Sudden reboot problem! I have tried everything!

By jungleexplorer
Apr 3, 2007
  1. Well, this about the tenth time I have tried to post on this board. My PC keeps rebooting and I have to keep starting all over again. This is not a new problem, it just has gotten a lot worse in the last few days. I have tried everything to figure out what is causing the problem. There seems to be no consistency to this problem. It happens randomly.

    I have tired to compile a detailed list of errors, specs and repair procedures I have tried, so that we can forgo me trying things I have already tried multiple times. Before we get started you need to know what my system is so I have made a detailed report of my system available at this address

    What is my computer doing?
    The problem manifest itself in several ways. Sometimes the computer will suddenly shutoff and reboot as if you had pulled the power cord out of the wall and plugged it back in or hit a hard reset button. Sometimes it will suddenly begin the shutdown and restart process. Sometimes it will turn itself on by itself. Sometimes it will start up and run fine for hours and then suddenly shut off and restart. Other time it will run fine for just a few minutes before it does it. Sometimes it will will boot up, shut off and restart multiple time at different places in the boot process.

    What errors is it reporting?
    I have checked the Event Viewer many times and it has never reported a single error about this problem. Each time I reboot the Windows error reporting tool comes up and I have sent a report off every time. After sending the report a web page will open and tell me what caused the problem. There have been three types of problems that this page has reported.
    1. A device driver caused a "Stop Error".
    2. A Memory Write Error.
    3. A Hardware Failure Error.

    What have I tried?
    1. Updated all drivers (GPU, Motherboard, Bios etc.).
    2. Replaced master hard drive and installed fresh copy of Windows XP.
    3. Replaced CMOS (Motherboard) Battery.
    4. Unplugged power button connector from motherboard to test to see if there was a short in the button or wires.
    5. Ran multiple pass memory test (Windiag.iso boot level memory scanner).
    6. Performed thorough cleaning of tower and all components.
    7. Check motherboard and CPU temperatures.
    8. Performed advanced Registry scans with Iolo System Mechanics and Norton System Works.
    9. Turned off Window Automatic reboot. My system has suddenly rebooted several times since this and has only shown me a BSOD once. See this screen at this address:

    I might have done other things but I can't remember them all. Here is the thing. After doing all this, my system is running better and faster then it was when it was brand new, all except for this rebooting problem. I am at my wits end as to what is causing it. About the only thing left to replace is the motherboard and CPU. I am about ready to do that, but I just hate to throw away a good system if I don't have to.

    So what to you think guys? Have any ideas for me? Thanks for the help.
  2. Deathhawk

    Deathhawk TS Rookie Posts: 68

    If you have not done this i would give it a go:

    my computer>right click>properties>tools>error checking>tick both boxes>reboot

    It can takes my pc about 1 1/2 hours to complete-depends on the hdd size-and your pc is not useable whilst in this mode
  3. rf6647

    rf6647 TS Maniac Posts: 829

    consider psu

    I did not see in your list any consideration that the power supply unit could be marginal.
  4. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Clearly nothing in your error list. It can be any of a number of hardware defects:
    You do not mention your power supply. With the load you are pushing it to handle, is it an adequate unit? I would change it out with another to test.
    Other causes (which you have probably already considered): cpu fan, cpu heatsink not properly seated or has lost its thermal paste, NVidia GeForce FX 5200 has been a problem for many; hard drive, optical drive; network adapter.
    Since you have a floppy drive, I would go back to basics. The idea is to run the computer in its most limited mode, then add components and test for a long time, adding one each time until the failures start.

    Disconnnect all but power supply, floppy, and one memory module. Boot to a Windows 98SE or MS-DOS boot floppy. Then change memory modules. Then add video graphics card.... etc. Until you have tested every component one at a time, or until you get the problem you described. There are also boot floppy tests available on line, but I don't have the site handy.
    This takes a long time to do properly, but can be quite helpful.
    When a hardware component is defective, electronically, it is not easy to find, as you know.
    Keep a written list of everything you do so you can go back and double-check your own thinking.
  5. CCT

    CCT TS Evangelist Posts: 2,653   +6

    I would bet 25 cents it is a memory problem - you have 768 - 2 or 3 modules?

    If 2, remove the NEWEST and run a bit.

    If it BSOD's, remove the oldest.

    If 3, do similar but take 2 out at first then rotate until it (hopefully) doesn't BSOD then add 1 of the others at a time.
  6. Deathhawk

    Deathhawk TS Rookie Posts: 68

  7. chunt

    chunt TS Rookie

    my machine was doing that sorta, I found that the new ram I had put in was not getting along with the other ram stick, so I took the smaller one out the 256 and left the 500 one in. -something about being two different brands.
  8. jungleexplorer

    jungleexplorer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Thanks for all of the advice guys.

