TechSpot

System Shuts Down During Boot Up

By Lee&Sally
Nov 10, 2007
  1. My PC had become rather slow after it had notched up 5 years of faithful service, a problem that wasn't helped by Norton Antivirus (SystemWorks 2002) becoming ever more bloated and resource hungry. So I decided to wipe and re-format the hard drive and opt for a complete fresh start. I didn't re-install Norton - I opted for the latest free versions of AVG Antivirus, with Spybot Search & Destroy and Lavasoft Ad-aware taking care of all the other nasties. The system is cleaned rigorously and is free of all viruses / nasties.

    All went well and my PC returned to its former glory - running faster than Ben Johnson on steroids! However, an annoying problem has recently set in whereby it shuts down during boot-up for no apparent reason. Approximately 2 to 3 seconds after switch on, the whole system shuts down in an instant - just as though someone has pulled the plug. But the power supply is fine as the motherboard LED is still lit. At this point I am unable to restart the system via the on/off button on the front of the tower case. I have to pull the mains plug and wait for about 15 seconds before reconnecting and switching on.

    The system will then re-start but goes straight to the BIOS setup screen where it says during the last boot-up, the system hung for an incorrect CPU speed. Yet the correct speed is displayed (1733MHz) so I press F10 to save the settings and the system will then re-boot perfectly.

    Having put up with this everyday for 2 weeks, I decided to replace the CMOS battery (which turned out to be OK anyway) and to test the RAM chips with Simm Tester. All were perfect. More recently, the problem has got worse. It now occurs twice during each boot - once as described above and then again when Windows is about half way through loading. I've also tried a different hard drive but the problem still exists. I can't help but feel I'm now on borrowed time!

    One thing I have noticed is that it only occurs when the system is cold. Once it has been running for about 15 minutes, I can shut down and re-start immediately with no problems. This made me wonder if it was an electrical issue, but given I'm not an electrician, I'm a little lost. I have tried inspecting the cables, connections and capacitors but cannot see any apparent external damage.

    Can anybody out there please help?

    SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS:
    YEAR OF BUILD: MAY 2002
    MOTHERBOARD: ASUS A7A266-E
    BIOS: ASUS - 42302e31 Award Medallion BIOS v6.0 Award Plug and Play BIOS Extension
    CPU: AMD Athlon(TM) XP2100+ 1.7 GHz
    RAM: 512MB DDR PC2100
    VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4400 (Microsoft Corporation) Ver. 6.14
    AUDIO: CREATIVE SOUNDBLASTER AUGIGY
    HARD DISK: 80GB - 7200rpm
    OP SYSTEM: WINDOWS XP SP2
    ANTI-VIRUS: AVG (FREE EDITION)
    ANTI-SPYWARE: SPYBOT SEARCH & DESTROY
    ANTI-ADWARE: AD-AWARE 2007
     
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 21,066   +169

    At 5 years of age, your system is past its useful age in realitive terms. Some things to try are:
    1. Replace the power supply
    2. Remove the CPU heatsink, clean off old thermal paste and apply new paste
     
  3. Lee&Sally

    Lee&Sally TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Update On "system Shuts Down During Boot Up"

    Many thanks for the tips. I've now tried re-setting the BIOS to its default settings but still got no joy. In respect of the power supply unit I'm a little confused (forgive me, I'm scared stiff of all things electric)!

    What I can't understand is why the PC works perfectly once it has warmed up, e.g. if it has been running for about 15 minutes and I attempt to re-start, it will boot up perfectly. The problem only seems to occur when the system is 'cold'. Surely if everything on the PC functions perfectly once it has warmed up, doesn't this mean the PSU is healthy?

    As for the CPU heatsink, I'm certainly going to try and clean off the old thermal paste and renew it. I'm not sure why that would affect a boot-up problem when cold. Nevertheless, I take your point that it's a great precaution to take on a system that's over 5 years old. Many thanks for the tip.
     
  4. Lee&Sally

    Lee&Sally TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well after all your wonderful advice I finally took the plunge and donned my rubber suit, gloves and wellies, opened the case and ripped out the somewhat ageing 300W power supply unit. Quite an anti-climax really - I was expecting to get fried alive but the job was done in under 10 minutes.

    Then it was in with a brand new Antec Earthwatts 430W PSU and guess what, no more problems.

    Once again, many thanks for all your help - I'd have never got by without it.
     
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