Hello and thank you!
When a system locks up and remains on normally you can force it off by pressing and holding the power button for more than 4 seconds.
I did not have success with that (I rarely do on any).
I would see if the system boots and runs without the battery, if it does then shut it down reinstall the battery and see if it boots and runs with the battery in place.
It ran EXTREMELY well without the battery - AND barely got warm!
I have not tried it with the battery yet.
Normally the only components that will get hot are the CPU, HDD and battery. The CPU is thermally protected and will shut down before it gets too hot. The HDD will normally fail if it gets too hot, and I've never seen one overheat to the point of catching on fire. The battery on the other hand can potentially catch fire, so that is something you should keep an eye on. If you never use the system on battery power you might consider removing it and just running on AC alone. Note that lithium ion batteries have a finite life of a couple of years or about 300 charge cycles (whichever comes first) so if you do want to use it on battery power you may need to get a replacement.
I almost never use it on battery power.
I am still wary of using it with the battery.
I am going to remove the battery and run the other laptop (Acer).
I have always left them plugged in (with the battery) but now I'm a bit worried.
While I don't think you need to take anything apart just yet, by going to Dell Support and keying in the service tag number you can find all of the manuals for that system, which includes a very detailed service manual with disassembly and diagnostics information.
You might consider using some compressed air to blow out the cooling vents in the system, they can become clogged with dust and prevent the CPU from properly cooling. Scott.
I'll follow your advice re: cleaning it (I use the air quite a bit).
Thank you again!