Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

PC turning off unexpectedly...?

Last response: in Components
Share
February 15, 2012 3:28:53 PM

Hello gang,

1st off, let it be known I am somewhat of a 'poweruser', built my last 5 desktop pcs from scratch, and repaired them as needed sometimes with help from here, you guys ROCK.
Heres the rub: my desktop pc, about 4 years old now as of yesterday started turning off with no warning (first two times I thought it WAS a power outtage/surge). I've checked the obvious 2 basics, power button isn't 'stickinig' on the case, and the CPU is not overheating (I even turned off the shut down if over such and such a temp in bios just in case). I cannot find/see anything 'triggering' this, nothing I'm doing in software/on the desktop, there's no set amount of time b4 it dies (yesterday it went for 15 minutes b4 dying, then the 3rd time it went about 5-6 hours b4 shutting down). My gut is telling me I should start with replacing the Power supply, it was a Fry's lowish end brand, though its served me faithfully so far. Does this sound like the right start gents? Please note I am currently unemployed and getting EDD, I don't have a penny to spare so trry and keep your suggestions from the popular 'just rebuild the whole dam thing, its 4 yo for christs sake!', okay? :) 

More about : turning unexpectedly

February 15, 2012 3:34:42 PM

Oh, forgot to say that once the pc dies, hitting the power button immediately after will NOT turn the unit back on. If I turn the MASTER power switch thats on the power supply off then on, I can turn the pc back on, or if push the case power switch on/off then on again it powers up. Remember, i have checked to make sure the button is NOT sticking. Once the PC has booted up there is no message of any kind in either bios or the desktop/OS. Sorry for not including this earlier! :( 

Grundman
m
0
l
a c 158 ) Power supply
February 15, 2012 4:27:44 PM

There is a good bit of troubleshooting that you can and should do prior to buying more parts. What are your system specs?

We'll start out with a few questions:
1. Are you using a system monitoring program to check your temps and PSU voltages?
2. Does it matter if the system is being stressed or will it shut down during standard desktop work (i.e. internet or word processing)?
3. Are you getting a BSOD? Have you checked the system event logs to see what error you are receiving prior to shutdown?
In order to get the BSOD you have to modify the restart behavior for the computer. To do this, follow these steps:
Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
Click Advanced system settings.
Click the Advanced tab.
In the Startup and Recovery section, click Settings.
Click to clear the Automatically restart check box.

Doing this will allow you to see the BSOD instead of the system just shutting down. Then you can Google the error code.

Give us a bit more info and we'll help you figure it out!
m
0
l
Related resources
February 15, 2012 5:02:19 PM

Heres some answers:

Its an Abit board, one of their last popular ones, I think the IL9pro, will have to check (!). Using Win XP (no comments from the peanut gallery, I use my PC for games and internet only, and have NO problems playing almost all of the latest games (playing batman arkam city and Skyrim right now, and I don't even have a true dualcore processor!!!). Have a 3.4 hrz genuine Intel pentium D, 2 gigs Ram, WD HD around 500gig.

Monitoring the temps with the default bios, temps are spot on no problems, not sure what voltages to check and what they should be, they always fluctuate a tiny amount (always have since I first booted this system up and no problems for several years so I assume this is normal?) suggestions as to what I should look for and what voltages?

No BSOD's, but you are right, I did have the recovery as per your post, so I just changed it, will report back. Will I get a report dump if there is no blue screen? Was having this off preventing there from being a BSOD? I thought it just stopped the memory dump upon failure?

Doesn't matter if system is stressed or just sitting running unattended, tested this yesterday....

Hope this helps!!!


Grundman
m
0
l
a c 158 ) Power supply
February 15, 2012 5:52:29 PM

driverdave said:
Heres some answers:

Its an Abit board, one of their last popular ones, I think the IL9pro, will have to check (!). Using Win XP (no comments from the peanut gallery, I use my PC for games and internet only, and have NO problems playing almost all of the latest games (playing batman arkam city and Skyrim right now, and I don't even have a true dualcore processor!!!). Have a 3.4 hrz genuine Intel pentium D, 2 gigs Ram, WD HD around 500gig.

Monitoring the temps with the default bios, temps are spot on no problems, not sure what voltages to check and what they should be, ...

Will I get a report dump if there is no blue screen? Was having this off preventing there from being a BSOD? I thought it just stopped the memory dump upon failure?


Hope this helps!!!
Grundman

IMPORTANT: Can't believe I didn't lead out with this in my original post...With an older system and OS, one of the first things that you should do is update to the most recent drivers and update your BIOS. Abit had a pretty good BIOS flash utility IIRC.

