My work laptop, a Dell Inspiron 8200, has had continuous problems since I first bought it in July. A few weeks ago I rebuilt it from scratch and it’s started exhibiting a new problem – seemingly random freezing and sometimes crashing during the night. I would then be forced to reboot and then it would be fine for 15-20 minutes and then yet another freeze up.
I think I’ve found the solution to this problem.
I started to notice that the crashes/freezes occur while the CPU was fairly heavily loaded (ex. virus scanning, movie playing, etc.) After reading several other posts on the Dell user forums and elsewhere on the web, it started to make sense that the CPU was overheating. I downloaded the Dell Inspiron 8×00 fan control utility and set it to be fairly aggressive as to when it increased the fan speed from low to high. Sure enough, while running a virus scan the CPU hit 45, 50, then 55 degrees Celsius. It then switched the fan from low to high. And then I also realized that I’ve never heard the fan run that loud before!!! I don’t think the fan has ever run at high speed without this 3rd-party utility!
Anyways, I’ve now gone 7 hours with no crashes and/or freezes. That’s a record for the week.
Note that this utility is NOT supported by Dell. Then again, Dell tech support sucks, so this is a good thing. 🙂