Computer randomly shuts down

Hi, I'm becoming more hopeless with this problem i'm facing.

I hope you guys can help.

My specs: Intel Pentium dual CPU e2140 @ 1.60

Inspiron 530; ram: 1g etc etc

I've been running my computer with an ATI RADEON 5470 graphics card mostly for the good resolution;
Now because my case is too small for it ive been running with it off; but its been fine for almost 1 year now with monthy cleanings etc.

But a friend was over and he was watching anime on my comp, and my main CPU fan being loud i unplugged it for a moment, and forgot about it for about 45 minutes; and it randomly shut down [ im not sure from just something getting fried or internal shut down temperature ] but afterwards i left it to cool with a big room fan blowing on it to help it all cool off for the night. In the morning i turned it on everything was fine.. untill it shut down ramdomly :l

My first thought was the motherboard battery, so i replaced that but it still didnt solve anything, it wont even stay on for MEMTEST86, or a system restore; i know everything software wise was fine before the overheat. i just cant figure out hardware wise whats wrong.
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More about computer randomly shuts down
  1. Lots of parts can be damaged by over-heating. The CPU, perhaps. Parts of the motherboard, maybe - one possibility is one or more electrolytic capacitors got cooked. I'd check the electros on the motherboard looking for any that have bulged or burst.

    This could be difficult to fix. Good luck!
  2. if you have checked for damage and burnt parts already and didnt find any, check your psu. bad psu is the main culprit for occassional shutdowns. swap the psu with one from your friends pc and check... actually you can swap the board and otherparts later as well to find whats faulty, if your friends are kind enough.
  3. i mean it could be the pcu, but everything worked just fine before the overheat, i cant find any damanged parts, so i dont understand how the pcu could just suddenly fail,
    want me to take pictures of it, maybe that could help?
  4. Your system appears to be old enough that it could easily have a bad capacitor problem, possibly inside the PSU where you wouldn't easily see it. Google "bad capacitors" for examples of what they look like.
    If capacitors in your PSU have gone bad, very likely the ripple and noise your system is now getting is causing your stability / shutdown issues, and may be doing damage. This kind of problem may not be apparent with a voltmeter (why PSU testers are of limited value), so replacing your PSU should be high on your list of things to do. Hopefully your Dell does not use proprietary connectors (some of the older ones did), but if you post a link to your full specs, someone like DellUser may know. A standard PSU cannot be used with such a system (it or the motherboard will be destroyed), limiting you to a doubly-expensive yet inferior quality Dell-proprietary PSU.
    theres the manual and things.
    but ill check on the bad capacitors right now. and it has been making noises.
    and each time it starts up right after the DELL screen itll beep once then the fan will start up on full power. and will rarely stop..
    maybe that means something? but yeah it is old its going on 4 years right now. but thank you everyone for the ideas! but keep them coming i want to exhaust every possible thing before i consider buying a new computer >..>
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