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Pc Randomly Shuts Down, Says Invalid Configuration Information (sometimes)

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#1 Karissa


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Posted 19 August 2006 - 12:41 PM

I run with a Dell Dimension 4600C, with Windows XP version 5.1.2600. Lately, my computer has taken to shutting down. But it doesn't shut down and start up again. The computer turns itself off, but the computer indicates that power is still going to the machine. I can't start the computer up without unplugging the CPU from its power source (an APC SurgeArrest outlet bank) and waiting for at least a minute so it won't shut down on me again.

Usually the computer will shut down as soon as it's rebooted once I've done this. I've taken to restarting the computer normally to prevent it from shutting down for at least twenty to thirty minutes.

Most of the time the computer will just run normally after the shut down (until it shuts down again). At other times it gives me a DOS message saying there's 'invalid configuration information' and it gives me the chance to run setup. I ran setup once, but didn't change anything.

Is this a RAM problem or a hardware problem? I'm inclined to say it's XP doing this, but I'm computer illiterate and have absolutely no idea what to do about this.

I appreciate any help you can give me! Thanks!

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#2 rubiconeye


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Posted 20 August 2006 - 03:42 AM

this could be an overheating prob, how long does your computer run from cold till it shuts down? can you monitor the cpu, case temps?

also, to check your ram try this?


good luck

#3 Enthusiast


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Posted 20 August 2006 - 06:16 AM

Boot into safe mode (start tapping F8 as soon as you turn the power on and before Windows begins to start)

Choose "Last Known Good Configuration"

See if that resolves the 'invalid configuration information' issue.

Download Everest Home Edition from oldversion.com
You will find it in the utilities section.

Everest Home Edition (the successor of AIDA32) is a system information and benchmarking tool with full hardware & software information available as freeware for the individual user. It comes with a built-in hardware database and physical information for CPU, motherboard, hard disks, optical drives, chipset and much more. The information can be displayed on-screen, printed, or saved as a report in HTML or text format. The built in diagnostics module can help you find potential problems, by highlighting them in the report and also includes links to manufacturers web sites, driver updates and more. An easy to use report wizard allows you to create detailed reports in the format of your choice.

Get version 1.51 which is the last freeware version that includes the software module which lists all software installed on your computer and provides all the license key numbers a great tool which has been deleted from all successive freeware versions.

Download here from the Utilities section:

Once installed, look and see what the temperatures are for your processor and look what it tells you about the fans.

When was the last time you opened and cleaned the inside of the computer?
Dust blocking the fans, especially the one on your processor can cause overheating problems.
Use canned air to clean off the dust - be careful not to allow the fans to overspin by blocking them with something like a pencil while you blow the air on them, and be careful not to loosen any of the cables or connections inside.
Static electricity can kill many of the components - ground yourself by touching the metal frame before you touch anything inside (with the power off of course but with the power cord connected so it has a ground)

#4 usasma


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Posted 20 August 2006 - 09:09 AM

This is just a hunch - but the DOS type message suggests to me that this might be a problem with the system's BIOS or motherboard.

First thing to try is replacing the CMOS battery (a common cause for this error message). Unplug the system from the wall, remove the battery - then go to WalMart and pickup another battery (about $1.50). By the time you get back the CMOS will have cleared itself of any temporary settings that may have caused this. Install the new battery, that will enable it to retain any further setting changes that are made. IBe sure to ground yourself on the metal case before touching the inside of the computer).
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#5 Karissa

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 10:03 PM

Thank you very much for the help!

It turns out the computer's surge protection was short circuiting due to the plug-in connected to the electrical socket being chewed up by one of my puppies. I will take care of the invalid configuration problem, however. The surge protector has been replaced, and so far everything is looking good!

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