Author Topic: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly  (Read 5600 times)

Offline guitarebasse

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Hi,

My computer is a Toshiba Satellite L300-1BV laptop running Windows Vista. It has been running slow for a long time. I assume this is due to it being low on memory.

More recently, it has been suddenly shutting down in mid-session. When I try to restart it, I sometimes get the screen inviting me to choose between starting normally, starting in safe mode or starting in safe mode with networking, etc.

In the last couple of weeks, the problem appears to have got worse. On trying to start up, I am asked to launch start-up repair. This fails to fix the problem, so I opt to restore the system to an earlier state, but this has not eliminated the problem either.

I think these start-up problems have been appearing even when the machine has previous been shut down normally.

I have also noticed other strange behaviour. I often get an error message saying that date execution prevention has closed McAfee Service Host. I wonder whether there could be a problem with McAfee as well, as I sometimes receive a message saying the computer is unsafe because the regular scanning facility is not on, when I have not turned it off.

I have run McAfee and also CCleaner but they have not identified any problems, so I don't know whether the problem is being caused by malware or something else.

Any help you can provide will be very gratefully received.
Thanks,
Guitarebasse

 



Offline Hoov

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2014, 06:46:27 AM »
How hot is the computer getting around the CPU? When was the last time the dust was cleaned out of it?

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Offline guitarebasse

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2014, 07:05:01 AM »
Ah, there's something I failed to mention. The surface in front of the keyboard does become unusually hot at times. I admit it has never occured to me to clean the dust out - indeed I don't even know how to do that.

Offline Hoov

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2014, 08:19:46 AM »
First letes check to see if you do. You need one thing to check, a flashlight. Turn off the computer, and flip the laptop so the bottom is up. Now hold the flashlight (make sure to turn it on) flat to the bottom of the computer over the louvers that cover the cooling fan. Now look in the grills on the edge of the laptop nearest the CPU cooling fan. Do you see the light? If not then you have dust in the cooling fins.

Now the question is, how handy are you with mechanical things? If you are not handy at all, you should probably take the laptop to a computer shop and let them do the disassembly and cleaning. If you are handy and want to attempt this yourself, did your computer come with a manual that explains how to disassemble it? It could be a PDF file on the computer or even a real book. If you don't have it, but want to try I can give you the basic steps, but you will have to make it up as you go along.  Let me know how you want to go.

If you want to do it you will need Jewlers screwdrivers and some Thermal grease (this is relatively expensive for the little amout you get). I have a 3.5 gram tube and have used about 1/3 of it on 4 CPU's so far. You may be able to get this locally at a radio shack or other computer shop. This is not something you can skip, and this is also an area you do not want to cheap out on. The better quality is better heat transfer, the cooler your CPU runs, the longer it will last.

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Offline guitarebasse

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2014, 04:44:47 AM »
Having checked with a torch (sorry, flashlight), it does look like the fan is clogged with dust.

Since I'm not too handy with mechanical matters and since I would have to spend money in materials even if I was, I plan to give the job to a computer shop.

The other problems I mentioned - the machine running slow and relating to McAfee - can be dealt with separately as there can't be any link between them and the clogged fan.

Thanks very much for your help,
Guitarebasse

Offline Hoov

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2014, 07:08:53 AM »
Actually the machine running slow can be related to the dust. When the CPU overheats it becomes unstable and unreliable. Which may also be causing the McAfee issue.

The first step is getting the computer clean. Once you have a system that can run without overheating, then we can see where you are at and go from there.

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Offline guitarebasse

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2014, 08:01:43 AM »
OK, change of plan: I don't fancy paying to have the fan cleaned so I'm going to attempt it myself. I'm going out to buy a precision screwdriver set and the thermal grease.

I'm told there are YouTube videos that demonstrate the task but they won 't help me when the computer is in pieces on the table.

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2014, 09:20:56 AM »
I just found out you do not need the thermal paste because you can remove the fan from the heatsink without removing the whole assemble first.

I am getting more for you, I found some fairly good videos.

