Laptop Dell2020 switches off

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In September 2022, I had the problem that my laptop Dell2020 frequently switches itself off


  • Laptop Dell2020 suddenly switches itself off while operating
  • This started happening on a specific day (I think it was Friday Sep. 24) and immediately happened about three times that day

Actions & info

  • It doesn't seem to happen when the laptop is idling, or only using a terminal screen (withing Gnome)
  • It seems to happen especially when I'm using a second screen
  • A couple of days prior to this event, we had an electricity outage. The battery was emptied and hasn't charged since. At one moment, I started the laptop without battery, hoping that this would enable the battery again to charge. According to BIOS, the battery is still at 40% of capacity
  • BIOS reported that it doesn't recognise the charger (I'm using a replacement charger with some damage to the wiring)
  • BIOS frequently reports that it date and/or time hasn't been set. This might be an indication that there is something wrong with charging or the onboard battery.
  • I've checked syslog and dmesg, but that didn't help much - I haven't done it thoroughly though, and I don't really know how to extract meaningful information from system logs
  • On Tue. Sep. 27, I replaced the charger with an official Dell charger (might not be the same as that came with this laptop). Now the battery is finally charging

Possible causes

Video subsystem

  • Event seems to happen mostly when using a secondary screen
  • When going through system logs, I had the impression that it suggested that there were problems in this area.


  • I have the feeling that it might have to do with persistent storage. In this case an SSD


  • Since replacing the charger, the battery finally charged, plus that this happened shortly after an outage after which the battery didn't charge anymore
  • This might explain why it happens when using a dual screen or when not idling: Under such conditions, the laptop may use more electricity


  • In the past, I had similar problems with CPUs getting too hot. In that case, it turned out that a fan was blocked by some debris
  • In this case, I can hear the fan
  • The problem seems too irregular to be related to this: It also happens at times when the computer has been on for just a short while.

See also