I have a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga that I bought new two years ago.

Last week, I began to have a problem with frequent, unexplained restarts. I ran a hardware scan, which found nothing. I ran several malware scans with a few different programs, which didn't find anything either. I turned off automatic restart. I ran disk and system checks. I looked in the Event Log for possible causes, and found no errors or warnings that happened before every restart. I was unable to find any explanation, even after extensive online searches.

Possible causes of the problem: my charger broke a few weeks ago, so I started using one from a different Lenovo laptop we had in the house. I originally ordered a new one off of Amazon, but returned it after I discovered that it was not manufactured by Lenovo. This could have caused an issue with the battery, but I have had no charge problems.

I went to Geek Squad at Best Buy today and they said it was probably a motherboard problem. Is it worth it to get it replaced? I'm not under warranty (it expired a year ago) so I don't know if I should send it in to the manufacturer. (It also has other issues that I don't need fixed, like missing keys and a cracked LCD display.) I don't want to have to get another computer with worse specs for more than I could pay to get my current one fixed. My current system cost about $1200.

I'm a sophomore in college studying computer science; I need a good laptop for coursework, and I don't have the money to spare to buy a new one of comparable quality.

System Specs:

  • OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
  • Manufacturer: Lenovo
  • Model: 20FQ000QUS
  • Type: x64-based PC
  • SKU: LENOVO_MT_20FQ_BU_Think_FM_ThinkPad X1 Carbon 4th (I don't know why it thinks it's a Carbon, it says it's a Yoga on the screen)
  • Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6500U CPU @ 2.50 GHz, 2592 Mhz, 2 Cores, 4 Logical Processors
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • SSD: 475.69 GB
  • Graphics: Intel(R) HD Graphics 520, w/ 1 GB of RAM

Update: Regarding the charger, the specs of the one I am currently using are identical to the one that came with the computer. 20V, 3.25A.

Part of the issue is that I don't know how much the motherboard would cost. Lenovo doesn't sell them to consumers, and I still need to figure out which part of the board has the potential problem (as all the parts on the motherboard are removable).

I'm currently working on obtaining compressed air, and finding some assistance for opening up my computer.

Update: I disassembled the laptop and looked at the motherboard. Found a buildup of dust stuck to a contact between the fan and the board. Wiped it off with alcohol. So far everything seems to be running smoothly.

Update: The issue has continued, and the computer has refused to turn on several times, which disconnecting and then reconnecting the battery and letting it cool off has resolved. I noticed some brown stains around the CPU and some processors on the motherboard. Are these burn marks?

Mark at corner of CPU

Marks at corners of processors

There are more, but I can't directly embed images, so I'd rather not upload them all. I think I'm going to have to either replace the motherboard, or just get a new computer. Sigh. I guess I'll get one with a better fan this time.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Ramhound, n8te, bertieb, fixer1234, Pimp Juice IT Apr 23 '18 at 12:57

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    I would say power it off, pull out the battery, pull off any covers you can pull off easily, and then air dust it with some compressed air and do it thoroughly. If there is dust caked in holes and adequate airflow is not getting thru it, the thing could be overheating and powering down per BIOS/CMOS settings that tell it to power down at a certain temperature to prevent motherboard damage and such. I would rule that out before buying a new motherboard. I would also see if there's a motherboard diag disk and other similar diagnostic tools in BIOS before getting a new motherboard... Don't guess. – Pimp Juice IT Apr 20 '18 at 4:27
  • Compare the charger you're using now with the broken original one -- does it supply exactly the same voltage and at least as many amps? – dsstorefile1 Apr 20 '18 at 4:36
  • You have not advised us the cost of replacing the motherboard. Some of your questions cant be answered without it. – davidgo Apr 20 '18 at 5:03
  • There are lots of things that can cause restarting. A flaky power supply is one, and since that is a known issue, I would start there. Batteries also go in a few years. As Pimp Juice IT mentions, there are plenty of other things to check before replacing the motherboard. In a laptop, most of the electronics are on the motherboard, so poorly trained technicians just figure that most problems will be fixed by replacing it. You will spend half the cost of a new laptop replacing the motherboard with a reconditioned one with a 90 day warranty. – fixer1234 Apr 20 '18 at 5:16
  • @PimpJuiceIT Second this. I would be much more suspect of the power supply and cooling than the board itself unless there are bad capacitors and that's pretty much an old problem AFIAK. – Loren Pechtel Apr 20 '18 at 5:16

In order to "narrow down" the problem, get a Linux boot disk and stress test the parts of the system - start off with the CPU (use cpuburnin or prime95 or another software, then RAM (memtest86 - it should be an option on most distros when you boot). Do this with your system plugged in.

If these tests run continuously for many hours, the problem is likely not the mainboard (it could be, its just unlikely). If it fails, you may have better information. If the burn in tests start, you may want to backup your docs, and then wipe and reinstall Windows.

It is possible but fairly unlikely that an aftermarket charger would damage your battery, particularly in the short term - and a damaged battery would not generally cause instability when the power is plugged in [ With respect to a comment here - When it comes to the power supply, getting one with the correct voltage (to within 5%) is important. Getting one with the same OR GREATER current/amperage is fine - anyone who says the amperage needs to match does not understand the most basic electrical engineering (Voltage/Resistance = current) - ie as the voltage is fixed, and the resistance is, the system will only draw the current it needs - and the ability to pull greater current means more reliable components when pulling less. ]

With respect of the type of system you have, something equivalent would cost about US$1100 new [ I'm converting from my local currency, and taking some liberties ]. If "thin and light" is important to you, and you are not heavily using the CPU, there is little performance advantage in buying a newer system - slightly better battery life, faster CPU on an 8th gen processor - but not noticeable for general office and entertainment consumption tasks. (There is negligeable difference between your system and a 7th gen processor)

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