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Offline Hoov

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2014, 09:35:52 AM »
Normally I recommend people using service manuals because they lay out everything step by step. But, unless you got a manual with your computer, there do not seem to be a service manual for your computer online.

I looked over several video's and found one (it is split into two parts) that does a pretty good job.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uL5PhH80VQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7lgIgihxvs

One thing that he does that I do not like is his screw storage. The best way for a beginner to do this is take a blank piece of paper and draw the shape of the bottom of the computer with all the panels and features. Then as you remove a screw, place it on the drawing where you pulled it from.  When you pull out items that only have one or two screws, those don't need to be marked so carefully. But generally the bottom of the laptop has three or four different lengths of screws.

Also when you start removing the different cards (memory, motherboard and that sort of thing) always handle them by the edges. Also you should touch something large and metallic before you start doing this to dissipate any static. If you do dissipate static the first time, you need to keep doing that thru the procedure. Static is enough to fry electronics.

Also when you clean the fan (you can use canned air or a small brush of some kind) do not let the fan free wheel. If you start blowing on it with canned air and it starts freewheeling, you can ruin the bearings.

Other than that, the video's are pretty good. If you watch them, then when you do it you should be able to remember the steps. Watch the videos and ask questions first. Once you are sure about the steps, then you can do it.

As long as you pay attention and are careful this is a real easy process. Just don't remove the heatpipes and cooling fins. If you do, then you will need the thermal paste, and that adds a whole new dimension to the process. If you put on to much, it will make a mess. If you tighten the screws wrong, or have a small piece of something on the CPU, you can crack it.

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Offline guitarebasse

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2014, 01:53:42 PM »
Call me indecisive if you like, but when I started to watch that YouTube video, the complexity of the task and the risks of getting it horribly wrong somewhat freaked me out. So I took the machine to a computer repair place yesterday.

The bloke (sorry, guy) found the fan packed with dust and the thermal grease all dried up. Now that he's cleaned out the one and replaced the other, I have the computer back.

I've only just started using it again, but it clearly still runs slowly. I'll monitor how it performs over the next few days and let you know what other issues, if any, remain to be addressed.

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2014, 05:27:54 PM »
No worries. I would rather see you do that, than get it wrong. Some people are just not mechanically inclined enough to be able to do something like that with vague instructions.

But we can get a picture of how your computer is running.

Please download and install Speccy. Once that is done, then start it up. Once it is done analyzing, click on File and then on Save Snapshot. Save the snapshot to your desktop and then right click on it and select Send To and then Compressed (Zipped) Folder. I will send you a PM on what to do with the file.

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Offline guitarebasse

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2014, 03:21:21 AM »
Things are looking bad. I already had a problem with the machine starting up. Now I can't get it to start at all.

It did start when I got it home from the shop yesterday and it was then that I sent you my last message. However, I had neglected to plug the mains power in, so the computer shut down when the battery became flat - at least I think that's what happened. I have been unable to restart it since.

Every time I tried, I got the "this computer did not shut down successfully" page, sometimes asking me to launch Startup Repair and at other times offering the various Safe Mode options or the choice of starting normally. If I chose Startup Repair, it would begin to run, but then the screen would go blank (grey) and stay like that. If I chose to start normally, the process wouldn't get far before the screen went black. On one attempt this morning, I received a message saying there was a problem with the consistency of the C drive, but the screen went blank before the machine could run much further.

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2014, 07:29:53 AM »
Try rebooting to safe mode.

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Offline guitarebasse

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2014, 01:01:21 PM »
Is there a way that I can bring the safe mode option up on the screen? At the moment, when I try starting up, I just get the choice of Startup Repair or start normally. Neither get me very far - the screen goes blank after a few seconds.

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Re: Computer often fails to start properly and shuts down suddenly
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2014, 01:11:07 PM »
About the only thing you can do is to restart the computer and continually tap on the F8 key.

If that doesn't work, do you have a computer with a CD burner and a broadband connection? Do you have an install Windows install DVD?

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