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System Randomly Shuts Down and Restarts + other issues


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#1 digitaldraco

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 10:26 AM

Processor Manufacturer: Intel
Processor Type: Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.66 Ghz
Operating System / Service Pack: WindowsXP with SP3
System RAM: 2GB
Video Card Manufacturer: Nvidia
Video Card Model: Geforce 8800GT
Video Card RAM: 512 megs
Video Card Driver Version: 182.50
Sound Card Manufacturer: Realtek
Sound Card Model: ?
Sound Card Driver Version: 5.10.0.5404
Power Supply: Earthwatts 430W

Problem Description: My story begins months ago. After a year or so of flawless performance, my computer begins to have an issue where it will randomly shut down or restart on me with no warning. I could be in the middle of playing a resource-heavy game, or just surfing the web. Doesn't seem to matter. The system will do one of 3 things:

1. Shut down. This requires me to push the power button to get it back on again.
2. Restart. The system shuts down and then starts itself back up again.
3. "Soft shut down". The system turns off, but not completely because my monitor doesn't show the little message that it usually does when the tower is completely off and pushing the power button doesn't start it up again. Usually I have to wait for a minute or two before it will let me start it up again.

More recently, new issues have cropped up. I had a fully updated version of Neverwinter Nights 2 running smoothly on my machine. I have an uninstalled copy of Storm of Zehir (an expansion pack) sitting on my bookshelf, and I decide I'd like to install it.

During my attempt to install SoZ, the computer crashes and restarts.

I am unable to uninstall due to the failed install, and unable to complete the installation. So, reluctantly, I manually uninstall the game according to directions I found here on the forums. I then attempt to reinstall NWN2. Computer crashes again. Rinse. Repeat.

At some point, I decide that I might as well just reinstall Windows. Maybe that will help my odd system behavior.

Long story short(er), this does not go well. Along the way through four attempted installs, Windows either will not install properly, does not see my HD as a viable disk, makes my Windows partition my E drive instead of my C drive, or boots just fine.

Currently, my disk is functioning. Windows is fully updated. Earlier yesterday, Windows claimed it did not see any drive installed.

Whenever I get the system/hardware to a workable point and attempt to update NWN2, it crashes. I tried installing NWN2 and then installing SoZ without running the updater. It installs SoZ, and the crashes while patching.

If I try to run the updater first (after playing the game and saving after a couple minutes, per the forums advice), it freezes and fails, leaving either an unusable game or preventing me from further attempts to update. I have even tried downloading the patch separately and installing offline. Still freezes.

Whenever my drive starts showing up as unrecognizable as a boot disk, it seems to be related to a failed NWN update.

While waiting to figure out this issue with NWN, I decided to re-install World of Warcraft.

I tried to install from my CDs first, and the install froze and crashed. I then downloaded the installer, and it has now frozen at 2%. I force the computer to shut down because it becomes unresponsive and start the installer again. It gets up to 4% and then freezes and crashes the system again.

However, I have safely and easily installed other programs like the Flickr Uploadr, the WotC D&D Character Builder, Tweetdeck, AVG anti-virus, Firefox, Thunderbird, and iTunes.

I've checked the BIOS and SpeedFan stats and occasionally I'll catch my CPU operating at 60-90. So, maybe this is an issue too?

Also, I use anti-virus (AVG) and anti-spyware (SpyBot, AdAware) to keep my system clean, so I don't think that's a problem.

What the heck is going on?





P.S. Apologies if this is posted in the wrong place. I don't know if this is a hardware or a software issue.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 11:32 AM

For me...the obvious thing to do would be to check the condition/status of the hard drive, using the correct respecive HD manufacturer's diagnostic. Disappearing drives seem to be a clear indicator to me.

Then I would move on to worry about overheating possibilities.

As for Windows making the boot partition E: rather than C:, that cannot happen without great assistance from the human. If the system reflects one hard drive attached properly...and 1 optical drive attached properly...and the user is conducting this operation with a Microsoft XP CD...the install software has no option but to make the first/only partition C:.

If other drives of any type or other partitions exist on the hard drive used...the install apparatus will see them and account for them accordingly. Which may result in the situation depicted by you.

Louis

#3 digitaldraco

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 08:32 PM

First, thank you for taking the time to reply!

For me...the obvious thing to do would be to check the condition/status of the hard drive, using the correct respecive HD manufacturer's diagnostic. Disappearing drives seem to be a clear indicator to me.


I ran a diagnostic with Seagate's diagnostic tool, using a boot CD. It came up with several errors, but I'm not very familiar with this, and was not sure how to go about repairing the errors.

