Laptop keeps shutting off by itself . . .

I have a laptop from a few years ago that one day decided it didn't want to stay on for longer than 5 minutes. I am thinking it is overheating. I have looked under it while it is on and noticed that the cooling fan just isn't spinning that fast. But what causes this? And can it be replaced? My nephew has a gaming Alienware laptop that is doing almost the exact same thing to him. While I went and built a PC to use, and stuffed my laptop in a closet, he doesn't really have anything else. So now I'm wondering if this is something that can be fixed, by myself, or maybe gaming laptops are not even worth the trouble. Certainly will be the last time I ever waste money on one. :-/ Any, um... advice?
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  1. If it's still running, means it's not broken yet. Search on youtube how to dissemble a laptop ( Dust it, reapply thermal compound if you can. Put it back and see if it's running at normal speed again. If not, buy a new one (about $20-30) and install it. It should fix the problem.
    If you're too lazy to do it, bring it to the store. Of course it would cost more.
    If you don't want to do that neither, buy a external cooling pad for laptop, a good one. It works (at least to my brother), but not as good as internal one.
    Good Luck ;)
  2. Always did have an external cooling pad, with two gigantic fans. But that doesn't help. At this rate, I would have to stick it in the fridge while using it. But I have thought about taking it apart and cleaning the compound off and applying what I used to build my PC, and see if it helps.
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