Windows 7 Laptop suddenly turns black, then shuts off

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Thread Starter
Jul 18, 2011
Hey everyone,

My laptop, (it's an HP Pavilion dv6 running Windows 7) recently started having this terrible problem. What happens is that I'm doing something totally non computer-intensive when all of a sudden the screen just turns black and a second or two later shuts off. It seems as though if I don't use it for a couple of days, and then boot it up, it doesn't have the problem. But once I turn it off and turn it on again, it happens.

For example, yesterday, after not using it for about two weeks, I had it on for about an hour or two before turning it off on my own. Today, I was on the internet reading an article, and had my virus software (McAfee) running a scan. I thought it was going to be okay, as if it was going to go black and turn off, it would have done so already. But, within 20-30 minutes of it being on, it did just that... it went black and turned off. I turned it on again, curious to see how long it would take to happen this time. I made it to the desktop before it went black and shut off after about 2-3 minutes.

Another thing of interest is that when it is on, it is very slow, much slower than usual. And another thing. A long while back, I had set my desktop so that it would change pictures every 10 minutes. I forgot exactly when this started, but the images don't change anymore. I thought it was just a mild annoyance, but I'm wondering if it's a symptom of the overall issue?

A couple other things: I had some system restore points before, but when I checked yesterday, it said I didn't have any. And, sometimes, a window comes up before my laptop goes black and shuts off, but I don't have time to even see what it says.

What in the world is going on? Is it a virus, trojan, spyware, etc? Or something related to the hardware going faulty? I do know that the battery died a long time ago, so the only way I keep the computer on is plugging it in. The moment it's unplugged, the computer is off.

Is there any way to reclaim my laptop? I've read about wiping the hard drive and re-installing Windows 7, but I don't know how to wipe the hard drive, nor did my laptop come with a Windows 7 disk.

Sorry about the long post, but I wanted to include as much detail as possible in the case that it may help diagnosing the problem.

P.S. - I had posted the above question on another forum, and had gotten one reply. The reason I'm posting in this forum is because the last one was not at all very active, and I'm just trying to get as much help and as fast as possible, thus posting the problem in multiple forums. Anyway, the one reply on the other forum said:

it could be virus/spyware, could also be heat thats causing the shutdown. once the laptop gets too hot..thermal protection kicks in..shutting it down to prevent damage.
check your vents for dust, and either use a can of air to clean it...or use a vacuum to suck out the dust.

another to try is boot to safemode...use for a awhile...if it shuts down then its likely heat related for sure.

as for reclaiming your laptop..HP: restart laptop and press F11..then select recover pc. only do this if you rule out or fix your current problem as you dont want it to shutdown while is running recovery


My reply was thus:

Hey, thanks for replying and helping. I really appreciate it. And sorry it's taken me so long to reply... I've been really busy.

I tried what you said and booted to each of the three Safe Modes: Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, and Safe Mode with Command Prompt. In fact, I booted to each of these three modes multiple times. Not once did the computer ever turn black and shut off.

However, as soon as I booted the computer in normal mode, it went black and shut off.

So, does this confirm that the problem's not heat related, but virus/spyware/trojan/whatever related?

How do I know that my computer won't shut down while I'm recovering it? Perhaps a better question should be, how do I prevent it from sutting down while I'm recovering it?

And I read something about wiping the hard drive clean... should I do that? If so, do you have step-by-step instructions for a complete newb? And do I need a Windows 7 recovery/installation disk?

Thanks again for the help.
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