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Vista restarts randomly - no BSOD


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#1 byte007

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:47 PM

Greetings to you at Bleeping Computer. Starting approximately May 6th I started getting random restarting; the screen just goes black and it restarts. The frequency of this has increased. Two days ago it got to the point where it would restart, come up and restart again - it kept repeating this - after this looped about 6 times in a row I pressed the power button to shut it down. I researched random Vista restarts and saw a suggestion about removing one stick of RAM and trying this to see if it improved the situation. I removed 1 of my 4 sticks of RAM and it did make it work more reliably, but I am still seeing approximately 2 random restarts a day. (Prior to removing that stick of RAM I was seeing about 6 random restarts a day). I have also seen "Startup Repair" multiple times and had to run System Restore - this can help but it doesn't eliminate the problem. This is a very frustrating situation and I would greatly appreciate your help! 



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#2 RevGAM

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 10:23 PM

Does your system have, either in the utilties provided by the manufacturer within Windows, or in BIOS, a memory testing feature?  If so, I suggest you may want to start there to see if one or more sticks is defective.  Please post the results here when you're done.  If you need help with this, let us know.


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#3 dc3

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 10:00 AM

I would suggest removing all but one module and see if the problem persists.  If it does remove that module and try another.

 

If the problem doesn't persist with the one module try it in the different slots to be sure that they are working properly.

 

You should then run Memtest86.

 

 
1) Please download the Memtest86 Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO file.
 
2) Unzip the downloaded memtest86 file.  You will need a program like 7-Zip to unzip this file.
 
3) Inside, you will find the memtest86 file.
 
4) Please download and install ImageBurn.
 
5) Insert blank CD into your CD drive.
 
6) Open ImgBurn, and click on Write image file to disc.
 
ImgBurn1_zps715cb1c2.png
 
7) Click on the Browse for a file... icon:
 
ImgBurn2_zpsaea72ba9.png
 
8) Locate the memtest86 file, and click on the Open button.
 
9) Click on the blue arrow to start burning bootable memtest86 CD.
 
imageburn11_zpse44f577b.png
 
10) Once the CD is created, boot from it, and memtest will automatically start to run.  
 
Please note:  It may be neccessary to change the boot order in the BIOS so the CD/DVD-ROM is the first device in the boot order and the hdd second.
 
Each pass consists of 8 tests, it is suggested that you run at least 7 passes, this will take several hours, you may find it simpler to let it run overnight.  The longer you run the passes the more comprehensive the results will be.
 
If you are running multiple modules and have a failure, remove all but one module and test it separately, continue this with each module till you find the one that failed.  
 
When you discern that a module is good, use it to test each slot to be sure there isn't a problem with one of them.
 
When the test is complete a display similar to the one below will appear.  Note the locations of the Pass and Errors, any Error is indicative of a failed module.
 
memtest1_zps7be717f5.png

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#4 byte007

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 12:30 PM

I used 'HP Hardware Diagnostic tools (Powered by PC-Doctor)' . I ran 'Memory test' and 'Memory Stress test' - passed both tests. These tests were run with my 3 remaining sticks of RAM. 

I will follow dc3's instructions and I will get back to you.



#5 byte007

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 10:57 AM

I removed all but one module and I still get random restarts. I tried using different modules and still got random restarts.

I ran Memtest86 on each module individually - every module passed with at least 7 passes. I even had random restarts during the running of Memtest86 - this happened with different modules in different slots.

 

OBSERVATIONS AND NOTES:

I have noticed that in general the longer the PC has been running, the more frequent the random restarts; could this be an issue that is made worse by heat?   Heat sink and interior of PC are clean, all fans working properly.

 

I had the side cover off on my PC, I barely brushed the wiring with my hand and it restarted. Could there be a loose connection or an intermittent connection problem ?

 

NOTE: I have had an error that I get about half the time when the PC comes up; this has been happening for at least 6 months. The error is:  "Error - System Fan has failed !  Service PC to prevent damage to the system.  Press F2 to continue".

Of course the first time I saw this I replaced the fan on my Processor (even though it was still working - and I still got the error with a brand new fan). I also researched it on the internet and found that it could be a faulty sensor causing the error.

 

In the past I had problems with my start button; I would have to press it hard and sometimes a few times to get it to start. Just about the time that I was thinking about replacing the button, the problem stopped happening. This was at least 6 months ago.

