Computer rebooting at random

Before you guys yell at me, I did search and looked at all the relevant threds concerning this issue. I have not found one that fits my issue, so please HELP!...

Here it is:

I am running Windows XP home addition on a computer that has been working since 2004. My daughter gets on it the other day, and after about an hour, the computer rebooted itself. When it attempted to load windows, it went into an endless cycle of rebooting until I finally shut it down and left it for another day. Well, a few days later I restarted the computer and Windows loaded normally. However, after about 10 mins, it rebooted again. I checked the block disableing a restart, but that seemed to have no affect, and no BSOD appeared. I opened the case and blew air into the case and it seemed that mount St Helens had taken up residency inside the case. After the subsequent coughing fit subsided, I removed the heat sink from CPU and replaced the Thermal Grease, checked that the fan worked and installed a case fan. put it all back together and turned it on. windows loaded and things were fine until 30 mins expired and the reboot started again. I checked Bios and the cpu showed 47c, which upon reading some of these posts doesn't seem to be high. I tried to install a virus program but can't get all the way through the install without the computer rebooting and having to start all over. SO, i decided that since Compaq includes a restore program that i would attempt a reinstall. Funny thing here, is that the computer will run fine during the whole re-install, which takes up to 30 -40 mins, with no rebooting. But, when I continue with the windows install, i can't get far without the computer rebooting and having to now do the initial restore over again, because now windows is not properly installed. (frustrating) What do you guys think is the problem?

My system:

Compaq Presario SR1320 NX, 1.8 GHZ AMD 3100+ Socket 754, 256kb
Mother board K8S-LA (Salmon)
80 GB Ultra DMA HDD.
Don't know what my power supply is, it came with the computer though.
Bought in 2004 and hardley used. I mainly never turn it off.

Could this have been heat related on the cpu? Should I change it? Or do you think it is the RAM or something else.

I'm not very computer savy, so I'm hoping you guys are like doctors and go "Oh yeah, I've seen that before, you gotta do...."

21 answers Last reply
More about computer rebooting random
  1. Sounds to me like a power supply. You have access to another you can try in it? Also is there a fan on the power supply in your system. I have had fans die and the PSU would overheat and cause reboots too.
  2. Would a power supply really cause windows to randomly reboot? Heres another thing too. I was watching a DVD with the wife, and left the computer running in the bedroom. After the movie, I went in there and it was still on. However, on the first click to go to the next windows install screen, it rebooted. Almost like the action (click of mouse) was too much for it to comprehend.. lol I know that probably doesnt describe what I;m trying to say, but it just seems like it will stay on forever, until i attempt to do something... Ya know...
  3. PSU might have enough power to handle the system @ idle but load is causing it to reboot. My sister's system had a cheap PSU and it eventually got to where it could power up fans but did not have enough power anymore to boot the system.
  4. ok, i'll hunt down a PSU tomorrow and try it.... Thanks for your information, as I know it must have been a drag to read all the info i peace
  5. Hi T

    " Would a power supply really cause windows to randomly reboot?" It sure would.
  6. Hi T
    Told you I wasn't computer savvy brother... Damn good police officer, real bad computer mechanic... ha ha.. thank god for you guys... you're all a big help..

    semper fi
  7. ok, i changed power supply. I removed a 250w supply and installed a new 300w one. At first the computer stayed on for about 10 mins without rebooting, then poof, a reboot. However, after a couple of reboots with each one lasting longer and longer, it seems the windows is now stable with no subsequent reboot. is this normal? or do i still have a prob? its been on without rebooting for over an hour now, and i've downloaded a anti virus program and a firewall from mcafee. i'm now downloading service pack3 ad all updates from microsoft with (apparent) no problems yet.....
  8. Hi T

    Your new PSU. Is it one of the better brands?
  9. probably not, I should have wrote the brand down before I closed the case up. The guy at the computer store said it was a OEM PSU... bout $40.00 plus tax. Is there a brand I should be searching for? Computer has been running for several hours now with no reboot. (Fingers crossed). Should I put a different PSU in it?
  10. You got ripped off. For $40 you could've gotten a decent 400watt PSU.
  11. Bluescreendeath said:
    You got ripped off. For $40 you could've gotten a decent 400watt PSU.

