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Computer restarts randomly, and earlier today did not boot up

By Silver Shadow
Sep 13, 2007
  1. First Problem:
    My computer randomly turns off and immediately restarts, and it happens at random times, One time it happend while the computer was loaded a file in MS Word. Most of the times it happened shortly after it turned on; like while programs are loading up and such; and it rarely ever happens multiple times in one day.

    Second Problem:
    Earlier today, I went to turn on my computer. I pushed the button, and a yellow light simply came on by where the power button is... the screen stayed "off", I heard no noises, nothing. I held the button to turn it off, tried turning it on again. Eventually I just shook the entire CPU and it immediately turned on...

    Also it would be much appreciated if you avoid complex terms... I really have no experience with the physical aspect of computers...
     
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,980   +362

    If you have no experience with computer hardware, it might be better if you took it to a repair shop as you could inadvertently cause more damage. That said, what PC do you have and what are its specifications? Do you get any error messages? Do you get a blue screen before it restarts or does it just go black and restart?

    It could be bad RAM, power supply, motherboard, maybe loose cables or something else. You might have to swap in known good parts or test your parts by installing them into another PC. However, you will have to be aware of parts compatibility issues. Do you think you could try this? If so and if you have two RAM modules, you could start by trying to removing one of them and see what happens and then swapping in the other module and testing it.

    Before removing or replacing any hardware, make sure the PC is off and unplugged at the back of the PC. Ground yourself to the PC's case to avoid any static discharge which could damage the components.
     
  3. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Posts: 25

    Couple of questions for you:

    1) Did you buy the pc already built? Like a Dell or something? Or is this one you built yourself?

    2) How old is it? A year? 2 years? Several years?

    I ask because based on what you said, I would put my money on it being a problem with the PSU (Power Supply Unit) in the PC. They don't last forever, and over time they can lose their efficiency unlike most of the other components which either just work or don't work. And if this was a pre-built PC, they often skimp on things like power supplies. So it might have been running at its full load or close, to begin with. And after a few years, when it loses some of its capacity, it can cause the PC to shut down and can also prevent it from starting up etc.
     
  4. Jase123

    Jase123 Banned Posts: 1,012

    perhaps a power supply going out or system RAM or Video RAM crapping out. suggest taking it to a local shop for them to diagnose as you say you have no experience with computers
     
  5. Silver Shadow

    Silver Shadow TS Rookie Topic Starter

    - I get no error messages or anything, it just turns off then turns on immediately and like a normal boot up

    - It is a couple of years old, and it is a premade Dell Computer

    So are you guys at least sure that this is a hardware/power problem; that way I can stop looking on the internet for virus scanners and doing all sorts of nonsense to my computer (my next plan was a system restore =/)
     
  6. Jase123

    Jase123 Banned Posts: 1,012

    i would say its a psu problem from the information you have given us .... You should take it to a local computer shop instead of messing yourself as you could make things worst ...]

    Does your computer restart straight away as if you've just pressed the reset button

    Also log on to your computer go to control panel/administrative tools/event viewer/application the look for a red circle with a white cross in it that way you can find what the errors are.. atm im not ruling a memory problem out..But im 98% sure this is a psu problem

    I would recommend getting a psu off overclockers heres one you might be interested in http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA-089-AN&groupid=701&catid=123&subcat=103
     
  7. Silver Shadow

    Silver Shadow TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Around how much does a psu change cost?

    I did that Event Viewer thing, and I didn't see any red circles... just a few yellow sign things that said Warning, and each and every one of them had a message similar to this:

     
  8. Jase123

    Jase123 Banned Posts: 1,012

    A Yellow exclamation point represents that this is a caution indication, a possible significant event which may or may not affect future operations.

    next do this go to start/run in the pop up box type" sfc /scannow " this will run System file checker and it will examine windows protected files for missing files or corruption if any of them are missing or corrupted then it will replace those files with files from your XP disk. Or you can type " sfc /scannow " in cmd
     
  9. Seder

    Seder TS Rookie

    Personally, it sounds like an overheating problem... Or a failing power supply...

    Depending on how smart you are about computers... I suggest dusting your computer out (Due to it being a couple years since you have recently)...

    - Take off your computer case, get a pressurized air can or, as my brother did, use a air compressor and blow the computer out insanely. But, if you don't know much about computers i wouldn't try it.

    -- Overheating does some REALLY weird stuff... One time, my computer overheated and wouldn't turn on for another hour at all... I would press the button, and my computer wouldn't turn on a light or do anything whatsoever. My brother tried running my processor in his computer, and it wouldn't work. We thought it was melted, overheated or broken..... About 5 minutes later, i try running my computer with the processor again and it runs perfectly without errors or problems...
     