 

I think I've listed all the possible Demons that I've thought of.

What are your thoughts ?



#6 wpgwpg

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 11:26 AM

 Have you checked the temperatures?  I use SpeedFan but there're others.  If your cores are getting above 50 degrees C, that could be your problem.  If your computer's over a year old, you need to clean the dust out using a can of compressed air.


Everyone with a computer should back his system up to an external hard drive regularly.  :thumbsup:

#7 dc3

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 11:45 AM



1)  I had the side cover off on my PC, I barely brushed the wiring with my hand and it restarted. Could there be a loose connection or an intermittent connection problem ?

 

2)  In the past I had problems with my start button; I would have to press it hard and sometimes a few times to get it to start. Just about the time that I was thinking about replacing the button, the problem stopped happening. This was at least 6 months ago.

1)  I would suggest that you turn the computer off and disconnect and reconnect all of your connections.

 

2)  The start button is a momentary switch.  This is like the old door bells which would ring as long as you had the button pressed.  You can check this out by using a multimeter set to Ohms, then place one probe on each of the two header pins for the switch and then press the button.  The needle should zero out if there is good continuity.

 

You can use the following instructions to determine if there is a problem with either the PSU or the start switch.

 

 
 
The purpose of this procedure is to bypass the motherboard to test the PSU.
 
When a computer begins the boot process the motherboard initiates the start up of the PSU. Because of this it is difficult to determine whether the problem is with the motherboard or the PSU when a computer shows no signs of starting up. The purpose of the procedure is to determine if the problem is with the motherboard or the PSU.  For safety purposes please follow the instructions step by step.
 
Caution:  Since it will be necessary for your computer to be on during this procedure, you need to be aware that you will be working with live 12Volt DC potentials, which if handled improperly may lead to electrical shock.  The risks are minimal, but are there nevertheless.  If you are uncomfortable doing this procedure I would suggest  you not try this.  Anyone using this tutorial will be doing so at their own risk. 
 
There are electronic components inside the case that are very susceptible to electrostatic discharges. To protect your computer, touch the metal of the case to discharge yourself of any electrostatic charge before touching any of the components inside.
 
This test is for ATX form factor PSUs. Some manufacturers use non-ATX form factor PSUs with 20/24 pin connectors that do not have the same pinout as a ATX form factor PSUs.
 
Notice:  Dell desktop computers with the Pentium ll and lll porcessors with 20 pin connectors, the Precision 410 and the Dimensions 8100 with the 24 pin connector all have non-ATX form factor pinouts.
 
First, shutdown your computer. Then unplug the power cable going into your computer.  To reduce the possibility of any shock press and hold the power button for thirty seconds to discharge any capacitors still holding a charge.
 
The connector of the PSU which connects to the motherboard is readily recognizable by the large number of wires in the bundle.  To disconnect it you will need to press on the plastic clip to disengage it and then pull the connector up and away from the motherboard.  Please take notice of the location of the locking tab and the notch on the socket of the motherboard, this will only connect one way as it is keyed.  This wire bundle will have a memory of the way it has been installed and will want to bend back that direction, you may have to play around with it to find a position that the connector will stay in the same position while you run the test.
 
th_main24index.jpg
 
From the top left to right the pins are 13-24, the bottom from left to right are 1-12.
 
Below are the pinouts for the 20 and 24 pin ATX form factor connectors.
 
atxpinout_zpsfe72bf61.png
  
Please notice that there are PSUs with 24 pin and 20 pin connectors, the location of the green wire in the 24 pin connector is #16, and the green wire in the 20 pin connector is #14.  If you look at the connector with socket side facing you and the clip on the top the number one pin will be on the bottom left corner.  This makes the pin out for the 24 pin connector from left to right 13-24 on top, and 1-12 on the bottom.  The pin out for the 20 pin connector from left to right is 11-20 on top , and 1-10 on the bottom. If you look at the connectors you notice that these are sockets that fit over the pins on the motherboard where the PSU cable attaches, this is where you will place the jumper.  For a jumper you will need a piece of solid wire about the size of a paper clip (20-22 awg), preferably a wire with insulation.  It will need to be large enough to fit firmly into the socket so that it will not need to be held in place while testing.  You are at risk of electrical shock if you are holding the jumper when you power up the PSU.  Insert one end of the jumper into the socket of the Green wire, and insert the other end into the socket of any Black wire.
 
