Dad's laptop problems

So my father just asked for help with this laptop. I came over, and it had all kinds of problems. When we boot it up it gives an error massage. 1st we thought it was the hard drive, so i wanted to try and format it. We where at about 70% when it just randomly shut off. We try again only to find out that it shut off mush faster this time. I thought that it might be a overheat problem. The back was very hot, but the fans was spinning. (pretty new to the forum BTW, not sure if i posted the right place)

Any idea what this might be?  

What did the error message say? Also, if it is getting hot, use a program to check out the temperatures. Another way it might be shutting off is because the battery is going bad as well or maybe you just forgot to plug it in or something.

probably overheating, if its under warranty you could possibly get it serviced (although would probably cost money), if its out of warranty you could try taking it apart and cleaning as much dust out as possible using canned air and que tips.

Forgot to clarify, i can't even boot to the os.

It sounds like you have a heating problem and a HDD problem at the same time or something, or maybe it's probably something else I can't think of. Try putting a laptop fan under it or something while you are trying to format and then try to figure out your heating issues from there once everything is working.