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Win2K Pro Desktop computer shutting down every morning

Posted on 2006-05-09
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A Windows 2000 Professional computer that is being used as a very basic file server on a Peer-To-Peer (workgroup) network is shutting down every morning at a certain time.  No one has been able to see the computer shut down so we don't know if it goes through the Windows shut down process or just does a hard kill.  The computer is not connected to a UPS but power surge/blackout/brownout is not suspected to be the problem.

It always reboots without problems or errors.

There are no shutdown events recorded in the event log; just the startup events.  There are other events recorded but they are not errors and they offer no help because their timestamp is for the evening before.

There are no scheduled tasks.

Where should I start troubleshooting?
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Question by:HKComputer
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by:mcrossland
ID: 16640109
Hello HK,
check the power management options in the control panel.
Does it shut off at the exact same time every day?  If so, I would have someone literally sit in front of it and see how it is powering down.  Could be going on stand by due to power management.

Mike
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by:rutten-d
ID: 16642618
does the machine have anti-virus software installed?
sounds like something a virus could do....

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by:rutten-d
ID: 16642649
also check the "at" command at a dos prompt - tasks scheduled with AT do not show up in Windows Scheduled Tasks.
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by:HKComputer
ID: 16643127
After posting this morning, the machine started shutting down about every 7 minutes or so.  Since I'm over a thousand miles away, I can only see the machine once RealVNC service has loaded.  This does hinder the troubleshooting process a little.

The "at" command returns false.

AVG Antivirus is installed.  I know it isn't the most robust solution.  I'm fairly confident in saying that a virus is not a likely possiblity.  This computer is not used by anyone in the organization (expcept for file sharing) and the network is behind a DSL Modem/Router.  Having said that, I know that many viruses spread on LAN's when contracted by any of the LAN machines.

I disabled three things and now the machine has stayed running ever since.  I disabled Norton Ghost (running as a service), DynDNS Updater Client, and the Computer Browser service.  I'm highly suspecting some kind of Computer Browser conflict since there are Windows 2000 and Windows XP machines on the same network.  I've had events logged on this issue before but currently none are getting logged.

I can't totally rule out hardware, such as powersupply, RAM, or CPU overheating.  There is no CPU temperature monitor or parameter settings in the BIOS that I remember (wouldn't help me if there were) and I sure haven't found any on the OS or third party software.  I'll have to keep an eye on it through the next few days before I close this question.  If anyone has more ideas, I'd be glad to listen.

HK
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by:nls73m
ID: 16643706
Its sounds like a faulty power supply. I had systems to the same extact thing. Replaced power supply and system doesn't shut down on its own anymore.
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by:mcrossland
ID: 16644309
Is it used as a print server?  Sometimes I have seen print jobs reboot a system.  Why don't you configure it to blue screen instead of reboot in the event of an error.  That way you can have an on site person write down verbatim the blue screen code.

Right click my computer, properties, advanced tab, startup and recovery settings, uncheck "automatically restart."
You may want to make sure the page file on the C drive is more than the physical memory so you can get a dump file if desired.  You can select "complete memory dump."  
Hopefully that would not be needed and we would be able to see a stop code error.

Just my thoughts.  :)

Mike
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by:HKComputer
ID: 16644867
The computer has a shared printer attached to it.  Would you call it a print server?

The timing of the shut downs would lead me to believe that print jobs are not causing the shut downs.  It's ran great all day, after several shut downs this morning.

I have reconfigured the machine to not reboot on failure.  The interesting part is that it never does.  It always switches totally off, another factor that may push me closer to believing that it is some hardware malfunction.  I'm guessing that the power supply would be the most likely since there is no time for the OS to log any events.
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by:dooleydog
ID: 16648037
I vote for the power supply.

And yes, a printer attached makes this a "Print Server", at least technically.

Also make sure you have all of the latest updates for windows and IE.

Good Luck,

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by:mcrossland
ID: 16648084
Agreed.  You may want to consider the power SOURCE also.  If it is plugged into a power strip, a small sag in power could be causing it.  Try putting in or swapping out the UPS (if it has one).  I have experience with a building that experiences alot of these anomolies where power to the equipment is inconsistant.  For this reason, I have moved to battery backup products that actually control the voltage and keep it constant.  The cheaper ones don't do that.
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by:HKComputer
ID: 16648431
It shut down again this morning at some unknown time.  I've advised the customer to buy an APC UPS for this machine.  It's not currently on any UPS.

The fact that it shuts down in the morning around a certain time leads me to believe that there is a power consistency issue inside the building.  Maybe there is a press or welder or something of that nature that gets turned on around this time and causes a brownout.  Why the other computers don't shut down, I'm not sure.  But they may be on a different electrical circuit.

But I think too it could be the power supply.   I won't rule that out until the problem has been resolved or the power supply has been replaced.

I'm waiting on the customer now to hook it up to a UPS.
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by:mcrossland
ID: 16648962
Cool.  Keep us posted.  :)
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by:mcrossland
ID: 16857634
This appeared to clearly be a power issue.  Would be nice to see a post from the author.  :)
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by:HKComputer
ID: 16857915
If administration can allow some more time for this question to remain open, perhaps I will be able to post a resolution here.

The offending computer has been hooked up to a UPS backup system but its odd shutdown behavior continues.  Because this "server" is not mission critical, a resolution has not yet been reached.  

The almost scheduled timing of the shutdowns has me baffled.  On 06/01/06, a Dr Watson log shows that an error occured in svchost.  I don't have the details of the log file to post here.  Neither can I be conclusive that this log file is representative of every occurence of these mysterious shut-downs.  

