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I'm trying to help a friend with his laptop - it just started dying randomly - many times not even starting.

Sometimes it boots into Windows and then dies, sometimes it just doesn't even start and load BIOS. I tried using an Ultimate Boot Disk version and tried to run some tests, but have no idea what I'm doing.

Any help on trying to figure this out is appreciated - we called Acer, but apparently we have to pay $199 before we can get help, with no guarantees :P

Link to Laptop Specs -

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How hot does the laptop get? It's possible that it is overheating and there is a panic temperature that forces an immediate shutdown. When it has been sitting for a while (turned off) does it always boot past the BIOS?

This definitely looks like a heat issue. That is the only thing that makes sense why it would boot past the BIOS only sometimes. What happens is while it is in windows the processor hits the critical temp and shuts down. Then when you try to turn it back on it is still at this critical level and panics again, therefore bailing out before the BIOS has a chance to initialize completely.

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Just touching the laptop, it doesn't seem very hot at all :( When we do let it sit, sometimes it improves the probability of getting past BIOS. Is there any way we can be conclusive about this? And if it is a heat issue, how would we fix it? – stringo0 Nov 15 '09 at 2:07
Boot into the BIOS and see if you can find an area where it gives you the temperature readings from the sensors that it has. If your BIOS doesn't provide this information, download SpeedFan and run it in Windows. In either scenario let it run for a while and keep recording the various temperatures and what sensors they are for. Hopefully you will be able to get values that provide enough information that we can conclusively decide if heat is the issue. – Marcin Nov 15 '09 at 2:11
Sounds good - will look into the heat issue, and check bios sensors if possible. We might not be able to run speedfan as we haven't been able to boot into windows for a while. – stringo0 Nov 15 '09 at 2:12
It might indeed be a heat issue - I opened the bottom panel of the laptop, and the laptop seems to be running longer - in speedfan the temperatures are about 55-60 for all Temperature sensors (Temp1/2 & Core1/2). – stringo0 Nov 15 '09 at 2:29
I looked up the processor that laptop uses and its the Intel Core Duo. I believe the max temperature stated by Intel is 65º. Is the laptop still running fine at this temperature? Try to close the bottom panel and obstruct the airflow a little bit and watch the temperature and see if it gets to a point where it panics and shuts down. It is also possible that the panic temperature is set too low. – Marcin Nov 15 '09 at 2:35

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