PC Reboots Itself Randomly When AOL 8.0 Is Accessed

Posted on 2004-10-12
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hi Everyone:

     I have recently been experiencing a peculiar situation with my pc.  Specifically, sometimes when I sign onto AOL, the pc automatically restarts itself.  Luckily, this does not consistently happen.  It only occurs randomly.  Even though this situation is probably nothing to worry about,  I can't help but to be curious with regards to what may possibly be causing this.  

     I look forward to hearing from everyone.

    Thank you

Question by:GMartin
LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 12295067
Need some more information....

What version of windows ?

What version of AOL ?

IS it ONLY when you sign onto AOL ?

how old is your computer ?

Do you have power problems in your area ?
LVL 21

Assisted Solution

briancassin earned 200 total points
ID: 12295082
Could be a corrupt modem driver, bad modem, AOL corrupted, Power supply problem,

Bad capacitor on the motherboard. this would be the easiest to check as all you would have to do is to open the case on the PC and look for cylindrical tubes sticking up from the motherboard they are usually green or brown can be black or blue sometimes.... they have a shiny metal top to them with an X or + like sign engraved all the way across the top. the top should be flat if it is bulged upward or if the sides are bulging out (it looks like an old style beer barrel) then the capacitor is bad... if anything brown is leaking out of them they are bad... in any case if you see bloating at the top or sides or brown stuff comming out that is most likely your reboot problem. Check especially where the power supply connector goes into the motherboard it is a bunch of wires into one big connector.

If your modem is an acutal seperate card from the motherboard check that too.

Make sure though the system is off, you ground yourself out by touching the metal frame of the case, do not touch any of the components, use a flashlight to see inside the case, and most of all do not touch any brown stuff if you see it.

If the capacitors are bad then the MOBO will have to be replaced, and I would suggest an APC surge arrest to keep from this happening again.

Assisted Solution

Ultimate_NescaFe earned 50 total points
ID: 12296147

This could be caused by overheating, try to open your case and clean all the dust from fans. If this doesn't work, then I suggest  that u get some ventilation here

If youre unsure about what to choose, just let me know what your cpu is and I will choose the best performance/price solution.

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Accepted Solution

Chunks earned 150 total points
ID: 12297298
I would specifically run a virus check on the system also.  Make sure you have virus libraries completely upto date as there were viruses some months back that cause computers to disconnect when accessing the internet and just for good messure just make sure you system is clear of spyware.

You can also look at your phone line.  When you pick the phone up is there an abnormal amount of "noise" crackling etc.  If so there maybe an issue with the phone line in which you would need to speak to your provider.  If not then its worth trying to reinstalling the dialup drivers/updating them.  Also possibly worth trying to re-install AOL.  If this is still not work it may be worth trying a different modem as i had one that kept disconnecting me i took it back to the shop and brought a cheaper one and it worked perfectly fine.

Hope that helps.

Assisted Solution

NashvilleGuitarPicker earned 50 total points
ID: 12297947
I had a very similar problem with a PC.  The computer would reboot without warning.  I thought that it was a hardware problem, but it turned out to be a corrupt network card driver.  Install the latest driver from the manufacturer of your PC or the manufacturer of the card - even if you are using a dial-up modem to connect to AOL.  You should also get the latest driver for your modem, if you are using one (I assume that you are).

If that does not work, try temporarily uninstalling any firewall software (Norton Internet Security, ZoneAlarm, etc.) and see if that changes the pattern.

- Will
LVL 11

Assisted Solution

DoTheDEW335 earned 50 total points
ID: 12298013
If you have windows XP turn off the auto restart feature:

Right click my computer, click the advanced tab, click the Startup and Recovery button, and uncheck Automatically restart under System failure.

Then when you have a problem it should stick at a BSOD and you can write it down,  lookup your problem or post it here.

Expert Comment

ID: 12298849
Check your PC for virus, update your virus scanner and run a scan with no internet connection.
LVL 21

Assisted Solution

briancassin earned 200 total points
ID: 12299518
If you are running windows XP you might have Sasser, when the computer reboots do you get a message "saying NT authority the system will shutdown in 60 seconds" prior to the shutdown ?

download and run this:

then go to and do an online scan for viruses.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 12308658
I think it has nothing to do with AOL access. It must be a mere co-incidence. I would say it it likely to be a problem with your SMPS. Have a qualified professional check your power supply.

Author Comment

ID: 12329843
Hi Everyone:

        I believe the problem is now fixed.  The pc restarted itself once again the other day when I tried to access AOL.  Out of curiousity, I ran a virus/trojan scan of my system using McAfee Anti-Virus which stays up-to-date daily through AOL.  It is an extra service I pay for each month along with my standard AOL monthly fee.  In any case, the scanner did find two trojans:  Exploit-Object and another one called a Dialer.  I am not sure exactly what these infections are or what they do to a system, but, I certainly went ahead and deleted them without hesitation.  Then, I restarted the pc and performed another scan.  Results of the scan indicated the pc to be free of infection.  To date, I have not been experiencing this problem any more.  Since it has been about 3 days, maybe this situation is completely resolved.  

         For those experts who mentioned possible hardware culprits, I want to thank you for shedding light on that.  Your input making reference to a possible faulty motherboard or power supply certainly makes sense and was considered in the list of possible causes.  I found the list of possible hardware maladies useful in gaining a more robust picture of this situation.  I am sure in many situations in which pc's randomly reboot themselves would suggest the problem to be hardware in nature.  Luckily, this does not seem to be the case with my pc.  

         In closing, I hope I was fair in my evaluation and awarding of people's feedback.  
Like all other post in the past, I have found each person's thoughts to be key ingredients to resolving technical issues with my pc and others.

         Thanks again for making EE such a huge success!!!

LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 12330737
Thank you,

and to be certain you are rid of the viruses / trojans on your system go to    <--- it is a free online virus scanner and it will remove or delete any viruses it finds.

I use this all the time when I have a system I am working on that has norton or mcaffee 9 out of 10 times it finds something they missed. This I am telling you from experience I am not paid endorsed or anything else by Trend Micro.

LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12344267
Thank you for the generous assist! Good to hear it's working correctly.

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