laptop shuts off at random
March 18, 2004 7:33 PM   Subscribe

My laptop is turning itself off at random [more inside]

Twice over the last couple days, my laptop has decided to turn itself off. No prompt, no nothing, it just cold-boots. Both times it's happened, the laptop has been plugged into the wall. My battery has also been full (at least, according to it) both times.

It's a Gateway desktop-replacement job. 2002 model, P4M 2.0 Gig. Single battery, the wall socket is a standard 110 volt. Using the stock power adapter. Power settings are 'always on.' I ran adaware and spybot a couple hours ago; it hasn't shut down since then. I don't have the make and model of all the parts at hand, but I can certainly dig those up if people think it's important.

I haven't lost any critical data so far, but it's starting to worry me. Thoughts?
posted by Yelling At Nothing to Technology (10 answers total)
" just cold boots."

Do you mean it resets and reboots itself, or that it shuts down to black and you have to push the power button to turn it back on again? "Cold boot" is a term with a fairly specific meaning, and I'm not convinced that's what you mean.

Resetting/rebooting could be something as simple as a corrupt driver (if you're running windows, I'd suspect the video driver; Windows video drivers have a way of going sour from time to time). Shutting down fully is almost guaranteed to be a hardware problem.
posted by majick at 8:11 PM on March 18, 2004

Also, the make is clearly Gateway; the model is stickered to the bottom, probably on the heavy vinyl sticker near the battery, with white printing and a number of agency approval logos.
posted by majick at 8:12 PM on March 18, 2004

Any chance it's connected to overheating? My Apple I-Book started erratically rebooting the other day. Then, I kid you not, a puff of smoke shot out with a chemical, burnt smell, and I had to take it to the Apple Store for repairs.

All this just to say that erratic rebooting or any erratic behavior can be a heat problem. I had another computer that randomly rebooted and flashed total madness on the screen until I realized I forgot to put the fan back in.
posted by inksyndicate at 8:21 PM on March 18, 2004

I second the overheating suggestion. That's always my first thought with any random shutdown.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:11 PM on March 18, 2004

Could you have contracted Blaster? My desktop did that when I got Blastered last August.
posted by Lynsey at 9:41 PM on March 18, 2004

This is going to sound weird but my laptop does the same thing if the display is set to 16bit rather than its 32bit max. I first noticed the problem after playing a game that didn't return my system settings when it exited. Don't know why this happens but its worth checking.

Also, make certain your cpu fan is working. Overheating is a big problem on laptops in general.
posted by Grod at 9:48 PM on March 18, 2004

I'm going to also vouch for the overheating. I had a HP laptop with the fan on the bottom (a concept I do NOT understand), and if I placed is on my bed, it would shut off without warning. Learned that the first time around via losing a term paper. Then, after about two years, my fan started to go and, simply put, the fan wasn't doing a good enough job cooling off my laptop and it would do the overheat-shutoff thing (ie, no warning) and I had to get the fan problems since. Also, a friend with a 3 year-old HP laptop is now having the same problem and it will turn off on its own in about two hours because the fan sucks.
posted by jmd82 at 10:17 PM on March 18, 2004

You know, my computer has been doing something similar (though it appears to have righted itself, after so much fiddling around on my part that I couldn't possibly say what "fixed" it).

In this case it would begin to show a great deal of cpu activity after remaining idle for 15 minutes or so, then a few minutes later, reboot. In this, as well as a few other ways (lots of blue screen stop error messages, opening in safe mode even when it was shut down normally, lots and lots of hanging up, etc.), it was acting so much like it had a virus I was almost convinced that it was a new, undiscovered virus. I scanned with four different antivirus programs (never running any two at the same time), including an online scan and Ad-Aware, which all came up clean. A lot of what I did had to do with disabling a slew of unneeded services, slimming down the start programs, cleaning the registry, etc, but it's still a mystery.
posted by taz at 10:30 PM on March 18, 2004

I'll second thge virus option.

I'll third (fourth? I'm a little drunk) the idea of it being an overheating problem. My laptop had the chip set to run at 17. instead of 1.4 volts and it was powering down when it got hot. In my case the extra power drain caused it to go jittery when the battery maxed out while I was playing games.
posted by twine42 at 5:54 AM on March 19, 2004

It may not be overheating at all but it very well might think it's overheating. We had to replace a motherboard in a laptop that kept shutting itself down, as though the processor were about to melt, sometimes within a few minutes of being turned on in the morning. It's been fine since.

You might be able to do a hardware test to see if the fan is working properly with a BIOS utility or what have you. You might find some software that will report on your CPU temp to see if it's really getting hot or what.

If it's out of warranty, get one of those pads to elevate the thing and allow airflow beneath it. Maybe plug in a USB fan and point it at a hot part of the case.
posted by sudama at 7:02 AM on March 19, 2004

« Older Actor's Studio Programs   |   Can I remove search results from various search... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.