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My dell laptop switches on and loads up fine, but after around ten minutes it just shuts off. It also feels really hot! Is this a fan problem and if so how much to fix? Please help, damsel in distress!!

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'Brain' of a computer

When a Processor overheats it turns off. This is a fail safe feature that is built-in. Keeps the Processor from burning up.
(BIOS turns it off)

Could be an internal fan problem.
Could just be the laptop is dirty inside.

Would you like to 'fix it' yourself?
Save your hard earned money?

(Ha! Sounds like a sales pitch. Just 40 easy payments of $29.95, and you too can be the owner of this wonderful blender)

Will require;
1) A can of compressed air for computers,
2) Some Q-tips,
3) A small soft fine brush would be nice. (Makeup brush?)
4) No.1 Philips screwdriver
5) A little patience. Rome wasn't built in a day

MAY require you to buy Thermal Paste, and Thermal Pad material.

Air is used to cool the hardware components inside a laptop.
The cooling fan usually draws air up from the Bottom, for most laptops.

Also the bottom of the laptop is close to the hard flat surface it rests on.
(Not supposed to go on your lap, or bed, or couch, or directly in a carpet floor. Blocks the air intake duct on the bottom. Laptop overheats)

This means it is VERY easy for the cooling system fan to draw in all kinds of 'Gunk'.
Dirt, dust, hair, carpet deodorizer, lint, food crumbs, name it.

Example of a dirty laptop. Dell XPS M1710 used for an example,

Laptop off, all cables disconnected; raise the side of the laptop up far enough you can look at the air intake duct on the bottom; for the fan.
You may need a flashlight, but look at the grilled opening.
Look dirty? How about further into the air intake duct?
If the laptop has never professionally been cleaned inside, then it is dirty inside.

A) Dell usually has Service Manuals available for all of it's laptops, free to access at Dell Support.

B) Pictorial guides are usually available for disassembling the laptop.

C) I have my own computer shop, and have been guiding people online for over 8 years now. (Little over 3 on FixYa)

I can guide you step by step in this endeavor.
The only thing you have to watch out for is;

1) May be a lot of reading
2) I tend to detail my solutions, as if you have never worked on a computer before. Kind of like I am sitting beside you, and guiding you.

Do I think you can perform the necessary procedures?
I have taught a LOT of people.

(If you can boil water, and played with Legos, or blocks as a child; you can do this. Doesn't take a rocket scientist. Sorry Gort!)

Or take it to a shop. Charges range upon area, and shop.
$75 to $125.

I need to know the model number off of the bottom of the laptop.
(NOT S/N. Serial Number. Do NOT post an S/N on a worldwide public forum)

Post back in a Comment.

[Should add though. The reply from me will come back in the Comment section, here.
This is a 'ticker-tape' format, and there is no spacing such as using paragraphs, for easy reading.
I can't space it out like the Solution box being used here.
Therefore it may be a little rough to read ]

Example of a Service Manual for a Dell Inspiron 1545 Notebook PC,

Example of a pictorial guide for disassembly,

Posted on Jan 22, 2013

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You must get battery checked for proper funtioning.It might have expired and won't be in use any more..

Posted on Jan 22, 2013

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WARNING: Before you start troubleshooting remember that you are dealing with electricity that can KILL. - rules

The cooling fan in your laptop helps to keep your CPU (Central Processing Unit), or processor from overheating.

Your cooling fan will collect a lot of dust and debris which can possible cause a short in the cooling fan.

Routine fan cleaning is essential to the life of your laptop.

If your CPU overheats it can go bad and/or cause damage to other important components inside your laptop.

The hardest part about cleaning a cooling fan is gaining access.

This requires some disassembly of your laptop.

Turn off your Dell laptop, disconnect the power cable, remove the battery pack and disconnect any other cables or external devices.

Attach an Antistatic wrist wrap to your wrist and attach the wire clip to the laptop frame.

This will help prevent against shock from static electricity.

Use a small flathead screwdriver to pry up on the keyboard bezel.

The keyboard bezel is a small plastic strip located between the laptop's keyboard and LCD display.

Remove it completely from the laptop, and set it to the side.

Remove the now-exposed two to four Phillips-head screws (depending on the laptop model), and then lift up on the keyboard and place it face-down over the track pad and palm rest.

Disconnect the keyboard's ribbon connector from the laptop's motherboard.

Lift the keyboard out of the laptop base and set it to the side.

This will expose the Dell laptop's cooling fan.

Remove the single Phillips-head screw attaching the fan to the motherboard.

Lift the fan out of the laptop base; you're now ready to clean.

check you CPU make sure its securely seated and has thermal grease

Capacitors look like small metallic canisters and they are found in many different computer components including computer monitors, computer motherboards, video cards, power supplies and a variety of other consumer products.

A bad capacitor can cause a variety of computer problems, but if you can identify the faulty capacitor you may be able to replace it and save your computer.


Capacitors, sometimes also called condensers, are used to store energy in an electric field.

In the context of computing, capacitors are used to block the direct current being circulated around the motherboard.

