Solved! DELL XPS 1330 Random Shutdowns

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Nov 20, 2018
I recently inherited an old Dell XPS 1330. I know it is old... but it is in great shape. It originally had Windows Vista on it. I do not know if this current problem existed when it was running Vista. I just did a fresh install of Windows 7 Pro. It is an OEM version, I own and it is activated.

The install went fine. I managed to find all of the correct drivers--and there are no errors on the driver manager.

The problem I am having is that the laptop will power off randomly--- sometimes after 3 min sometimes it will last 10. It will happen before it gets warm--so I do not think it is a heat issue. The fan is running.

It happened a few times while installing drivers. I hoped getting all the drivers would fix it.

There are a lot of posts on the web about the DEL XPS with random shut downs... I have tried all of the fixes. I also shut off all power savings and unchecked a box that instructed windows to shut down after an error. (I can't remember what the setting was called).

When I power it back up--- I get the typical option to boot normal or go to safe mode.

When I boot into safe mode this problem goes away... It has been up and running fro the past 2 hours.

Any idea how to fix this? I can't think of any setting in Windows 7 that would cause this.

Thanks for reading...


The fan is running. May be so but the rpms may not be enought to cool properly.

Safe mode is a minimal configuration - just the basics to allow the laptop to boot and run in a simple and basic manner.

Less power needed, less heat generated.

Check the airflows and then consider that the fan may not be as it should be.
Nov 20, 2018
Thanks for responding... I cleaned the fans and checked air flow before posting. I was out of things to try.

I do not think it was heat related because it could happen in just a couple minutes of being on. I felt it was too soon to get over heated.

I am happy to report that the issue resolved-- Not 100% sure how or why.

The only thing I did prior to it working was delete the Windows.Old folder and then ran Disk Clean-- which took a while.

It ran fine since. It was able to do a very drive intensive Windows update that took 2 hours.

I had it up and running for about 40 min this AM without problems.

Strange --but I'm happy.

It is a nice little laptop, that must have been ahead of its time. It even has a finger print reader.

Dec 6, 2018
Hi Garydz,
I have owned one of these endearing little laptops since new, they were cursed with a red hot GPU, I mean BAD heat wise... it caused many to trash the motherboard, Dells fix was a bios update that keeps the sysfan running for longer. I am on my second MB, with the screen also replaced within 12 months (those repairs were completed well over 8 years ago!).
This laptop is well past needing replacement, though I have been waiting for the past 8 years for the MB to fail, GPU to implode, or something to terminate it - nothing so far and I give it a daily hammering. The only minor problem was an appetite for bios batteries while i was working OS, i must have finally got a decent one as it hasnt needed one for years now. That and an annoying wifi bug (that can be fixed with the correct driver and power settings)
The standard build was Vista 32, 2GB 360GB HDD - that has morphed over the years into WIN10 , 4GB and a 250GB Samsung SSD, so it still performs nicely for the majority of use.

Anyway, to your question.

Recently I found the little XPS getting very toasty very quickly, then shutting down, it looked very much like a thermal issue - it felt hotter than usual. I installed a sys mon app to track CPU temps and sure enough both cores were getting to around 99 degrees before it shutdown, something was particularly wrong.
Opened the back up this afternoon, it did look a little dusty but nothing clogging intakes etc, so i removed and checked the heat transfer to the heatpipe. The thermal paste on the CPU looked like it had been poorly applied or deteriorated with heat and age, it didnt appear to making full thermal contact so i cleaned that off and applied some new thermal paste.
Reassembled, fired up, all fine now. Where it would hit 99 degrees with two or three apps running then shutdown, now it peaks at around 78, and i have 5 apps open doing similar workload... I expect this should also improve CPU performance thermally, will see over the next few days.

Well worth checking the condition of those two heat pads and the thermal paste on the heat pipe.

BTW I use Open Hardware Monitor, and also usually use a logitech fanned coolpad with this laptop, I can actually unplug that now without the XPS minding.

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