Vista keeps shutting down laptop

Discussion in 'Windows Vista Performance' started by Sandra, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. Sandra

    Sandra Guest

    I have a new (3 month old) Acer laptop, factory installed with Vista Home
    Premium. Since the day I bought it, the computer keeps shutting down at
    random - power off, black screen, no auto restart. It's rarely online, and I
    do not download stuff off the net, not even music. This highly frustrating
    event is random - sometimes after 10 minutes of use, sometimes after a couple
    of weeks without problem.

    Have added a couple of legit programs (Photoshop, MSN Messenger), but this
    has been happening since day one, well before I added any software.

    To get it to restart, I have to use safe mode, do a system restore, then
    when it restarts and gets to the desktop - blam, shuts down again. Wait at
    least two hours, then cross my fingers and try again.

    I called Microsoft and their not-too-helpful answer was to restore factory
    settings. Not much use when the problem has been happening since the day I
    bought the computer.

    So - does anyone have any suggestions? I see a Mac on my not-too-distant
    horizon, but figured I'd give this forum a shot first.

    Thank you.
    Sandra, Dec 2, 2007
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  2. Sandra

    Rick Rogers Guest


    At a guess, I'd say you're overheating. Either the internal fans aren't
    working properly or the vents are being blocked. The waiting period is a
    pretty good symptom of this. You're still under warranty, use it and have
    Acer check the machine out.
    Rick Rogers, Dec 2, 2007
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  3. Sandra

    Sandra Guest

    Hi Rick,

    Thanks for the suggestion. Overheating seems to be a common problem, but
    quite often (tonight, for instance), the laptop shuts down after being on
    less than 10 minutes. I opened it up, started reading some Photoshop help
    directions, and off it went. Barely had time to warm up. At this point, I'm
    ready to pitch it out the window - but then I'd be without my shiny new
    coaster, which is about the only thing I can rely on it for.

    I think it boils down to Vista just being a crappy, unstable OS. My husband
    mentioned to a co-worker that I was frustrated with it, and the guy just
    smiled and said "Shuts her computer down, doesn't it?" Seems I'm not the only

    Thanks, though!
    Sandra, Dec 2, 2007
  4. I have a local client who is happy as all hell with her Acer/Vista laptop.

    Instead of blaming Vista, take the thing back to where you bought it and get
    it checked out..
    Mike Hall - MVP, Dec 2, 2007
  5. Sandra

    Rick Rogers Guest

    Hi Sandra,

    I doubt it's the operating system (Vista), as the symptoms are screaming
    "hardware failure". FWIW, I've got three systems in my house running various
    versions of Vista, all very stable including an HP laptop (from which I am
    remoting to my x64 Vista machine where this message originates right now)
    and two custom builds. None of my systems shut down unless I initiate it,
    and that's pretty rare as I run all my systems 24/7. Most (actually
    virtually all) of the systems that have crossed my workbench with
    spontaneous shutdown issues have been heat-related.
    Rick Rogers, Dec 2, 2007
  6. Sandra

    Sandra Guest

    Mike, that would normally be a good suggestion, but for the next 7 months
    we're on contract in a remote fly-in community. Only way in or out is by
    plane, and shipping the laptop out for service isn't worth the cost of the

    I bought it right before we left home and flew up here, otherwise you can
    bet I'd be in that store tomorrow. Until then, trying to find a solution
    online is the next best thing.
    Sandra, Dec 2, 2007
  7. Sandra

    Malke Guest

    Sandra - While I sympathize with your predicament, as the others have
    told you your symptoms are normally caused by hardware issues. Naturally
    since none of us can see your computer this is not a definitive
    diagnosis, but the conclusion that the others (and I) have come to is
    based on many years of doing professional tech support. So of course you
    need to take the advice you receive as a "best guess" by people who
    don't have hands-on with the machine.

    You cannot fix hardware problems with software and there is no getting
    around it. Since you obviously can get to the Internet if you have a
    fast connection you can download Knoppix, a Linux distro that runs from
    CD. Create your bootable Knoppix CD (may need third-party burning
    software in Vista - you do in XP) and boot your machine with it. If the
    machine exhibits the same symptoms in Linux, then you know for sure the
    issues are caused by hardware.

    Or restore the computer to factory condition by whichever method Acer
    has provided. If the problems are solved, be very cautious about the
    things you install. Install only one thing at a time and test after each
    installation. If the problems are not solved, this also lets you know
    that there is faulty hardware.