I'm sorry that we haven't been able to replace the power supply.  I think it would be a valuable step in the process of elimination.  Since I'm in the Northeast and this machine resides in the Deep South, and of course, since it is not mission critical, this step has not yet been taken.
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by:WMIF
ID: 16858734
the question can stay open, but when 21 days pass by without a comment, the question is considered abandoned and goes through the cleanup process.  if you would like to keep the question open, simply give the participating experts an update on the situation less than 21 days apart.  remember that these experts are volunteering their time to help you out.
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by:HKComputer
ID: 16890606
This computer misbehaved beyond forgiveness today.  I believe it has been taken to a local "technician" to be evaluted.  These shutdowns were accompanied by a short tone (Somewhat siren like - HighLowHigh) but no error messages.  And as near as i can tell, the Dr. Watson logs and the Event logger never did catch these mysterious shutdowns.

Today the shutdowns started to happen back to back.  The machine would no longer stay running at all.  Troubleshooting it over the phone with some office personel, they unplugged it from the UPS and plugged it straight into the wall (I believe).  Then the booted into safe mode.  The machine shut down almost before getting logged into windows.

I think it must be the power supply but I won't know for a couple days here.  Will be glad to get this strange one solved.  I'll be back. -HK
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by:mcrossland
ID: 16891149
Thanks for keeping us posted.  :)
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by:HKComputer
ID: 16938773
OK.  The power supply has now been replaced and the machine still crashes.  Now it's time to sort through the myriad of possiblities.  Any opinion on this list:

Strange driver problem (corrupted or infected(the machine has AVG antivirus only))
Motherboard
RAM
Processor overheating

Remember, it does it in safe mode and it can occur before it even gets booted all the way into Windows.  It produces no blue screens and doesn't appear to have time to log anything.  Directly before killing over, it produces a multiple tone signal (high-low-high).  It always restarts immediately afterward and I don't believe the hard drive is ever flagged as dirty.
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by:mcrossland
ID: 16938976
The tones definately show that there is a hardware problem.

I would go for the RAM test next since it is the easiest to perform.
run memtest to check the memory is not bad
http://www.memtest86.com/ 

Upgrade the motherboard to the latest bios version.

I have experienced pc's that give a tone due to a video issue.
If the video is on board, then install a pci video card (any cheap one will do) and see if the issue is resolved by that.

My experience with tone errors is as follows.
Bios upgrade has fixed it before but I had to put another video card in the system long enough to upgrade the bios.

If all of this fails, I would say motherboard or processor.  Typically, the processor will cause the system to either lock up or shut OFF due to over heating so Motherboard comes first.   Seems that you are on a mission to resolve this one way or another so I am here with you friend.  :)

One other thing to consider is this.  Is the client incurring cost by the troubleshooting of this system.  Would it be in the best interest of the company to simply put in a new pc (pretty cheap now days) and copy all of the data to that pc.  

Then take the old one for a long car ride with a rope tied to the bumper!

hehe....

All jokes aside, try the memtest and video since they do not require a purchase of hardware.      Really feels like a video card beep.  Just a gut feeling.

Good luck,
Mike

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by:HKComputer
ID: 17084093
Sorry to drag this one out.  The owner of this computer took it to a local computer shop (not a very good reputation) and they couldn't find anything wrong with it.  I think it wouldn't ever perform it's bad shutdowns for them.

We are definately suspecting overheating of some kind.  The hardest the computer ever works is when it does a virus scan.  And every morning, AVG starts it's scan around 8ish.  And every morning around 8ish, this computer shuts down.  Will post back if I find anything more out in the next few days. -HK
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by:mcrossland
ID: 17084115
Hang in there.   Those issues that go on for months can wear at you.
I personally would have replaced the unit by now for lack of sleep.   :)
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by:HKComputer
ID: 17193648
This one has finally been solved.

One of the office personnel took the computer apart and found a very dirty CPU fan.  I also uninstalled AVG antivirus.

It appears that AVG would start a scan at 8:00 AM every morning and with 5 to 10 minutes, the processor would overheat from intense use and lack of air flow and the computer would shut down.

We're reinstalling AVG now to see if the shutdowns resume.  With the clean fan, I'm gonna guess that we're good to go.

Thanks for all the expert advices. -HK
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by:HKComputer
ID: 17193766
Oops, I usually don't pluralize the word advice.  ;)

So, who said anything about the processor overheating in this post?  Points, anyone?
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by:mcrossland
ID: 17193951
Glad you got it worked out.  Wow, it's been a while.  Looks like YOU were the first to list processor then me.  I'm just glad you have it fixed.  You can request to have your answer accepted if you like or split points for the effort everyone contributed to troubleshooting.  Your call. :)

Mike
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by:HKComputer
ID: 17193998
I really like EE and all it's expert contributors.  I'll split up some points here to those who expended their brains by thinking and their fingers by typing.
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by:HKComputer
ID: 17205820
I'm sorry to go back on what I just posted above.  I sure do appreciate all the effort and contribution.  Thanks, in particular, to mcrossland.

When I look through the PAQ's, I always look at the accepted answer first.  If the accepted answer is in fact an incorrect one, what good is this forum?

I've made a request to close and refund.  Or to simply accepted one of my posts on the CPU overheating as the correct answer.
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by:mcrossland
ID: 17206399
No objections.  :)
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DarthMod earned 0 total points
ID: 17232761
Closed, 500 points refunded.
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