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  • Spontaneous shutdowns

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      • #2344935
        AskWoody Plus

        My wife’s Windows 10 2004 pro laptop spontaneously shuts down.  Sometimes it happens 30 seconds after she logs on and sometimes she’ll be on it for a couple hours without incident.  But when it happens, there’s no warning so whatever she’s working on is gone.  I’d like to use Windows 10 built in reset keep my files option or Susan Bradley’s in place repair option

        but what if the computer spontaneously shuts down while either of those options is in progress?  Then her computer is a paperweight.  It’s not a power issue because it happens on AC.  Since it sometimes shuts down right away, I doubt it’s an overheating issue.

        I started it in safe mode and let it sit for a couple hours and it didn’t shut down, but given the randomness of the shutdowns, I can’t say that solved the problem.  Any ideas?  TIA

      • #2344937
        AskWoody Plus

        If you have access to a different computer, then one thing you might try is to remove the internal drive from the laptop, connect it to the alternative computer, and then image the laptop’s drive with a backup program such as Macrium Reflect or Acronis True Image. Then you could put the drive back in the laptop and try potentially destructive procedures such as Reset in relative safety.


        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2345463
          AskWoody Plus

          Good idea but I’m quadriplegic so I can’t take out the hd

      • #2344994
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Boot off a Linux live USB and use it for a while. Does it still shut down? If so it’s hardware.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2345051

        So the shutdown can happen only a short time after the laptop was started from a cold state, is that right? The first thing that came to mind was overheating (I had issues with spontaneous shutdowns with a laptop years ago when I used it on a bed… the soft surface blocked the inlet for the cooling fan on the bottom), but you said that you doubt that’s happening. Just want to be certain. Things can heat up fast under a heavy load if there is no cooling air coming in. There are programs you can use to monitor the CPU temp to make sure it’s still within spec, like Core Temp.

        There are other things that can cause spontaneous shutdowns, of course. I like Paul’s idea of using a live session on a USB drive to see if it still happens. You could also try running a backup from a bootable USB drive (using your choice of a backup program… Macrium Reflect is a popular choice, but there are a lot of other choices too) and seeing if it is able to finish. If not, the backup itself will be useless, but at least you’re no worse off than before. If it works, you’ve got a way to go back if things get messed up, and you have however long it took the make the backup where the PC didn’t shut off. You could extend that by having it verify the backup, and you could continue the test on the live session from there to give it more time.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.2 User Edition)

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by Ascaris.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2345470
          AskWoody Plus

          I’ll definitely try Core Temp.  I know how to make the backup, but don’t know how to run said backup from a USB drive.

          • #2345906

            The USB rescue drive that the backup software creates can usually also create backups, not just restore them. If you boot from the rescue media, look for an option to create a backup from there. If it exists (and it usually does), you can use that to run the backup without the possibly faulty Windows being loaded.

            Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.21.2 User Edition)

      • #2345879

        Your issue resembles a perplexing problem that happened recently to another owner’s laptop, it was confusing to diagnose.

        The battery itself was becoming aged but could retain and supply power for an hour before the laptop would warn about a low battery condition. The laptop would begin to normally charge the battery after being connected to the power adapter.

        A few months later while using the AC power adapter unplugging the barrel plug would eventually result in an immediate shutdown. The laptop should have transitioned to battery power as the battery still was fit for purpose.

        Much later after trying a newer manufacturer recommended replacement battery, quickly after a few minutes use the laptop itself utterly failed to recognize the battery nor could any characteristics be displayed with BatteryInfoView. Pulling the barrel plug out still produced the same result mentioned in the previous paragraph. (The Service manual for this laptop model stated this was because the motherboard had become defective.)


        Are the cells in the laptop battery still good?; BatteryInfoView can show you the quality of the battery.

        The power adapter may be okay, but its output of voltage and amperage should be verified with a multi-meter (or for modern systems a USB-C power meter).

        The charge controller in the battery could be defective, i.e. the cells could be good enough but the software running the charge controller has become confused and reports failure.

        The laptop’s charging/battery management circuitry on the motherboard could also have become defective, unable to successfully switch over from AC adapter input to battery power.

        Any and all of these diagnostic statements may help you find the cause of your problem.

        • #2346049
          AskWoody Plus

          something to look into as the computer was refurbished

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