Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Games are processor heavy and could be generating a lot of heat. This is the first thing to look at with sudden shut-downs.

Leo, I have a Dell laptop model Inspirion M5010 Core I5. On this laptop, I play MW3 and Battlefield 3. During the game playtime, my laptop suddenly shuts down. What is the reason?

In this excerpt from Answercast #8, I discuss the heat generated by processor-heavy applications (such as games) and look at the option of cooling off the machine.

Laptop suddenly shuts down

It's impossible to say exactly what the reason might be. My suspicion is the typical cause of this kind of a shut down: overheating.

Games in particular tend to stress computers quite heavily. They use the processor very heavily and they tend to use the graphics cards fairly heavily. Both of which generate a fair amount of heat when they are used heavily.

The net result is if your computer doesn't have proper ventilation or the fans aren't working or there's too much dust in the way, things can overheat.

Heat can cause a sudden shut-down

When things overheat, what typically happens is the computer simply crashes.

So the very first thing I would look at: [it] would be to clear out your area and make sure that your computer has appropriate ventilation and that it's not overheating.

Next - Aren't incremental backups just as important as a system backup?

Article C5195 - April 11, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Gord Campbell
April 13, 2012 10:45 AM

There are some laptops which simply don't have enough ventilation to run the CPU and video card full bore, even when they are brand new.

Try to install an applet which displays the information generated by the various temperature sensors in your CPU, video card and hard drive. I use lm-sensors and conky on my Linux system.

April 13, 2012 1:04 PM

I had a system where I added a Video card, and when my son played high graphic games the same thing would happen. But that was because the power supply wasn't strong enough. Putting in a higher rated powersupply fixed the problem -- but with a laptop -- you would think they would put in big enough power to fit the components! (but not always)

Alex Dow
April 13, 2012 11:23 PM

To follow up on the possible lack of ventilation; and the following may sound contradictory-


Have a tray, a large book, even a Laptop Cooler or other similar flat surface directly on your lap, with the laptop on top, thus helping to avoid blocking the vents etc.

Ron Macpherson
April 18, 2012 8:31 AM

Heat is the answer. Amazingly most of us have ONE fan in our CPU's. Gamers show me that they often have 3 fans.

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.