    Yea he did. He could have gotten a nice 400w Corsair for $50 shipped from newegg.
  12. You've replace the power supply and its still rebooting, I would suspect the northbridge/heat related problem on the motherboard. Does the North bridge have a HS or HSF? Check thats all working as it should.
  13. what's happening is that after all those random reboots the file system got quite messed up and out of sorts.
    Now that your PSU is stable (even though it's not the greatest PSU) your file system has slowly begun to staighten itself out and the reboots are less frequent.
    I would have personally re-installed the os after the new power supply was installed to make sure I had a clean system....but that's my personal choice...
    In the future never take an OEM power supply, rather, look or ask the pros what's the best...Antec, Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, etc.
    There are usually very good deals on these brands.
    Hope this helps!
  14. There is also a chance - especially if you keep getting these reboots now that you have changed the PSU that your RAM is faulty - however normally this is associated with a BSOD, so if you still have the 'automatically restart windows' box unchecked in your system properties, i would have expected you to see this.

    Kind of fits you symptoms, as the machine when static or very lightly loaded you probably won't see an issue, it is only when the bad memory is accessed that you will notice a problem.

    Memtest86 is a good tool for checking memory issues, you can get it from

    Short of that, good luck.

    The last PC I looked at with the issues you are describing had a failed motherboard - it started off occasionally rebooting and got more frequent, to the point where the pc would power on (lights/fans/etc), but had no display, no beeps, nothing.
    Given that it was bought in '04, if yours keeps this behaiviour up, it would probably be a good time to look into replacing the box...
  15. toprawhide said:
    ok, i'll hunt down a PSU tomorrow and try it.... Thanks for your information, as I know it must have been a drag to read all the info i peace

    Actually, you did a damn fine job describing the problem and the troubleshooting you did. Which is probably why you got good help quick lol.
  16. Twoboxer said:
    Actually, you did a damn fine job describing the problem and the troubleshooting you did. Which is probably why you got good help quick lol.

    I 2nd that.
  17. I would follow cray-z's advice. It looks to me like a RAM problem. One of your DIMMs may have gone bad. This happened to me once with my old Pentium III system.

    I would check the memory first before spending money on a new PSU. You could use Memtest86. Or you could take out all but one of your DIMMs and see if it still reboots with each DIMM tested in turn. From my experience, when I tested with just the bad DIMM it refused to even boot.
  18. Well everyone thanks for taking the time to reply to my post. All of you guys have excellent ideas. I'm not surprised I got ripped off on the PSU, I don't think I've bought anything in the last 20 years (including cars) that I didn't see for 20% cheaper within the next day, or that my buddy didn't go out and buy the same thing for considerably That being said, I will look for one of the PSU's that have been descibed above and change it out.

    Lippy: I don't know what a DIMM is. is it the RAM itself? If it is, I only have one 512 SDRAM installed.

    CreepingJesuz: What is a northbridge?

    I left the computer on all night, and looked at it this morning and it was still on. Now, I did reinstall the OS, as it was in a OEM partition onboard the HD. The computer seems to be slow with no after market software installed yet. Or it could be just me. I just received a new computer at work that the county bought for me, and compared to the two, my home computer is slow. could it be that the OEM restore program from Compaq doesn't clean the hard drive during the reinstall, but rather just marks the sectors for rewrite? (dunno if that would even matter). Anyway guys keep throwing your ideas my way.

  19. OK, you're running stable now - so likely no broken parts.

    1) The OEM restore should be idiot proof (don't take that personally lol), but you may want to run a defrag (Disk Defragmenter, Accesories/System). The system running slow is (hopefully) just your memory. If your new office PC isn't faster, most of us - and the industry - has wasted the last 5 years :) . But do keep an eye on it.

    2) DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module) is the RAM stick.

    3) The Northbridge is one of the two other main chips on your mobo. It is the controller that interconnects the CPU to memory via the frontside bus (FSB). It also connects peripherals via high-speed channels such as AGP and PCI Express.

