Is this CPU or hard drive?

By bruce50
Apr 11, 2009
  1. This problem first started last year: as soon as the power plug was switched on the system powered itself up then shut down, then restarted then shut down etc.

    At first I thought it was an on/off button problem and one of the electricians at my work swapped the main button for the reset switch and this seemed to work.

    Last week the problem started again and I texted a computer engineer I know and he thought the CPU may be over-heating, so I got the sides off the tower and vacuumed and even got a paint-brush into the fans (and a load of dust came out) and at first that had no effect, but about 2 days later the system worked fine (apart from one shutting itself down episode)

    Anyway (bear with me) yesterday the same problem repeated itself: turn the power on at the mains, system starts up, shuts down etc. No error messages have ever shown. So I got the sides off again and turned a large fan onto it for about 2 hours but still no joy.

    So I took the system to work with me and put 4 stand up fans around it for 3-4 hours and then the PC started to work - it took quite a few 'self fire-ups' which sometimes meant it got to the Windows log on screen then shut itself down etc.

    Finally it fired up and worked for 5 hours until I turned it off, I got it home and it worked for another 3 hours then it shut-itself down (didn't crash as such) and spent 15 mins trying to re-start until it finally managed it.

    In summary I don't think it's a Virus as my protection is pretty good and up to date, plus it never even gets loading Windows when it's doing this.

    If the CPU is overheating why has the system come back to life barely 15 minutes after shutting down? and is still running 20 mins after that?

    Is the problem (as the PC engineer mused to himself when I spoke to him) a problem with the Hard Drive loading?

    Could it be as simple as the on/off button? (Even though the wiring to and from it is good and not broken)

    Alternatively, the system is about 5 years old and I was planning to upgrade it this year, so should I just do that and put all the bother down to hardware getting old and dusty?

    Sorry if this is a rambling post, but it's unpredicatibilty is really pissing me off?
  2. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    Thought I had it until this
    till then is has always been at powerup you said, right?

    If it were only powerup when cold then I have seen many computers powerup to a blank screen no windows boot. Or like yours powerup and shutdown and finally boot after a couple of tries.

    There are two possible causes one can easily be remedied the other no so easy.

    1. not so easy is a chip on the mother board is weak and on first powerup it just doesn't get enough power to work.

    In the cases of this I have seen where it powers up but no Windows the solution is to let it set powered up for a minute. This allows the chip/capacitor to warm up/charge then the computer is ok. After warm a restart is OK never a problem until the computer is off long enough to return completely to room temp. Same thing for those that powerup and shutdown after a couple tries the chip warms up and boots. BUT! They usually stay on but you said yours shutdown after a couple hours.

    2. Easier to remedy! A weak power supply. It may be supplying borderline power to the mother board. Take power supply to a shop to load test.

    This can be tested sometimes by unplugging power from the CD/DVD drives, hence less power needed at powerup. If this seems to fix it then it is a weak PSU!

    Wish I had a better answer for you!

  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I'd guess bad power supply.
  4. bruce50

    bruce50 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the replies; I'm also thinking it's time to release the chip without charge as this morning the system eventually fired up after about 25-30 mins of stop/start nonsense.

    From what you say I think it's time to bite the bullet and go for the upgrade sooner rather than later.
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