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Computer occasionally completes POST and restarts continuously

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January 16, 2011 5:37:08 PM

I've had my computer for close to 7 years now, and this morning I turned it on normally. While using the computer, it shut off and starting rebooting. It wouldn't ever complete post, but kept restarting itself.

Here's the details of what I know:

Last night I didn't completely turn off the system, but put it to sleep.

This morning when it failed, I had Firefox, iTunes, and MS word open.

The rebooting isn't always at the same point in the boot process. Sometimes it is very sudden. When I leave the computer alone for a few minutes, it seems to cool down because when i try again, it may get further in the process. On a couple occasions, I've gotten it to POST to a screen where it asks me if I want to boot in safe mode or a few other modes. from that screen I've tried booting normally, the windows loading screen appears and it'll fail and continue its restarting loop.

At some point during that POST attempt, I caught a glimpse that the RAM was successfully detected. So I'm assuming it's not the problem.

All of this so far has made me think it could be (1) PSU or (2) the motherboard.

The second time I got it past POST, it said I needed to select a bootable drive and restart. This really threw me off and makes me think my drives have failed. I didn't build this system myself, but it looks like I've got 2 drives in RAID 0.

When I got to thinking about it, a motherboard or PSU problem could mean the drives aren't properly detected. So the drives are on my radar as a possible problem, but still not as likely as the PSU or MOBO.

I'm going to go about finding the problem by buying new parts one at a time. I'm going to start with the PSU because it's an easier replacement than the MOBO. (The only reason I'm buying the parts and testing this way is because I am a couple months away from buying a new computer I've got planned to build, and I figure I could buy the parts for the new computer one at a time and find out the problem while slowly buying the new computer. I guess I risk ruining my new parts while troubleshooting. Maybe it's not such a good idea.)

Any and all insights and tips would be awesome before I get into the troubleshooting process.
January 16, 2011 6:01:02 PM

Full system specs:

MOBO: ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe
CPU: Intel Pentim 4 w/ Ht Technology 3.4 GHz
PSU: Alienware 450 Watt
RAM: 1GB dual channel DDR 400 MHz (2x 512 MB sticks)
GPU: ATI radeon 7000 series (not entirely sure which one at the moment.)

Another thing I thought might be useful to note. When the system restarts itself, the fan LED flickers once, but the green light on the MOBO does NOT.
Related resources
a b ) Power supply
January 16, 2011 6:37:35 PM

yep, asus p4c800-e deluxe is known to use low quality capacitors...
have you checked to see if there are any bad ones?
January 16, 2011 7:40:53 PM

I took a quick look, but I didn't take anything apart to get it under proper lighting. From what I could tell, the capacitors were all flush with the board, had no bulging at the top or bottom. It's possible that the CPU fan is hiding some from sight. Thanks for the info though. I'll take a closer look at the caps and google problems people have had with the board to see if others have had my symptoms.
a b ) Power supply
January 17, 2011 1:39:29 AM

Motherboard or PSU, probably motherboard.
January 17, 2011 2:19:31 AM

remingtonveteto said:
I've had my computer for close to 7 years now, and this morning I turned it on normally. While using the computer, it shut off and starting rebooting. It wouldn't ever complete post, but kept restarting itself.

Here's the details of what I know:

Last night I didn't completely turn off the system, but put it to sleep.

This morning when it failed, I had Firefox, iTunes, and MS word open.

The rebooting isn't always at the same point in the boot process. Sometimes it is very sudden. When I leave the computer alone for a few minutes, it seems to cool down because when i try again, it may get further in the process. On a couple occasions, I've gotten it to POST to a screen where it asks me if I want to boot in safe mode or a few other modes. from that screen I've tried booting normally, the windows loading screen appears and it'll fail and continue its restarting loop.

At some point during that POST attempt, I caught a glimpse that the RAM was successfully detected. So I'm assuming it's not the problem.

All of this so far has made me think it could be (1) PSU or (2) the motherboard.

The second time I got it past POST, it said I needed to select a bootable drive and restart. This really threw me off and makes me think my drives have failed. I didn't build this system myself, but it looks like I've got 2 drives in RAID 0.

When I got to thinking about it, a motherboard or PSU problem could mean the drives aren't properly detected. So the drives are on my radar as a possible problem, but still not as likely as the PSU or MOBO.

I'm going to go about finding the problem by buying new parts one at a time. I'm going to start with the PSU because it's an easier replacement than the MOBO. (The only reason I'm buying the parts and testing this way is because I am a couple months away from buying a new computer I've got planned to build, and I figure I could buy the parts for the new computer one at a time and find out the problem while slowly buying the new computer. I guess I risk ruining my new parts while troubleshooting. Maybe it's not such a good idea.)

Any and all insights and tips would be awesome before I get into the troubleshooting process.

You put a board that old into sleep mode? I've seen this happen on that generation of boards:

1.) The fans are disabled in sleep mode
2.) Some power is still being supplied to the CPU and RAM
3.) The board gets hot
4.) Parts of the board start dying, usually the capacitors.
!