The symptoms you describe could be symptomatic of a variety of things to include hardware/software issues, overheating caused by a failed processor fan, bad memory (RAM), failing or underpowered power supply, CPU overheating, motherboard, video card, faulty or unsigned device drivers, CMOS battery going bad, BIOS and firmware problems, dirty hardware components, programs hanging or unresponsive in the background, and even malware. If the computer is overheating, it usually begins to shutdown/restart on a more regular basis.
Some rootkits can trigger BSODs, shutdowns and various stop error/shutdown messages so it would also be wise to perform a scan for this type of malware. If you are experiencing a lot of crashes and not finding anything in Event Viewer or from troubleshooting the error messages, then perform an anti-rootkit scan to at least investigate that as a possible cause
Before performing an ARK scan it is recommended to do the following to ensure more accurate results and avoid common issues that may cause false detections.
Note: Not all hidden components detected by ARKs are malicious. It is normal for a Firewall, some Anti-virus and Anti-malware software (ProcessGuard, Prevx1, AVG AS), sandboxes, virtual machines and Host based Intrusion Prevention Systems (HIPS) to hook into the OS kernal/SSDT in order to protect your system. You should not be alarmed if you see any hidden entries created by these software programs after performing a scan.
- Disconnect from the Internet or physically unplug you Internet cable connection.
- Clean out your temporary files.
- Close all open programs, scheduling/updating tasks and background processes that might activate during the scan including the screensaver.
- Temporarily disable your anti-virus and real-time anti-spyware protection.
- After starting the scan, do not use the computer until the scan has completed.
- When finished, re-enable your anti-virus/anti-malware (or reboot) and then you can reconnect to the Internet.
If you're not finding any malware then its sounds like the latter problem. When was the last time you cleaned the inside of your computer?
Dust restricts the airflow and prevents proper cooling. This in turn can cause overheating and faulty processor fans which can result in unexpected shutdowns, random restarts, booting problems, etc. If If you use a notebook, they get dirty too and need to be cleaned.
- Clean out the vents on the computer with a can of compressed air to ensure that they are not clogged with dust.
- Unplug the computer, open the case and clean out any dust and debris you find inside. Be careful not to aim the compressed air directly at the circuit board or electronic components.
- Check all the electrical connections and make sure the fans are all operational.
- Remove the cards and RAM modules, clean the contacts and reseat them.
- Check the heat sink on the processor to ensure it is not blocked with dust or debris.
- Remove the CPU's cooling unit and clean the fins on the heat sink that sits under the CPU with a can of
- Feel the CPU heatsink when it powers down. It should be warm to very warm but not hot.
- Inspect the thermal compound between the CPU and heat sink as it can deteriorate over time so. You may need to remove it, scrape away the old thermal gel that makes contact with the processor, then apply a very thin coat of fresh thermal gel on the surface and fit the heat sink back in place again.
- Monitor the temperature of your CPU, motherboard, hard disks, voltages, and fan speeds.
• Cleaning the Interior of your PC
• Getting The Grunge Out Of Your PC
• Curing Laptop Overheating
• How to Clean Common Computer Parts and Devices
• Video: How to Clean your notebookNote: Some video cards can generate such intense heat while playing games with high quality graphics that they require a separate cooling system. If the fan fails, the video processor will not be far behind and your system may start crashing. If the video card needs replacing, see "Illustrated How to Replace an AGP Video Card"
When Windows XP detects a problem from which it cannot recover, it displays Stop Error Messages
which contain specific information that can help diagnose and resolve the problem detected by the Windows kernel. An error message can be related to a broad number of problems such as driver conflicts, hardware issues, read/write errors, and software malfunctions. In Windows XP, the default setting is for the computer to reboot automatically
when a fatal error or crash occurs. You may not
see the error code because the computer reboots too fast.
An easier alternative is to turn off the automatic reboot
feature so you can actually see the error code/STOP Message when it happens - this is also known as the Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD).
To change the recovery settings and Disable Automatic Rebooting
, go to Start > Run and type: sysdm.cpl
Click Ok or just press WINKEY + Pause/Break
keys to bring up System Properties.
Vista users can refer to these instructions: How To Disable the Automatic Restart on System Failure in Windows Vista.
- Go to the Advanced tab and under "Startup and Recovery", click on the "Settings" button and go to "System failure".
- Make sure "Write an event to the system log" is checked and that "Automatically restart" is unchecked.
- Click "OK" and reboot for the changes to take effect.
Doing this won't cure your problem but instead of crashing and restarting you will get a blue diagnostic screen with an error code
and other information to include file(s) that may be involved which will allow you to better trace your problem. Write down the full error code and the names of any files/drivers listed, then provide that information in your next reply so we can assist you with investigating the cause.