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Constant Restarts

Last response: in Windows XP
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January 28, 2005 5:02:54 PM

I have a problem I'd really appreciate some help on. I'm having constant restarts, where my system will randomly reset itself with no apparent cause. It happens maybe once a day - sometimes, especially lately, it happens more often. Usually it happens while I'm doing something, but it can also happen when I leave my comp on overnight or during the day when I'm at work - I'll sometimes find that it's in the XP login screen when I get back to it, though this is relatively infrequent.

I reformatted my computer a while back for unrelated reasons (I posted about it on these forums earlier this week). I figured if the problem was software-related it would go away after that, but it hasn't. It's really annoying, and I want to get rid of it, and I think it may even be happening more often than it used to before the reformat.

I know it could probably be one of a thousand things, but I really need help narrowing it down before I can hope to fix it. Are there any diagnostic tools or whatever that can monitor my system up the the point where it restarts and provide clues as to what could cause it? Here's a few bits of information that might narrow it down just a little (or not):

- the machine doesn't warn me about overheated processors or anything when it reboots (I mention this because when my CPU fan was breaking down it would freeze or reset the system and then it would give me a temperature error on startup, and I know it isn't that this time)
- when it resets, Windows XP doesn't mention any problems, or offer Safe Mode or anything like that
- the machine seems otherwise in good working condition, with no viruses, spyware, and is defragged regularly, not even that many programs installed on it, big enough page file, etc

As I said I would really appreciate any help of any kind. Here is some info on my comp. If you need more info, please say so and I will be glad to provide.

AMD Athlon 2100+ processor
512MB ram
ATI Radeon 9600 128MB
Asus A7V333 mobo
Windows XP Home
3 Western Digital HDs, 200GB (WinNT), 80GB and 200GB, all NTFS

Have a good day.

More about : constant restarts

January 28, 2005 7:08:07 PM

Weird indeed! Check your RAM.
January 28, 2005 7:12:34 PM

Sounds like it could be a power supply problem. How old is the supply? What brand/capacity?
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January 29, 2005 12:18:01 AM

I assume also that you are fully patched? Because a clean install of XP SP1a will last about 20 minutes on the net if you have a fast connection.

One of the many exploits crashes your PC cause it to restart.
January 31, 2005 2:07:16 PM

I have had a similer problem with my system and I had an ATI 9600 pro video board. The problem might be with the ram on you video is over heating which will cause your system to reboot, and windows may or may not explain why. I had to replace 3 9600's till I got fed up and bought a 9800 pro since then I haven't had any reboots. Just a thought but try a different video board and see how that works out.
January 31, 2005 7:03:56 PM

I'll list some possible causes. I imagine you have already checked most of what I have listed.

1) Blow away any accumulated dust on the hardware.
2) Check cpu heatsink and make sure it is securely attached and you're using a high quality thermal compound.
3) Reseat your RAM.
4) Reseat your video card.
5) Check and secure all power connections. Look for melted or deformed plastic and loose wires at the connectors.
6) Are all your cooling fans working? Including power supply fan(s).
7) Make sure the motherboard is mounted securely.
8) Check all drives. Make sure comm cables are secure.
9) Any unusal odours from any components?
10) Make sure all mobo jumpers are in the correct position.
11) Check the BIOS and make sure cpu is reporting the correct speed and name.
12) Check the BIOS and make sure the RAM timings are correct. Are they set using the Serial Presence Detect (SPD) or do you have the timings manually set. Try slower memory timings to see if that helps.
13) Make sure Windows is updated.
14) Make sure all your third party software is updated to work with WinXP SP2.
15) Are you using a screen saver other than the basic screensavers that come bundled with Windows. Even the screensavers and GUI layouts that come with Plus for Windows and Plus Digital Media Edition can cause problems for most video cards. I can't count the number of times I have seen a third party screen saver or layout cause a computer to crash. I know the eye candy is attractive but it usually causes too many problems than what it's worth to use. All the computers I set up I use the default Windows layout and the basic Windows logo for a screen saver. I have the screen saver set to come on after 10 minutes of inactivity and have the monitor shut off after 15 minutes of inactivity. I mostly use LCD's for CRT's I have the monitor shut off after 30 minutes.

Anyway since you say the problem only happens once or twice a day I wouldn't be surprised if the problem is software related with a screensaver or virus scanner or even a media codec.


<font color=red><i>Doctor Hooter</i></font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.page3.com/" target="_new"><b>(·Y·)</b></A>
February 1, 2005 1:23:02 PM

Wow, this problem is EXACTLY what I've been experiencing over the past couple months. I formatted my computer several times since. I don't think it's software related. I've used two video cards on my PC and it happens with both. The problem only seems to have started since I started this overclocking business (which I'll never do again). I'm using an Aspire 500W power supply. Can't say if that's the problem or not. It NEVER does this when I'm away from my PC or leave it on overnight. My next step is replacing the RAM.
February 1, 2005 6:07:41 PM

I had the same problem a couple months ago

I check for viruses, nothing
I check the reg, nothing
I check my firewall, 0 attacks

Finally, the problem was that my 2 HDs were stick together (little space between them) and the heat make them crash and shutdown the system.

I just separate them and add a heatsink. Presto, no more reboots.

Ph33r my....3r...w41t...
February 3, 2005 9:26:01 PM

Oh my, like, God? I can't believe it. That was the problem for me all along! I separated my two hard drives and haven't had a reboot in more than 2 days! That's a record in months! JRX, thanks so much!
February 4, 2005 2:46:13 AM

WTF? Dude, i seen that problem ALOT especially in people who send his PC to the company for upgrades, and the tech uy who does it just causes more problems.

Ph33r my....3r...w41t...
February 9, 2005 12:35:41 PM

Rats, my computer is still rebooting itself. Certainly not as often, so separating the HDs did help, but I've gotten 2 reboots in the last 24 hours :( 
My case's temp doesn't normally exceed 50 C, unless I'm playing a graphics intensive game like FarCry. I've got a couple fans blowin', but I'm going to get a 3rd one to place at the front of my case, which will blow cool air right in between the 2 HDs. I've also turned up the fan speed on my power supply so hopefully that'll have some positive impact.
February 9, 2005 11:18:19 PM

Wait a min, what CPU are you using? a P4? 560?

You mentioned two video cards in your PC, SLI i suppose, model?

Ph33r my....3r...w41t...
February 9, 2005 11:32:34 PM

Nope, I have one video card.

CPU - P4 3.0E Prescott
MoBo - Asus P4S800
Memory - 512MB DDR PC3200 Micron Technology
Video - 128MB DDR ATI All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro
HD - 120GB+80GB
PSU - Aspire Clear-Top Dual-Fan 500W
CD-RW - 52x24x52
DVD-RW - BenQ 16x DL
February 10, 2005 8:36:13 PM

A prescott, that why dude.

That thing is hotter than a car engine, get rid of it. I would recomend the A64

If you dont like AMD the only (smart) choice is a Pentium M

Ph33r my....3r...w41t...
February 11, 2005 8:07:15 AM

Run memtest86 (dos app) overnight.
Then prime95 (windows app) overnight.

No errors means you have good memory.
February 17, 2005 1:26:21 PM

I ran accross this while looking for something else but it may be worth a try
Internet Explorer makes my computer reboot at random.
This is most likely some sort of hardware conflict. Try turning off the hardware acceleration for your video card and see if that stabilises your system. If it does, you should update the video drivers for your card
hopr this helps

I woke up this morning on the right side of the wrong bed
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