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My PC is.. dying?? Random reboots, even before OS boots..

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  • Homebuilt
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
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February 17, 2007 8:03:56 AM

Hi there. I've had my PC (homebuilt) for seveal months, and it's worked (mostly) quite well in demanding applications. The other day I just got finished resolving a problem where my WD Raptor was operating in PIO mode, and I had to 'fix' it by switching the drive to the next SATA port. That allowed the disk to run in UDMA5 mode, and I was able to enjoy blazing performance in my apps and games for a few days. (I will note that I also disabled file indexing, and went to disable the indexing service after, but found it to be disabled already or something..)
Well, today I turned on my machine to use it, but left it unattended for a while. When I returned, the monitor had power saved, but the system would not wake. I rebooted the system, but it would not pass the POST check stuff I think.. random hangs. I finally shut it all the way off, and this time it froze on a black screen before OS boot. After another retstart, it got to safe mode in XP, but after about 20 seconds of messing around in the log in screen and logging into my account, the system rebooted. This is now the current state: the system reboots randomly, either before, after, or during the log in screen of windows XP. It seems the longer the system operates without a cooldown, the more unstable the behavior, including not even loading the OS selection screen and failing the POST test things.

I installed the Vista beta on a seperate disk a long time ago, so I had the option of running the windows memory test tool before the OS loads, and when I try that, it says "Hardware problem detected", but does not identify the problem. One time memory scanning proceeded for a couple minutes before the error displayed. I also tried booting into Vista, but I repeatedly received the blue 'stop' screen. I also received one in XP after disabling 'reboot on error', with a different code from the Vista error. I think this information is useless though. I dd google one of the stop errors, and a forum post came up and someone mentioned the file indexing service.. but..

I suspect a component of my setup may be dying, but I'm not sure what it could be. Power supply failing? Memory, mobo, cpu? I'm rather distressed at this :(  Does anyone think there's any chance it could be software at all? I ask because..
I did try to open a trojan .WMA file just before this problem occurred: Windows Media Player told me I needed a license, but I told it not to download it. Then it asked me if I wished to run some kind of executable, but I said no again, and then I closed the player. AVG Free didn't complain, and I didn't notice any suspicious processes or startup entries.

I'm very sorry this post is so long. I hope that by providing specific information that I can be guided better in diagnosing the issue. I think I will reset the BIOS settings next. I would appreciate advice on which components to test first (psu maybe?) Thanks for any help!

More about : dying random reboots boots

February 18, 2007 5:54:37 AM

Thanks for suggesting that! I tested each of my ram sticks, and it appears that one is bad. Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800 1GB 4-4-4-12 DUal channel kit. I was running two 1gb sticks in dual channel mode at 880 Mhz, with 1.9V. The ram on newegg says 2.1 V.. Is this just a random defect or should I worry about my other ram stick? Apparently Corsair has a life time warranty for memory, so I should be able to RMA it right :p  Thanks!
February 18, 2007 7:38:51 AM

Yeah, the one stick continues to generate errors regardless of voltage. Is it normal for bad ram to screw up even the POST test stuff? Like, even before it lists the CPU info? It seems like the longer I use my computer at one time, the more unstable the system becomes (besides having the bad ram stick generating lots of failures in memtest). It even rebooted memtest once, and prevented me from even entering BIOS even after rebooting / powering off several times. Anyway, I'm glad the other ram stick works.. for now.
Should I just run my ram in 2.1V? I wouldn't think that running less voltage would increase risk of damage to the ram.. Thanks again!
!