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Computer Spontaneously Rebooting


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#1 salvation79

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 05:50 PM

I found this thread while doing a search on this problem. Maybe relevant: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/52621/computer-spontaneously-reboots/

I have a Dell Dimension 4600 and am using Windows XP Home with Avast virus protection. I actually had this problem a couple of years ago and got some help in another forum. I don't think we ever really figured out what the problem was, but the last instruction I got was to remove some random file (I believe it was a temp file consisting of a bunch of letters and numbers). I deleted it and the problem stopped.

Back in October/November, I started having a bunch of new problems likely related to malware and my computer once again started spontaneously rebooting itself. I decided to reformat my computer and things have been running pretty smoothly since then, aside from the fact that I'm unable to put my computer in Standby without my Outlook Express having trouble reconnecting afterward.

Today, my computer started spontaneously rebooting itself again. The screen just turns black and it reboots. I don't even get the blue screen (Automatically Restart is already unchecked and has been for a while). I ran Spyware Terminator and MS Malicious Software Removal Tool and found nothing. I also checked the Event Viewer and didn't find any errors, just instances of everything being restarted at the times the computer reboots itself.

Please help!

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#2 Budapest

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 06:33 PM

This type of rebooting behaviour is often caused by your computer overheating. You can check your system temperatures with SpeedFan, which should give you an indication of whether your system is running too hot.

Also, I would recommend that you open your computer case and make sure all the fans are spinning okay and that there isn't an excessive amount of dust in there that would impede air flow. See the following Bleeping Computer tutorial for guidance on cleaning inside your computer.

Cleaning the Interior of your PC
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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#3 salvation79

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 06:50 PM

Thanks, I forgot to mention in my original post that both my power supply and temp are fine, so I suspect it's a software issue.

#4 Budapest

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 06:55 PM

Have a look in the Event Viewer for any errors at the time of the reboots.

To open the Event Viewer go to Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer. Alternately, go to Start > Run and type in "eventvwr.msc" (without the quotes) and press Enter.

Check in all the categories.

If you find an error that occurred at the time right-click on it and select properties. Copy the information in the window and post it back here.

How To Use the Event Viewer
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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#5 salvation79

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 07:03 PM

Thanks for the quick reply. I mentioned in my initial post that I checked the Event Viewer and there were no errors.

#6 Budapest

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 07:20 PM

In that case I would open up the case and check for loose wires and/or connections.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

—George Bernard Shaw

#7 Albert Frankenstein

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 06:11 AM

If not temp related, or malware related, then it may be hard to track down.

I suppose it is possible that you WERE infected, the infection has been removed, but issues related to it (damage) remains, which would require a reimaging of the machine. This would also explain why your scans don't find anything.

One time, when I worked for HP, we found a medical office that had all new HP equipment and they were having this exact same issue. I was sent out to see what was up. It turns out that they were still using their old DELL keyboards, and these were causing conflicts. Once they used the HP keyboards, no more issues. I suppose it would be easy and inexpensive for you to try a different keyboard and mouse and see if this issue goes away. Also, while we are at it, remove all other devices from the computer such as printers, external hard drives, etc. Run it bare bones for a while with a different keyboard and mouse and see if the issue goes away.

At least that is a place to start.

Let us know.
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#8 Ken-in-West-Seattle

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 09:04 AM

memory going bad (just a little bit bad can happen) is one I have run into on some graphics workstations.

Spontaneous reboots with no errors written.

Software usually writes an error in most cases.

#9 salvation79

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 09:14 AM

Thanks for the responses. The reason I suspect it's NOT a hardware issue is because I had this problem with this very same computer years ago, and then again last fall when I was infected with malware (and then reformatted), but resolved them both times for months/years before it happening again.

I'm going to try a few things today (making sure I have all of the most up to date drivers, changing keyboards, etc.), and will update again soon.

#10 Albert Frankenstein

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 09:19 AM

Well, you are correct in that there are several potential causes for this issue. Keep troubleshooting by following my advice, and running memory tests as Ken-in-West_Seatle is indicating. It is easier to rule out hardware than it is software. Pretty much if you can't find malware, then the only way to rule out software is by reimaging the machine.
ALBERT FRANKENSTEIN
I'M SO SMART IT'S SCARY!


Currently home chillin' with the fam and my two dogs!


#11 salvation79

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 11:12 AM

Okay, it's not the keyboard or mouse. I'm attempting to check the memory, but maybe you can help me out here. I'm trying to use http://www.memtest86.com/ but when I download "ISO image for creating bootable CD" it gives me instructions for creating a floppy disc (which I can't do because the floppy discs I have aren't working) instead of a CD. I can't make heads or tails of the readme.txt file.

Can you recommend a better way to check the memory or help me figure out how to use this one?

#12 frankp316

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 12:05 PM

That site is obsolete and has been replaced by this.






http://www.memtest.org/

#13 salvation79

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 02:52 PM

I ran the memory test and it found no errors. I also double checked the HD temp using SpeedFan and it's 38C.

Two more things I'd like to do that maybe someone can help with:

1. Spyware. I've run Spyware Terminator, Spyware Doctor (IntelliScan, not full scan) and MS Malicious Software Removal Tool so far. Are there other ones I should download and try?

2. Drivers. I ran MyDrivers 5 and it gave me a list of about 7 drivers that could be updated, but I was only able to download one of them. Is there a better way of making sure my drivers are updated? (In another thread related to a Standby issue I was having, someone told me to update my video driver. Could this be related? And what's the best way to do that?)

Edited by salvation79, 04 February 2010 - 03:25 PM.


#14 Albert Frankenstein

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 03:55 PM

It isn't necessarily HP temp we are concerned with, it is CPU temp.
ALBERT FRANKENSTEIN
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#15 Budapest

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 04:17 PM

Malwarebytes is a good free anti-spyware scanner.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

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