    Malke, Dec 2, 2007
  8. Sandra

    Sandra Guest

    Hi Rick,

    Do you really think it's possible for a laptop to overheat after 10 minutes?
    I ask that question in all sincerity because I just don't have that much
    experience with them. I know that if there's a lot dust or pet hair around
    it's easy to clog vents and intakes, but the laptop hasn't been exposed to
    either. When not in use, it's tucked away in a computer bag. We also have a
    7-year-old PC in the same room running XP - have never had a moment's problem.

    It's also odd that, on a good day, I can run it for 5 or 6 hours without a
    problem. The fan comes on as needed and works fine. If it's actually an
    overheating problem, wouldn't it be more consistent than that (i.e., always
    shutting down after a short period of time)?

    The reason I'm leaning toward a software problem is that I'm encountering
    more and more people (as I begin asking questions) that have the same problem
    with Vista. Not all have laptops.

    I would take it in for service, but as I mentioned to Mike, we're living in
    a fly-in community (no roads and 1 store) until June. Until then, my only
    hope is to try and find a solution online.

    Thanks for your help!
    Sandra, Dec 2, 2007
  9. Sandra

    Rick Rogers Guest

    Hi Sandra,

    If it's an intermittent electrical short or open, then the cpu fan will
    sometimes operate for a time, sometimes not at all. Most modern motherboards
    have a failsafe switch built in that shuts the system off if an overheating
    condition exists. This is to prevent damage to the very heat-sensitive
    processors commonly used. Laptops, to conserve power, generally only run the
    fans when heat nears the limit, and it doesn't take long for the cpu to
    reach this point. Yours may be failing to kick on when needed, it could be a
    sensor, capacitor, crack in the solder trace, etc. In any case, if this is
    what is happening, it's a hardware issue.

    If Vista is indeed shutting the system down intentionally, it should show
    something in the Event Viewer's system log. There are scattered reports of
    Vista being the cause of shutdowns, but keep in mind that users generally
    blame the operating system regardless of what the problem really is. The
    only time I've seen the operating system (any, not just Vista but any flavor
    of Windows or Linux) intentionally causing a shutdown of the system is when
    it is infected with a virus that does it by design.
    Rick Rogers, Dec 2, 2007
  10. Sandra

    Hobo Guest

    Hmmmm, sounds like the problem my wife was having. Late in
    the evening she would be using her laptop while propped up
    in bed and frequently her computer would shut down at odd
    intervals. When she finally told me she was having problems
    I discovered that it was overheating because the air events
    under it (a Dell) were being blocked part of the time
    because it was laying against a blanket. Made her a small
    light weight tray to sit the computer on and the problem was

    I think you have a random overheating problem as well.

    Hobo, Dec 2, 2007
  11. Sandra

    Sandra Guest

    Hi Malke,

    Thank you! I don't know if these suggestions will work, but at least it's
    gives me some constructive options.

    All my files are backed up, so I'm going to go through a process of
    elimination. I'll restore to factory settings first. Everything added to the
    machine is supposedly Vista compatible (right down to the mouse), including a
    brand-new version of Adobe Suite, so if I reinstall they shouldn't create a

    I'll also create the Knoppix CD. If the factory reset doesn't work, I'll see
    what happens running Knoppix.

    Since the laptop sometimes runs for a couple of weeks without problem, it
    might take a month or so to narrow the problem down. But I do appreciate the
    help, and if I get it figured out I'll post back and let you know.

    Sandra, Dec 2, 2007
  12. Sandra

    Sandra Guest

    Hi Rick,

    That definitely answers my question. I figured that since it can sometimes
    run all day without overheating, that wasn't the issue. But a short would
    explain it.

    Malke offered a couple of suggestions to help narrow it down, and I'm going
    to give them a try (Knoppix and returning to factory settings).

    I do have one last question - while shutdowns are often random, I've noticed
    that they occur more often when there's been even a tiny change to the
    system. For instance, I bought a new Nexxtech mouse and tried using it.
    Shortly after, the laptop shut down. I did a system restore, and switched to
    a Vista-compatible Microsoft mouse.

    The same thing happened when I plugged in a Kodak digital camera and an
    Iomega external storage drive. Within a few minutes, the machine goes dead,
    and I'm back to the system-restore routine.

    Would incompatible drivers shut a machine down like that (I'm talking
    complete power-down, black screen), or does this still sound like an
    overheating issue?

    Again, thanks for taking the time to help out with this. If I get it figured
    out, I'll post back and let you know.


