[ubuntu] Basic Log help

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http://ubuntuforums.org – I when my laptop gets running with a lot of processes, I hear the fan start going into overdrive and recently a few times my laptop has even turned off, before I could check anything in System Monitor. It is not the best laptop (Acer Aspire 4530) 2GB Ram, and an Athlonx2, so I am almost positive that it is overheating. I just need some help knowing which basic log files to look in (if any) to see what the actual cause of shutdown may have been. I have dealt very little with log files as I have a bit of trouble understanding them. Any help would be appreciated ! Thanks (Hardware)