, 2006 6:37 PM   Subscribe

How can I find out what's causing this laptop to power down during startup?

The computer in question is a Systemax model N34AS1, and if it ever were to start it would be running Windows XP Home Edition (or it would be shortly, it's actually halfway through a fresh install). Problem is, when I turn it on it powers off soon after boot, usually right after the memory check with just a scintillating flash of Windows loading logo. Sometimes it is much earlier, and it can (sometimes) be delayed but not eliminated by booting from a CD.

The relative unpredictability of the power down time suggests to me a hardware problem. I've got another working laptop I don't mind swapping parts out of if it will help, but I'm really not sure how to diagnose this. What can I do to locate or at least narrow the scope of the problem?
posted by moift to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Response by poster: Also, while I suppose it doesn't really rule out the possibility of it being a thermal event, the laptop didn't get warm to the touch even after several rounds of booting and cursing.
posted by moift at 6:45 PM on January 25, 2006

How old is it? Could the CMOS battery be dead? Can you get into the BIOS?
posted by TonyRobots at 6:49 PM on January 25, 2006

Response by poster: I have no idea how old it is, but it's 1.7ghz so not extremely ancient. I can get into the BIOS and it doesn't shut off there.
posted by moift at 6:52 PM on January 25, 2006

Sounds like a power supply problem. Yes, even with it plugged into the wall. Yes, even when it's on battery. Laptops have power issues, too.

If it's under any warranty at all, I'd get it right in and let the company's techs deal with it.

The other option is a heating issue. Or rather, a cooling issue, as in your processor isn't being cooled enough, so as soon as it starts working, it gets too hot and kills the juice before it kills itself.

You're right about the likelihood of it being a hardware issue, especially with you being half through a fresh install. This is not Windows acting up, it's your system calling out for help.

At very least, I'd take it to the nearest local PC place that deals with laptops (some don't), and have them see what they can see and give an estimate. There will probably be a bench fee involved, but it's worth knowing what's wrong.

And I'm not just some hobbyist pulling what-have-you from you-know-where.
posted by SlyBevel at 7:16 PM on January 25, 2006

try booting into safe mode if possible (hit f5 when the windows logo pops up), also try a boot cd like damn small linux or ultimate boot cd
posted by psychobum at 12:36 AM on January 26, 2006

i bet it's totally a thermal or power issue! since there's a range of when it shuts off, you can rule out software and specific hardware initialization (it would die at the same moment every time if that were the case). i don't see why it would happen all of a sudden, though,
posted by soma lkzx at 9:12 AM on January 26, 2006

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