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Why does my computer shut down?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by Richard King, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. Richard King

    Richard King Hall Of Fame

    Mar 25, 2002
    I have a computer in my "office" (a 5'x10' storage room) at the commercial building that I own. This computer serves one purpose only, that being as storage for the four security cameras that I have monitoring the building. The computer is hooked up to a UPS so that, in theory it should never lose power.... but it is (losing power). It will consistantly shut down and reboot for no apparent reason. I may be able to get by for a week or two or I may get by for only a matter of minutes. The computer reboots, but never totally restarts so anything from the cameras after the reboot is lost. I have gone through two UPS units, replacing the first one thinking it was the problem. The second one (another brand) appears to be no better at resolving this problem. I am suspicious of the power supply, but don't want to rip into it before taking other suggestions. Any ideas on what could be causing this? The OS is Windows XP. The computer is a Compaq from about 3 -4 years ago.
  2. Renard

    Renard Godfather

    Jun 21, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Are you connected to the net?
  3. ncxcstud

    ncxcstud Icon

    Apr 22, 2007
    CPU failure?

    Getting too hot?

    What's the temperature like in there?
  4. Richard King

    Richard King Hall Of Fame

    Mar 25, 2002
    no net connection. I have no access to either telephone or cable in the "office". It has never been warm to the touch, but I hadn't thought of that. The building is, of course, in Florida, but the room faces west and the door is white which does tend to keep the temps in the room down. Even though it's not airconditioned, I can't say that it has ever been uncomfortable.
  5. Richard King

    Richard King Hall Of Fame

    Mar 25, 2002
    Also, there are no windows (other than on the computer), just a white PVC door.
  6. Sharkie_Fan

    Sharkie_Fan Hall Of Fame

    Sep 26, 2006
    From the sound of your description, I'm wondering if your CPU fan is dying and causing the computer to overheat.

    We had a CPU fan die on one of our servers, and it exhibited the same symptoms your describing. It might turn off halfway through the reboot, or it might run for a while and then reboot spontaneously later...
  7. phat78boy

    phat78boy Hall Of Fame

    Sep 12, 2007
    What happens when it reboots? Does Windows start back up? Or is just sitting at a bios start screen?

    It could be overheating, but most motherboards will shut themselves all the way off when they overheat.
  8. B Newt

    B Newt Icon

    Aug 12, 2007
    Try by passing the UPS, it might be bad.
  9. fwlogue

    fwlogue Godfather

    Dec 5, 2006
    CHeck CPU & Powersupply fans it sounds like it is over heating and shutting down. If there are any case fans check them also and make sure they are running
  10. MeSue

    MeSue Legend

    Oct 7, 2007
    Is the PC set to restart after a system failure? If so, you can change this in system properties > Startup and recovery. Then, if it is caused by a system problem, you can see the blue screen error message to write down some information and research it.

    I would also suggest you look at the Event Viewer logs to see if it gives you any clues.
  11. scuba_tim

    scuba_tim Godfather

    Sep 23, 2006
    I wouldn't think it should overheat in a matter of minutes (though yes, check that all fans are spinning. Could also be bad RAM or hard drive issues.

    Check the System Event log (control panel...Admin Tools..Event Viewer) and look for any errors there. I've had a bad sata cable cause read/write errors that caused the system to reboot. This will show up in the log.
  12. TBoneit

    TBoneit Hall Of Fame

    Jul 27, 2006
    Fans, Dust buildup in the CPU heatsink, Run hard drive diagnostics available from most drive makers websites. Power supplies are inexpensive try another one. A undependable security cam system is useless.

    Feel the case, is it warm to the touch?

    A often overlooked culprit is the Video card fan if it has one. If that fan dies or is clogged......

    It gets overlooked because it is on the bottom of the video card and not really visible.
  13. Richard King

    Richard King Hall Of Fame

    Mar 25, 2002
    Wow... thanks guys for all the advice. Time has been short lately so I haven't had time to do anything since posting, other than to bring the offending machine home with me. I hope to dig into it (figuratively) in the next day or two, maybe even this evening. Keep 'em coming.
  14. glennb

    glennb Hall Of Fame

    Sep 21, 2006
    The OP said he's gone thru 2 UPS units already in his first posting of the thread.
  15. fmcomputer

    fmcomputer Legend

    Oct 14, 2006
    Sounds like a hardware problem. Check the motherboard for blown or leaking capacitor's.
  16. Richard King

    Richard King Hall Of Fame

    Mar 25, 2002
    I brought the computer home and it has been sitting here running for 8 days with no problems. Of course, I don't have the 4 cameras hooked up to it but I can't believe that they can be the problem, but who knows.
  17. deltafowler

    deltafowler Duplicate User (Account Closed)

    Aug 28, 2007
    Although the most likely source of your trouble is written right there on the front of the thing (Compaq), there are some things you can do to narrow it down.

    First, if you haven't already done so, make sure that the fans are running and that they and the heat sinks are free of dirt and debris.

    Then you can dive into these links.

    Event Viewer

    Disable Auto-restart on Failure

    Diagnostics Utilities:
    These may help to pinpoint problems while you have it at the house by putting through some challenging tasks.

    Burn-in and Other Tests

    Windows Memory Diagnostics

    Remove unwanted and unnecessary software:

    Sounds like the machine is there to do a very specific job, so disable everything it doesn't need to be running in the background.

    Autoruns Tool

    Remove anything not needed to do the job you want it to do.

    Crash Debug and Analysis

    Check the power settings and make sure it's set to never go to sleep or hibernate.

    Plan B:
    Backup data and restore the PC. It probably has a restore partition on it (F10 when booting).
  18. dbconsultant

    dbconsultant Hall Of Fame

    Sep 13, 2005
    Temecula, CA
    You have a white PVC door on your computer? Well, there's your problem!

    Sorry, Richard, I couldn't resist!:lol:
  19. Richard King

    Richard King Hall Of Fame

    Mar 25, 2002
    :lol: I should have known better (sounds like a Beatles' song). :lol:
  20. dbconsultant

    dbconsultant Hall Of Fame

    Sep 13, 2005
    Temecula, CA
    Always glad to help!:icon_an:

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