Laptop shutting down randomly (not heat)?

My laptop has been recently shutting down fequently. It is not heat related because I have been watching the temp and it has not gotten over 145 degrees F. The pc consultant and my university said it was a hardware problem but I'm not sure. It suspiciously started after I accidently went to a website that was labled 'this site may be hacked.' I have does full scans with malwarebytes and Windows Defender but they didn't find anything. I also did a Microsoft memory diagnostics and it did not find errors. I can't find a consistant way to make it shut down, sometimes it is a few minutes or an hour. Since its a Dell, I ran a Dell diagnostics test and it found BSOD errors but didn't have a solution. Any help is appreciated.

sort by: active | newest | oldest
Vyger3 years ago

I should have asked this first:

Does it run through the shut down sequence or does it just suddenly go completely off like someone pulling the plug? And do you get the screen that says it was not shut down (or a similar warning) when you turn it back on?

If you hold a power button down for 5 seconds it is a special command to the motherboard to power off, Now, no shutdown, just off. This is the same with desktops and laptops. It is designed to allow you to power off a locked up computer. It is independent of whatever else is going on. A momentary contact of the button, less than 5 seconds, will cause it to execute whatever cpmmand has been set for that function, such as hibernation. BUt the button itself is a single contact normally open switch. If you unplugded it while the computer was already on it will make no difference. The only thing that would make it cause a power off would be 5 seconds or more closed contacts.

Arya42 (author)  Vyger3 years ago
It completly shuts off with no notice like the power button was held. Sometimes it restarts itself but usually not. When I turn it on again it sometimes shows the message that it was not shut down properly. In the event log though, it shows a critical error message every time that says 'an unexpected shutdown occured at x time.'
Vyger Arya423 years ago

You will get no notice. Like I said, its built into the motherboard, likely the same chip that allows the power on cycle. And it shuts everything off, triggers the power supply to shut off the power.

So it looks like you have either a short in the button that is keeping the contacts closed or it is being physically held in place with the contacts on.

They should replace the power button, nothing else, just the button.

My bet would be there is a spacer in there that they put in wrong when they reassemblied it. or a set of locater pins that are not seated all the way. Something that is putting pressure on the mechanism. If you squeeze the spot around the button most likely it would trigger it to go off.

If you are comfortable with doing it you can take it apart and look. It might even have a wire under the button that is not supposed to be there. ( I have seen that one before). Sometimes those wires end up where they are not supposed to be. I have used hot melt glue on them if they get stubborn and will not stay in place.

Arya42 (author)  Vyger3 years ago

That is what I was thinking too, especially since the switch used to be hard to make contact before. I'm quite comfortable with the insides of computers, but does opening it myself void the warranty?

Vyger Arya423 years ago

Unless they stuck a seal on it somewhere who can tell? The screws have already been removed and replaced so that is not a factor. Just don't leave any tool marks on it, like pry marks from a screwdriver. Which should not be a problem for a notebook.

Arya42 (author)  Vyger3 years ago

I think I will contact Dell and see if they can send an on-site technician out like last time to fix it. Last time I sent to the repair place, they didn't didn't replace the right part. I've never worked with a computer this tiny so I'm hesitant to open it myself.

Johnaiden3 years ago

It seems that your computer has a blue screen of death. In your case you'd better to resort to a third-party tool for help. I know a tool named Windows Boot Genius which can solve your problem. You can search it on Google. Good luck to you!

Vyger3 years ago

There have been major recalls of certain laptop models in the past. Most had major design flaws. With one that I am familiar with, the motherboard was not properly supported in the case and it flexed when the notebook was handled, especially one handed. This caused the components to come unsoldered There was a class action lawsuit about that one. Check to see if your model number has any type of pending action going on.

Arya42 (author)  Vyger3 years ago
That sounds posiible but I can only find battery recalls on Dell XPS products. Hopefully it is an easy fix but the hard part is calling Dell. Last time I sent in my laptop they replaced the motherboard but it didn't fix the first problem.
Arya42 (author) 3 years ago

I forgot to add some info. It is a Dell XPS 11 bought in July 2014. The screen and motherboard were replaced for a different issue in August.

Sounds like a quality product, :-1 three major faults in 3 months take it back demand a replacement

Arya42 (author)  liquidhandwash3 years ago
It's worked well until the button started acting weird. I hope that is the only problem. The idea of getting a replacement is good, except that Dell does not sell them anymore. Most of the reviews were good; I guess this is what is called a 'lemon.'
Vyger3 years ago

It could still be a heat issue. If the processor or the video chip did not get properly coated with heat sink compound there could be gaps and those can be causing hot spots on the chips. The overall temperature would not show it but that portion of the chip would overheat and cause it to shut down.

What makes me even more suspicious of it is that it had major work done. When they replaced the motherboard they may not have done a proper job on the heatsinks. What I would do is pull off the heatsinks, clean them and recoat them with a good compound like Arctic Silver and then see if the problem goes away. Its about the cheapest thing you can try (if you do it yourself) because its all labor and not parts. If you have had any experience working on laptops you could try and do it yourself. Takes pictures of everything as you take it appart so you can remember how it goes back together.

Arya42 (author)  Vyger3 years ago
I could do that myself but since it is still under warranty I want to try to avoid doing things that could void it. I'm starting to think it might be the power button. It used to be quite hard to push to get it to turn on but now it is super sensitive. Just barely touching it makes it go to sleep so I think it might be stuck, which would make it shut down. Could this be possible?

Could be a bad connection with the battery. Could be anything really. Probably need to take it in to have it looked at.