Dell laptop freezes/locks up randomly then shuts down

Oct 2, 2018
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I have a Dell Inspiron N7110 (17R) and it's getting quite old (almost 8 years old now) but I want to keep it going as long as I can.

About 2 months ago, it started freezing/locking up while gaming. The mouse couldn't move, the screen wouldn't change and there was no audio (no loops or such). The regular things like alt-F4, ctrl-alt-del, winkey and alt-tab don't work either. The only option is to shut it down by unplugging or with the power button.

Since then, it has gradually gotten more frequent, even while not gaming or doing anything with the laptop, although chances of freezing rose with the demands of the programs that were running (games>youtube>text editors >idle).
Now it just freezes ~1 minute after booting, then shuts down by itself (since the last reinstall of windows).

WHAT I TRIED

  • ■ updated all drivers
    ■ uninstalled then installed drivers
    ■ checked for viruses (bitdefender and windows defender)
    ■ checked hard drive (from command prompt and the one you can run by right clicking on C)
    ■ checked RAM (from command prompt)
    ■ run all diagnostics in BIOS
    ■ reinstalled windows twice
    ■ checked temperature with speedfan (CPU: 50-60, GPU: ~70 while using chrome)
    ■ uninstalled bitdefender (that seemed to help for a while)
    ■ some other stuff I can't remember, I've tried a lot of things in the past 5 weeks
Everything checked out fine and no problems were discovered.

SYSTEM INFO
Dell Inspiron N7110
Intel core i7-2630qm quad-core
Nvidia GeForce GT525M
Intel HD3000 (built in graphics card)
2x 4Gb DDR3 RAM
Windows 10 64bit EDU
Battery has been dead for a long time so I removed it

ADDITIONAL INFO
The laptop can get really hot, especially while gaming, but it has always been this way. Two of the 4 USB plugs don't work, no idea why but it's been like this for ~4 years.
I regularly try cleaning the fan by blowing on the vents with a hair dryer (runs cooler for a while) but I've only take the laptop apart to dust it once, ~a year ago.
I've reinstalled windows at the end of each semester for the last 5 years.
Since the problem occured, I reinstalled it twice. At first, the installer didn't ask me if it was supposed to wipe the drive so it kept all my files. Obviously the problem remained. At the second reinstall, I chose to wipe everything but after it finished, all drivers were installed. I don't know if that's supposed to happen. I did the second reinstalling yesterday and ever since, the system freezes after booting up and shuts down after a few minutes.

I'm starting to run out of ideas and need your help guys. Thanks.
 

Lutfij

Splendid
Moderator
With Windows 10, you don't simply reinstall it, if it gives you an issue and you need to reinstall the OS, you should recreate your bootable installer using Windows Media Creation Tools with the latest update onboard. Then you should make sure your laptop's BIOS is up to date. Since the laptop was purchased, did you have to replace the HDD?

When disassembling the laptop, did you replace the TIM with a fresh application on the cooler assembly after cleaning the fans?
 
check the HDD with its manufacturer tool

run memtest.org (usb autoinstaller)

Install all drivers from the Dell support site if possible

Check the temperature in BIOS

check if the HDD sits tightly connected, as well as the RAM (remove and reinstall) and CPU/GPU cooler
 
Oct 2, 2018
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I'll try installing windows the way you suggested it today/tomorrow.
I can't update the BIOS since I don't have a battery in the laptop but it's up-to-date, I checked it.
I didn't replace anything in the laptop yet. Could it be a hard drive issue even though the tests concluded that it's fine?
I did reapply thermal paste but I might have gotten it wrong. Would this create a permanent damage or can I just pull the laptop apart and make sure it's applied correctly?

Thanks for your quick answer. I'll post updates after installing windows or reassembling the laptop.
 

shknawe

Commendable
Oct 22, 2016
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1,610
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It sounds like years of running the computer hot has taken its toll on your motherboard. .ie. solder worn away, cpu cooked etc. If you can get it to run for a bit of time use cupid hwmonitor and see what kind of temps you are getting.
 
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