Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Does My Laptop Need Professional Help?

Q: Paul, my Acer Aspire is having a problem, and I’d like your advice. When I open programs and start working it will turn off. I tried running Norton Scan but it shut down before the scan could finish. I am very careful on the Internet and have Norton so I don’t think I have a virus. This has been happening pretty constantly for two weeks now, and I can’t get any work done. Is there something I can do, or do I need to take it into a repair shop? I suspect since you are a tech you’re going to say take it in, but thanks in advance.

A: Dear Reader,
I would have to ask you several questions before I attempted to diagnose your particular issue, and I have not run across it in an Acer before, but I must say to you, very good guess! I am going to recommend taking it to a certified repair shop. Here’s why —

This is most likely a hardware issue, but it could be a software conflict (and, yes, it might even be malware). You can try uninstalling any recent Updates, or programs you’ve recently installed, and maybe “rollback” device drivers, but the time to do that – really – was when it first started acting up. (And then System Restore would’ve been a good starting point. See, How To Use System Restore To Fix Windows)

But as I said, this is most likely a hardware failure (or fault) — it could be a memory module, a fan is not cooling enough, a loose connector, the mainboard, or a power controller (usually a component of the motherboard) or a half dozen other things… A repair shop will have the tools to isolate the fault.

You didn’t say how old your laptop was, and whether or not it was still under warranty, but folks should know that opening a laptop case usually voids any warranty.
And, notebooks are assembled in a very intricate and complicated way, and it is not easy to access all the components. Disassembling a laptop is really not a task for the “average user”.

PS — Yes, I repair laptops, but when looking for a repair shop, I suggest trying to find one that’s “Acer certified”. This page on the Acer website should help you locate a service center near you.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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May 14, 2009 - Posted by | advice, computers, troubleshooting


  1. TechPaul,

    You are “right on” with this advice… I would go “hardware issue” with this, unless it is some type of power mgmt issue… Have to wonder if the fan in the notebook is running causing it to overheat… Like you said, could be many, many things.



    Comment by whatsonmypc | May 14, 2009 | Reply

    • The few times I have run into this “auto shutdown” symptom in the past (exactly twice) was due to two different causes… and I suspect the next time I see it, it’ll be yet a different cause.

      1) The primary fan (CPU) had gummed up and wasn’t spinning to proper RPMs, and a temp sensor was shutting the system down to prevent heat damage. A simple, thorough cleaning was the cure.
      2) A circuit (power controller) failed, and as it was integral to the motherboard, a costly mobo replacement was the cure.

      (Pretty much in line w/what you suggested, eh?)


      Comment by techpaul | May 14, 2009 | Reply

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