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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Okay guys, I need some help. I have a very old pc (I think I got it around 2002) with Windows XP sp3 that I am ready to take an axe to.

    Let me begin by saying I am by NO MEANS tech-savvy or computer literate, so please talk to me as if you're speaking to a five year old. My computer shuts itself off unexpectedly, then tries to turn itself back on only to shut down immediately again. I can't even keep it running long enough to try running in safe mode or to view the event log. I have had 4 different people tell me 4 different things: (1) it could be a virus (2) it could be the motherboard (3) it could be the power supply or (4) it could be a memory issue. I have tried to replace the power supply and it still does the same thing. I have a computer-savvy friend that came over & successfully started it in safe mode, but that only lasted about 3-4 hours before the $@#% thing shut down again. Any ideas - besides getting a new computer, I'm broke - I'm really at my wits' end with this thing.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I have a computer-savvy friend that came over & successfully started it in safe mode, but that only lasted about 3-4 hours before the $@#% thing shut down again.
    What was the result of that brief, but successful safemode session that only lasted 3-4 hours?
    More details please; error logs/warnings.

    Consider taking it to a repair shop to have it looked at by someone trained in this sort of thing.
    DRIVE IMAGING
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  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Once he got it up and running everything ran beautifully - I was on the internet when it shut down - no warnings, cannot keep the system on long enough to check the event log. I had just switched from dial-up to a DSL connection (yes, I know, welcome to the 20th century, haha) and was just jazzed about how fast everything was finally moving. I'm not even sure what I was doing on the internet, I think either facebook or checking my email because I have not been able to do either for quite some time. I know better than to open email from people I don't know and I am careful about the links I click on. I had Earthlink's protection center enabled on that system and it included antivirus/antispyware from Kaspersky. Not using Earthlink anymore and would like to set up the antivirus I'm currently using on this machine on the defective one but can't get the computer to stay on long enough to do a thing.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Was your "computer-savvy friend" able to rule out any kind of virus or malware as the root cause?
    What was his impression of the problem?
    Are you able to get into the BIOS menus of your computer with out it shutting down?

    My thinking is, we need to determine whether this is a hardware or software issue.
    Right now it's indeterminate, but I'm leaning toward a hardware problem if no other information to the contrary is forthcoming.

    The best way for a non technical person, such as yourself, is to take it to someone reputable who
    can troubleshoot it in person, preferably a computer shop that does repairs.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    When was the last time the computer was openened up and cleaned? It could be an overheating problem due to an excessive build up of crud on the cpu heatsink and/or video card heatsinks.. See:
    http://www.ehow.com/video_2200553_de...ning-tips.html
    for a tutorial.

    Jerry

  6. #6
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Overheating would be the first thing I'd look for too. Disconnect all the cables from the back of the system unit, take the side off the case, take the system unit outside, and blast the inside with a can of compressed air (like in the video, but without all the 'um's!). If it hasn't been touched for eight years, you don't want to cause a dust storm inside your house! Trying to vacuum clean it could cause nasty problems with static...
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    I agree with the others about overheating being the most likely cause. Your computer's behaviour pattern is typical of this. It's worth waiting for half an hour or so then trying to restart. If it starts OK then, by which time it's cooler, that almost confirms the overheating and also eliminates all the other alternative causes you thought of.
    Good luck.

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Most likely increase in temperature due to higher summer temperatures. Google SpeedFan and try it. Newer versions have a self install. Also take it to a shop and have the dust clearedout.

  9. #9
    New Lounger
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    Terminology. When a PC shuts down and restarts immediately, it's termed a "restart". When a PC "shuts down", it really shuts down and stays off. The latter is almost always a hardware problem. The former can be hardware or software. A restart can be diagnosed, fortunately:

    Go to Control Panel > System > Advanced > Startup and Recovery.

    Untick "Automatically restart" and set memory dump to None.

    Hopefully, you'll get a blue-screen error with a message next time. Note the complete error.
    MS MCP, MCSE, MVP

  10. #10
    Star Lounger
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    Based on the fact that the computer ran for 3 to 4 hours in safe mode it is unlikely that you have a virus problem, a bad power supply or a bad motherboard. Any of those items or bad memory (RAM) could cause shutdown problems but they are not generally self correcting. As several other people have said, the most likely problem is a buildup of lint in the computer. The most heat sensitive item in a computer is its processor/CPU and if the heat sink atop it becomes dirty with lint, pet hair or whatever then the computer can shut down in a matter of seconds after it has started. A non functioning fan on the processor will actually prevent the computer from even trying to start.

    If you have a local service shop that you can take the entire computer case to, they should be able to get you running quickly but that can be an expensive experience. If you know of a neighbor who is even moderately tech savvy then he or she could disconnect the computer take it outdoors and remove two screws holding the side panel in place and blow most of the dust out of the computer. All that is needed is a $3 can of compressed air. If that fails to correct your problem then a shop visit is inevitable.

    Afterthought. if you live in a metropolitan area, ask around to see if there is a Computer User Group in town. Many times, members of those groups will offer their help on problems such as yours for a very modest charge or in many cases for free.

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    While you may have a heat build up problem, I worked on a puter that would startup, then shut down every time the power on button was pushed. If this is what you are experiencing I found that the power on button was hanging on the in push depending on where it was pushed. This will cause the puter to start, sense another signal, and then shut down. Removed front cover, pushed power button from there and everything worked fine. Hope this may help.

  12. #12
    New Lounger
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    My husband had this same problem with his 2002 XP machine. Cleaning it did not solve the problem, but while doing so he did notice that some of the capacitors on the motherboard were bulging. After googling "bad capacitors on motherboards" he realized this was most likely what was causing the rebooting. While my husband knows nothing about computers, he is handy with a soldering iron and circuit boards. After ordering the capacitors (which are very cheap) online, he replaced all 21 of them on the motherboard and his computer has worked flawlessly ever since. This article shows pictures of what bad capacitors might look like:
    http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=195

  13. #13
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    Also check the cpu fan, the power supply fan and case fan. OEM is usually sleeve bearing and need occassional oiling. Plus as previous input all of the dust in the case and within the power supply housing. Also you may want to examine some of Fred Langa's old information about frequency of cleaning case and connectors.

  14. #14
    New Lounger allman71's Avatar
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    I worked on a computer fro a neighbor that kept shutting down like yours does. I checked several hardware pieces and checked inside the case for dirt. What I found was a capicitor bulging just like in the previous post from Gail. I replaced the motherboard and all is well. Go to the web site she referenced and compare the pictures to your motherboard.


    David

  15. #15
    New Lounger
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    I had a similar problem, went on for over a year, replaced the power supply twice, also had to replace video cards. While chatting with a friend one nite, he suggested it might be the power button on the case. Sure enought, thats what it was. Bypassed the power button and have not had a problem since. Altho people crack up when they see me start that computer by placing a screwdriver across two little wires sticking out of the front of the case.

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