Solved

Identify hardware error in non-bootable desktop

Posted on 2013-01-02
13
302 Views
Last Modified: 2013-01-03
Hi,

I have a desktop that has boot problems that can only be from an hardware component.

The desktop will shutdown at apparently random moments, it can be immediatly before the screen even turns on, it can be anywhere during the BIOS/OS boot process or even when the OS is running and fully operational.

It might just be me, but it seems that on the occasions where the system is able to fully boot into to the OS, the chance of turning off automatically is reduced since it is able to stay on for hours/days.

The power off behaviour seems to be pretty random, and keeping the system off with the power cable removed for several hours to discharge does not seem to help much. If I insist on turning on the system, in the same minute it can turn off 3 times immediatly, 2 after a few seconds, and finally fully boot into to the OS.

I suspect this behaviour might be from a problem with the PSU, CPU, Mobo or RAM but I would really love to avoid the diagnosis by trial removal and substitution of components since I don't have similar spares. Is anyone able to assess with some certainty what component could be causing this behaviour?

Thanks.
0
Comment
Question by:Menshen
[X]
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 5
  • 2
  • 2
  • +4
13 Comments
 
LVL 31

Accepted Solution

by:
Scott C earned 500 total points
ID: 38736401
About the only think you can do without individually testing parts is blow out any lint and dust.

Also, remove all parts and connectors and reseat them to make sure you have good connectivity.

Anything beyond this will require trial and error testing.
0
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:strivoli
ID: 38736404
Run memtest in order to ensure RAM is working fine.
CPU: check cooling and check there's no overclocking (does anyone overclock nowadays?).
PSU: remove power from unnecessary peripherals (CD/DVD-ROMs?).
Remove any add-on cards that aren't strictly need (sound card?)

There is nothing that tells you which hardware doesn't work as expected. You must work on it using the suggestions above.
0
 
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Scott C
ID: 38736409
http://www.memtest.org/ to test your memory

and the hard drive diagnostic from the HD manufacturer.
0
VIDEO: THE CONCERTO CLOUD FOR HEALTHCARE

Modern healthcare requires a modern cloud. View this brief video to understand how the Concerto Cloud for Healthcare can help your organization.

 
LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:als315
ID: 38736411
How old is motherboard? May be there are bad capacitors? Inspect motherboard visually at first. If it is new and shutdown occurs without blue screen - I vote for PSU.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Menshen
ID: 38736462
Thanks for the quick feedback guys.

memtest: thought about it, but given how unstable the system is and how hard it is to even boot, I don't believe I will even be able to run it till the end.

Motherboard: about 3 year old motherboard, never overclocked.

There are no bluescreens, it just shuts down completely at random.

I don't believe it is an hardrive problem, I don't think it would turn off the system during a BIOS boot.

I was trying to avoid it, I hoped the symptons could be a specific giveaway to identify the component, but I see now that I will have to remove all components, dust off everything, and try to boot the system by adding components one by one. I will also take the opportunity to change the thermal paste on the CPU.
0
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:strivoli
ID: 38736483
Consider the option the PSU might be undersized. When consumed power reaches a certain level the power simply goes down.
0
 
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Scott C
ID: 38736488
Good point.  If this is the case disconnecting the optical drive(s) might be enough to move the tipping point back.
0
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:athomsfere
ID: 38736503
I would suspect motherboard or PSU.

You can test the PSU with a multimeter, if you have one. Boot it up and put the negative lead in any ground, then move the positive lead from each color to the next.

Charges should be 3.3v, 5v, 12v. If any are fluctuating wildly (Commonly 3.3v) than you can suspect the PSU.
0
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:mi3er
ID: 38736578
0
 
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Scott C
ID: 38736743
Do you mean capacitors?

If so, not very easy to change out unless you are a wizard with a soldering iron.
0
 
LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38739921
use the minimum setup as described in my troubleshooting guide :
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Components/Motherboards/A_1945.html                  (Short-overview-of-how-to-troubleshoot-bad-hardware-when-a-pc-does-not-post)

if the disk is suspected, use this :
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Hard_Drives/A_3000-The-bad-hard-disk-problem.html
0
 

Author Closing Comment

by:Menshen
ID: 38739926
Surprisingly this seemed to have been enough. I removed all components and cleaned every slot with compressed air and it booted immediatly and perfectly ever since.

Ran memory checks for over 12 hours straight and very demanding apps and it just works flawlesly. I had seen dust create some random blue screens, probably due to accumulated static or something similar, but complete random shutdowns was a first. Thanks to all for the support, and to ScottCha in particular for nailing it.

Cheers.
0
 
LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:Scott C
ID: 38740270
Thanks and glad to help.
0

Featured Post

On Demand Webinar: Networking for the Cloud Era

Ready to improve network connectivity? Watch this webinar to learn how SD-WANs and a one-click instant connect tool can boost provisions, deployment, and management of your cloud connection.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Article by: SHIELD1
The 5 R's 1. Repair 2. Restore 3. Reinstall 4. Remote admin 5. Run away OK so I'm not the most skilled engineer around but I definitely have an abundance of experience: electronic repairs since I was 13 and PC and computer hardware repair…
In the modern office, employees tend to move around the workplace a lot more freely. Conferences, collaborative groups, flexible seating and working from home require a new level of mobility. Technology has not only changed the behavior and the expe…
Finding and deleting duplicate (picture) files can be a time consuming task. My wife and I, our three kids and their families all share one dilemma: Managing our pictures. Between desktops, laptops, phones, tablets, and cameras; over the last decade…
Michael from AdRem Software outlines event notifications and Automatic Corrective Actions in network monitoring. Automatic Corrective Actions are scripts, which can automatically run upon discovery of a certain undesirable condition in your network.…

623 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question