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Random restart. Compleatly at a loss.

By jbaines2615
Feb 27, 2007
  1. My computer started to restart randomly recently. I have a Nforce4m-a V.3 mobo (I just took it back to the shop and got it replaced but the problem persists), Athlon64 4200 x2 processor, 2 x 512 Kingston Ram + 1 x 1gb stick. Ati Radion x850 Graphics card. Windows xp media centre 2005.

    Ive had the computer for about 3 months now, I built it myself. In the past week its started to have a seriouse problem of randomly restarting. At first I thought it was just in grphicly intensive programs such as games and DVD's but it also restarts randomly in desktop and web browsing.
    As Ive said I just changed the mobo for a new one, same model. This appears to have made no differencce. I thought it must be the mobo because since ive had this mobo every so often theres been a beep from the system speaker. I havnt heard that since it started to restart and I read in a forum someware that that indicates the mobo overheating (couldt find any mention of this in the manuel though). Ive rotated beetween the different ram sticks and they have madeno difference. The problem has become more seriouse since I upgraded to media centre, however I have clean installed twice to no avail. The computer did show similar symptoms after I got a virus, this virus caused the computer to retstart contunuously, I managed to system restore which seemd to help however it still restarted very occasionally, now it does it after beetween a few minutes to an hour.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm at a total loss with a computer that cost me around 800 pounds to build rendered compleatly useless.
    Thankyou.
     
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    In our experience, this can be caused by any of these, in approximately this order: Dirt, dust, and pet hair in power supply or CPU fan; bad or poorly seated EIDE cable; Corrupted operating system; infestations affecting operating system; bad optical drive; bad CPU fan, lack of adequate thermal paste on the heat sink; defective memory module, or a poor quality "value" module; defective video graphics card; bad hard drive; bad or poor quality power supply; defective card in a PCI slot... such a modem, sound card, firewire and usb card. Almost anything that has electric power going through it has the power to enable spurious responses which cause other failures to occur.
    So it can take some time to track it down. What we do is run a memory check with MemTest86 at www.memorytest.org, then if good, run a hard drive fitness test from the hard drive manufacturer. Still good? we go back to a very basic install using power supply, one memory module video graphics connection, and floppy drive... All other components physically disconnected. Then we boot to an MS-DOS disc, or to a Windows 98SE boot-startup disc... then run some DOS games... or processes for an hour. If still ok, we change memory modules and try again... going through the entire procedure many times, adding a component each time until we get it to fail... Time consuming but it helps us make the diagnoses about 97 percent of the time...
    But do not discount the motherboard in the end... often times, failures start at the factory and are not caught until enough customers perform the necessary quality control through reported failures.
    Good luck. Please let us know what you discover the problem to be.
     
  3. jbaines2615

    jbaines2615 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ...

    Ok, Thankyou very much for your reply. Ive ran memtest86 and and the hard drive fitness test both report no errors. So I suppose thats good. However, with your suggestion of booting in dos with only the most nesessary components Ive struck another problem. I cant get dos to recognise drive c:\ when I type 'cd c:\' it simply says 'invalid drive or directory' or something along those lines. Any ideas?
     
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Possibly you have a SATA drive?
    I was not suggesting you access the hard drive with dos, but merely find out what works at the most fundamental level... and that would include having the hard drive temporarily disconnected.... You are trying to get the computer to have the same problem... starting at basics, then adding a component each time until you get the error... What you are doing is finding the problem by process of elimination. You know can expect that the memory is good, but you will not challenge the video graphics card sufficiently using DOS...
    DOS is just the starting point.
     
  5. jbaines2615

    jbaines2615 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ...

    Ahh, ok, didnt realise u said to disconnect the hard drive. The reason i was trying to connect to the c:\ drive was because all the games that fit on a floppy are rubbish and I wanted to play GTA sene as how it sometimes takes an hour or two to restart. Well, thats not important. I'll give it a go with a smaller game. Ehm, still a bit conserned that I cant access the C:\ drive in dos. Its not a sata drive. I have one but its disconnected for the purpose of troubleshooting.
     
  6. jbaines2615

    jbaines2615 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hmmmmm! Think I may have solved the puzzle. My cpu fan keeps stopping. Im sure I would have notised this before and even when it stops the temp from 'core temp' only reads 40 degrees C. however right now it keeps stopping alltogether and also and going slow. Is this something to do with my cool and quiet drivers? I wouldnt have thought so. I wouldnt have thought it to be the PSU because the graphics card fan and the mobo fan are still running at full speed. Now, Im no expert but Im fairly sure the cpu fan shouldnt keep stopping. am I right?
     
  7. jbaines2615

    jbaines2615 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    bizzare restart problem.

    Ive had my computer restarting for a couple of weeks now and ive been compleatly at a loss. I took the mobo back to the shop and got it replaced and ive followed variouse suggestions from the people in the hardware section of this forum site. I'll explain the problem: My computer restarts without warning compleatly at random, whether im browsing, gaming or just leaving the computer idle it will restart within between 2 minutes, and 2 hours.

