Some years ago my fully working Toshiba Satellite M30-304 laptop (2002) suddenly started to behave abnormally. It used to start normally, to load Windows XP desktop and then shutdown by itself after a couple of minutes, without any kind of intervention by me. This happened after every single attempt to start it up, no exceptions. My setups are usually quite clean (retail OS installations or lite versions of them made by me, no bloatware, nearly zero applications running in background and/or in the traybar at startup etc), so I excluded any kind of software reason straight away. In that short period of time before the automatic shutdown, I have been able to run CPU-z and I discovered that the temperature inside the case was terribly high, over 120 °C, so I guessed that the problem was the thermal paste on the cpu, that after more ten years of usage didn’t do its job anymore and needed to be replaced. Every cpu automatically shutdowns when it reaches a certain temperature, in order to preserve the integrity of the machine it belongs to, and probably this was one of those cases.
After a couple of years since that discovery, I finally found the time to go thru the problem and try to solve it, disassembling the laptop following this wonderful Irisvista.com guide (offline, printable version in .docx format), cleaning the dried out thermal paste with some rubbing alcohol, putting some new thermal paste on the cpu and assembling everything back.
I have to admit that the solution worked extremely well and now my dear Toshiba is kicking ass again! I documented the main part of the process with a couple of pictures that I’m glad to share with you, just in case you’ll encounter a similar issue and you’ll wonder how to solve it. Of course we are talking about a really old laptop (13 years ago at the moment of writing!), but I’m not the kind of guy who trashes things that can still serve for a purpose, expecially such a cute computer. Many old computers can still work quite fine, so, in my modest opinion, is really a pity to trash them.
A quick advice: when you disassemble this laptop, please be extra careful when you de-attach the keyboard ribbon cable from the motherboard. I’ve been careful, but probably not enough, since the keyboard doesn’t work anymore after my intervention, but it worked fine before. Nothing that cannot be fixed with a cheap USB keyboard, but please learn from my experience and try to avoid to stumble upon the same issue 🙂
Pictures of the intervention after the break.