Computer shutdown after ~1minute

By Schmutz ยท 14 replies
Jun 3, 2008
  1. Hi. For the past 6 months my computer has operated fine, but last week consistently powered off within a minute of being turned on

    My first diagnosis was that the processor was overheating, and I thought that applying a new layer of thermol paste to the heatsink would stop this from happening. Later however I was told that the CPU should be able to last more than a minute even without any cooling, and so I decided to return it as faulty. I have been updated that it has actually passed all tests, and that it was not duplicating the problem on the test machine used

    Once my processor returns, I will test the memory/video card to see if they are causing the problem (substituting other components in their place)

    I assumed that my hard drive is not causing the problem since my computer powered off after ~1minute whether I booted into windows or just the BIOS screen

    This will leave the power supply unit and motherboard, which I am unable to test (unless it is safe to use an old 400W PSU with ati2900/Q6600 processor??)

    I would like to know:
    1) can a faulty power supply/motherboard cause such a problem?
    2) could my windows installation/a faulty HDD be causing the problem (though I am not booting into windows...)
    3) can I boot my computer without a video card/RAM rather than switching them components with ones from another computer? Even if I cannot access the BIOS screen, I will be able to see if my computer doesn't turn off after ~1 minute

    Any advice will be very useful, I'm lost for any more ideas!

    Thankyou, in advance :)
  2. Fragrant Coit

    Fragrant Coit TS Guru Posts: 363

    It's a process of elimination....

    1st off, I'd run Memtest - create a bootable CD and run the test
    If that fails, then you've found the Culprit.

    As for your questions:
    1: Definitely

    2: Yes, I've seen HDD's cause crashes even in BIOS. Disconnect it & see if it stays on

    3: Yes & no. Won't POST without any RAM at all. Just make Beeping noises. If you have Onboard Video {or an old Vid Card you can use} then by all means remove the card & try it - if it doesn't have Onboard or a Card in it, you just won't be able to see anything on the Monitor.

    From what you've said, I'd be looking at the RAM as suspect 1.

    Good luck.
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Easily could be the power supply or a cpu fan, as well... or a defective video card or driver. But I agree, start with the memory.
  4. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Thankyou. My Processor returned this morning so I'll make a start with the things suggested here.

    Is it safe for me to try booting without the video card? I know I will not see anything on the monitor without a video card, but if the computer does not turn off after a short amount of time then I can be sure its the video card. Likewise with the memory, although I have two 1gb modules so I can try them seperately first.

    I'll also try disconnecting the HDD...

    If the problem continues at this point I'll have to send the motherboard and PSU back for inspection. (fortunately, I bought them both from

    Thanks again for the suggestions, if you can confirm that it is safe to turn the computer on without the videocard/memory/hdd installed it will be great. I'm sure it is, but its good to double check!
  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    If it is workable, you will be able to boot in SAFE MODE, then twiddle with it.
  6. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    I've just tested for all the parts I could and the problem still existed

    Without Graphics card
    Each 1gb RAM on its own
    WIthout RAM
    Without DVD drive
    Without HDD

    The CPU was reported to be working fine when I returned it

    So am I correct to assume that now it is definately the PSU or motherboard causing the problem? I want to return these items now, but I am undecided whether it is worth returning the graphics card also; the computer continued to shut down after 30seconds-1minute with no graphics card which suggested the problem was elsewhere, but as I could not see the screen I can't be 100% sure of this

    I think I will request a return for just the Power supply and motherboard as it does not seem likely at all that the video card is causing the problem...
  7. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    It is not the video card. the computer should boot without one, u would just be able to see nothing.
  8. seanc

    seanc TS Rookie Posts: 88

    I'd vote power supply as well. With some real fiddling you may be able to get it to power up once or twice but you risk it damaging the rest of the components in your system.
  9. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    cool thanks guys... well I've sent off the motherboard and power supply this morning, so fingers crossed one of them components is faulty (I also believe the PSU is most likely)

    I'll have to pay a colletion fee for the processor I sent back in working order, and another fee should either of the motherboard/power supply unit not be damaged, but I think it was the best move I could make given that I don't have another compatible computer to test the components seperately
  10. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    no problems where found with the motherboard/PSU and now they're suggesting I send a full set (CPU, RAM, GPU, PSU, MOTHERBOARD)

    I will do this, but something that has completely passed me is the possibility that the computers CASE could be causing the problem....

    it sounds crazy but is there a chance the wiring to the on/off + reset switches could be faulty? I'm going to assemble my computer in another case when I get the parts back to test for this
  11. larryiam

    larryiam TS Rookie Posts: 476

    yes it could be your case. mobo wire touching case and grounding out or heat sink back touching case. well by far im no computer expert! but thouse are suggestion!
  12. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Sure. It happens often enough... I have seen it a few times in the lower end cases... power switch area, power supply grounding, cables installed incorrectly, or routed to the wrong pins on the motherboard.
  13. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Upon recieving my motherboard and PSU today, I believe to have found that the fault was with the seating of the CPU's heatsink

    The computer is now operating fine, and this is since I have removed the four pins that connect my Heatsink to the motherboard and am simply resting it on the motherboard, meaning that it is contacting the CPU as it would if it was installed correctly. Of course with this setup I cannot stand my computer in a vertical position, so I intend on fixing this quickly, but I have had a lot of difficulty using the user friendly "no tools required" screw on pins/connectors! (actually, I've built six different computers and have always found installing any CPU heatsink/fan the biggest challenge)

    It is dissapointing the problem was such a simple one, but I am VERY glad it seems to have gone now. I'd like to ask just a few questions:

    How long should a CPU operate without a heatsink installed? Even though mine (Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600) has been confirmed to have no fault, and is now running demanding applications like Crysis without shutting down, without a heatsink it lasts around 3 minutes before an emergency shutdown to prevent it from overheating. I ask this because a technical assistant in PC world upon me explaining that my computer was switching off after 1 minute, suggested that the processor could have malfunctioned as they should last a short amount of time even without any cooling

    Secondly, should I purchase a different heatsink/fan setup? With a lot of work it is likely I can get mine fitted correctly again, but I have read that stock Heatsink/fans are far surpassed by ones you can buy seperately... if a new one provides a better cooling solution that could increase the life and overclocking abilities of my processor I would be glad to get a different one. Added to that it could be easier to install!

    And lastly, could anyone suggest using something other than the pins provided to connect the heatsink/fan to the motherboard?

    Thanks for helping folks :suspiciou ;)
  14. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    well he is wrong, if u are gaming one will last a few seconds if it is working hard.
  15. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Change where you get your reading material. You are perhaps looking for a backdoor when you should be looking at the top end mainstream material.
    You need a heatsink, fan, clamps, and thermal paste that work together. You want a matched set. Custom units are more expensive, because they are not mass produced, and they are difficult to make. But they are better than stock if you have the right one for you. Then you need the right case, the correct system board, case fans, and absolutely the best power supply you can afford... remembering that high cost doesn't equate with better.
    Look at the obvious. The real gamers, and the top end users probably don't have any more money than you, but they get the best, because in the long run, the costs are lower per day.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...