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hardware problem - automatic random rebooting

Posted on 2006-03-30
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
i have a computer that has both windows xp and 2000 installed.
either during loading OS or either during usage of either OS, computer gets automatically rebooted,
without any blue screen and without safe mode options shown after reboot.
i loaded safe defaults in bios, but didn't help.
first reboots were rare, but have become more common.
i assume pc would not reboot in if i left it alone, but reboots after i start clicking around, starting programs

i would assume culprit could be: power supply or motherboard or cpu.
which of these is more probable ?
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Question by:ed987
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12 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 16331628
Could be either of these but in my experience the most common problem is the RAM.  Try swapping it out for some other modules.
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Expert Comment

by:David Wall
ID: 16331685
If the machine is has been running for a while it may be overheating that can cause machines to restart, try removing any dust from inside while swapping RAM around.
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Callandor earned 428 total points
ID: 16332002
You should also try booting it up with a non-Windows environment to see if it's a Winows driver.  A Knoppix CD will fit the bill.
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Assisted Solution

by:Bishop_2006
Bishop_2006 earned 428 total points
ID: 16332027
Do you have any problems when shutting down the machine, does it tend to restart instead of shutdown? If so then its most probably the power supply, otherwise start with the RAM.
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Expert Comment

by:tarcis
ID: 16332237
Try clean RAM slot, if didn't work try install other cooler, maybe it's temperature's problema
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Assisted Solution

by:David523
David523 earned 428 total points
ID: 16336996
Just a thought:

Might want to look at the motherboard to determine if any of the capacitors might be bulging and/or leaking.  That can be the source of a multitude of issues.

Hope this Helps!!!
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Expert Comment

by:wylie_uk
ID: 16337718
ok relisticly it could be a great number of issues making it reboot randomly, the fact it restarts with both OS's makes me think it might not be a windows driver issue, however XP/2000 are similar and if you have the same bad driver on both OS's then it could be that.

a virus or data coruption could cause this error, so if you can scan for viruses.

when it crashes, query your bios for the system tempertures see if they are within aceptable limits

REBOOT in SAFE mode to determine if it is a bad driver. if is still crashes you can assume it is not a driver.

If it runs in safe mode fine, then you need to figure out what bit of software or drive is screwing up your system, might be an idea to do a clean install if you cant track it down.

in your bios disable 'quickstart' or 'quick self test' it is in there somewhere, then save and reboot (from cold) this wil envoke the long memory test, scans all the memory for errors. if is finds none you can run a DOS based memory checker to be sure.

if it finds any errors at all then reseat the ram chips, if this dont help then replace your memory

if fact it might be a good measure to reseat all your PCI and VGA cards.

replace your power unit, they are cheap to replace and not that hard, get a decent wattage one 400+ watts.

if none of the above works, then suspect the mobo.

it is possible it is your CPU but they very rarely fail and when they do they cause any error under the sun.
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Expert Comment

by:PoundCake
ID: 16339652
I think the first step should be to go to control panel, double click on the system icon, click on the advanced tab and disable the option that says "Automatically restart" under system failures.  This will allow you to see the blue screen and possibly give you some insight into what is causing the reboot.
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Expert Comment

by:PoundCake
ID: 16339659
p.s.  when my system did the mysterious reboot thing, the problem was with a bad memory card, and, as it turns out, a malfunctioning DIMM slot.  Odd that both the card and the slot were bad, but stranger things have happened.
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Expert Comment

by:The_Dark_Rabbit
ID: 16358501
I agree with the first poster, that this problem is usually RAM.

A few things to check:

1. Does the system (not the monitor) make a clicking sound when it reboots?  This would indicate a potential problem with the power supply (rare, in my experience).

2. Download the Ultimate Boot CD (http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html) and burn it to a CD (I'm assuming you have another means to do this if your main machine is on the fritz).  Boot, select MainBoard Tools, and choose one of the RAM checking options (like  Memtest86+), and let it run for an hour or so, and see if there are any errors.  If the RAM comes back with no errors...

3. Boot from the Ultimate Boot CD again, and choose Hard Disk Tools, and choose Power Max 4.09 as your scanner (4.22 may not handle non Maxtor disks; I can't remember).  Do a full scan (NOT a burn-in test, though).  It's possible that there is some kind of glitch on the HDD.

If the RAM check gives you an error, try replacing it.  If you have two or more sticks, pull out all but one and run the RAM test again, trying different slots with different chips.  If you do have a faulty stick, replace it.  After replacing it, make sure you run a Windows Scandisk on your system to fix any filesystem errors caused by bad RAM.

If the RAM test was clean, and the HDD came back with an error, boot from a CD (Knoppix, Puppy Linux, Ubuntu Live, etc...), back up your critical data, buy a new HDD, and start from scratch.

Finally, if it's a power supply issue, go to your local computer shop and buy a new one (you may have to poke around if your machine is on the old side).

Let us know what happens!

Cheers,

TDR
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by:David523
ID: 16588124
:-)
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Expert Comment

by:The_Dark_Rabbit
ID: 16645796
Hi,

Sorry, I've just returned from vacation-- can I still get in on the point distribution?

I felt that my answer was comprehensive and easy-to-follow and might have provided the solution to this problem had the user followed it.

Cheers,

TDR
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