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computer starts rebooting on its own, every two weeks to the day

Posted on 2011-03-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have an XP sp3 machine that will start randomly rebooting on its own every 2 weeks to the day.  I do a rollback and it works fine again for 2 weeks...

What I have already tried:
I did memtest, flashed the mb bios, chkdsk on the hd, updated all device drivers, changed AV programs from symantec to microsoft security essentials, used spybot and several AV to check the machine for virus/spyware, All microsoft updates and current on the computer, and the machine does not give me a BSOD when it does this.  This is just a desktop and not a server and it gets rebooted often so probably not a memory leak issue.  TOTALLY baffled by this.

What is so incredibly strange is that his happens exactly 2 weeks after I rollback the machine to an earlier date, (doesn't matter when I roll it back to prior to the problem.)

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Question by:FASP
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by:MarkieS
ID: 35037200
Any scheduled tasks intefering?
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by:sjklein42
ID: 35037255
Strange, indeed.

First question is:  Are there any messages in the System Event log?
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by:njxbean
njxbean earned 800 total points
ID: 35037428
Yes, definitely check the Event viewer log and see what is showing up right before the reboot.  

Have you checked the machine for malware?  I would turn system restore off, do a virus scan and scan for malware(malwarebytes, combofix), update, then run again.  And see if the issue returns.  Sometimes malware hides in system restore, only to return later.  
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by:davy999
ID: 35037553
Check the harddisk it could be the problem
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by:innovatorengineer
ID: 35037708
Clarification please.  When you say it starts randomly rebooting two weeks to the day do you mean that it reboots for no apparent reason at random intervals AFTER the two weeks is up and that prior to the two weeks elapsing it runs fine and does not reboot.  Or it reboots every two weeks?  

If you do not do a system restore, what happens after two weeks?

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by:davy999
ID: 35037812
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by:FASP
ID: 35037952
The only error in the event log was ati2mtg (I2c return failed,) but these do not correspond with the reboots.

The machine works fine for exactly 2 weeks...then starts randomly rebooting at random intervals...I restore the machine and it runs fine for exactly 2 weeks...then starts randomly rebooting at random intervals.

I have already done a chkdsk

There are no scheduled events.
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by:davy999
ID: 35037969
what about the psu??
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by:njxbean
ID: 35037980
Definitely do a restore, then disable system restore, then follow the instructions in my post above.  If you have any malware of a virus hiding in the system restore, this should help get rid of it.  
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by:innovatorengineer
ID: 35038040
Curious problem.  Are Windows updates scheduled to occur at a regular interval, say two weeks?  
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by:FASP
ID: 35038699
Windows updates are daily, not on two week intervals, so doubtful there.

I restored the machine to 2/1, updated patches, turned off system restore, and running a malware scan now.

Seems unlikely to be psu because this happens every 2 weeks exactly, (this is the 3rd time it has happens and each time on Friday exactly 2 weeks after last occurance.)  
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by:dbrunton
ID: 35038968
So the rebootings occur on Friday and are not dependent on the day you do the restore?  

For example if you do a restore on say Sunday then the rebooting will occur on the Friday 2 weeks after the last occurrence.
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by:FASP
ID: 35039183
I don't know that one, because I need this machine I restore it the day it happens...which as always been Friday
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by:dbrunton
ID: 35039307
Then try restoring it again in the next few days and see whether the problem occurs on a Friday or two weeks after you've restored it.

Looking to see if rebooting is dependent on a Friday or two weeks after restoration.
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by:FASP
ID: 35039333
will do
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by:nobus
ID: 35042131
check the bios - in the boot priority options - disable all but disk drive
could be it receives something over lan
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by:BGTSLLC
ID: 35128821
Couple of additional suggestions:

1.  Check the Regional Settings and ensure they are English US and the time zone, etc are correct.
2.  Have you tried replacing the CMOS battery?
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Author Comment

by:FASP
ID: 35149809
Since this happens on every other Friday exactly I did a preemptive rollback today (Wednesday,) since it was due to start doing the rebooting thing again this Friday.  I will continue to monitor it.

I removed everything from the boot options except the hard drive as per suggested above and I the time settings are correct.

I did not replace the cmos battery and I will continue to test if anything seems to be working here.  It takes 2 weeks for the problem to manifest making testing this somewhat time consuming.

Thanks
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by:njxbean
ID: 35149905
did you turn off system restore and run a scan?
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by:njxbean
ID: 35149912
remember, without doing that, your restore could essentially be reinfecting yourself.  
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by:FASP
ID: 35149927
Yes, sorry I forgot to mention last.  The Friday before last I did turn off system restore and do a full scan but nothing was found.  I then patched the box back up to current.  Reinstalled the AV software and made a restore point then and that point is what I just restored back to today.
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by:njxbean
ID: 35149937
ok great.  
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by:nobus
ID: 35150033
let's hope Harry Potter does not invade your pc..
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by:
BGTSLLC earned 1200 total points
ID: 35155339
Couple of other questions/suggestions:

1.  Is this machine in a domain environment or stand-alone?  I'm wondering if some sort of Global Policy has been enabled and while I've personally never seen one cause what you're experience it's a possibility.
2. I didn't see this mentioned so: Download and run Dial A Fix.  Click on policies and uncheck the box for not scanning (holding my 11mo old) so bare with me if this is fully accurate but there is a box - uncheck that then run the scan for any hidden registry/policy entries.
3. If possible:  pull the hdd and install another with XP into this machine.  If it's hardware; the problem will reoccur; if software then it won't but at least you'll be able to isolate it further.
Another way to accomplish this if you don't have another OS copy would be to simply clone the problem drive on to a spare but working hdd.  If the same problem occurs it's obviously software related.

And finally - if you're still unable to resolve; I'd either start over with a new hdd and fresh install or save the critical data and do a wipe.  

Let us know and thanks.
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by:FASP
ID: 35167463
I did a preemptive rollback on Wednesday of this week, (as this problem was due to manifest today (Friday) morning.)  At 11:15 the machine starting random reboots....

Checked event logs, no errors prior to this.  

This machine is joined to a domain and is effected by some GPO's, (no computer-specific policies,) and none of the other users in that OU are effected.

I am trying Dial A Fix nowl  I also figured in 2 weeks I would fire up Wireshark and sniff the traffic in and out of that machine on Friday and see if I can find anything.  Still baffled and of course I can wipe the machine and start over but I'm looking for an actual fix first because I want to know what the heck is causing it for future reference.)
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by:BGTSLLC
ID: 35167552
I would be very curious to see what would occur if you swapped the HDD out; joined it to the domain, etc and let it run.  

Biggest thing is trying to isolate if it's Hardware or Software [i.e. - Potential Hack, etc] related as I would suspect hardware would be easier on your nerves then the latter.

Keep us updated.
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by:BGTSLLC
ID: 35167568
One more thing I'd suggest as well if possible:  

Isolate the machine from your domain/network environment [i.e. - pull the cord out] and let it sit.
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by:BGTSLLC
ID: 35357771
I'm curious as to if he was ever able to resolve it.  If he didn't all suggestions are technically valid but in my opinion no points should be awarded simply because we have no further direction from the OP as to what he ultimately did or at least steered him/her in the right direction.
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by:MarkieS
ID: 35364568
As long as it got fixed, great.  Would just be nice to know what the problem was.
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