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Random Computer Shut Down

Phil G.Phil G. __BANNED USERS regular
edited May 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
So I should get this out of the way and say that I am completely and utterly incompetent with computers.

I have these random shut-downs occurring on my computer that are starting to pis me off. I'm pretty sure the computer isn't overheating and I recently dusted it. I ran a Norton Virus Scan and it didn't pick anything up. I'm not running anything insane so I am at a bit of a loss.

When I turned it on again, it displayed an American Megatrends screen. I forget exactly what it said on it, but when I reset the computer it started up normally.

These are the stats I could find:

Windows XP Professional 2002, Service pack 2
Pentium 4CPU 3.00 GHz
3.01 GHz, 2.00 GB of RAM
(You can tell me how to get more ino that can you help you I'm all ears)

I know this is all very vague, so any suggestions on narrowing down the problem would be helpful.

Phil G. on

Posts

  • RaereRaere Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Did it start acting up after you dusted it? You might have unplugged something.

    If you opened it up to dust it, just a word of caution: if you know you're incompetent with computers, have someone else do it for you and only clean the outside of the computer.

    Raere on
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  • Phil G.Phil G. __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2008
    No, I dusted it because it was acting up, so that couldn't be it. I double checked everything and it seems to be connected. The innards dusting wasn't bad, I was very careful and didn't touch anything, used one of those air sprayers properly so nothing could have been damaged.

    Phil G. on
  • TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Well, it could be your power supply is going flaky.
    Does it do anything weird before shutting down?
    Or is just Normal Normal Normal OFF
    Does it restart or do you have to power it back on yourself?

    Tofystedeth on
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  • RyakStormRyakStorm Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I recently had a similar problem with random shutdowns on my main surfing / gaming PC. Turns out it was the hard disk going bad.

    Not seen anything like it before, no blue screen, no hanging, just *click* off at random times. The fact it just powered down led me to think it was definitely hardware related, but to be sure I did a full format and reinstall. Problem was still there and remained random. Luckily I have lots of computer parts sitting around, or in other machines to swap in to trouble shoot... In order of probable likely hood of being the problem I changed out (one at time) the: power supply, ram, video card, network card, sound card. The problem still remained, which meant it must be the motherboard or the hard disk or a voodoo curse... I was pretty sure it would be the motherboard, but being as that's a lot of work to change out compared to every other component I tried a different hard disk.

    That fixed it.

    RyakStorm on
  • X5X5 Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    How long has this been happening?

    Have you made any upgrades to hardware components recently (past few months)? If so, what was upgraded from what to what?

    Has the computer changed location recently? ie different outlet, different surge protector?

    Have you had any power outages recently? blackouts/brownouts or lightning strikes?

    X5 on
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  • k1DBLITZk1DBLITZ Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    +1 to faulty power supply.

    k1DBLITZ on
  • Phil G.Phil G. __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2008
    Well, it could be your power supply is going flaky.
    Does it do anything weird before shutting down?
    Or is just Normal Normal Normal OFF
    Does it restart or do you have to power it back on yourself?

    Nothing weird before shutdown, normal normal normal off. It does not restart, I have to turn it back on, and if I do it very quickly after the shutdown, it goes normally for a second and then shuts off again.
    RyakStorm wrote: »
    I recently had a similar problem with random shutdowns on my main surfing / gaming PC. Turns out it was the hard disk going bad.

    Not seen anything like it before, no blue screen, no hanging, just *click* off at random times. The fact it just powered down led me to think it was definitely hardware related, but to be sure I did a full format and reinstall. Problem was still there and remained random. Luckily I have lots of computer parts sitting around, or in other machines to swap in to trouble shoot... In order of probable likely hood of being the problem I changed out (one at time) the: power supply, ram, video card, network card, sound card. The problem still remained, which meant it must be the motherboard or the hard disk or a voodoo curse... I was pretty sure it would be the motherboard, but being as that's a lot of work to change out compared to every other component I tried a different hard disk.

    That fixed it.

    I just put in a new power supply maybe, 4 months ago. This only started about 3 weeks ago. Now that I think about it... it started around when I defragged my C Drive, after deleting a load of unnecessary files that I stored because I was a packrat. I can't remember which came first, so I can only leave this up to coincidence.
    X5 wrote: »
    How long has this been happening?

    Have you made any upgrades to hardware components recently (past few months)? If so, what was upgraded from what to what?

    Has the computer changed location recently? ie different outlet, different surge protector?

    Have you had any power outages recently? blackouts/brownouts or lightning strikes?

    That power supply was changed about 4 months ago, but I can't remember from what to what. No location change and no power outages recently.

    Thanks for all the help so far!

    Phil G. on
  • GdiguyGdiguy San Diego, CARegistered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Power outages are bad, but it's when the power goes on/off repeatedly that it's really bad (that fried my parents' hard drive)

    Having said that, I had a fairly identical problem that turned out to be a combination of bad RAM and a busted power supply (which may have caused the bad RAM)

    Gdiguy on
  • Phil G.Phil G. __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2008
    So I'll put in a different power supply that I probably have lying around somewhere and see how that works. I won't be able to tell how well because the shut offs are completely and utterly random. I haven't had one in the past two days...

    Phil G. on
  • DavaDava Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Do you hear a clicking sound before it shuts off? If so, that's the hard drive.

    Dava on
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  • EvylEvyl Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    If you're having random reboots, the event logs should be the first stop.

    Evyl on
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