I feel quite embarrassed coming here to ask this question, however, I am completely baffled.
I have a solid foundation in IT fundamentals and have a couple of computer builds under my belt ranging from simple HTPC to high end gaming rigs, all are working in perfect order. I have just built a moderate HTPC level computer for my uncle (see build list below) using Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit (an OS I use for my other builds with no issues).
Problem is: Only after booting and reaching to the desktop. it takes no more then one minute for the computer to automatically restart, giving me a prompt on the following bootup saying Windows has shut off incorrectly.
At first I thought it was a triggered issue as the first two times, I had clicked on Start to dive into the system when it did its restart. However I am slowly thinking it might be more of a randomized time issue that is prompting these restarts as I was configuring network connection when it happened and another time, just idling on the desktop no interaction and it would restart, again, restarting within a minute after reaching desktop. Even though I didn't time the intervals between the restarts, I feel that the intervals have an average time to them between restarts.
Again, this is a fresh computer build and nothing is installed, I didn't even get far enough to connect to the internet before it restarts.
I do not believe it is a heat-up issue of the CPU as it is using the stock heatsink. I did however, replace the stock thermal paste with Arctic Silver 5 I had in hand and yes, i did apply the proper amount of paste.
The connection to the single monitor set-up is connected by a VGA cable to the motherboards onboard graphics VGA port.
I am again feeling very embarrassed and ashamed this happened as I have never had this issue before in any of my other builds.
I guess since I have your ear, I can shoot this question: The new computer is receiving a hard line hook up to the router (just like the perfectly functioning PC before disconnecting it), however, the connectivity and activity lights for the Ethernet cable to not light up at all. I would hate to think that the motherboard is semi-DOA as the Ethernet port isnt functioning properly (and who knows, what if this is causing the random restart issue as well).
I want to thank anyone in advance right now. I have exhausted all the options I have thought up and am still continuing to do research myself. I appreciate any help and I'm sure my Uncle will be delighted with getting the new PC up sooner then later. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!
CPU: INTEL|CELERON E3300 2.5G 775 R
CASE: CORSAIR| CARBIDE 400R RTL
MB: ASUS P5G41T-M LX R
PSU: CORSAIR|500W CMPSU-500CXV2 R
MEM: 4G|GSKILL F3-8500CL7S-4GBRL R
HD: 500G|WD SATAIII WD5000
DVD BRN: ASUS | DRW-24B1ST
DVD BRN: ASUS | DRW-24B1ST (second DVD burner intended as main use is to copy foreign films)
In my experiences a random restart, or shutdown, without a bluescreen or chance to dump the ram etc can by a few things.
In my case it was my PSU. After about 6 months it went bad, a similar thing could be happening here with regards to insufficient or unstable power.
A failing or defective motherboard can also provide the same symptom.
I've had my computer shut down without a bluescreen or warning when stability testing my CPU after a overclock that wasn't stable. Usually this happens during the early phases when it's not even close to stable but managed to boot up anyway. A Bad cpu could do this, but in most cases a cpu or cpu socket issue would result in a bluescreen, if i'm not mistaken.
I had a strange issue once with my old mobo and the cpu cooler i had on it. If i tightened it down past a certain pressure it'd shut down, or fail to turn on. Same symptoms of a short, but i could not find any. I back off on the pressure and it's happy again, lol. Was the strangest thing i've dealt with. But it might be worth it do reseat the cpu and cooler, just in case it somehow is off ever so slightly. I've even heard of socket pressure attributing to lost ram in the BIOS, lol. Sensitive component the CPU socket.
As mentioned before it could be a heat issue too, check it out in the BIOS.
That's all i can think of off the top of my head. Keep us updated
I check the temps. The strange thing is, all this is is happening on a FRESH build, lot of these issues sound like are coming from established builds already. For the low grade parts I'm using, I though 500w (Corsair) was enough and the motherboard manual recommended at least 400w I think, I'll check all the power connectors as well. Stock heatsink is used so not sure how much tightness is an issue but ill check that as well. Thanks.
I've tried all the above solutions and the computer still restarts on its own. This is again a freshly built PC. Are there any other solutions because I would hate for the issue to be a defective hardware and how would I know if its from the CPU or the motherboard. And this motherbaord has onbaord and the monitor is being fed through the onboard VGA port.
That's the harsh reality of building your own sometimes. Luckily it doesn't happen often. Your next steps is to start replacing hardware. Since it's a fresh build, you may be able to get parts replaced from the store you bought them. If it's been to long you get to deal with RMA to the manufacturer on suspected faulty components.
As for trying to determine the culprit without blindly sending parts away, the only way to do that is to have a compatible system you can use as a testing apparatus. Start using components, one at a time, from the 'bad' pc in the known good pc. If and when the issue arises in testing, the last component you changed is likely the culprit.
All this is a pain in the ass, but that's about the only way you can do it. My main machine was down for a long time when i was returning components on warranty. Sent the PSU back, got a replacement. Sent the mobo back, got a replacement. Turns out it was the PSU all along, sent it back again. Bought a different brand PSU. Been fine ever since. I did have one stick of RAM start acting up, so i had to deal with that.
Speaking of which, that's one thing you can try testing before taking anymore steps. Test one ram stick at a time and see if the issues persists. If by chance everything works with one stick in, then voila you have some dead ram, and the one hat's in is the good one.
Like i said though, RAM issues usually result in a BSOD, but anything can happen.
SO SORRY for a super late follow-up. Work and Christmas kept me pretty busy. A big thank you to everyone for your efforts in trying to solve my problem.
The problem was so uncommon, I never would have thought of it and reading all the posts again, I didn't see a one mention this (I believe) I guess you guys can all add this to your list of solutions. This solution came from a coworker of mines (I work in IT).
A coworker of mine said it was a possible DRIVER issue. That because of a driver issue, the motherboard and the hard drive were not talking properly. I never would have thought of this as on my other builds, I never did a driver check (ya, I know I should) but everything was good. During my self-troubleshooting, I had installed the drivers though for the motherboard while on the desktop. But apparently, THAT was the problem, a rare problem however. If key driver issues is the problem, as he said, installing them after the OS is installed would not help it, as they are not rooted deep enough into the system to provide stability (which would explain minutes on the desktop before restarting). The solution was to get the drivers on a flash drive, plug in, and while INSTALLING the OS, where you choose which partition to use, to also load the drivers from the flash drive DURING INSTALLATION. After doing so, the computer never restarted again.
Now...if someone tells me that its actually common practice to do install drivers during installation, I'll just slap myself for bad practice. As again, I've never installed drivers during installation and never ran into this problem as its a rare one from what I gather.