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My relative has a Toshiba Satellite C50-A-19T laptop with an Intel Celeron 1005M. She left it for a bit to do some work, with the laptop just sitting there with Chrome open. Then, Windows decided to lock on its own and the system restarted abruptly. 5 seconds after the restart it completely shut down and did not start again, like it was totally dead.

I proceeded to check the laptop, starting with simple things, like changing the CMOS battery (which is easily accessible, props to Toshiba for that) and draining any potential flea power (yes, I disconnected both the battery and charger for those wondering). No signs of life. I then took the hard drive out, since it's several years old and I thought it might be failing, thus causing the issue. It did kind of boot, but shut down again a few seconds later, just a bit after showing the "Checking media" screen. The only thing I did not touch is the RAM, which is known to be OK.

I then disassembled the laptop, up to the CPU's copper tube, as the thermal paste was probably never changed. After the new thermal paste application, I plugged only the charger this time without the battery to test it out. This time, something interesting happened: I heard a "popping" sequence, followed by a quick power up and power down, and a flash of the power LED, all under 100 milliseconds. Using my ears, I was able to track the sound source down to the CPU area. I bet the CPU just functioned for its last day....

Is this what happened? Or could it be something else? I'm at a total loss, since it's her only PC.

Any help is appreciated.

Update 1: I reassembled it some time later that day and found out that the popping sound only occurs when there's no battery inserted, so that rules out any damage due to the disassembly. On that occasion, it will instantly turn off after pressing the power button. However, when I insert the battery (which I know is almost dead) and let it charge for about 30-45 min, the charging LED keeps blinking until I turn on the PC, which then stays on for a few more seconds or for a full 5 minutes or so before deciding to shut down again. I also checked the cooling fan and the HDD's health, but they were both OK (more on the cooling fan's status below).

Also, when the system was operating normally, Windows would lock the user and shut down only when the battery level was critically low. So, my focus is now shifted to the battery, but shouldn't it be turning on normally even without it? (Maybe the laptop's power system design is so absurd that is uses the battery first instead of AC?)

Update 2: After disassembling it again the next day, I checked it for faulty capacitors or other SMD components. Again, the popping sound sequence came from the CPU area. After inserting the battery, it was able to start up for 7 seconds, just enough time for me to see that the cooling fan starts for a bit but turns off about 4 seconds before the rest of the system does. My current guess is that it's more likely a motherboard or CPU failure.

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  • The charger is not powerful enough to support the computer under heavy load… such as at boot. That's the battery's job. The charger is there to charge the battery, not to power the computer. This doesn't prove there's nothing further wrong with the machine, just that you first need to eliminate it as a cause - get a new battery.
    – Tetsujin
    May 24 at 17:10
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    FWIW, sorry you are experiencing this, but honestly it is a solid bet that nobody here cares about Tom's Hardware Forums and LTT forums. You should simply post the details and what you did; not some winding narrative of one place provided this info and another place provoked this other info. Just state the issue and actions clearly and (most importantly) succinctly. May 24 at 17:54
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    @Giacomo1968 Going to remove those references.
    – na-no.
    May 24 at 17:57
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    @na-no. Thanks! This issue is still clearly a headache, but the question is clearer now. Hope this gets resolved! May 24 at 18:42
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    @Giacomo1968 I hope so too! Thanks for your time!
    – na-no.
    May 24 at 18:47

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