Random shutdowns on aging laptop

This is a gaming laptop, but an old one. Toshiba Qosmio X505 running Win10 with i5 CPU. Lots of memory and hard drive space. I know the battery is shot. I need to run it off the charger constantly. I’m not even sure what year this is from.

Recently it began shutting down while playing games on Steam. No BSOD, no restart, Just a shut down entirely. When I power it back on, there are no crash messages – its as if I powered it down properly.

Ran Toshiba’s diagnostic tool and everything passed by the hard drive, for which it simply says FAIL without explanation.

So I would imagine this is either related to the dead battery/power issues or indicative of a hard drive that’s about to fail? Should I just buy something new (not preferred – money is tight) and count my blessings this hasn’t crashed entirely, or should I spend time trying to find the exact cause?

It could also be heat related, if enough gunk has built up inside to slow the fans noticeably (or if a bearing is wearing out in one of them). That would definitely manifest during taxing gaming scenarios.

That’s it. I installed a heat monitor and it hit triple digits just playing Star Ruler 2. Given how hot it is getting … should I try cleaning and putting in new fans? Not sure how hard that is.

If it’s particularly old, it’s probably outta warranty. If there’s a local shop that specializes in it and you want to spend the money, that might be a safe option (though a couple of friends have had their electronics buggered even worse than they were to start with by inexperienced mall-shop repairmen); otherwise, yeah, find a breakdown guide for your model and go digging, if you feel comfortable with it!

edit: Just vacuuming out via the vents might be a start, or cleaning the fans/heatsinks inside. Actually replacing the fans could be more of an adventure, if it’s using any hard-to-acquire custom kit.

Thanks. I found this:

Gonna order new fans and follow this. Can’t be too hard. I’ve built PCs before, so it doesn’t scare me. And if I muck it up, I’ll just save the HD and get something built in this decade.

As someone who has worked in hardware for many years, desktop and laptop, I will say one thing. Be careful. Laptops aren’t just little desktops. They are complex because they are small. Tiny screws, delicate ribbon cables, minuscule wires and PCB traces. Also, seemingly, spring loaded little metal bits like traps in a dungeon. PING, it’s gone. And your laptop won’t work without it. :) Good luck.

Well as someone who fried a desktop CPU once by putting a fan on it upside down, maybe I’d better stay away.

I use a piece of cardboard and double stick tape. Stick the screws to the tape and lable them on the cardboard. As well you can get a set of plastic tools to pry things without scratching anything. Otherwise use a piece of electrical tape or masking tape on a slim flathead screwdriver.

I’d laminate the cat first. Can’t be too careful.

No cats here, but a crazy terrier.

Anyway, thanks krazykrok for taking the time to watch that video. Yes, I’m gonna try it, though probably not until next week when I have a new fan. The taping and diagramming of screws is a great idea.

I’ll update when I’m done! Should I used canned/compressed air to clean the insides?

The usual caveats apply. Hold the fan blades to avoid messing with the bearings. Blowing dust entails knowing where the dust is going. In other words, out, not elsewhere inside. Try not to blow parts away. :) Blow on heat sinks carefully. Don’t let the air can freeze the parts. Hold it upright as much as possible. Frost means condensation. Condensation means drops of water, maybe across traces. Maybe a short down the line. Condensation and dust is like a new circuit. A bad one.

Please excuse me for sounding like a negative nelly. Any issues I mention here means I probably learned it the hard way. In a corporate environment. They don’t like that stuff.

Not at all. It’s vey helpful, and I appreciate the advice.