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Using Vista and iTunes the OS will just shut off (no blue screen, no warning of any kind) on my docked TSeries ThinkPad. I mention iTunes because it seems to happen most often when downloading large files (like podcasts). It happens 2-3 times a week and I download podcasts daily so it's not too terrible. But I was hoping someone somewhere has seen this behavior. I have yet to come across anybody complaining about this with recent versions of iTunes.

Thoughts on how to pinpoint the problem would be greatly appreciated also.

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Have you checked the Event Viewer - for more information on the crash? – Aaron Jul 24 '09 at 17:26
All i get in the event log is this error after i boot backup: "The previous system shutdown at 9:33:40 AM on 7/24/2009 was unexpected. " – Karim Jul 24 '09 at 18:17
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You may want to look into the possibility of the laptop overheating. That often causes random shut offs and restarts. Is the computer very hot to touch anywhere when it shuts off?

First, install a CPU temperature monitor such as RealTemp, or see this SU question.

If any of the temperature readings are above 60 degrees Celsius, you may be overheating. Are the vent fans working?

Here are steps you can take to cool down your computer:

  • Blow compressed air into the vents to clear out dust.
  • Open up the laptop and blow out the cpu fan/vents with compressed air.
  • Make sure the CPU heatsink is firmly planted on the CPU. If not, replant with thermal paste.
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Blue screens are really rare these days and are usually associated with problem hardware and their drivers. Have you check to see if updated hardware drivers are available? I'd start with the network driver and the sound driver.

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He says there is no blue screen, this solution won't necessarily help. It is correct for a blue screen though. – indyK1ng Jul 24 '09 at 19:04
Heh, weird, I completely missed the 'no' in the title and read it as "Frequent Vista Crash with blue screen". My bad, sorry. – Charles Roper Jul 24 '09 at 20:03

About the only thing I have to add to the other solutions here is the possibility of the power system being shot, but I think Matias has the most likely answer.

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It could be that there is something wrong with one or more of your memory sticks. Try downloading the latest Memtest86+ from here.

You have to burn the files to a cd or copy them to a floppy and boot your computer with it. You need to let the test run for at least one pass and some people even recommend letting it run for 24 hours to guarantee your RAM is stable.

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Are you sure you aren't getting a blue screen and simply having the computer reboot immediately? This link explains how to disable automatic reboot.

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It's not rebooting. Just shutting down. – Karim Jul 28 '09 at 0:04

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