My Toshiba laptop has been switching off without warning, and giving me the message:
Finding the cause of the problem
First I downloaded and installed SpeedFan, a program that shows your laptop’s internal temperature. I learned that my laptop was getting as high as 80 degrees.
Then with Toshiba’s PC Health Monitor (which comes pre-installed on Toshiba laptops), I fchecked the fan speed (and I also just put my hand next to the fan outlet to see if air was blowing). I narrowed down the problem to the fan not coming on often enough. I had a lazy fan.
Solution 1) Set the system cooling policy to “active”
Windows has two approaches to fan control – “active” or “passive”. The default option is passive, but if you switch it to active instead then the fan will turn on more frequently. You can do this by following these steps:
- Left click the battery icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen (See image)
- Left click More power options (See image)
- Click Change plan settings next to the Balanced power settings (See image)
- Click Change advanced power settings (See image)
- Click the + next to Processor Power Management (See image)
- Click the + next to System Cooling Policy (See image)
- Change Passive to Active for both Plugged in and On battery (See image)
- Do the same for any other modes you use, such as power saving mode
- Restart the computer
Solution 2) Keep Toshiba PC Health Monitor open
Some of the comments below sing the praises of PC Health Monitor. Apparently, the laptop fan will work harder when PC Health Monitor is open.
PC Health Monitor is already preinstalled on Toshiba computers. To open the program, just press the Windows key to open the Start menu, start typing “PC Health Monitor”, and the program should appear in the search results. Click on it to open it.
Solution 3) Upgrade the BIOS
By reading message boards, I learned that the problem might also be bad programming – the Toshiba programmers messed up the program that controls the fan. So I upgraded this program, the BIOS, to the latest version (6.8). Throughout the installation I was watching the temperature levels nervously, because if your computer shuts off during a BIOS installation, your computer will never boot again. It’s like going to a pharmacy to pick up antihistamine, but the pharmacist forces you to play Russian Roulette while you wait. Therefore I only recommend trying this solution if the other solutions doesn’t work.
Solution 4) Keep the laptop on something flat
Keeping the laptop on something flat (e.g. a hardcover book or a chopping board) seems to keep the air flowing. I use a book called Mortadello i Filemo – El Tresorer. But what you use is up to you!
After I’d tried all these solutions, every now and then my laptop still switched itself off for no apparent reason. I was about to buy a new laptop but then I discovered the cause. It wasn’t overheating anymore; instead the problem was with the keyboard.
I discovered that if I removed a key from the keyboard and then touched the small metal part underneath, my laptop switched itself off! Bizarre. Maybe my finger short-circuits the computer or something?
What’s more, I later discovered that my computer kept turning off just because the keyboard was loose. Once I’d ensured the keyboard was fitted correctly, the problem went away!
Other potential solutions
Solution 6) Install TThrottle
I realised that CPU usage increases temperature, so I installed TThrottle, which restricts CPU usage in response to heat. The program also keeps my laptop’s temperature on display at all times, thereby letting me know its temperature at a glance.
Solution 7) Keep the laptop plugged into the mains
Keeping my laptop plugged in keeps the temperature at a relatively frosty 40-50°C, while unplugging it sends the temperature rising to around 60°C. Therefore I go running for my charger whenever I have to run a CPU-heavy program.
Solution 8) Buy a cooling tray
I’ve heard that cooling trays can help with an overheating laptop. I haven’t tried one, but if do you want to try one yourself then here’s a link to a cooling pad that has good reviews.
- I thought dust might be the problem, so I took the laptop apart. I couldn’t find any dust but I did damage my headphone socket. Now I can no longer use it to listen to music! I then put a vacuum to the air vents to suck any dust out, but this didn’t solve the problem either.
- I tried setting a constant fan speed from the BIOS menu, but there was no option for this in the menu.
- I removed the battery and ran the laptop from the mains only to see if the problem was an overheating battery, but I didn’t notice a difference.