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First of all, it's my first question on superuser so please excuse me if it doesn't belong here, a similar one has already been posted here or if I missed some details. My ASUS M51 freezes up. It all started a couple of months ago and I basically forgot about it since I bought a new laptop around that time. This is, however, bugging me since then and I can't explain why it's happening. Let me quickly describe what's wrong.

  1. When switched on and running (win 7) it freezes after a couple of minutes of normal usage (or even if I don't actually do anything). By 'freezes', I mean it's like a static image of my desktop was being displayed on the screen. Nothing happens, alt+ctrl+del doesn't help, I basically have to switch it off using a power button.
  2. I tried to remove the hard drive and to start the laptop without it. The same here - it freezes on the the initial black loading screen (a couple of minutes after the computer says it can't find the hdd)
  3. I tried to remove RAM - the same thing.
  4. All fans are spinning as they should.
  5. I cleaned the fans using a small paintbrush but it doesn't change anything.

The laptop is generally clean and in pretty good physical shape. Well, almost, obviously :). One possible clue I can think of is that the laptop is heating excessively even when it doesn't actually do anything (hdd removed).

Do you have any ideas what is the cause of this or what else can I try?

Thanks, Piotr

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Sounds like a heating problem, you might have to change the thermal paste under the CPU heat sink. Does it crash this way in the BIOS? try leaving it on at the BIOS temperature monitoring screen. –  terdon Dec 5 '12 at 15:07
    
Thanks, I'll try that as soon as I come home. If you can think of anything else, please feel free to let me know. –  Piotr Justyna Dec 5 '12 at 15:20
    
Well, the other thing that comes to mind is making sure the laptop is on a flat surface. I had similar problems with a cheap Toshiba laptop where it would freeze if not laid perfectly flat. –  terdon Dec 5 '12 at 15:41
    
Seriously? That must have been a relief when you figured it out! I was testing it on my desk so I guess it is rather flat. –  Piotr Justyna Dec 5 '12 at 15:48
    
Yeah, I think the problem was that the laptop casing was too flexible and if it were not flat it was somehow applying torque to some hardware component. Still, if you detect excessive heating, that is probably your problem. –  terdon Dec 5 '12 at 15:50
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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

May as well make my comment into an answer...

So, if you are noticing that your computer is heating up but the fans are still turning, it is very likely that ghe thermal paste under the CPU's heatsink has dried up and is no longer doing its job. Crashes like what you describe are typical of overheating problems. Try changing the thermal paste and see if that fixes the problem.

Also, if you have removed the heatsink, your thermal paste is destroyed and you need to change it. Even if it was not the cause, it will be now.

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Yeah, removing the heat sink wasn't the brightest idea afterall... Hope I haven't destroyed the CPU or GPU... Waiting for the thermal paste right now, will let you know how it goes. Thanks! –  Piotr Justyna Dec 6 '12 at 13:10
    
I just got my thermal paste this morning, will try it after I come back home. Hope this works! –  Piotr Justyna Dec 10 '12 at 14:31
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@PiotrJustyna Make SURE you remove all of the old thermal paste, clean both the CPU (the side in contact with the paste) and the heatsink thoroughly and apply only a little paste, ideally you want a thin uniform layer across the entire base of the heat sink. –  terdon Dec 10 '12 at 14:38
    
Thanks. I saw a couple of videos on how to do that, but a little extra advice is always welcome. –  Piotr Justyna Dec 10 '12 at 14:49
    
OK, so even after applying the paste, the same thing happens. I can't even go to BIOS and it's still heating up very fast. This time for a change the display isn't even responding and it's pitch black all the time during the startup. I tried connecting an external one, it's getting the signal but doesn't display anything. I'm not sure if it makes sense to replace the motherboard now... However, thanks for our answer. –  Piotr Justyna Dec 10 '12 at 20:33
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