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I am running Windows Vista on a Dell Inspiron laptop. During the last weeks I've noticed random shut downs. Without a warning the laptop just shuts off. It got more extreme the last days were it will shut down between one and 15 minutes after starting up the machine.
My first idea was that it might be due to overheating, so I opened the laptop and checked the fan but everything is fine. To check for viruses I ran a linux live CD with pre-installed anti virus programs. Surprisingly the laptop did NOT shut down during the four hours virus scan. No viruses were found either.
So my next approach would probably be to re-install Windows Vista on this laptop. Does this make sense to you or should I check the crash log as suggested here first?
Could this even be the reason that it might be a corrupted Windows Vista installation which forces the shut down?

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Definitely check the logs in Event Viewer before doing anything drastic like reinstalling. –  Indrek Aug 25 '12 at 17:22

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Can you specify your Dell laptop configuration? Model, RAM, HD, Installed Services. One way to effectively get help is to provide more information. Examples: Hijackthis.log, Speccy Log or CPUz or SpeedFan logs.

If all of a sudden the laptop crashed, it could be due to faulty Windows update, or antivirus update, or both beside hardware issues. Let us know how many antivirus programs are installed (e.g. AVG, Avira, MS Defender, etc),a nd also what is the Firewall and its setting.

If you are new to Windows Vista, **easiest** approach is to reinstall after backuping your data, and other important softwares.

To check hard drive corruption: go to RUN > type CHKDSK /F C: hit ENTER. Accept Yes to check hard drive at next reboot. This will fix the harddrive if sector corruption occurs.

You can run CCLEANER and DEFRAGGLER to cleanse and defragment the hard drive. Occassionally system crashes if you have deleted several large files (100+MB such as movies or ISO files) at once.

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