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Laptop non-normal shut-down

By rocker11 · 10 replies
Jan 1, 2016
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  1. I am having a problem with an ASUS laptop computer. The computer is 4 years old, and I keep it running essentially all the time. I have noticed a loud whirring noise, presumably the cooling fan, for long time periods of an hour or so, but the whirring sound is also off for long time periods, too. The exhaust vent is on the left side of the computer, and the bottom of the computer becomes hot near the exhaust port during these times. If this is overheating, it is a surprise, since I just use the computer for web surfing and Microsoft Office applications – no gaming or video production, which would heavily load the system. Most of the time I run with the laptop lid up, but I have noticed lately that if I close the lid, the computer consistently does a non-normal shut-down on its own, without any input from me, and without any load except Internet Explorer. This typically happens within 5 to 30 minutes.

    I thought that maybe the shut down might be due to overheating, and that the overheating might be worse with the lid down – perhaps the screen remained on when the lid was closed, and this was aggravating the thermal problem. But I looked at the screen as I closed the lid, and it consistently turns off before the lid is fully closed. I also checked the options selected under Power Options/System Settings, and it is set to “do nothing” when the lid is closed with the computer is plugged in to my house power. So this setting should not be causing the shut downs.

    Given these conditions, I have several questions.
    1. Can the accumulation of dust over the four years of operation cause the computer to overheat?
    2. Related to that, is there some way I can open that portion of the computer and clean out the air flow passages with a vacuum cleaner?
    3. Are there any suggestions of how closing the lid might cause a non-normal shut-down? Is there a possible electrical short or something like that in the wires that go from the base to the lid that might develop when the lid is down?

    Thank you for your advice.

    Asus A53SV-EH71
    Windows 7 Home Premium, SP1
    Intel Core i7-2670QM CPU @ 2.20 GHz
    6 GB RAM
    640 GB hard drive, Hitachi HTS547564A9E384, 5400 RPM, SATA
    Seagate FreeAgent Pro USB external hard drive, 500 GB
    Matshita DVD-RAM UJ8B0 optical drive, SATA
    NVIDIA GeForce4 GT 540M video card
    Logitech K740 illuminated USB keyboard
    Microsoft Comfort USB optical mouse 3000
  2. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,777   +242

    Sounds as though it is over heating. Yes dust can cause this. Your best bet would be to buy a can of air. Blow out the vents. See if this helps. If not it may need to have new thermal pads. If this is the case . You may need to take it to get serviced. If you do not know how to do this.
    If you are closing the lid and the computer is shutting down, May be due to a power setting or a short. You would need to have that serviced if it is a short.
  3. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,582   +248

    I have a little program installed that constantly displays the graphics chip temperature in the taskbar of my laptop. It's called GPU Temp and it's freeware. It will show whether or not the laptop is overheating. I agree with Cobalt006 that it's highly likely. It's worth having it professionally serviced to replace the heat pads and thermal paste if a clean out of dust doesn't work.
  4. rocker11

    rocker11 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    To Cobalt006 and bazz2004,
    Thank you for your responses. It certainly makes sense to clean out the air passages. My inclination is to try to do so by first removing the case sections near the fan and CPU so I can get real close to the flow channels in the vicinity of the CPU. I have opened many desktop computers, but never a laptop. However, I am fairly skilled at taking things apart and then successfully putting them back together, so I am inclined to try opening up the case to do the most effective cleaning of the air channels. But I am interested in your opinions as to whether I might be trying something that is too challenging. What are your thoughts? It looks like as few as six screws might remove the case cover near the CPU.

    I am also interested in Cobalt006's suggestion that there might be a short when the lid is closed. My daughter had a MAC computer that suffered from such a problem, but it was always consistent, and quick. In my case, it is inconsistent, and there can be very long delays from when I lower the lid until the computer shuts down. In my recent web surging, I found a discussion of how Windows responds to excess temperatures, and one of the responses, as one might expect, is to shut down the computer. But it's not clear to me how closing the lid can affect the cooling. Any thoughts about this question.

    Finally, bazz2004, I really like your suggestion of using the GPU freeware. This will provide me a way to quantify the temperature and see if I can correlate the shut down with temperature. I could also see how closing the lid might affect the temperature (yes, I know it sounds far-fetched, but I would like to know for sure whether there is any correlation between lid closure and temperature).