Once the jumper is in place plug the cord back in. If the PSU is working properly the case fans, optical drives, hdds, and LEDs should power up and remain on.  I would suggest that you not  leave this connected any longer than is necessary for safety purposes.
 
To reconnect the 20/4 pin connector unplug the power cord, remove the jumper, and reconnect the connector. Take a moment at this time to make sure that nothing has been dislodged inside the case.

Edited by dc3, 02 June 2014 - 11:45 AM.

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#8 byte007

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 10:57 PM

I downloaded and ran "SpeedFan"   Highest Temp was 45C.       Fan1 2098 RPM      Fan2 821 RPM.

 

I followed the "disconnect and reconnect" connections. The start switch is not accessible, but it seems to be working fine.

 

I followed the "Place Jumper between the green wire socket and any Black wire socket. When I did this the only fan that worked was the Power Supply fan; the Processor heat sink fan and the case fan did not work. I tried 3 different Black wire pins but had the same result. With the wiring harness plugged in place these two fans run.

 

NOTE: after I reassembled my PC ( with all 4 RAM modules) and started it up, it was up for a few minutes and it didn't restart by itself like it normally does - this time it just powered down and did not restart. I had to press the power button to get it to start up again.

 

I haven't had any experience with a bad power supply; could my power supply be failing? Or would that be an "It either works or doesn't work" situation?   



#9 byte007

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 10:26 AM

UPDATE - I was monitoring Speedfan last night and I noticed that at times I was seeing temps of 50C, I think the highest I saw was 52C. The Processor Heat sink fan has a 3 speed switch that was set to M (medium), I switched it to H (High) this increased the RPMS from 2098 to 2732 - so far this is keeping the temps below 50C.

I did get a random restart this morning.



#10 dc3

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 03:11 PM



I downloaded and ran "SpeedFan"   Highest Temp was 45C.       Fan1 2098 RPM      Fan2 821 RPM.

 

I followed the "disconnect and reconnect" connections. The start switch is not accessible, but it seems to be working fine.

 

I followed the "Place Jumper between the green wire socket and any Black wire socket. When I did this the only fan that worked was the Power Supply fan; the Processor heat sink fan and the case fan did not work. I tried 3 different Black wire pins but had the same result. With the wiring harness plugged in place these two fans run.

 

NOTE: after I reassembled my PC ( with all 4 RAM modules) and started it up, it was up for a few minutes and it didn't restart by itself like it normally does - this time it just powered down and did not restart. I had to press the power button to get it to start up again.

 

I haven't had any experience with a bad power supply; could my power supply be failing? Or would that be an "It either works or doesn't work" situation?   

As it explains at the beginning of the tutorial, this is used to determine if there is a problem with the motherboatd/power switch or the PSU not starting.

 

Using the jumper you were able to start the PSU, that is all this portion of the test is suppose to do.  With this we now know that the PSU is starting.  When the 24 pin connector is disconnected you are not expected to have any power to the motherboard except where the 12V connector for the CPU is connected.  That is why there were things that weren't working.  Other power connectors like the ones to you optical drive, HHD, SSD come straight from the PSU, so those will have power as well.

 

If you have a multimeter with a 12V DC range you can use the instructions below to test the different rail voltages.

 

 
Reading Desktop PSU Rail Voltages
 
Caution: Please read this before continuing.
 
 
* Since it will be necessary for your computer to be on during this procedure, you need to be aware that you will be working with live 12Volt DC potentials, which if handled improperly may lead to electrical shock. 
 
* There are electronics inside the case that are very susceptible to electrostatic discharges. To protect your computer, touch the metal of the case to discharge yourself of any electrostatic charges before touching any of the components inside.
 
* If you are not comfortable doing this procedure, then I would suggest that you not use this tutorial. The risks involved are minimal, but are there nevertheless. Anyone who uses this tutorial will be doing so at their own risk.
 
 
There are two devices commonly used to read the rail voltages: a PSU tester, and a multimeter. 
 
