The computer has begun to shut down (similarly to how it would if the battery died) even when plugged in.
We’ve got a Dell laptop that’s been giving us different types of trouble for a long time. The battery’s been not great for a while — it takes a long time to charge, and then dies after a fairly short period. We thought we were just having a battery issue — which we certainly might be — but lately, the computer has begun to shut down (similarly to how it would if the battery died) even when plugged in. Today, it is shutting down every three or four minutes, and then won’t start up for several minutes after shutting down.
I still suspect its battery related somehow, but have no proof. Any ideas?
If it takes some time to charge the battery and then it dies after a short period of time, then it most likely the battery problem. I’ve seen it before many times and usually you can fix the problem by replacing the battery. Your second issue looks more like a laptop overheating problem and I don’t think that it’s related to a bad battery. You can remove the battery and run the laptop just on AC power. Does it still shut down? If yes, then it cannot be related to the battery because it’s removed.
An overheating problem might occur because of a clogged heatsink or a failed cooling fan (it stopped spinning). In your case I think it might be related to a failed cooling fan because it takes a very short time for the laptop to shut down. Usually, when the heatsink is clogged, the laptop still can run fine for 10-15 or even more minutes before it shuts down. Turn on the laptop and see if the cooling fan starts spinning before the laptop shuts down. Touch the laptop in the processor area. Is it unusually hot?