If your laptop creashes every time it reaches the Bios, the chances are you have a heat-related issue. Let our Helproom Editor explain.

QUESTION My Dell laptop keeps crashing. It reaches the Bios splash screen but falls over before Vista loads. It even crashes after a minute or two when in the Bios-configuration pages. I thought that it might be an overheating problem, but the fan is spinning. The power supply works fine on other Dell laptops, and I have tried the laptop with and without the battery. imaginarynumber

HELPROOM ANSWER This could still be a heat-related issue, particularly if the crash is happening after roughly the same amount of time. The fan may be spinning, but a build-up of dust could be obstructing airflow.

Clean any externally accessible vents and, if you're comfortable with doing so, take a look inside the laptop for any matted dust build-up around the heatsinks and vents. Sometimes a can of compressed air can be used to help shift stubborn build-up.

We don't know how old your Dell laptop is, but Inspiron models including the 1100, 1150, 5100 and 5150 may suffer from a known design fault that could cause the sort of symptoms you describe.

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