    I will try to answer a few questions that were asked.
    First off I want to say that I have had this configuration for quite some time without change and it has been running fine. The changes I have made were because of the problem. What this tells me is that the problem is not a compatibility problem. I have three sticks of memory of 256mg each. Two stick came with the system when I bought it and 1 stick is an upgrade. All three stick had been working together for over a year before this problem occurred. The system originally came with a 300 watt power supply and ran for almost two years with that power supply without any problems. That power supply went out about a year ago and I replaced it with a Mad Dog 350Watt (Dual fan) supply. The system ran fine with that supply for all most a year. I just replaced that supply last week with a CompUSA brand 400-Watt supply.

    Let me go into a little more detail about the sequence of event has they unfolded. First my system began to become unstable, crashing and taking forever to load. After running several registry scans and cleaners the problem remained. I tried three different fragmentation programs but none of them could defragment my primary hard drive, even after running several thorough check disk scans. My primary hard drive (120GB) was batting 3 years of intense use, so I figured that it was about to go down. I replaced it and re-installed Windows. It ran much faster but would still spontaneously turn itself off for no reason. After posting to a different hardware board (I think it was called Howard's Hardware Forum), someone suggested that the power button might have a short in it or the wire might because causing a cross connection. The wire were twisted together so I untwisted them and rapped them with electrician's tape. This seemed to solve the problem for about a month, but then it started doing the same thing. (Side Note: The really unique and strange thing about what my system is doing is that it will start up all by itself in the middle of the night if I don't unplug it.) After about a month it started doing the same thing again. Again I went to the boards and it was suggested that the Video Card might be the problem. The original video card was a, nVidia GeForce4 MX 440SE (64MB). I always wanted to have a little more Video ram because I do some DVD rendering, so I purchased the GeForce FX5200 and replace the nVidia GeForce4 MX 440SE. The problem remained. The problem wasn't so intrusive at first because my system would only turn itself off once every couple of days. This was something I could live with so I just left it like that, thinking that maybe the CPU was starting to go and I would replace it when it finally gave up the ghost completely. Then it started to get a lot worse. My system which had been running pretty fast, after the nice graphics card upgrade, started to slow down. Then I noticed that my CPU model had changed in my system properties. It had gone from an AMD Athlon 2100+ (1.73GHz)to an Athlon 1500 (1.29GHz). What the heck, I thought to myself. How in the world did my CPU model change? I ran MSI's Live Update and it said I had the latest BIOS driver, but I reinstalled it again anyway and I was back to my original CPU. That made me think that the motherboard battery was weak and so I replaced it. The shutting down and restarting problem continued to get worse so I replaced the power supply. The problem continued to get worse until my up time was around 10 to 15 minutes between sudden restarts. But then it suddenly stopped. I havent had a sudden restart in the last two days. Now I just have graphic intense programs that are crashing, that have never crashed before. The only thing I did was reinstall the GeForce FX5200 graphics driver, a thing I have done three times before. Since the graphics card was an attempted fix to the original problem that already existed, I think it is safe to say that it is not the cause of the original problem, but it may now be the cause of this latest problem.

    Raybay, suggested a plan of attack that might work, but I will have to wait until my system starts acting up again. I really hate problems of this nature because they are so hard to diagnose. If you have a problem that does the same thing every single time, you can find the cause pretty easy, but when the symptoms are so inconsistent it makes it almost impossible.

    If you can think of another line of attack, I would be happy to hear it. Thanks
  9. roseypeach

    roseypeach TS Member Posts: 35

    A thought--

    Sometimes viruses/worms can send your PC into a never ending reboot loop. If you will look under Administrative settings and services, find the RPC and RPC Locator services and double click them. Under the recovery tab you will see First, Second and Subsequent failures. For all of these select "Do nothing" instead of "reboot computer". Click Apply then OK.

    If you don't have the problem anymore and everything seems okay, you most likely have malware/spyware/virus causing the problem. Proceed accordingly and scan your system with Spybot and/or LavaSoft's Adaware free versions.

    Good luck with it and Happy Easter!
  10. jeffkrol

    jeffkrol TS Rookie Posts: 65

    I'm betting on bad capacitors on the MB or a bad power supply...
    Trashed 2 MSI boards due to bad caps, and 1 chaintech. Bloody cap virus. MB companies should be sued (again?)
    Actually the mor I read the more it looks like a cap problem (can be in the PSU as well). Check your board and look to see if the bigger caps are buldged on top... bad sign.
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