In the past week or so, my Lenovo X220 laptop (bought in mid-2011) started to give some power troubles. The first time, it just suddenly turned off completely without any warning (no blue screen, no flicker, no sounds, the screen and all lights went off instantly), although it had battery at near full charge and was also plugged in. On rebooting it stated that the system had not been shut down properly and asked whether I wanted to start Windows in safe mode. I chose to "start normally". The laptop was not hot, and there were no event logs at the time that it turned off. The second time, the laptop was sleeping with nearly full battery and plugged in, and when I came back to it I found that it had turned off spontaneously. Of course, I lost whatever I had been doing on both occasions, but everything else seems to be running fine.

Around the same time, I noticed another weird issue. Sometimes, after shutting down normally and waiting a while after the lights all went off, switching off the power adapter resulted in the laptop making the usual X220 double-beep, which normally indicates that the laptop has been unplugged from the AC supply. What is not normal is that in the past it never did that when the laptop was off. Furthermore, after beeping, the batter light turns on for about 10 seconds before turning off again. Nothing unusual happens when I turn the power adapter on and off again after that.

I did not change the BIOS settings since the beginning, nor did I do any recent updates or install any software. For the second issue, I ruled out the battery and the adapter, because I have two original batteries from different sources and two original adapters from different sources, and the issue still arises regardless of which I use. I never ever dropped or bent the laptop, and it is always placed on a flat surface, and I never opened it or spilled anything on it, or did anything that I can think of that might be related. If the first issue is related to the second, which I think it is, then the only explanations I can find right now on the internet that seems to be likely is that there could be a fault with the power circuit or the CPU.

A third issue that I had since 2011 was that sometimes the laptop would take a while to register that the power supply is connected, and unplugging the power cord and plugging it back into the laptop would make it register immediately. This is probably unrelated since the other two issues occurred at the same time this year, but I thought I should mention everything that was power-related.

I have no idea what to do now.

=== Some Specs ===
BIOS: LENOVO 8DET46WW (1.16 ), 2011/05/18
OS:   Windows 7 Professional SP1
CPU:  Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2520M CPU @ 2.50GHz, 2501 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
  • Hardware failure? I've seen desktop motherboards suddenly "die" for no apparent reason, and sometimes eventually refuse to turn on at all - maybe the motherboard is just about done. That's if the battery really was fully charged and plugged in with an OK charger, I'd expect a sudden shutdown like that if the battery said it was full but actually was about to die
    – Xen2050
    Dec 17, 2015 at 11:37
  • @Xen2050: Yes I know that's why as I said in my question I tested with a different battery and on a separate occasion a different charger too. All four seem to be working properly.
    – user21820
    Dec 17, 2015 at 11:49
  • Ok, could try testing with a different motherboard next - I haven't found a really good way to test them especially for intermittent infrequent errors. Maybe it's something super obvious like exploded capacitors or something melted, but the bad ones I've seen pretty much look like new unfortunately. -- OR FIRST maybe overheating -> shutdown? Are the fans & airflow about the same as when new, or quiet (failed fan?) or less air moving - Air vents or internal fins have lots of lint/dust - try cleaning them?
    – Xen2050
    Dec 17, 2015 at 12:00
  • @Xen2050: I've stressed my CPUs to continuous 100% usage on all 4 processors until the fans were at high speed (and blowing out air at a higher rate) and the laptop got quite hot but nothing went wrong. I have not opened to look inside. From the outside, it looks very clean still, no visible clumps of dust/lint.
    – user21820
    Dec 17, 2015 at 12:17

1 Answer 1


I've had an X220 for about 4 years, and have found that the only times that it shuts itself off instantly was when the temperature went very high (~99 deg C).

I found that using this ThinkPad Fan Control utility allowed me to keep the temperature under better control, and to keep track of the temperature in different parts of the laptop. It may help you troubleshoot your issue - or at least rule out temperature as a potential cause. http://tpfancontrol.com/

On a semi-related note, Lenovo have acknowledged a BSOD scenario relating to entering or leaving the shut down power state: https://support.lenovo.com/nz/en/documents/ht051465

It sounds like this is likely not the case for you because you say your X220 turns off instantly without a BSOD. I only mention it in case you think there is a chance you may have missed seeing the BSOD. (On my X220 I currently have this problem, and I've only seen the BSOD once out of ~10 times the laptop has shut itself down unexpectedly. The other times I just wasn't looking or had the lid closed.)

  • Thanks, but I don't think it's that because I was looking at the screen 3 out of the 6 times so far and it was instant with no blue screen. I had hwmonitor and it said that the temperature stayed around ~90 deg C when I pushed all the CPUs to 100% continuously, and yet nothing happened.
    – user21820
    Jan 13, 2016 at 2:53
  • Did you figure it out in the end? My X220 started powering itself off (no BSOD) repeatedly last night, and although initially I was able to at least start booting into Windows, now I can't even get any response at all. The power button just turns green and then off every second or two, nothing else.
    – Mike
    Mar 13, 2017 at 23:54
  • No I never figured it out conclusively, although I am still quite confident that my guess was correct; namely that the power circuit is now slightly faulty. I have not sent it for repair, because of the recent nasty things that lenovo did, which makes me not assured that they would not do something fishy to my computer. But if you do get your motherboard repaired, let me know if it solves the problem!
    – user21820
    Mar 14, 2017 at 4:12

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