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My IBM Thinkpad T40 laptop keeps rebooting. It happens especially frequently when I physically move the machine. Sometimes, even a slight movement will trigger a reboot.

However, I have been able to keep the machine up and running for hours at a time, when I've been able to not physically move the laptop.

Is this a common problem? Is it a spyware/adware issue? The laptop is four years old; are its parts just not screwed in as tightly as they used to be anymore? What can I do about it?

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If its when you move your machine it sounds like there's a faulty power connection in there somewhere.

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+1 Beat me by 10 seconds :-) – Nifle Feb 25 '10 at 17:55
Thanks for the response. But shouldn't the laptop battery be sufficient to keep things running? Besides why the reboot - it should just go off if the power connection was the issue... – Tim Feb 25 '10 at 17:57
I mean a loose connection inside the laptop, even if the battery is good you will still get this brief power outage. – Joe Taylor Feb 25 '10 at 18:15
Thanks! Does that mean I should open it up and look for loose connections near where the power plugs in? Any additional resources you can point me to further read up on what to look for if I do open up the laptop? – Tim Feb 25 '10 at 18:21
Whether or not you open it up is completely up to you and your level of skill. if you have a warranty on it, which is doubtful with its age, you will void the warranty by opening up. If you have the correct equipment and technical knowledge then thats what i would look for. – Joe Taylor Feb 25 '10 at 21:56

It may also be the battery pack. Does this occur with the laptop plugged in with the battery pack not installed?

Does the reverse happen (ie, reboot with just the battery pack, but not plugged in)?

If it occurs in both cases, the suspect is a bad connection or component on the motherboard.

If it happens when one item is present, but doesn't otherwise happen, then the battery pack or power brick is the culprit.

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Thanks. I haven't tried to plug it in w/o the battery pack. The battery is pretty weak from 4 yrs of use so I am not sure if I'll be able to test keeping it on for a long time with out plugging it in - but I'll report back. – Tim Feb 25 '10 at 18:56
It happens regardless of whether the computer is running on battery or directly plugged in. Sometimes even adjusting the screen up/down while having the laptop on a flat table OR sliding the laptop on the table can cause it to reboot. Any help would be much appreciated! – Tim Mar 2 '10 at 18:44
@Tim - I'd suspect a loose connection, or broken component next. If it were me, I'd disassemble the laptop, inspect the motherboard for obvious signs of failure, and if nothing is found, reassemble it making sure to detach and reattach all the connections to make sure good contact is made. If you aren't comfortable with that, back everything up and send it in for service. – Adam Davis Mar 2 '10 at 19:43

I don't know about Thinkpads or this model in particular, but I've run into a couple of models of laptops with grounding issues in particular places (e.g. metal speaker grilles, USB ports), where if you build up a static charge and then touch it it makes the system reboot.

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Sometimes with heavier laptops this can be caused by poor design and faulty construction coupled with age. A particularly heavy Sony laptop of several years ago was prone to this. The case and frame were so contructed that when the laptop was picked up in a particular way (holding the corners, I believe it was) the laptop would reboot itself.

It turned out to be that the system flexed enough when it was picked up this way that a connection was broken inside the unit causing the reboot.

Symptoms of this would be the device noticeably groaning or creaking when it is picked up, possibly even visibly bending, though bending is only very slight and would not necessarily be obvious.

Making sure all the screws are snug and not over-tight and that ports and connections in the device don't flex or move too much then cords and devices are plugged into them are ways of making sure this does not happen or is not the issue.

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