    Yesterday, compleatly by chance I was watching a DVD and I managed to watch the whole thing without my computer rebooting, I couldnt think what I'd changed, I played a game for an hour and still, it didnt restart. I was half increadibly happy that it had stopped and half woried that because I never figured the issue out it could resurface at any point. Well I went to come on here to say it seemd to have sorted itself out when I notised that my internet was down. Not my hardware or software, but the actual ISP is down. Then, an hour or so later when its fixed and my router reconnects giving me internet access again, the problem resurfaces. Ive tested it out and its true that when ive got internet access my computer randomly restarts every so often and when I havnt its fine. This is unlike anything ive ever heard of (Ive compleatly reinstalled windows whiles tring to sort this problem out so a virus seems very unlikly to me). I hope someone out there has heard of it and knows how to fix it though!!!! Thanks for reading. Please, please help me!
     
  8. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Threads merged. Please continue to post in this thread, until your problem is hopefully resolved.

    Go and read this thread HERE and see if it helps.

    Regards Howard :)
     
  9. jbaines2615

    jbaines2615 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ...

    Thanks for your reply. The only think out of that I havnt tried is the page file thing. I'm doing that now. None of that seems to have much to do with my computer only having this problem when it has internet access. Which is why I started a new thread on the matter. Doesnt that suggest that it has nothing to do with the hardware? And for any of the drivers or system files to be corrupt after a clean install seems strange. Have you any idea whats happening to my computer?
     
  10. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    If after troubleshooting as per the link I gave you, you don`t solve your problem, you`ll need to attach 5 or 6 of your latest minidumps here. We`ll then see what we can come up with to help you.

    Regards Howard :)
     
  11. jbaines2615

    jbaines2615 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ...

    Well. the new page file didnt work. There is no minidump directory in my windows folder, including hidden files. why is that?
     
  12. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Make sure, Windows is setup to write minidumps.

    Right click my computer and select properties, then the advanced tab. Under startup and recovery, click settings. Under system failure, make sure the Write an event to the system log and Send an adminitstrative alert boxes are ticked. Untick the box that says Automatically restart.

    Under Write debugging information, make sure the overwrite any existing file box is unchecked. Click on the drop down list and Set it to Small memory dump(64k). Click ok/apply/ok and reboot your system.

    Now when Windows crashes it should give you a BSOD(blue screen of death) and write a minidump to the C:\windows\minidump folder.

    Regards Howard :)
     
  13. jbaines2615

    jbaines2615 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ok, the overwrite any existing file box is grey and I cant uncheck it. All the other settings were already as you said (i unchecked the restart automatically box ages ago) I dont get a blue screen when it restarts. This is driving me mad! I really appreciate you help by the way. Thankyou very much for taking the time. Is there anything els you can think of?
     
  14. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    In order to uncheck the overwrite existing file box, change the setting to kernel memory dump, then untick the overwrite existing file box, then change back to the small memory dump(64k). Click ok/apply/ok and reboot your system.

    Does your cpu fan still keep stopping? If it does, then you need to replace it. Overheating of your cpu would certainly cause your computer to crash.

    Check that everything is seated and connected properly and that the heatsink is correctly fitted. That means take off the heatsink and clean off the old thermal pad/paste with a little isopropyl or rubbing alcohol. Apply some new thermal past and reattach the heat sink.

    Instructions for applying thermal paste can be found HERE.

    If none of the above helps, please post your minidump files.

    Regards Howard :)
     
  15. jbaines2615

    jbaines2615 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ...

    Yeah, it stops all the time, I'll pick up a new one. Ive got some thermal paste, may aswell try it. I'll do that thing with the minidumps too but if im not getting the BSOD then will it even be making a memory dump? Well. I'll find out I guess.

    Still though. It doesnt make any sence that it would only happen when Im connected to the internet if its a hardware problem. I dont think it'd be my Wireless adapter because when my ISP went down the problem stopped, but the wireless adapter was still connected to my router and other computer. Ive ran a Virus scan and it found nothing (except on my D:\ Drive but theres no reason my computer should be accessing that, plus Ive disconnected it to see if it was that and it still restarted, and I hadnt even accessd before the computer first restarted) Anyway, im rambling so I'll get on with it and post what happens.
     
  16. jbaines2615

    jbaines2615 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK well I seem to have fixed it. I had an old Wireless connection card (Belkin F5D7000) which I replaced because it kept disconnecting all the time and I couldnt stop it. It was driving me mad and no-one could help. So I had that as a spare, well I put it in, in place of the one I origonally replaced it with and my computer hasnt restarted yet (fingers crossed). You may find me back on here soon if this starts disconnecting all the time, it did it once about 10 minutes after I fist installd it but its been fine so far (again, fingers crossed) So my next few days are going to be spent looking for the recipt for the stupid Netgear WG311 v.3. No point keeping something that does that to your computer as a spare. So there you have it, anyone els experiencing restarts only when connected to the internet, looks like you need another wireless network card. Unfortunately I didnt manage to figure out if it was a hardware issue or the drivers or software that came with it.
     
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