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Wacky computer behavior: Is it the power supply?

Last response: in Components
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October 27, 2012 3:10:35 PM

Hi, I don't know if this question belongs here, but I'm guessing I might have a power supply issue so I'm hoping you can tell me one way or another.

On my deskop, I use a USB flash drive with most of my day-to-day data on it. I have it encrypted using TrueCrypt. I noticed the other day that large files were taking forever to write to the drive, and in some cases the file manager would hang and never complete.

I thought it was a TrueCrypt issue, but I spoke to someone in their IRC channel who thought it sounded like a problem independant of TrueCrypt. I noticed that even transferring to the unencrypted part of the drive took longer than it should, with stalling. There's also a noticable lag when copying from one internal SATA hard drive to another. I am running dual boot Windows and Linux Mint, and both are having this problem.

Here are a couple other issues I have noticed: Last week, there was a power surge in my room and my computer shut down. The next room also experience an outage, so I don't think this was simply my computer's fault. However, yesterday I had another outage that seemed to only affect my computer. I was checking email and listening to music, and all the sudden the screen went black and the music stopped. I looked at the power button on my tower and it changed color like when it's asleep. But then a second later, it powered back on, the screen came back up, and the music started playing again, right where it left off, as if nothing had happened. This has never happened to me before in my whole life on a PC.

Also, I noticed a few weeks ago that my fan has started running unsteadily. I would say that it's 'revving', except it doesn't kick into high gear. It's just uneven. When I go to sleep at night and I leave my computer on, I can hear the fan wobbling, faster and slower, at an uneven pace.

Does this sound like a power supply issue? My computer is about 5 years old, and I have put a second hard drive in it. Is it possible that the second drive is too much for the power supply to handle? Is there any way to test for this?

Oh, and one more thing: I was just burning an iso to DVD, and the optical drive took a few minutes to actually start writing, I could hear the DVD in the drive, like the fan, 'revving' itself and then stopping, while the burn progress sat at 0%, before it finally wrote the DVD. It verified it, and indeed it did burn correctly. The data on my thumb drive is fine, too, with no corruption. This makes me thing it's a hardware issue.

Thanks so much for your help. I can provide more details if necessary (short story: it's an HP Pavilion from 2007 with a 64bit dual processor, running 64 bit Win7 and 32 bit Mint).
a b ) Power supply
October 27, 2012 4:42:54 PM

Well a 5 year old PSU may be dieing. I would install speedfan and monitor your voltages. it cant hurt to look at your temps as well.
a b ) Power supply
October 27, 2012 5:14:29 PM

Power surges can do weird things to computers but I'm not really knowledgeable in this area. You say your PSU is 5 years old? It wouldn't hurt to try a different one and see if the problem persists I'd think that it'd be enterly possible that if fried a voltage regulator or a transformer in the PSU. I'm not a great electrician either but I know a little bit.
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