  10. acrobat

    acrobat TS Rookie Posts: 25

    Its definitely hardware related.

    Software could cause your PC to restart itself, but software cannot affect a PC that is switched off :) So you when you tried to start it up, and it didn't... that shows that its a hardware problem.

    Unfortunately, from what you've mentioned, it could be pretty much anything. There are several key components in a PC, and most of them can stop a PC from starting if they are faulty.

    I don't think it would be an overheating problem by the way. Again, overheating can cause a PC to shut itself down (and then restart). But overheating would not stop a PC from starting up at all. Components take time to heat up, and then overheat.

    My guess is the PSU (power supply unit), or possibly the motherboard. It could be other things too (like the processor/cpu or even the RAM), but the first two are my guess anyway. But I'm only basing that on experience, because there isn't really enough information to make any really good diagnosis.

    The only thing that concerns me a bit, is that after shaking it, it started up. This could be a coincidence. And it could be that the PSU is on its way out, and the little shake helped shake some life into it one more time so that it worked. But really, shaking it and then it working... indicates that something is loose inside the PC. And the problem is that this could be almost any of the components or cables. The main problem though, is that unless you are experienced with PC's, it would impossible to really know what to do to fix it safely.

    Usually I am determined to help someone, and would only suggest taking it to a local computer store, if I had absolutely exhausted every possible solution I could think of. But in this situation... I think that might actually be a good idea. If you can find a friendly local computer centre or something along those lines, you could try taking it too them to fix. Personally, I would suggest saying to them that you think something might be loose, and ask them to check. Someone who knows what they are doing, could do that in 5 minutes. Hopefully then, they could test the PC for you. If the PC seemed to work great... then its possible that was just the problem. They might even not charge you for that, if you are very lucky :) Otherwise, if the PC still shows trouble after everything being tightened, you might have to leave it with them to fix. My only advice would be to determine before hand, how much it would cost for the check up - not including new parts. You wouldn't want to ask if they found the problem and them say either yes or no, but first you owe them $150 or something... So it woud be a good idea to sort that out before hand.


    p.s. I once saw a PC which had been working for years, and then all of a sudden started having strange faults. It turns out, the graphics card had worked its way loose somehow... and wasn't fitted in the slot tightly anymore. Its strange because the PC was always still, in the same place, had never been bumped or moved. So if a lead popped off your motherboard or something, that could be the cause of your problem. I still think its most likely the PSU though. Pre built PC's (particularly Dell's) try to save money wherever they can. Most people measure how good a PC is, by its CPU, Memory, Hard Disk space etc.... So these manufacturers are sneaky and use ok components for those parts, but then cheap components for everything else. The result is PSU's (power supplies) dying after a year or two.

    The plus side, is that a new PSU isn't that hard to fit (for a PC repair shop etc..). How expensive it will be, will depend on what the rest of the components are. I would hazard a guess, but I don't live in the US, so someone else would be better guessing on the price of that.

    Good luck.
     
  11. xxhallisxx

    xxhallisxx TS Rookie

    I know they charge a fee for diagnostics and about 65 bucks an hour for labor plus the price of parts. A power surge may have hit your system and I believe I the same problem on my hands at the moment with my g/f's computer. Next time invest in a good surge protector or a power supply with a fuse to protect the motherboard from damage (actually both would be best as a surge protector would protect the power supply from damage. They sell them on tiger direct for a decent price with safe indicator lights which let you know your computer is safe.
     
  12. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    test your ram with memtest 86+ for at least 7 passes. Boot off a floppy or CD.

    Then check your PSU with a tester and multi-meter.
     
  13. Silver Shadow

    Silver Shadow TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Oh I learned the hard way about surge protectors a few years back, especially considering the sick lightning Florida has...

    - Yes that is exactly what I thought after shaking it: although I can't imagine that my shake just "happened" to put a loose part in place rather than loosening it up more; so it very well might be the psu (although I still haven't figured out what that is =/)

    Anyay thanks for all your help guys... I will try disabling the auto-restart thing and seeing whether it still restarts, that way I know whether its restarting because of a windows error or because of one of the many hardware problems mentioned. Then I will probably take it to a computer store if I can't find some friend to freeload off of. :)
     
  14. xxhallisxx

    xxhallisxx TS Rookie

    The power supply is the part that the power cord plugs into. It will be in the back at the top. It is also the thing with all the colored wires that come out of it and go to all the hardware in your computer.
     
  15. Jase123

    Jase123 Banned Posts: 1,012

    im 98% sure this is the psu aint you got another you can try or borrow one?
     
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