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  1. #1
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    Mysterious Computer Shut-down?

    3 or4 times within the past 2 months, I have found my desktop computer shut-down. I leave it UP most of the time; but not connected to the router. I'm sure that it's not being shut-down by anyone in the home. It always just boots right up and may go another 3 days or more days before shut-down or dying? again. It gives no errors or indication of the reason for being shut-down? I have looked in Event Viewer and device manager; but see nothing that looks to be a "red flag" TO ME? I'm unable to determine if the shut-down is Normal, Hacker caused, or Hardware caused? Let me answer the questions before they are asked. It's an older machine I built with New components with XP Pro. Don't jump on me about the XP business.....I know it's OLD and a done deal. But, I still want to know why it's acting as it is? Even if it's a hardware failure. I'm wanting to learn how to trouble-shoot something like this. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Could be overheating. If you haven't cleaned your desktop in awhile, disconnect the power cord, open the case and blow out any accumulated dust from the CPU heatsink/fan assembly. Also blow out the power supply and video card fan assembly if you have one.

    Jerry

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    FYI,

    When blowing out Fans always stick a pencil or drinking straw (non-metal items) in the fan to keep it from turning. I've heard you can ruin the bearings in the fans with a long blast from a compressed air can. Don't know if it's true but better safe than sorry. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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    I doubt you can ruin the bearings from a short air blast, they are designed to run continuously for years.

    cheers, Paul

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    RG mentioned a long blast and I suppose it's possible that a long blast could distort one of the blades which would put strain on the bearing.

    The intake vent holes on my laptop are too small to stick anything in that I'd care to stick in, so wash the straw backwards and forwards across the vent rather than a direct aim.

    I've been wondering if this could be memory related but a good clean out is always a good first step, although 3 days seems somewhat a long time for heat to build up to the extent that it causes a shutdown.

    Is the computer quiescent when this occurs as it could be because of the power plan causing the computer to shutdown.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2015-07-24 at 05:27.

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Hey Y'all,

    I did this google {Pc cooling fan bearings compressed air} and found several discussions on the topic so at least my memory works.

    This from the TIA A+ Guide:
    TIA A+.JPG

    Two effects mentioned is the spinning of the fans at a much higher speed than they are designed for and the possibility of generating a current which might be fed back to the MB (I'm no EE so I don't know about this).

    As always YMMV! HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    The symptoms sound like a heat issue, but the circumstances of taking days to weeks before shutdown do not sound like heat.

    Is your machine connected directly to your electricity supply, so that a power glitch could be the cause?
    Maybe old wiring at your place which doesn't play well with dirty electricity spikes.
    Any other appliances occasionally on the same circuit which might cause a temp overload?

    Is the machine in an enclosure, such that heat would build up around it over days/weeks?

    What about Sudo's question re your computer's power plan causing it?

  8. #8
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Hey Y'all,

    I did this google {Pc cooling fan bearings compressed air} and found several discussions on the topic so at least my memory works.

    This from the TIA A+ Guide:
    TIA A+.JPG

    Two effects mentioned is the spinning of the fans at a much higher speed than they are designed for and the possibility of generating a current which might be fed back to the MB (I'm no EE so I don't know about this).

    As always YMMV! HTH
    Or is it one of those Urban Legends that needs debunking. Any volunteers?

    Check event viewer for any info.
    David

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  9. #9
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wavy View Post
    Or is it one of those Urban Legends that needs debunking. Any volunteers?

    Check event viewer for any info.
    Too many variables to totally prove or debunk- miles on the fan, fan vendor, etc. Its simple enough to prevent the fan from spinning that its not worth the gamble. I always do it when I clean out a PC.

    Jerry

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    It's about time we had some feedback from the OP and if the BIOS has been checked to what the temps are.

    I'm a bit loathe to advise installing HWMonitor at the moment as its recent update causes it to display quite long and is difficult to resize.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    .... spinning of the fans at a much higher speed than they are designed for and the possibility of generating a current which might be fed back to the MB ....
    Compressed air will spin a fan many times faster than the 2,000RPM it may normally be capable of going.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn7QeiE3qF0 [unless you enjoy elevators kill the audio]
    I no longer believe the current generated by the fan can harm a PC component. I could have sworn Mythbusters demoed this falsehood but I cannot find the video so ....

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    My first guess would have to be a brief power outage or brownout. No idea where you live but it's been outrageously hot in some areas and brief power outages are common in some areas.

    Secondly, are there any scheduled tasks that might be running at night that could result in an incomplete reboot or shutdown? Antivirus program updates come to mind.

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    I think if they were due to power outages then some other electrical item like a radio alarm clock would have suffered the same fate and would have been quite noticeable.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    I think if they were due to power outages then some other electrical item like a radio alarm clock would have suffered the same fate and would have been quite noticeable.
    Probably, but it's worth asking. We had one a few nights ago and the clock on the stove was the only thing in the house that seemed to notice.

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