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[vox] The Mystery of the Dying Laptop
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[vox] The Mystery of the Dying Laptop

This is not a Linux question, but it's sufficiently odd, I think, to pique
the interest of many on this list.

My wife has a Sony Vaio PCG-GRV 670 laptop -- a very nice one, with a 17"
TFT screen, 128MB of RAM, a DVD/CD-R drive, 40GB hard drive, etc.

Unfortunately, this laptop has a habit of mysterious shutting itself off
for no reason.  It doesn't go through the Windows shut down procedure --
it just turns off.  This happens whether my wife is playing a game,
checking her e-mail, browsing the web, whatever.  I can find nothing
software-related that might be doing this.

Here's the thing, though.  This only happens downstairs.  It never happens
in the office, which is upstairs.

At first, I thought it might be overheating; she often sits with the
laptop on a pillow on her lap while sitting on the couch, and I thought
that a fold in the pillow might be blocking the vent, causing the
internals to overheat.  However, it also happens when she is seated at the
breakfast nook table downstairs, when the vent is clear and airflow is

But upstairs, it has never shut itself off at her desk in our office.

I can find no environmental differences between upstairs and downstairs;
the upstairs tends to be warmer, of course, but not substantially so. 
When she has the laptop upstairs, she has a number of USB devices (a
full-sized keyboard, a mouse, digital camera, Palm Pilot cradle, and so
on) plugged into a single USB hub that plugs into her computer.

The computer has a P4 processor, and I know that the processor has an
automatic shut off in case it overheats, which lends credence to my
overheating theory.  But since the downstairs is cooler, I'd expect that
this would be more of a problem upstairs.

And, of course, I have exactly the same model laptop, purchased on the
same day at the same location, and I've never had this problem, no matter
what I do.

Jennifer's laptop is going to be shipped to Sony's repair facility in San
Diego so that they can poke at it, but I wondered if anyone, anywhere,
might have any clues to the solution of this mystery?

Richard S. Crawford (AIM: Buffalo2K)

http://www.mossroot.com   http://www.stonegoose.com/catseyeview
Howard Dean for America:  http://www.deanforamerica.com
"I really didn't realize the librarians were, you know, such a dangerous
group. They are subversive. You think they're just sitting there at the
desk, all quiet and everything. They're like plotting the revolution, man.
I wouldn't mess with them."
--Michael Moore

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