A friend of mine is have a problem with her computer. She turns it on and it runs for a couple minutes then freezes and then shuts down. She says that she can turn the power supply switch to the off position and then turn it back on and hit the power button and it will do the same thing over again. This sounds to me as if the power supply is overheating or it is failing and as a result is underpowered. She is not sure as to what brand name the computer it is, but from her description it sounds like it is one of the older HP Desktop computers (blue and white semi-opaque case). Does anyone here have any idea what this issue might be?
PS: The other thought that crossed my mind was that it might have lost its CPU fan and being a P3 (she says she knows its not a P4), it may be overheating and freezing and then shutting down. But this I'm not too sure about.
It could also be problems with the cpu overheating. Does she know how old the computer is? The thermal paste on the heatsink for the cpu might be gone by now. Maybe try to monitor the temp of the system and see if anything is running too hot then pin point out what cause it to shutdown. If nothing other than the power supply is overheating.. then I will suggest to dich the HP since they always use proprietary parts.. so she might have to go through a lot of trouble just to get the power supply replaced from HP!
If Im Not Mistaken (As You Can Tell From My System Specs Below Im DEFINITELY Not An Intel Fan!) One Good I Can Say About P3s (If Im Not Mistaken) They Can Run Without A Fan Provided That The Heatsink Is Good) But I Dont Think Overheating Is A Likely Problem (Though Dont Get Me Wrong Its Certanly Possible) It Could Be Another Problem (Speaking Of P3s) A Friend Of Mine Has The Baddest P3 (Yes I Said Baddeds P3) That Ive Ever Seen It Can Play F.E.A.R On Pretty High Settings!!, Specs: 1.4GHz/512KB L2 "Taulautin" @ 1.8GHz On A VC820 w/1GB Of PC1066 (16-Bit) RAMBUS And A Geforce 6800 Ultra.... Its Crazy!!!
The problem sounds like either the mainboard or the power supply. HP does use proprietary parts, but the power supplies connect through the same ATX 20-pin connectors. Unfortunately, I've never worked on one so old, so I could be wrong. Try hooking up a different power supply and see if the problem persists. If it does, it will be the motherboard and you will have to get an HP-made mainboard, which usually costs over $200. Given the age of the system, I'd say it's time for a new computer. The Sempron-based eMachines are very inexpensive and use almost no proprietary parts, and are very easy to work on.
I hope this helps.