A typical capacitor should last up to 15 years, but some computer manufacturers use substandard capacitors resulting in shorter lifetimes.

Computer Problems

When a capacitor has gone bad on a computer you may experience a large range of problems. The computer may have trouble booting up, or it may shut down without notice after running for only a short period of time.

The most common problems associated with faulty capacitors are that they cause unexpected computer crashes and general reliability issues ranging from read/write issues to distorted screen images.

Identifying a Bad Capacitor

To identify a bad capacitor you will need to open your computer case and locate the capacitors on your motherboard.

A bad capacitor may exhibit swelling at the top or the base of the capacitor or it may sit at an awkward angle with the motherboard, so compare the various capacitors in your computer in terms of size and placement.

Additionally, a bad capacitor may have a funny smell or it may have a brownish residue leaking from the top or the base.


Manufacturers claim that capacitors may go bad because a computer is not receiving enough power from a power supply, because of an overclocked processor or because a computer is operating in an environment with too much heat or humidity.

However, some capacitors prematurely fail due to faulty work on the part of the manufacturer.

If you have a bad capacitor be sure to do research as to the lifespan of other products made by your manufacturer.

Identifying bad capacitors

Capacitor replacement

How to check a capacitor

Replacing a leaking capacitor

Could be a problem with the Hard Drive or the Hard drives PCB

Hope this helps.

Posted on Jan 22, 2013

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: Dell Latitude C640 Laptop

get to the main board of ur system there is a jumper near the battery .
change its position while power is off and get it back to its previous position. this way u will reset cmos to default.
if the computer starts hit delete to enter setup and load system changes then exit.
ps: defected processor could be the cause

Posted on Nov 14, 2007

  • 137 Answers

SOURCE: The fan on my Dell Inspiron 4000 is always running.

a couple suggestions:

try starting in safe mode and see if it does it still. It could be that you have some background program like Windows update or that new Windows active search function, which spends copious amounts of processor time cataloging your entire computer. Some anti-virus programs will do the same and eat up processor time. I'd try shutting down as many of these background processes to see what (or what combination) is causing the problem.

If this doesn't work, you might have a bad connection with your heatsink, which would cause your computer to stay at or your fan might be going bad, causing it to get really loud.

I'm not going to go into the possibility of it being used on a lap or bed or carpet where the fan intake vent is getting blocked. I know you've eliminated this as a possibility. Right?

Posted on Oct 07, 2008

  • 1 Answer

SOURCE: My Toshiba Satellite A75-s206 shuts down by itself.

I own one and just came across the best solution.  I'm assuming by shuts off, you mean it just completely blinks out in an instant without warning - this is the processor getting too hot and shutting off to protect itself.  First you will make sure the fan & heat sinks are clean and working properly, then you will enable the power management features of the processor (Toshiba's power utility does not do this).
First, of course, get the canned air and blow out all the fans and heat sinks so they can work properly.
Next, download and install the RightMark CPU Clock Utility (search google for it).  It will take a little reading up to figure out how to use it, but here's the basics: 1. Go to the "profiles" page  a. under "Profile Selection" set it to use "Performance on Demand" for both AC power and battery (current and startup).  b. Then hit the "Defaults" button at the bottom, and then hit "Apply" 2. Now, expand the "profiles" tree (on the left side, there should be a little + next to it) and go to the "Performance on demand" profile and do the following: a. Click the "CPU Settings" button at the top. b. Hit "Defaults" at the bottom of the page c. For both AC power and battery, check "Use throttling", and then check all the indexes (0-7) in the list below. d. Below that, set the "target CPU usage level" to 75%. e. Hit "Apply"

If that all works properly, you should be able to go to the "Monitoring" page and watch your processor throttle up and down automatically as needed.  You should find that within a minute the fan gets a lot quieter because the processor is so much cooler.  Now that it's running properly, you can open the "Settings" page and check the boxes "start minimized to system tray" and "Run at windows startup", now it will run completely automatically, you won't even notice it except the fans will be quieter and your battery will last longer.
What it does: this laptop uses a Pentium4 processor, and by default WindowsXP does not manage the processor power settings on "desktop" processors.  Toshiba's power utility also does not manage these settings very well, so your processor is always running near full power no matter if it's playing a video game or just editing a text document.  The RightMark utility automatically adjusts the processor's clock speed, operating voltage, and throttle according to how much speed you need at any given moment.

Posted on Apr 08, 2009

  • 12 Answers

SOURCE: sudden shut down

You probably have a clog of dust between the fan and the heatsink. It would be best to have it disassembled to clean, although a few models have clean-out doors to the fan on the back. You might be able to somewhat clear it by blowing canned air in the vent, but this may push dust balls into the fan that go right back against the heat sink.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009

  • 1705 Answers

SOURCE: my acer extensa 4420-5963 gets really hot and

It could all be down to the heat problem.

Check the fan housing, is it clear of dust. If not there is usually lies the problem.

When using the latop, ensure its on a flat surface so the air can circulate around the vents and fans.

Posted on Mar 14, 2010

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