Computer turns off intermittently

This is a discussion on Computer turns off intermittently within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally Posted by Kennedy An old (now dead) Radio Engineer told me the best way to clean contacts is with ...

  1. #16
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kennedy View Post
    An old (now dead) Radio Engineer told me the best way to clean contacts is with a pencil eraser. This has ALWAYS worked for me.
    Yes that works great, but how many people still use pencils? I haven't used one in probably 10 years. M daughter doesn't live with me, so I don't have the inevitable school supplies laying around, although if you do have kids in school pencils are common enough I'm sure.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  2. #17
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    I did not take the sticks out. So far all of my tests have been software-based. Sorry if that was not clear. My A+ training/cert., for what it's worth, taught me to start with software and when that avenue has led to either nothing or more questions, then move to hardware.

  3. #18
    Registered User jdragyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    Well I checked most of the memory but did not do a stick by stick check. Memtest86 was unable to test all of it since I have 4 GB. It said it could not address all of it which is odd since 4GB clearly fits into an unsigned int.
    I find myself in a similar predicament, except instead of sudden power-down the computer randomly freezes (sometimes not so randomly, I can't use Excel anymore). Windows and drivers are all up-to-date and virus free so it's time to start swapping hardware (if I had it to swap). I would say you are probably at that point too if both of your memory sticks test ok.

    I could have sworn I read a more recent write-up of this "issue", but here and here are a couple articles I found from a quick search that might explain why you can't see all 4GB if you're not using a 64bit version of Windows.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdragyn View Post
    I find myself in a similar predicament, except instead of sudden power-down the computer randomly freezes (sometimes not so randomly, I can't use Excel anymore). Windows and drivers are all up-to-date and virus free so it's time to start swapping hardware (if I had it to swap). I would say you are probably at that point too if both of your memory sticks test ok.

    I could have sworn I read a more recent write-up of this "issue", but here and here are a couple articles I found from a quick search that might explain why you can't see all 4GB if you're not using a 64bit version of Windows.
    My computer was freezing too. It was caused by my crappy Seagate hard drives (in RAID 5). When I replaced them with WD drives, the freezing stopped.
    "I am probably the laziest programmer on the planet, a fact with which anyone who has ever seen my code will agree." - esbo, 11/15/2008

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  5. #20
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    ...but here and here are a couple articles
    Memtest86 is not using the Win32 kernel.

  6. #21
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    I did not take the sticks out. So far all of my tests have been software-based. Sorry if that was not clear. My A+ training/cert., for what it's worth, taught me to start with software and when that avenue has led to either nothing or more questions, then move to hardware.
    That is probably a decent method, but I guess I've been working with computer so long (and i have a BS in EE) I very quickly determine whether a problem is most likely hardware or software based. If it's intermittent, its usually hardware, unless you have some kind of malware installed. You could probably dig around in the registry to fix it, but in my experience its faster to just reformat.

    That's why I generally go straight to hardware, because it only takes about 15 minutes to check all the hardware possibilities, and if its not hardware, reformatting is pretty much the stock solution. Not that occasionally it cant be fixed faster, but on average reformatting is faster than troubleshooting software issues.
    Last edited by abachler; 12-18-2009 at 08:02 PM.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  7. #22
    Dae
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    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    That is probably a decent method, but I guess I've been working with computer so long (and i have a BS in EE) I very quickly determine whether a problem is most likely hardware or software based. If it's intermittent, its usually hardware, unless you have some kind of malware installed. You could probably dig around in the registry to fix it, but in my experience its faster to just reformat.

    That's why I generally go straight to hardware, because it only takes about 15 minutes to check all the hardware possibilities, and if its not hardware, reformatting is pretty much the stock solution. Not that occasionally it cant be fixed faster, but on average reformatting is faster than troubleshooting software issues.
    Think he meant his TESTS have been software-based, not to mean his problem is software-based. It just means he's using software to test his hardware first, before moving down and physically testing the hardware. Anyway...
    Warning: Have doubt in anything I post.

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  8. #23
    Registered User jdragyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    Memtest86 is not using the Win32 kernel.
    From my understanding, this is something that happens at the hardware level, before Windows even enters the picture.

  9. #24
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dae View Post
    Think he meant his TESTS have been software-based, not to mean his problem is software-based. It just means he's using software to test his hardware first, before moving down and physically testing the hardware. Anyway...
    Ah, what a waste of time, just pluck and chuck, it's faster. Of course if you don't have boxes full of old parts to swap in and out, it becomes difficult and/or expensive to do so.

    Reformat, if that doesn't fix the problem then its your PSU.
    Swap out your PSU, if that doesn't fix the problem, reformat.

    I think I'm gonna have to go with the later as being faster and easier. No amount of software is ever going to tell you if your PSU is failing. If it was bad memory it woudl manifest itself in other ways, not shutting down, more like crashing, blue screening, just plain locking up.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  10. #25
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    My bets are the PSU or your CPU is overheating.
    "I am probably the laziest programmer on the planet, a fact with which anyone who has ever seen my code will agree." - esbo, 11/15/2008

    "the internet is a scary place to be thats why i dont use it much." - billet, 03/17/2010

  11. #26
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    As far as the PSU there are 3 things that can go wrong.

    1. It could just be bad. They go bad sometimes and act goofy.
    2. It could be under-rated. Maybe it always was and as it aged it can no longer put out as much power what with all the internal dust those things build up.
    3. It could be OVER-rated. I see people all the time putting a 1000W power supply in a system that only takes 250W and then wondering why it doesn't run right. Switching power supplies REQUIRE a minimum load to operate properly. Again, just because it always ran before doesn't mean its guaranteed to keep doing so as it ages.

    From the symptoms you described I'm betting its either malware or the PSU.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  12. #27
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    It finally did it again today. I'm starting with the PSU and moving from there. I have a strong feeling it is the power supply.

  13. #28
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    UPDATE:

    I found a power coord leading to my THX speakers was barely in the power strip. It appears that it had been pulled at some point and almost pulled out of the socket. I can imagine that if this plug was barely in that it could possibly get pulled out briefly and then get moved and make contact immediately after. This could definitely cause a surge and/or fault. It did not trip the power strip but this is probably b/c it's surge protector is designed for large scale surges. My PSU, however, is designed to pick up extremely small variations in voltage but large enough to filter out common voltage spikes/drops in the line.

    Perhaps my PSU was just doing its job by shutting down the computer. If it happens now then I will begin to look inside of the system. But this power plug is extremely suspicious.

  14. #29
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    It's highly unlikely that that would cause a surge significant enough to cause a shutdown. Surge detection is more geared towards local lightning strikes than a loose connection in a piece of equipment plugged into the same wall socket.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

  15. #30
    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Hey I know next to nothing about electricity and hardware but I think you are being wildly optimistic with that last thesis Bubba.
    C programming resources:
    GNU C Function and Macro Index -- glibc reference manual
    The C Book -- nice online learner guide
    Current ISO draft standard
    CCAN -- new CPAN like open source library repository
    3 (different) GNU debugger tutorials: #1 -- #2 -- #3
    cpwiki -- our wiki on sourceforge

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