The PSU tester is the easiest to use since all that is necessary is to plug the different connectors into the tester and read the results on the LCD display. The problem with most of these is that they only perform a pass/fail test.  They will not provide you with actual voltage readings.
 
There are a variety of multiple meters, but this tutorial will address Analog and Digital multimeters. The advantage of these meters is that you will be able to obtain accurate real time voltage readings.
 
For those of you who wish to know more about multimeters there is an excellent article in Wikipedia.
 
 
Analog Multimeter
 
th_analogedited.jpg
 
 
An Analog multimeter is a little more complicated to use. Both Analog and Digital multimeters need to be set to the appropriate voltage, but with an Analog multimeter, you will need to choose the voltage range and must read the proper scale. 
 
The Analog multimeter uses a needle display which moves from 0 across the scale until it reaches the voltage being tested. This multimeter has five major linear divisions with multiple scales to read a variety of ranges. An example would be three different ranges. The first is graduated in increments of 0 through 5, the second, 0 through 10, and the third, 0 through 25. Each of these ranges are subdivided into divisions that are graduated into tenths. In order to read 12 volts the 0 through 25 range would be the appropriate one. 
 
Because DC voltage has positive and negative potentials this device is polar sensitive, this means that if you reverse the two probes when reading a positive DC voltage it will read as a negative voltage. This is actually necessary to read negative DC voltages. The two probes are differentiated by their color, Black (negative), and Red (positive). To read a positive DC voltage, the correct probes must be used with their corresponding potentials (positive to positive and negative to negative). 
 
With the probes being used normally to read a negative DC voltage, the needle moves from the 0 to the left, "pegging" the needle. By reversing the probes you can properly read the negative voltages.
 
Digital Multimeter
 
th_digitalmeteredited.jpg
 
 
The Digital multimeter (DMM) is much simpler to use. As was mentioned previously, you will need to set the appropriate voltage. One of the advantages is that the DMM has an LCD display with a numeric readout, so there are not any multiple scales to read. Another advantage is that most DMMs are autoranging when reading voltages, which means that you will not need to set the range with these DMMs. A DMM will read both positive and negative DC voltages and display them correctly. When reading a negative voltage, a minus sign will appear on the display before the numeric value. This still is a polar sensitive device, so you will still need to use the positive and negative probes with their corresponding potentials. 
 
There are five different DC rail voltages which are color coded. The Black wires are always negative.
 
Yellow +12VDC
 
Blue -12VDC
 
Red +5VDC
 
White -5VDC
 
Orange +3.3VDC
 
There are only three voltages that can be measured easily without disconnecting the 20/24 pin connector from the motherboard: +12V, +5V, and +3.3V.
 
The +12V and +5V voltages can be read from a four pin Molex power connector.
 
Four pin Molex power connector
 
th_250px-Molex_female_connector.jpg
 
 
The same voltages can be taken from a four pin SATA power connector, but in order to read the +3.3V you will need to read this from a five pin SATA power connector as seen below.
 
Five pin SATA power connector.
 
th_sata-power-cable.jpg
 
To read these voltages you will need to insert the Black (-) probe into any of the black  sockets, and insert the Red (+) probe in the different colored voltage sockets.   To read the voltages from a SATA power connector it is easiest to insert the probes into the bac k of the connector where the wires enter.  Unfortunately the sockets of the modular SATA power connectors are not accessible from the back, so the readings will need to be made from the socket side.  Some probes are going to be too large to fit in these sockets, so you may need to insert a piece of wire into the socket of which you want to read the voltage of and place the probe on this for your reading.  To reduce the potential of creating a short I would suggest taking the ground potential from another connector so that the two wires will remain physically separated.
 
Caution:  It is very important to make sure that you don't allow the two probes to touch each other when taking the voltage readings.  This will cause a short which could damage the PSU or other components.
 
To get accurate readings of the rail voltages it is important that there be a load on the PSU. In order to do this I would suggest downloading Prime95 for this purpose. This program was designed to be used by overclockers to put a full load on the RAM and CPU to determine the stability of their overclocking.  Because of this it will put stress on the CPU and RAM which will create higher than normal temperatures.  For this reason I would suggest not running this program any longer than is necessary.  I would also suggest that an inspection be made of the interior of the case to make sure that there isn’t an accumulation of dust which would impede adequate cooling.  Pay special attention to the heat sink and fan assembly on the CPU.  If there is a dedicated graphics card with a fan installed on it, look at this fan as well.      
 