I have big love for older systems; i just resurrected an older system of mine that has an A64 3200+, X1800XT, 4GB DDR2, and one of MSIs black PCB mobos in it. I originally built it for Oblivion IV in 2006...upgraded for Skyrim. Pentium D...did you live in a cold area and want an alternative heating solution? :p 

The voltages that i was asking about are the 12V, 5V, and 3.3V rails on the PSU. This can be monitored in the BIOS or with a program like HWMonitor by CPUID. As long as your voltages are within +-5% of the specified voltage, especially during full load, your PSU is probably not the issue. What is the make/model of your PSU?

Allowing Windows to automatically reboot prevents the BSOD from being displayed but event log entries should still be made. To view the event log in Windows XP: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308427 Prior to an error-related shutdown there should be an entry in the event log. You can google the entry and - hopefully - get a good idea of the failure that is causing your shutdowns. I say hopefully because sometimes the error explanations are pretty vague.

To do:
1. Update your drivers and BIOS.
2. Check your event log, google the errors and let us know what the errors are.
3. Get a hardware monitoring utility and check your 12V, 5V, and 3.3V rails under load.
m
0
l
February 16, 2012 2:52:45 AM

Heh, it IS awesome having an old(er!) rig for running games. I had an old DOS box for running the old ADandD Gold box games and such for years until DOSBOX got running reliably. :) 

Okay, I'm starting to think this is a mechanical/hardware prob Rug, cuz it died on me in BIOS. I was double checking my settings in Bios when she shut down again. Today it didn't die for over EIGHT hours, then it died in like 2 minutes after booting.

Made the changes you said and no BSOD, nothing significant in event viewer after checking the microsoft database and googling.

I noticed that if I push the power button in and hold it for a few seconds, the machine turns back on. But the button is NOT stuck in. Is it possible there is a short in the wire from the button to the MB? Suggestions?

THanks for all your help bro . . .

Grundman
m
0
l
a c 158 ) Power supply
February 16, 2012 11:34:51 AM

driverdave said:
Heh, it IS awesome having an old(er!) rig for running games. I had an old DOS box for running the old ADandD Gold box games and such for years until DOSBOX got running reliably. :) 

Okay, I'm starting to think this is a mechanical/hardware prob Rug, cuz it died on me in BIOS. I was double checking my settings in Bios when she shut down again. Today it didn't die for over EIGHT hours, then it died in like 2 minutes after booting.

Made the changes you said and no BSOD, nothing significant in event viewer after checking the microsoft database and googling.

I noticed that if I push the power button in and hold it for a few seconds, the machine turns back on. But the button is NOT stuck in. Is it possible there is a short in the wire from the button to the MB? Suggestions?

THanks for all your help bro . . .

Grundman

Easy day brother!! I hate intermittent, unpredictable, non-inducable problems like this one. They're some of the hardest problems to isolate.

If you want to rule out the power button, then you can remove the connector from the mobo and use a screwdriver to briefly touch the two power button pins on the mobo. I do this to start a PC when i'm breadboarding. I ran into a similar type of hard-to-isolate issue when resurrecting my old PC, but it was a boot with no video. Turned out to be the case of all things. No extra stanchions installed and contacting the mobo, no errant wires touching. I found no physical evidence that it was the case, but I breadboarded the system and she booted great. Got a new case and she's running like a champ now. I'm thinking that one of the front panel connectors may have failed...that or I missed something when I was inspecting the case. In order to eliminate the case you could run the system breadboarded and see if you get the shutdown. I typically wouldn't recommend running a rig like this for extended times, but if you can prevent animals and children from messing with it while you're troubleshooting, then it's one more thing that can be potentially ruled out. If it was the case i would expect the problem to be more consistent and repeatable, but this is becoming a game of isolation to avoid expenditures on unnecessary part replacement.

"Lucky break" to have the shutdown occur while in BIOS. It's definitely starting to look like a piece of hardware is failing. Shutdown while in BIOS typically indicates CPU, mobo, RAM, PSU or GPU, but with no event log entries I am leaning towards the PSU. Did you get a chance to install HWMonitor or Speedfan and check the voltages?
m
0
l
February 16, 2012 4:29:46 PM

Hi again Rugger,

Okay, I'm almost positive after mucking around with it for HOURS last night with NO ryhme or reason for the shutdowns as far as consistancy, that it is either the power button or the fan IN the PS is stopping, bad bearings I think. Would the fan stopping make the unit power down? Would the diagnostic software be able to note this?

