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Computer Turns Off During Start-up


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#1 Bryan Campbell

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 07:18 PM

I have a real head-scratcher here and would like to get some fresh opinions on what to do.

I have an Acer that over the last few years I've cobbled together a variety of different parts so its less Acer and more Best Buy / Fry's assorted products.

The other day my wife clicked on Yes to install IE 9 as part of the Windows Update process.

As the machine rebooted, it began to start turning off shortly after displaying the bios and sometimes the Windows launch bar.

Since the entire computer was turning off I suspected this was hardware related. So far I've:
  • tried a different video card
  • installed a new power supply
  • pulled the memory stick by stick
  • tried booting from each of the two hard-drives (I pulled the power from each of the hard-drives to force Windows to load from one or the other)
  • tried booting from the CD-ROM directly.

I continue to get the same result, the machine turns off after it tries loading Windows. So now I'm thinking this might be a software problem but the fact that the entire computer turns off is a bit surprising. I suppose it could be a virus but I run the latest McAfee protection suite.

Any suggestions or troubleshooting tips would be greatly received and appreciated.

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#2 caperjac

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 08:13 PM

try going into safe mode [hitting f8 on bootup .if it goes into safe mode and keeps running ,go to control panel / programs /check to show all windows updates ,and uninstall the ie9 one ,worth a try ,good luck

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#3 Bryan Campbell

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 10:04 PM

Thanks for the reply... unfortunately when I try and go into Safe Mode the computer completely turns off after about a minute of trying to load Windows. Somtimes it gets a little further than others...prob the furthest its gone is the actual blue splash screen just before the logo displays. I actually think the hard-drive is gone and I'm since I'm trying to load Windows off of a Vista Upgrade CD it probably can't access all the files it needs.

Edited by Bryan Campbell, 20 May 2011 - 10:55 PM.


#4 Broni

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 11:25 PM

Run hard drive diagnostics: http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=287 (or http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=28744&hl=hard+drive+diagnostic)
Make sure, you select tool, which is appropriate for the brand of your hard drive.
Depending on the program, it'll create bootable floppy, or bootable CD.
If downloaded file is of .iso type, use ImgBurn: http://www.imgburn.com/ to burn .iso file to a CD (select "Write image file to disc" option), to make the CD bootable.
For Toshiba hard drives, see here: http://sdd.toshiba.com/main.aspx?Path=ServicesSupport/FujitsuDrivesUSandCanada/SoftwareUtilities#diagnostic

Note : If you do not know how to set your computer to boot from CD follow the steps HERE

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#5 Bryan Campbell

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 10:41 AM

Thanks Broni, I'll give this a try and let you know how it works out.

#6 Broni

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 11:13 AM

OK :)

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#7 Bryan Campbell

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 05:35 PM

I downloaded the Seagate tools for my 1TB Barracuda. The good news is that after doing a detailed test there were no errors found on the drive. However, I still have the same problem, the computer simply turns off after a few minutes when trying to load Windows. I've never seen anything like it... no BSOD, or reboot... it completely shuts off. Today I was able to run the Win Vista repair utility to the point that I was selecting a restore point and it shut down again. When I try and boot directly I now receive a message saying "DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER. I'm wondering if the Boot Sector zero has been damaged.

#8 Broni

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 06:05 PM

I downloaded the Seagate tools

Was it a tool running from within Windows, or an .iso file to be burned to the CD?

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#9 Bryan Campbell

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 11:00 PM

It was an .iso file I burned to a CD... I just can't get into Windows... the whole computer shuts down after a few minutes at some random spot. The real problem I'm facing is that I can't get the Windows repair to work from the CD. I might be grasping at straws but it seems like the Master Boot Record is corrupt since I'm getting a "DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER" message when I let the computer boot directly to the hard-drive. I'm going to try a Windows Recovery Disk and see if that helps.

#10 Broni

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 11:22 PM

Yeah, that's not the easiest error to track.
Possible causes:

- problem with IDE port of motherboard
- failing cable
- incorrect BIOS boot order
- failing BIOS battery
- bad RAM, including bad contacts (try to reseat RAM)
- corrupted/infected MBR
- viruses, rootkits

...probably more

Do you have Windows disk?
What Windows version is it anyway?

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#11 caperjac

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 04:32 AM

It was an .iso file I burned to a CD... I just can't get into Windows... the whole computer shuts down after a few minutes at some random spot. The real problem I'm facing is that I can't get the Windows repair to work from the CD. I might be grasping at straws but it seems like the Master Boot Record is corrupt since I'm getting a "DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER" message when I let the computer boot directly to the hard-drive. I'm going to try a Windows Recovery Disk and see if that helps.


this is the time i would try a live linux just to see if computer will run without shutting down right away ,if you don't have one ,ubuntu has a live option .
http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download

Edited by caperjac, 22 May 2011 - 04:37 AM.

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#12 Bryan Campbell

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 01:06 PM

Thanks for the suggestions... I think I've narrowed this down to a software problem with Vista... I can run a repair/install on an old drive I swapped in that has XP on it but the machine shuts down when I try and install Vista. As it turns out I have some licenses for Win7 so I just burned a DVD and will try installing that, if not then I'll try the Ubuntu sugestion that Caperjac offered. Appreciate the suggestions on all of this btw.

#13 Broni

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 01:12 PM

It doesn't look like a software problem to me, but....keep us posted.

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#14 Bryan Campbell

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 01:32 PM

Well that failed too...the DVD loads for a few minutes then the whole computer shuts off again.

So here's where I am:
- replaced power supply with a brand new one and the machine still shuts off
- reseated and removed RAM sticks
- checked cables and have reseated all of them
- tried booting from both drives in the computer, disconnecting each one to see if it might be the drive
- ran the Seagate tools on my barracuda drive, apparently these check the MBR too, and this passed
- burned a Windows 7 upgrade DVD and tried installing that over Windows Vista

everytime the computer just completely turns itself off. However, if I leave the computer on the BIOS screen or load an app through the CD/DVD like the Seagate tools (which took several hours to run a long scan), there are no problems. This looks like its only affecting Windows so its a problem with Windows (which might mean this thread should be in a different forum!).

#15 Broni

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 01:36 PM

You haven't tried CMOS battery yet.

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