    Thank you again!
  5. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,777   +242

    As far as closing the lid. I really doubt it would have to anything with over heating. Power setting can be setup to shut them down in some laptop tops or to put them to sleep. I rather inclined to think there may be a short due to the inconsistent of the shut down.. Taking the laptop apart is not hard. It just be very careful when putting it back to gather. Cables and such can get pinched. I prefer to send mine out once a year and have it cleaned and new thermal pads. I have a guy who does it . All he works on is laptops.
    bazz2004 likes this.
  6. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,582   +248

    Laptops are nothing like desktops as far as repairs go. I've only taken a couple apart and they were not easy. The make of laptop probably makes a big difference though. It'll take you a long time and you need to be careful that no screw is missed when you pry something apart. Also ribbon connectors are very tricky. Even bending a ribbon cable too much could for example wreck your keyboard. There are YouTube videos you can use as guide but also bear in mind while all those screws may look the same at first glance they may well not be. My preference would be to carefully research for a local workshop and trust them with the job.
    Tmagic650 and Cobalt006 like this.
  7. rocker11

    rocker11 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Dear friends,
    I was out of town last weekend, and I was buried this week at work as the new year began, so I am only now getting a chance to return to this discussion.

    I downloaded GPU Temp, but I could not get it to work on my computer. In the process, I also found CoreTemp 1.0, and I installed it on my computer. This has been extremely valuable, because it provides a continuous monitor of the temperatures of the four cores in my CPU. Using a related gadget, CoreTempGadget 2.7, I can now get a continuous Excel log showing all four temperatures at 1-second intervals, along with the core load (shown as a percent of capacity), the core speed (MHz), and the fraction of RAM being used. Using this tool, I learned more about my problem.
    When I am actually using the computer, temperatures are typically low (60 to 70 C), although the temperature can occasionally spike up for a second when launching a browser or other type of application. I also noticed that the whirring sound of the fan is almost never on while I am using the computer.

    However, when the computer is just sitting there unused, the loud whirring sound arises often, and according to the log file, the computer will run hot for hours during the early morning hours when nobody is using the computer. When I log on, the temperature is typically at least 90 C, sometimes approaching 100 C. But if I open Task Manager, I find that nothing shows in the Applications tab, and nothing seems particularly busy in the Processes tab. The Performance tab typically shows CPU usage at just a few percent. I have no idea what is running that can cause the temperature to rise so high, and why whatever is causing the temperature rise immediately drops out when I log on.

    Perhaps it is time to reformat my hard drive and wipe out any trash that is there. I have never done that yet on this computer, but this may be the time to take the plunge. I also think it would be a good idea to get the internals cleaned and checked to see of the thermal pads need to be renewed. Cobalt06, does your guy happen to live in the LA area? If so, I would like to pay him a visit. Otherwise, I will see if I can find a local guy.

    So that's my situation. Strange things happening -- any suggestions on what is happening will be greatly appreciated. I will try to have it serviced, and perhaps reformat the HDD.

    Thanks for your help and any additional suggestions you may make.
  8. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,582   +248

    I haven't much to compare your temperatures with but on my laptop temperatures are between 50c and 60c. The fan comes on at 60c and the temp soon drops back down. In your case I reckon that part of the problem is down to the need to replace heat pads and paste. Reformatting the drive may make no difference and take a long time.
    rocker11 and Cobalt006 like this.
  9. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,777   +242

    Bazz2004 is right. You need to have the laptop serviced. Needs a good cleaning and new pads and thermal paste. Your temps are running to high. Sorry I live in Ohio. My guy charges me 40.00. Call around and check some places out. To find someone who is reasonable. Plus is good at servicing laptops.
    rocker11 likes this.
  10. rocker11

    rocker11 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It was a real help to have the ability to measure the CPU temperature. Now that I know how far away my computer is from "normal" temperature operation, I will definitely follow your advice. I know a place that did some work for me many years ago, before I could do anything on computers myself. They were competent and quick.
    Thank you both for your help!:)
  11. Cobalt006

    Cobalt006 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,777   +242

    Your welcome:)

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