    So here's what I'm wondering - if a peripheral is not compatible with Vista,
    will the resulting problems

    Again, thanks for taking the time to try and help with this.
    Sandra, Dec 2, 2007
  13. Sandra

    Malke Guest

    Hi, Sandra - I'm sure Rick will come back with some more thoughts but to
    answer your question about plugging in peripherals: usually bad drivers
    will cause the computer to blue screen and give a Stop Error rather than
    just shutting the computer down. Also, software problems such as bad
    drivers will usually (understand that I'm generalizing here) not be so
    random. It really does sound like an electrical problem as Rick described.

    Malke, Dec 2, 2007
  14. Sandra

    Sandra Guest

    Thank you, Malke. If it turns out to be an electrical problem, I won't know
    for sure until we fly back to civilization in June and can get to a repair
    place, but your answers are definitely helping to test (and possibly
    eliminate) software problems before then.

    I've just finished restoring factory defaults, so I'll see how it goes from

    Sandra, Dec 3, 2007
  15. Sandra

    mysterie79 Guest

    Been there, done that with several laptops overheating so I know how that
    goes. However I don't think that's your problem. I have a 2 day old laptop
    and I am having the same problems. I have not downloaded a single thing to
    this machine so that is also not the problem. It just freezes up, turns off
    and reboots at random... sometimes when it's been on for 2 mins, other times
    when it's been on for 2 hours or more.

    I've been doing alot of searching online and have found many, many people
    complaining about the same problems and it's all being blamed on Windows
    Vista. I haven't found the solution yet, hoping it can be fixed with an
    update, or else I'll be heading back into the store to see what they have to
    say. So only help I can give you is to search around online and see what
    others are doing. Good luck.

    mysterie79, Dec 5, 2007
  16. Sandra

    bpilati Guest

    I find it surprising that an MVP would immediately assume that Vista is being
    blamed, and even if it was, ought to work to provide logical support for a
    solution. I have the same problem on an HP desktop. I have replaced the
    power supply, motherboard & processor, and cpu fans. It still happens just
    like before. I have searched for software solutions. Now people come here
    to find solutions to problems they can't find anywhere else. I'm not
    convinced it isn't a software (maybe Vista) problem. I surfed the Internet
    and seen people have the same problem with no solutions, and it mostly
    appears to be Vista computers. I don't think you're here to defend Vista are
    bpilati, Nov 15, 2008
  17. Sandra

    Rick Rogers Guest

    The poster specifically wrote that she thought the shutdowns were due to the
    operating system. A friend agreeing with her husband seemed sufficient
    evidence to blame the OS.

    However, she's wrong. If she were right, we'd all be having this problem.
    We're not (and by "we", I'm talking about hundreds of thousands of Vista
    users). It's not a Vista issue any more than it's a linux issue.

    It has nothing to do with defending Vista or any other installed OS, it has
    everything to do with redirecting the poster to a useful solution, ei: the
    hardware. As I already mentioned, the vast majority of spontaneous shutdown
    issues have nothing to do with the OS (it wouldn't matter if it were
    windows, linux, or solaris) and everything to do with the hardware and the
    protection mechanisms built into the components. The solution to her issue
    is there in the hardware.
    Rick Rogers, Nov 16, 2008
  18. Sandra

    Steeelers Guest

    There nothing wrong with Vista . It more like user's are the problem .
    I been from day one when xp came out a fan of it . Now I am a fan of
    Vista . Bottom line learn to understand it before complaining about
    it . And I believe me I don't care much for MS but Vista isn't or
    shouldn't be blame for everything .
    Steeelers, Nov 16, 2008
  19. Sandra

    Kirby Blaize Guest

    Kirby Blaize, Nov 26, 2008
  20. Sandra

    Kirby Blaize Guest

    i agree to your response Rick
    i also have vista home and experience the same random shut downs, it’s not a
    virus for shore I all update my Norton 09 and scan the system. No restart or
    any thing and on reboot different massages from group policy to incorrect
    password (which I do not have a password set) keep appearing. Vista runs fine
    and it not over heating the 3 fans keeps it as cool as an AC so it has to be
    hardware or software. Some friends suggested that windows defender goes it
    some times when there is another antivirus but I turned it off and it still
    dose it some times a matter of fact this is the longest time it’s been on
    since it started. Rebooting with different OS dose not work I have tried I
    with vista ultimate and still. And it never completes loading a backup.
    Well later if any of you can help me it will be fine I don’t want to give up
    on vista just yet.
    Kirby Blaize, Nov 26, 2008
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