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Eric Ewing
Eric Ewing, IT Pro
Category: Computer
Satisfied Customers: 194
Experience:  I am a technology professional with 18 years experience, and hold 15 industry certifications (from hardware/software repair to mobility to IT Security, and everything in-between!).
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I am not quite sure who would be a specialist in this issue.

Customer Question

I am not quite sure who would be a specialist in this issue. I recently purchased a New Dell Laptop. I was using it one day, and suddenly, without a seconds notice; the computer completely went into a hard shutdown. There was no odd smell coming from the computer and absolutely no heat on the laptop. The dell has what i believe is a power light its a white light in front of the keyboard, its led, and that seems to be the only thing working on the laptop currently. I am extremely concerned about my current issue because there were numerous files that i did not save yet on that laptop. I would like to know based on my descriptions, what do you think?? And also is there a possibility that its the hard drive because if thats the issue does that mean all my files are toast. THANK YOU so much. I am so anxious, any light would help.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Computer
Expert:  Russell H. replied 6 months ago.

Hi, thank you for contacting JustAnswer.com. My name is***** will do my best to provide the right answer to your question.

A 'hard shutdown' sounds like several different things to me. Please describe a few points about it:

- did the screen go black?

- did the cooling fan shut off, before it went black?

- If the cooling fan had failed, then the CPU may have invoked its overheating protections, and shut the computer Off. (This happens when CPU chip cooling has failed... e.g. with cooling fan lockup or other cooling fan failure. It heats up very quickly, there's no time for warnings, etc. It turns Off to avoid burnout of the CPU chip.)

If so, then the unsaved data is lost. It's always good to save your work often, even if we are not living in the age of mainframe dumb terminals any more (when it was an almost required thing to do.)

I don't think the hard disk is damaged. Probably not.

But if the above is all correct, you'll need a repair shop for the fan.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Expert:  Eric Ewing replied 6 months ago.

Hi Dragan! My name is ***** ***** I am a Dell Certified technician who's been paired with you through JustAnswer.com. It is my pleasure to assist you today.

I can almost certainly guarantee that your hard drive (and, by extension, all of your files) are fine. The symptoms you described are not what you'd see when a hard drive fails; in fact, the computer would actually still turn on and operate (to a certain point) if it had a failed hard drive, and that doesn't sound like what's happening here.

The problem you describe actually sounds to me like the power flaked out (you experienced a surge or a dip), so the computer shut down to prevent damage. Let's check if that's the case by performing the following:

  1. Unplug the charger, take out the battery, and hold down power button for 20 seconds...this will help discharge the capacitors and make sure we're starting from a "clean slate."
  2. Insert the battery, then plug the charger back into the computer.

Will the laptop boot now? Please let me know...even if that doesn't work, we'll have at least ruled something out and can pick up troubleshooting from there!

Thanks...I look forward to hearing back from you.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi there. Thank you so much for your very quick and courteous response. I was having trouble with filling out my billing information, sorry. I tried the troubleshooting you wrote and it did not rectify the issue. I will be much quicker with my response from now on. Thanks.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Mr. Ewing you seem to be a very courteous man. Also, very thorough. I see you recently went offline. Can we please continue our correspondence as soon as possible. Thank you very much. Ill be awaiting your response to my last response. Good bye
Expert:  Eric Ewing replied 6 months ago.

Hi again Dragan! Sorry to hear those first steps didn't work. The next thing I'd like to try is reseating (taking out/putting back in) the computer's memory. Do you know how to access it? If not, please let me know which model of Dell laptop you have, and I'll give you directions.

I look forward to hearing back from you!

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I intend to be very generous with the Experts that take their job seriously here on Just Answer. I am going to sleep now. So, I will contact you as soon as I can in the next two days. I want to let you know I intend on working with you exclusively on computer issues from now on. Reason being, I have yet to find someone as thorough and thoughtful on this site yet regarding computers. The only pertinent thing I can ask is ( i am a novice ); is there anyway I can damage existing word files and photos on my laptop by reseating the computer's memory?? If so, can you explain in the explanation how I could avoid the pitfalls?? And yes, please if you could, can you run me through the process?? Thank you so much. Hope you're enjoying your weekend, Sir.
Expert:  Eric Ewing replied 6 months ago.

Good morning! To answer your questions:

You don't have to worry about losing any files from reseating your memory. The memory we're going to try reseating is "operating" memory, so no files are stored there. :-)

I'll be glad to walk you through the process! However, can you tell me which model of Dell laptop you have (the process does vary some from model-to-model)?

Thanks! I look forward to hearing back from you!