Freezing after approx 1 minute

Hi
I have a Dell Insprion 1520 laptop here and I just can't get to the bottom of the fault.
It was brought in to me about 1.5 years ago and I purchased a Dell extended warranty for it, Dell replaced the motherboard and then the person never picked it up or paid for the warranty.
Last month I decided to give it to my daughter for school work, so I wiped it, bought new memory and a battery stuck an OS (Win8) on it and she was very happy with it.
Then the day after she flew back to her mum's house it stopped working. she said it would boot up sometimes but not at other times. Then it stopped totally.
She's just popped back for half term. I ran the Dell diagnostics and it said hard drive fault. Bought a new hard drive imaged the OS - same problem.
As it stands I can boot up in the Diagnostics, run tests for hours fine (nff). it heats up, cooling fans kick in no problem.
But if I boot from the hard drive or a Cd (I tried a Kapersky rescue CD that was hanging around) it crashes after 1-2 minutes. when it crashes all noise stops and the hdd activity light goes dead.
What I have tried.
booting on just battery or just charger.
Both sticks of memory in both slots.
Reseating all heatsinks with arctic silver
gently squeezing the internal SATA port in case loose connection.
booting from hdd with no optical drive installed.
booting from a CD in optical drive with no hdd installed.

Any ideas?!
sp0ttaAsked:
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BigPapaGottiCommented:
Have you tried running memtest86 for an extended period of time to see if the memory is at fault. I've seen different types of memory (manufactures, speed timing) cause issues like you are mentioning. Memtest is a free download and will allow you to boot off of a CD in order to test it out.
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sp0ttaAuthor Commented:
Well Memtest86 at least passed the 2 minute test!
I also tried another Live cd based on Debian, that failed the 2 minute test.
So Memtest86 and the Dell diagnostic system which are both text base boot up fine and everything I've tried so far with a GUI have crash within 2 minutes
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BigPapaGottiCommented:
so perhaps it is the video card. I know when Dell replaces parts in computers/laptops under warranty they use refurbished parts. Could it be that you received another faulty motherboard? Is this still under warranty?
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north_Commented:
What happens when you boot the machine with everything but the hard drive? does at any point it restart itself?
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sp0ttaAuthor Commented:
it doesn't restart. it just freezes, with whatever happens to be on the screen at the time no matter if booting from a Live CD with the hdd removed or the OS on the hdd.

I've found a video card (they are replaceable on this laptop model) on eBay so i'm willing to give it a try.....
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BigPapaGottiCommented:
Before you purchase a new video card for the laptop have you tried hooking up an external monitor to the laptop to see if you get the same results. I'm also wondering if perhaps the laptop is overheating and causing a freeze to occur. Do you have a laptop stand that you can set the laptop on along with a fan to blow directly on the laptop to help keep it cool. I know this is a long shot but it would be worth a test to see, besides what do you have to lose besides a little bit of time.
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north_Commented:
I wouldn't just start replacing parts before you make sure that is the cause of the problem.
A video card wouldn't really cause the freezing before a boot into the OS. It mostly affects the display. Freezing like that can be contributed to a heat issue, failing memory, or a failing motherboard. If it freezes when it boots into the operating system, then is likely that a hard drive is to blame. Also, just because you put new heat paste on the heat sinks, doesn't mean it is seating correctly. Laptop heat sinks are a lot more tricky to seat correctly, so i suggest you retry and do it very carefully.
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nobusCommented:
>>  But if I boot from the hard drive or a Cd (I tried a Kapersky rescue CD that was hanging around) it crashes after 1-2 minutes   <<  this points to the sata controller; it looks like it locks up when heating up

try testing with the UBCD - it does not use winPE (like the cd's above) and see if that causes locking up :
Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD
 i suggest the UBCD  to run some diags first - to be sure about the basics
go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
 
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                        ultimate boot cd
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html             download page

post results
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sp0ttaAuthor Commented:
Hi BigPappa

I think that overheating can be been ruled out, form a cold start in my cold office it still hangs both booting from CD with a program that uses a GUI and from the Windows on the hdd - the heat-sinks don't even get slightly warm.
It can then run Memtest86 or the Dell Diagnostics (both txt based) for hours, warming up to a comfortable level and the fans kicking in when needed but never running really hot.
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sp0ttaAuthor Commented:
I wouldn't just start replacing parts before you make sure that is the cause of the problem.
A video card wouldn't really cause the freezing before a boot into the OS. It mostly affects the display. Freezing like that can be contributed to a heat issue, failing memory, or a failing motherboard. If it freezes when it boots into the operating system, then is likely that a hard drive is to blame. Also, just because you put new heat paste on the heat sinks, doesn't mean it is seating correctly. Laptop heat sinks are a lot more tricky to seat correctly, so i suggest you retry and do it very carefully.
It also freezes booting from a Live CD if it uses a GUI with no hard drive connected. I think that rules out the hdd.
4 separate memory modules tested, all pass memtest86 and the Dell diagnostics and work in other machines, there has be some point when you must trust them and move onto another cause..
The heat sinks are seated fine thank you.
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BigPapaGottiCommented:
Did your extended warranty run out on this laptop?

Have you tried using an external monitor to see if you have the same issue?
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sp0ttaAuthor Commented:
>>  But if I boot from the hard drive or a Cd (I tried a Kapersky rescue CD that was hanging around) it crashes after 1-2 minutes   <<  this points to the sata controller; it looks like it locks up when heating up
Would the SATA controller not heat up after the same amount of time if the OS was txt based?

UBCD loads and runs fine. but then it's txt based so I was expecting it to work.
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sp0ttaAuthor Commented:
Did your extended warranty run out on this laptop?
Yep! and now it's to old for them to sell another warranty for it.

Have you tried using an external monitor to see if you have the same issue?
I'm afraid this machine has a small connector on the back - which must have a VGA breakout cable supplied to go with it when it was supplied. I do not have this cable but an external monitor would still use the same graphics card, I can't see how doing this would actually prove or disprove the gfx being faulty?
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nobusCommented:
>>  Would the SATA controller not heat up after the same amount of time if the OS was txt based?    <<   no need to ask yourself; just test  with the suggested
also - disconnect all external devices -  and the network - and see if it does the same
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sp0ttaAuthor Commented:
Update.
Installed the £20 graphics card from ebay. All GUI Operating systems boot up fine.
Faulty gfx card causing the problem.
I guess we have all learnt something from this.
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