    You could look on your mobo for any other heatsinks, and see if you knocked one loose during the dust storm and coughing fit. My guess is if it didn't heat up since 2004, it is prolly not heating up now.
  20. ok gang. here is the latest. I still had the rebooting at random issue, so once again I tore into the case to see whats up.... This time a careful inspection of the mother board revealed a not so great picture. I have 17 capacitors of 820 uf 6.3 volt. of these 17, 6 have the tops bulging and a couple are to the point where you can see some of the electrolyte seeping through. My lay mans guess is that it now takes more power from the power supply to run the motherboard because of increased resistance in the capacitors. I guess leaving the comuter on for all those years wore them out.. dunno. I have found a supplier here locally that stocks the capacitors, so I guess I'll have a go at changing them out. Motherboard is tits up at this point, so I can't hurt anything. I've changed capacitors before on a Gateway FPD1830 Monitor Invertor Board with success, so I feel froggy and think I'll try this. plus the caps according to their website are pretty inexpensive. should be able to buy them for around .15 cents each.

    I'll let everyone know how this turns out, sometime next week

    Thanks Journeyman and the rest of you guys for your help.
  21. I finally was able to get over to mouser electronics yesterday, only to find out that they don't offer counter sales. The nice lady at the reception desk told me that I would have to order the capacitors online. So after work I ordered 50 820uf 6.3v nichicon capacitors (mouser PN# 661-EKZE6R3ETC821MH1) for a cost of $6.50 + Tax. I ordered that many because they were cheap, and I was afraid I might need extras if I screw a couple up.

    Well, I didn't expect to see the capacitors on my doorstep when I got home from work today, but there they were (less than 24 hours since I ordered them). My wife had rented a movie, and like a good husband I attempted to watch it with her. However, I was itching to get out to the garage and try to replace the caps. A little over an hour into the movie, she falls asleep on the couch, and again like a good husband I stop the movie so she doesn't miss it. I tenderly wake her and tell her he should take a shower and go to bed, and that we could watch the movie tomorrow. Yippee I'm free, so out to the garage I run before she can get a second wind and corral me up again.

    I take the K8S-LA motherboard and try to figure out the best way to attack the problem of removing the caps. I take a stab at heating the tips of the caps on the bottom side of the circuit board and gently pull the barrel of the cap outward from the op side. That didn't work, but what resulted was that the aluminum barrel seperated and came of the 2 leads, leaving the leads stuck to the mobo. OK, this was actually a blessing in disguise. I was able to grasp 1 lead at a time of the top side and touch my soldering iron to the solder on the bottom side and it immediately released. After the lead pulls out though, the solder quickly filled the hole up solid. From experience, i remembered that solder doesn't stick to stainless steel, and the only stainless steel I had around was my wife's dental pics... ha ha you guessed it, I snuck in to the master bath, pass the sleeping beauty and back out quit as a mouse. What I did then was take the dental pic and pressed it against the soldering pads on the top and as I pressed it firmly, I took the soldering iron tip and touched the bottom of the soldering pad. the dental pic slid through the heated hole, and then i let it cool. once cool, i was able to twist and remove the dental tip, leaving a hole only big enough for the new radial leads to fit through. Doublr checking the polarity markings, i inserted a new cap into the mobo. I was able to reheat the bottom side of the mobo, and the solder reflowed perfectly. ok, the procedure is now finalized. I replaced the 6 caps in about an hour. put the mobo back in and closed my eyes and turn computer back on.

    Success!!!!!!!!!!! no more rebooting problem!! The fix cost me 6 capacitors at $0.13 each or $0.78 cents...

    I have run the computer hard for about 5 hours now, with no reboot what so ever. I realize it was blind luck that the capacitor change was as easy as it turned out to be, but I'm not complaining. If you guys have bad or bulging mobo capacitor problems, be sure to at least research for your capacitor needs. I noticed that they have tons of other electrical stuff as well as tools. I'm a cheap bastard though and usually try to find a work around first, before I throw stuff away. I figure its broke anyway, why not try a fix even if it doesn't work.

    Thanks to everyone who responded and tried to help me with my reboot prob... Semper fi

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