Windows 7 - Sudden Shutdown

I have a home built PC with a Gigabyte M61PM-S2 (about 2-3 years old) motherboard and 4GB of Crucial DDR2-800 memory. It is configured with one 500GB disk and dual booting with XP and Windows 7 Ultimate(64-bit). It worked fine in this configuration for about 3 months.

Several weeks ago, I noticed my PC developing a nasty habit of suddenly powering off for no reason while running Windows 7; pull the plug dead in a sudden moment. After running memtest86, I found that the memory had problems and so I swapped it under warranty. A few days later, it happened again, though the memory tested fine, so I updated my BIOS to the latest version. The interesting thing is that my PC never shuts down when running the XP OS. With XP it is solid and stable for weeks; never a sudden shutdown. So, the problem seemed isolated to Win 7 with my memory and power supply apparently working fine. After much troubleshooting and angst, I decided to bite the bullet and reinstall Windows 7 (32 bit) on a new clean partition; thinking that I had a bad driver or something like that. The install went fine and I was feeling reassured when all of a sudden it happened again about 30 minutes after boot. The only thing done to the clean OS was Windows Update. Upon reboot, the system sometimes lasts an hour or so and other times it shuts down a few seconds after coming up. Same story when booting to safe mode.

At this point, I am at a loss of what could be the root problem. Since it seemed to creep up over time, I tend to think power supply or CPU heat problems, or maybe even mobo compatibility issues. But with XP being solid on the same hardware, it's hard to speculate.

This is my first post on TH, though I have been an active lurker here for years. Any assistance that can be provided to help me isolate this issue is much appreciated! I really want to run Win7, but don't want to replace my computer to do it. Many thanks for your help!
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  1. I don't think it's a hardware issue, as it doesn't happen when you run XP. My thought is that maybe Win7 doesn't like the dual boot, but I can't be sure.

    If you haven't already, I would also post this in the Windows section of the forum.
  2. The computer acting the same way in safe mode eliminates drivers as the cause of the problem. I'm not sure why it would work in XP and not Windows 7, but something tells me that this still might be a hardware problem, and like you said, either the CPU overheating or the PSU could be the issue.

    Go into BIOS and check the CPU temp, see if it goes up. If not, boot into Win7 and try to keep it alive long enough to download and install SpeedFan, which will monitor your CPU temp through an application. Start opening applications to see if putting a load on your processor causes it to overheat.

    If everything regarding CPU temp seems normal, the next thing I would try is testing your PSU. I would be curious to know what brand/wattage of PSU you have. If it not providing continous enough power, or fluctuating, it could cause your PC to suddenly shut off like that. Swap it out with another power supply and see if that works.

    Failing these two things, I'm afraid it might be your motherboard.

    Provided however that its not too much of a hassle, like MadAdmiral said, you should also try just installing Windows 7, without XP, and see if this fixes the problem. Make sure to do a complete reformat of your hard drive.
  3. Here is the result of my latest tests per your recommendation:

    - Power supply is an Ultra X Pro 600W
    - Installed Speed Fan and here are the measurements
    BIOS temp readings initial: System temp 37C, CPU temp 40-42C
    BIOS temp after 10 mins uptime: System temp 43C, CPU temp 49C
    Speedfan system temp in the 30's C, so should be ok I would think. I have to set it up for logging so I can see if the temps creep up just before power off.

    One other thing I'll try is to remove my graphics card and use just one monitor using mobo graphics chip. Currently I have dual monitors and there just may be a graphics issue causing this; even though I'm just using the Win7 driver. There was quite a bit of dust on the graphics card heat sink, so I'll make sure to dust it too.

    Another thing I discovered is that my PC was dead cold and I brought it up on Win7 and it powered down within seconds of coming up. So if it's a heat issue, it's a strange one to randomly occur very quickly, but cool most of the time.

    MadAdmiral, you may have a point about the possible dual boot software conflict. So, I ordered an additional drive so I can install Win7 clean with no dual boot. I'll report back when I'm able to test this. I needed another drive anyway, so all good.

    djg9205, please let me know if there is anything else you recommend for me to check. Otherwise, I will report my additional findings in the next few days.

    Thanks so much for all the pointers; it is much appreciated!
  4. What you've reported back eliminates heat as the issue. Your temperatures seem completely normal. In addition, typically with heat issues, the computer will shut off much sooner if it has been used recently (already warm) than if it has been off for while. Since this is not the case, I think we can say definitively that this is not the problem.

    Next thing I would try is to remove any and all expansion cards you have on your computer, and then boot into Win 7 safe mode. Failing that, remove all but one stick of RAM (make sure you're leaving one stick in the right place, see your motherboard manual if you're not sure). Basically try to eliminate as many variables as possible from your computer so we can narrow down the root of the problem.

    As far your PSU, it should be more than powerful enough to run you're system according to the information you've given me. That said, PSUs can do wonky things when they fail, so I still wouldn't rule this out. Again though, it's strange that it would only do this in Win7 and not XP.

    Definitely try MadAdmiral's suggestion before going and buying a new power supply though.
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