 
Readings should not have variances larger than +/- five percent.  
 
Maximum.........Minimum
12.6V.................11.4V
5.25V.................4.75V
3.47V.................3.14V

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#11 byte007

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:38 PM

I tested the rail voltages and they were within specs. I had printed the instructions, moved my PC tower to a table where I could have better access for checking the voltages. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that you wanted "Prime95" downloaded until I reached that part of the instructions. So the voltages that I got were without a load on the PSU. I ran out of time for this evening. My apologies. I did read CNET's  review of Prime95; here is some of CNET's Info:

 

"Prime95's setup wizard offers two distinct choices: Join GIMPS, or Just Stress Testing. We started with Just Stress Testing. A pop-up wizard labeled Run a Torture Test appeared. Tools like Prime95 stress your PC by running calculations at maximum power. The test gives several options, including tests that include very little or lots of RAM, or a blend of the two, and the results give a clear picture of your PC's performance, including processor speed and other data critical to overclocking.

We could specify the number of test threads to run as well as configure a Custom test. In the Advanced menu you can specify tests by exponent, time, and other factors; the Options menu accesses not only the Torture Test features but also a Benchmarking tool, CPU options such as when and how long the tests will run, and Preferences, including the option to play a sound if it finds a new Mersenne prime (the project has uncovered 13 since 1996). Like the GIMPS tool, some of the advanced features require a free PrimeNet account.

We ran a variety of benchmarking and stress tests on our system. Tests can be very brief or run continuously for true torture testing. Prime95 displays results in a split log view that can be customized in a variety of ways as well as copied, saved, and edited."

 

 

How should I configure Prime95? (Please be specific) To run continuously?  If continuous, how long can I safely run this while trying to get rail voltage readings? Is this safe for my system given what's been going on?



#12 dc3

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Posted 05 June 2014 - 09:22 AM

It really shouldn't matter since you are not going to be running this for any real length of time.  This is only meant to place a load on the PSU in order to produce more accurate readings.  If the readings were close to not meeting the minimum specifications then it would be important to place a load on the system.  If the readings were well within the proper variances I would believe that the PSU is running properly.

 

If you do need to run this I would suggest you use the Just Stress Test.


Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#13 byte007

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 04:37 PM

Sorry it took me awhile to get these readings while running Prime95, but here are my results:

11.97 V,  5.19 V, and 3.39 V - All within secifications.

Note: Core temps got up to 56 C during test - I only ran it for as long as it took me to take the readings twice (about 1 to 2 minutes).

PC stayed up during test.

I did have about 4 to 5 random restarts prior to testing today.

Thank you for hanging in there with me and for all of your help so far.   I appreciate your patience and your expertise.



#14 dc3

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 09:01 AM

Please download and install Speccy to provide us with information about your computer.  When  FileHippo opens, click on Download latest version in the upper right pane.
 
When Speccy opens you will see a screen similar to the one below.
 
speccy9_zps2d9cdedc.png
 
Click on File which is outlined in red in the screen above, and then click on Publish Snapshot.
 
The following screen will appear, click on Yes.
 
speccy7_zpsfa02105f.png
 
The following screen will appear, click on Copy to Clipboard.
 
speccy3_zps1791b093.png
 
In your next post right click inside the Reply to Topic box, then click on Paste.  This will load a link to the Speccy log.
 
 

Please download and install Speccy to provide us with information about your computer.  When  FileHippo opens, click on Download latest version in the upper right pane.
 
When Speccy opens you will see a screen similar to the one below.
 
speccy9_zps2d9cdedc.png
 
Click on File which is outlined in red in the screen above, and then click on Publish Snapshot.
 
The following screen will appear, click on Yes.
 
speccy7_zpsfa02105f.png
 
The following screen will appear, click on Copy to Clipboard.
 
speccy3_zps1791b093.png
 
In your next post right click inside the Reply to Topic box, then click on Paste.  This will load a link to the Speccy log.
 

Family and loved ones will always be a priority in my daily life.  You never know when one will leave you.

 

 

 

 


#15 byte007

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 09:14 AM

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/JfAWz6QERuuHwPw1rpHRoSL

 

 

Link to Speccy Info.






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