As for Windows making the boot partition E: rather than C:, that cannot happen without great assistance from the human. If the system reflects one hard drive attached properly...and 1 optical drive attached properly...and the user is conducting this operation with a Microsoft XP CD...the install software has no option but to make the first/only partition C:.


My hard disk setup is thus: one 500GB ATA drive partitioned 100/400 with the 100GB partition being my usual C drive/Windows partition and the 400 GB partition for large programs/games and my "My Documents" directory. Another 500GB ATA HD that I use for back-up and media. A 1TB external USB drive for redundant back-ups. While trying to install Windows the second time, the Windows install disk presented the C drive as E, the E drive as C. It even went as far as to designate the second internal HD (what it was calling 'C' at the time) as my "system" disk, with the E disk (my usual 'C') as the "boot" disk.


UPDATE I
I left my computer today running the WoW installer, as it seemed to be working. I came back to a black screen with this message:

"Windows could not start because of a computer disk hardware configuration problem.
Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware.
Please check the Windows documentation about hardware disk configuration and your hardware reference manuals for additional information."


UPDATE II
I disconnected the second 500GB HD, and the computer booted just fine.

I downloaded and ran SeaTools for Windows, and ran a quick test on the drive. The results...

Short drive self-test - FAIL
Short generic test - PASS

Edited by digitaldraco, 16 July 2009 - 09:02 PM.


#4 hamluis

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 09:14 PM

Hmmm, not good.

I never use the short test for anything...the long/extended test is a better indicator of the drive status.

But...if if failed the short, I'm pretty sure it will fail the extended/long test.

As for repairing errors...some can be repaired, some cannot. The diagnostic should indicate what type of errors and if they can be resolved (I think).

You can sometimes do a low-level format to overcome certain drive situations. The Seagate utility should provide that as one of its functions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_formatting

Time to purchase a new drive, I'm afraid...but get confirmation (from the test) before doing so.

Louis

Just to be sure...both of these drives are Seagate drives?

#5 digitaldraco

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 09:52 PM

Hmmm, not good.

I never use the short test for anything...the long/extended test is a better indicator of the drive status.

Time to purchase a new drive, I'm afraid...but get confirmation (from the test) before doing so.


I ran the long test using the boot CD and ran the long test, got about 30-40 failures there, too. Better a new drive than a new processor, which is what I was afraid was causing the random shut-downs.

Just to be sure...both of these drives are Seagate drives?


Yes, they are both the exact same Seagate model, Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3500630AS.

#6 hamluis

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 10:16 AM

Well...large, fast drives are now the norm...and prices could not be better, IMO.

FWIW: You might read the comments at http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822148136

I don't buy any particular brand of drives (I think that's foolish) and I have an assortment of different manufacturers' products. I typically go with lowest price, although I think highly of Seagate drives (at least...I did until I read those purchaser comments).

Examples: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822148136 AND http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/ca...t=4&Recs=10

Louis

#7 digitaldraco

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 11:19 AM

Well...large, fast drives are now the norm...and prices could not be better, IMO.


Yeah, it's still expensive for me, with my current budget, but the OEM drives are a good $30 (give or take) cheaper than when I built this system, so at least there's that.

I tried using SeaTools to zero the drive and then repair any errors it found, but it's still giving me problems with Windows not seeing it as a viable disk when I run the installer.

I'll probably go with a Western Digital drive this time.

#8 digitaldraco

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 01:30 PM

Just checked, and my HD is still under warranty. I'm requesting a replacement through Seagate. Much more affordable!

Thanks for the advice, Louis!

Edited by digitaldraco, 19 July 2009 - 01:33 PM.


#9 gocards22

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 01:45 PM

I've checked the BIOS and SpeedFan stats and occasionally I'll catch my CPU operating at 60-90. So, maybe this is an issue too?


That sounds a little high for that CPU. Is it the E7300? It sounds like your having heat issues, which could cause your HD to fail as well. I'd check out all your system fans, cpu fan, power supply fan, video card fan, etc. Fans are relatively cheap. I'd reseat your CPU as well and apply new thermal paste and see what kind of temps you get. Also check your voltages in your BIOS and make sure they are set correctly.

If this is not your cup of tea, then take it to a local repair shop. If it is heat issues, you may very well just damage another HD.

Is this a custom built PC?

Edited by gocards22, 19 July 2009 - 01:59 PM.


#10 hamluis

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 03:24 PM

Keep us posted :thumbsup:.

Louis




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