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Acer Desktop - powers off but is still "on"

Posted on 2010-09-09
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Have this problem that started yesterday PM. Worked on it all day today with no results. Called Acer Tech Suppt - their only suggestion was to reformat and restart from the factory image. Let me see if someone here has some other suggestions before we take that drastic a step.

Acer Veriton M265 - with Win XP Pro SP3 - fully updated. 2gB RAM, large disk - half full. Using a dual video card Radeon 4350 to twin monitors. This system was set up and has been running very smoothly since 2/2010. What happens is after about 5-10 minutes sometimes I can get an hour out of it, the screens go completely black, their power buttons go from green to orange. I look on the computer case and the power light is still lit on. I carefully removed the case cover to see that the fans were still running. Rebooted and it happens very reliably after about 5-10 minutes. I established a new user. Logged in there, same thing. I removed the computer from the APC, plugged directly into the surge suppressor - same thing. I then took out the Radeon dual video card and used the on-board vid - same thing. I replaced the keyboard because it usually bombs when I'm typing - no difference. I watch the drive light carefully as I press Windows-E to launch Windows Explorer - I'm looking for some sign of life - there is none. I looked through the event logs - they are pristine. I looked through the BIOS to see if a power setting needs change - they look good. I went into Windows to check the APM setup - turning off everything I could, including screensaver timeouts, Windows power settings, etc. Still bombs. I tried a restore point from two days back. It didn't stay alive long enough but on a subsequent reboot, Windows reports a succesful restore to 9/6.

It's basically just shutting off but not powering off and the only way to recover is to hold the power button in for 10 seconds until the power releases. The computer gives me no indication as to what's wrong - no event log either application or system, and no error box or BSOD.

I'm leaving it sit on the BIOS screen to see what happens overnight.

Does this look like a hardware issue? What's your best guess as to what piece has gone sour.
---or---
Does this look like Windows being Windows? Again, although restore point didn't complete, it did complete subsequently on a later reboot.  But with the same result after about 5-10 minutes.

Hope for some help. We're still under warrantee.

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Question by:whftherb
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by:WallD
ID: 33635304
Do you have a restore point from a time when it didnt happen? not sure from your comments if so roll back to there and see if it happens then.

Though I suspect a hardware from what you say. have you a drive you could swap in install windows on and see what happens there?
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Author Comment

by:whftherb
ID: 33635514
In the post at the end of the second paragraph we have:

"I tried a restore point from two days back. It didn't stay alive long enough but on a subsequent reboot, Windows reports a succesful restore to 9/6. "

I don't have a drive handy.  I'm thinking this has got to be a hardware issue.  This system is mainly used for browsing and email.  Using Symantec Endpoint for security.  I can only partially complete a scan before it turns off on me.

Going to run Memtest in a little bit as soon as I get to the house.


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willcomp earned 250 total points
ID: 33635594
My first suspect is the power supply (PSU). If you can, swap out the PSU.
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Author Comment

by:whftherb
ID: 33635606
OK, I was also thinking that way too.  Let me do a test - I have a PSU tester I can borrow.
So you tend to agree with my thoughts - it's hardware (more than likely)....

H
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Author Comment

by:whftherb
ID: 33635628
Let me quickly ask, all these fans (there's one fan on the main chip and one in the PSU) usually run off the 12V edge I think.  So if the 3.3V edge is up for a while then dies because it's intermittent that might explain why the fans are on, the power led stays on but there's no life from the MoBo.  Right?
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by:willcomp
ID: 33635639
PSU tester may not be much help. You need to change out PSU.

Yes, I'm rather sure that it's hardware and either PSU or motherboard.
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by:WallD
WallD earned 250 total points
ID: 33635658
Assuming the restore point worked then it would appear to be hardware, and my investigations would centre around that.

Another option to rule out windows is could be to run up a linux boot disk like linux and use that and see if the machine bombs out.

At least that way you can argue the toss with Acer.
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by:Lukasz Chmielewski
ID: 33635684
How about power management ? Seems like the disks are off after a period of time...
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Author Comment

by:whftherb
ID: 33635949
@WallID - good thought!  I have one of those available!  Let me try that first, then do the PSU test if it fails.
@Roads - I have disabled all Power Mgmt features inside Windows.  If I get there this morning, after having left it on the BIOS screen all night, and it's bombed, I'm definitely thinking hardware.

Thanks All for this wonderful input.  I'll be back with a results report ASAP.

H
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by:kaskhedikar_tushar
ID: 33636903
Hello,

Check with power management - Advanced & check with power options.

Regards,
Tushar Kaskhedikar
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Author Comment

by:whftherb
ID: 33641177
Report:  As I said, I left it on the BIOS screen last night.  This morning, it's crashed again.  So this is without Windows even being involved.  Acer said to box it up and ship it back.  Also, the HDD is to be wiped.  We have back up but all the apps and updates will need to be installed.  Another call to Acer to beg for mercy.  Talked to a diff rep who checked and came back to the phone to report that within one year, we are entitled to ON SITE service!  So the hope is when they show, they will just bring a PSU and perhaps a MoBo and leave the HDD intact.

Whew!

It was a hardware issue indeed.

H
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Author Closing Comment

by:whftherb
ID: 33641201
Acer needs to take care that their 800 number staff are aware of their own warrantee policies.
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