I'm VERY appreciative of your time you've given to helping me with this bro, you ROCK! :) 

Grundman
m
0
l
a c 158 ) Power supply
February 16, 2012 5:16:50 PM

If the PSU's fan stopped, then the PSU could overheat and cause the type of shutdowns that you are seeing. I wouldn't think it would overheat fast enough to shut you down while you're playing around in the BIOS, though. If you really think that it's the PSU, then there is a great deal on a Corsair Builder series 500W at Newegg. $51 after discount code...$31 after MIR. 15% discount ends today...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Edit: No software that i'm aware of will pull the PSU fan speeds. Those fans are constant speed or internally regulated by the PSU (regulated by either temperature or PSU load).
m
0
l
February 17, 2012 4:55:09 PM

Hi Gang, and my man RUGGER,

Problem solved folks, FYI. Yesterday I finally got a chance to look at the fan on the PS and it was turning at about 2 RPM!!!! It definitely was PS overheating, picked up a nice 3 year warranty 400 watt for $29 at Frys ($39 minus $10 mail in rebate, oh and thanks for the newegg referral brother) with TWO fans, exhaust and intake. On an aside note, I had a HELL of a time finding the normal PS fan configuration while shopping, nearly all of them now have the standard fan on the back by the AC plug socket but have that one big ass fan on the TOP of the unit, which won't work with my older case as there is no venting/slits on the top of the case where said fan ((BIG fan too, like 5mm?)) would blow. The kid I got to help me at Frys told me it was no problem the fan would be blowing directly into the top of the case with NO space for the hot air to go but circulating right back into the PSU (?). Needless to say, I took it upon myself to educate the young lad and make him see how that in fact was the exact reverse of its purpose and to not make that suggestion to anyone else in the future!

Anyways, she's been running like a beut for over 14 hours with nary a hiccup (and quiter too!). I can't thank you enough rugger for taking up crusade as your own for a few days, sincerely, thank you my man, pay it forward, pay it forward. :)  Your suggestions were spot on and were one of the first I've ever gotten where you didn't insult my intelligence with assumed ignorance of covering the basics before posting here. Thank you again. BTW, what games are you playing now, and any oldies your keeping on the harddrive currently your firing up? Mine now is Pizza Tycoon, Stars! and Angband with my personal 'Grundmans Super Sound Pack!' :) 

Good luck everybody,

Grundman
m
0
l
a c 158 ) Power supply
February 17, 2012 8:14:06 PM

driverdave said:
...picked up a nice 3 year warranty 400 watt for $29 at Frys ($39 minus $10 mail in rebate, oh and thanks for the newegg referral brother) with TWO fans, exhaust and intake. On an aside note, I had a HELL of a time finding the normal PS fan configuration while shopping, nearly all of them now have the standard fan on the back by the AC plug socket but have that one big ass fan on the TOP of the unit, which won't work with my older case as there is no venting/slits on the top of the case where said fan ((BIG fan too, like 5mm?)) would blow.

You can actually orient the PSU with the fan facing in either direction - up or down. The larger fan sucks air into the PSU to provide cooling for the PSU...the air naturally flows out of the rear grill. With a top-mounted PSU, they are typically mounted with the fan facing down towards the CPU. This orientation allows the PSU to help exhaust warmer air from around the CPU.

driverdave said:
The kid I got to help me at Frys told me it was no problem the fan would be blowing directly into the top of the case.

Kid had no idea what he was talking about. It's an intake fan and if you oriented it with the fan facing the top of the case, then you would have the same or worse overheating issues.

driverdave said:
Anyways, she's been running like a beut for over 14 hours with nary a hiccup (and quiter too!). I can't thank you enough rugger for taking up crusade as your own for a few days, sincerely, thank you my man, pay it forward, pay it forward. :)  Your suggestions were spot on and were one of the first I've ever gotten where you didn't insult my intelligence with assumed ignorance of covering the basics before posting here. Thank you again.

Awesome and I'm just glad that I could help you work thru this issue! Easy day Brother!

driverdave said:
BTW, what games are you playing now, and any oldies your keeping on the harddrive currently your firing up? Mine now is Pizza Tycoon, Stars! and Angband with my personal 'Grundmans Super Sound Pack!' :)  Grundman

I'm on a Skyrim binge right now...beat it on normal and expert....working my way thru Master difficulty. I've got a fresh load on my primary PC and haven't been able to tear myself away from Skyrim long enough to put some of my other favs on...StarCrack or StarCrack II.
m
0
l
!