Why is my computer shutting itself down?

Toshiba / Equium a300d-13x
December 3, 2010 at 15:56:08
Specs: Windows Vista, 2GB
Hi everyone, I've been having a serious problem with my laptop for months. Basically, even when there's hardly anything running or I'm not touching anything the cpu usage is jumping all over the place and regularly hitting 100% or close. When it hits 100% for more than a few seconds the laptop switches off without warning and if I try to restart it then it immediately switches off. This typically happens within 5-10 minutes.
Last week I had a friend of mine who works in computers take a look at it for me. He ended processes that didn't need to be running at the time and although the cpu usage kept jumping it didn't go so high. The laptop stayed on for an hour with no problems, however, when we restarted the computer it wouldn't come back on. I left it for a few hours and tried again and it started up, by ending some processes I did get it to stay on for a longer period of time again but as soon as I restarted it did the same. It still does this and I am unable to use or install anything without it shutting down. I initially wondered if there was a problem with the fan but the computer doesn't appear to be getting hot at all and as it's managed to stay on for an hour or so I don't believe this to be the problem.
Does anybody have any idea what could be causing this fault and if it is worth repairing?
Just as an update, have tried going into the BIOS configuration and leaving it to see if it would switch off as someone told me that if it did it would mean a hardware problem. The laptop shut down within 2 minutes of entering the Bios config.

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December 3, 2010 at 19:55:04
In reading the first part of your question, I was clearly thinking you probably have an infection (and it wouldn't hurt to scan with Malwarebytes anyway). In reducing the running processes you cut down on heat generating activity within the processor so your system could run longer before shutting down. This is an important clue and since the same things still happens and also happens while in your BIOS, it is clearly hardware related. To take this in steps with the easiest first, I would recommend first running Memtest (burn a CDr and boot to it) to make sure you are not dealing with a bad memory card. While a shut down before receiving any errors will not be conclusive, it is an opportunity to spot an obvious memory problem and shorten the search. Assuming this is not a very new laptop (if newer and under warranty, back up your files and return for warranty repair/replacement) use a compressed air can to blow out any dust from the vents, if possible into the open-able ports and out of the vents. Next install Speedfan and start up. When Windows is up, install speedfan, open it up and monitor your system temperatures. If your temperatures are within reason, try opening up a program in a window while still able to monitor your temperatures. If your system shuts down after your temperatures climb high, you probably have a bad fan or a heat sink in need of reseating, but carefully note which temperatures climb, how fast, and the numbers and post them back. If your system shuts down without your temperatures rising, you will need to look elsewhere. Unless you were able to complete all tests in memtest without errors, I would look back at memory again. If you have more than one memory card, try running memtest again with one RAM stick at a time. Post back your results for additional advice.

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December 4, 2010 at 11:43:11
i like fingers response it clears everything out for u thats what i was gunna say but with less writing ;)

computers are a second home

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