I bought my Dell in September 2012. The warranty period is already over, so it's fine that employees from Dell don't find my problem urgent. Anyway, this is my problem:
A few days ago, my laptop suddenly shut itself down while I was gaming. No warning, no sound, AC charger and battery plugged in so it can't be because of a power shortage. I rebooted and when I finished working on it, I put it in stand by. After an hour so I started it up again, but the laptop shut down immediately.
Now I started booting again but I noticed none of the lights on the laptop would light up. I only hear the CD drive and my HDD whirring. I managed to run the LCD test (D + power), and suddenly it rebooted normally.
After another shutdown that didn't work anymore the next time. I ran system diagnostics (Fn+power) and it didn't return any errors.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
What is the exact system model? Does the system overheat before it turns off?
Update the BIOS from support.dell.com - http://dell.to/1Pwntme - enter the service tag and select drivers and downloads and run the BIOS update.
Try cleaning the air vents with a can of compressed air or a small vacuum cleaner.
If the issue persists, then turn on the system and press f2 key to enter BIOS. Leave the system in BIOS as long as possible. Do not make any changes here. See if the system turns off while in BIOS. Also run the diags again and run extended memory tests and check if the system turns off at any point there as well.
Keep us updated.
This laptop is a Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition with an Intel i7-3610QM and nVidia Geforce GT650M along with 6GB of RAM. It does not have the optional 3D screen but I don't think that is any of the causes at all. I'm still running Windows 7, being Home Premium Service Pack 1.
I downloaded the .exe to install the new BIOS but once I opened it it prompted me to flash it 'again' as I already have the most recent version (A16) installed. I flashed this BIOS in an attempt to counter the weird behavior of the GPU but it's been a while since I had issues with it.
About the overheating: I have an application running in my system tray that monitors the temperature of my CPU. It never exceeds 75°C. I take my laptop apart every couple of months to clean the dust from the fan so overheating cannot be an issue.
I'm fearing the worst and that is that my motherboard is damaged although I don't know how it happened.
I will run the diags and memory tests and report back here.
Edit: the memory test and extended system test did not find any major problems - except for the battery life that has degraded and some suggested BSOD fixes although it has been a while since I last had a blue screen. The degraded battery life is quite normal after using the laptop for > 2 years.
Did you happen to check if the system turns off while in BIOS? If not, please restart the system - press f2 to enter BIOS - Leave the system in BIOS. Check if the system overheats and turns off while still in BIOS.
I agree that the battery has low durability as it is more than 2 years old. Also, I suspect the motherboard has gone faulty and might need replacing.
If you would like to get it replaced, then please send me the service tag and your contact details through a private conversation and we shall arrange a quote for a paid service call.
Keep us posted if you have any other queries.
For faster communication, you could contact us via Twitter - @dellcares
The system definitely does not overheat, it just seems to shut down suddenly at random moments, even while I'm just reading my e-mail in Google Chrome. The the laptop then makes is like you 'force-close' the system, i.e. holding down the power button to 'hard-reset' the laptop.
I will send you my service tag and contact details.