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PC cooling system appears to have been disabled.


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#1 dmburkus

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 08:46 PM

Hi!  I have been having problems with my PC shutting down.

The machine's stats:  Windows 7 Ultimate + Service Pack 1 (32-bit O/S); Board: BIOSTAR Group TA780G M2+(Bus Clock: 200 megahertz; BIOS: American Megatrends Inc. 080014 01/14/2009); PROCESSOR: 1.90 gigahertz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 3600+; Installed RAM: 2 GB (Slot 'DIMM0' has 1024 MB, Slot 'DIMM1' has 1024 MB).  If something else is needed, please let me know.

The issue:  I have been having problems with the PC shutting down (crashing) randomly.  The machine has a display on the front of the tower that shows CPU temperature as well as fan function.   Sometimes after a crash, this display is black -- the display is shut off (no alarm sounds when the display is black).  And then, a day or so later (it seems to require the PC being shut down overnight -- though this does not always mean that the display will come on the next day; and sometimes it is disabled for a day, or even two), when I turn the PC on the display comes on, and everything is fine.  This morning when I turned the PC on, the display came on, but showed a CPU temperature of 20.0° C (which made me take note, since the room temperature was 27° C).  And, simultaneously, an alarm has been sounding since (perhaps to warn that the cooling system has been disabled) -- neither of these things have ever happened before.

     The data on the display has not changed, even though the PC has been running for a couple of hours, leading me to believe that the cooling system has indeed been disabled.  (When I noticed that the display was not working, I removed the cover and placed a high-speed fan next to the PC to keep it cool -- I should mention that I cleaned all of the dust off of the fans and other components sometime ago, and everything is clean now.)

 

     Recently, in an attempt to figure out what was wrong (running a series of scans under the direction of someone who should be qualified to assist with malware detection and removal showed the PC is theoretically malware free), I discovered that there may have been issues with two of the RAM (originally I had four installed -- two of them were 2 GB, and the other two were 1 GB -- and Memtest86 crashed when attempting to scan both 2 GB RAMs, so I removed them from the system; the two 1 GB RAMs scanned fine and without errors).

I can not figure out what has caused the cooling system to become disabled -- and frankly do not know where to start looking.  The incessant alarm is driving me crazy!

Any thoughts and suggestions would be very deeply appreciated.  Thank you for your time.

-- Daniel M. Burkus


Edited by dmburkus, 14 July 2017 - 09:04 PM.


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#2 jonuk76

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 10:02 PM

From the description I guess you have some kind of fan controller or at least a system monitor panel.  I used to have a digital Silverstone fan controller on an old PC.   This used temperature probes which you attached to various points around the case, and it directly controlled fan speeds according to the temperatures read.  Frankly, I never really got on with it, and as most recent motherboards have "smart fan control" which generally works better, they are redundant on most systems now.

 

The particular model fan controller I had, had an onboard clock, which used a CR2032 battery, and when the battery went flat, an alarm would go off all the time.... Might be worth checking.

 

Anyway, for a better look at what's going on with your PC with regard to temperatures etc., please download and run Speccy and publish a snapshot using these instructions. Please provide a link to the snapshot.


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#3 dmburkus

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 10:47 PM

Jonuk76, thank you very much for your reply.
 
I am working on the Speccy snapshot now.  But moving the .zip file from "downloads" to the desktop brought up another issue:  recently, whenever I try to move or rename a folder or (as in this case) a zip/rar file, I first get an error message:  "Item Not Found / Could not find this item / This is no longer located in _______.  Verify the item's location and try again."  The problem is that the file or container ALWAYS IS present in the location where it says it is not found.  And after I click the "Try Again" button, the action (whether moving or renaming) is performed.
 
The reason I bring this up is that about a year and a half ago I had a similar issue (PC crashing suddenly and inexplicably), but at that time there appeared a phantom A: drive.  Since the PC does not have a floppy-disk player installed, this was a perplexing issue.  When I finally found how to remove it (via the BIOS), the issue was solved (though without ever really finding out WHY the machine was crashing:  the sudden appearance of the phantom A: drive, like the crashing itself, were symptoms of another issue, and while removing the A: drive from BIOS solved the problem, it was a symptomatic cure rather than addressing the underlying issue, at least in my opinion).  Personally, I believed at the time that this was a problem related to Tumblr -- apparently when a blog that I wanted to inspect (usually belonging to someone newly following my own blog, which is concerned with scholarly translations) opened in my dashboard rather than in a separate tab (as I always choose to do -- though certain blogs for some reason override this and open in the dashboard), it seemed to me that some sort of malware was installed, and this is what caused the problem.  Though then, as now, nothing ever showed up on any of the malware scans.  Several days ago I decided to download all of my own blog entries (they opened in a separate tab), and this latest episode of shutting down started to happen just after that.  However, I can think of nothing I did yesterday that would have precipitated this new issue with the alarm/non-responding fan controller panel (the Speccy scan is in progress, but I note that while the display continues to say that the CPU temperature is 20.0° C, Speccy says it is 57° C).
 
I will leave you to think about this while I make the requested snapshot, and get back to you shortly.
 
-- Daniel M. Burkus
Mod Edit:  Merged posts - Hamluis.
The Speccy snapshot URL is http://speccy.piriform.com/results/KcS8DEerMA1esedZQuIZ4tx


 

Edited by hamluis, 17 July 2017 - 02:47 PM.


#4 dmburkus

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 11:12 PM

> From the description I guess you have some kind of fan controller or at least a system monitor panel.  I used to have a digital

> Silverstone fan controller on an old PC.   This used temperature probes which you attached to various points around the case,

> and it directly controlled fan speeds according to the temperatures read.  Frankly, I never really got on with it, and as most

> recent motherboards have "smart fan control" which generally works better, they are redundant on most systems now.

>

> The particular model fan controller I had, had an onboard clock, which used a CR2032 battery, and when the battery went flat,

> an alarm would go off all the time.... Might be worth checking.

 

I have several comments/questions about this:

 

- The PC is indeed an older model, which a friend of mine (whose help is no longer available, since I moved to the other side of the country) partly rebuilt in January of 2016.

 

- The panel (it actually seems to be a sort of mini-monitor) shows CPU temperature, along with several images of fans (which animate when the associated fan is running), and displays which seem to show how long each of the fans was running (in minutes and seconds), and a couple of what appear to be temperature graphics (semi-circles with concentric bands of green, yellow, and red)..

 

- The only battery that I can see on the motherboard is the round one for the clock.  (I unscrewed the mini-monitor so I could look at its sides, but it is a sealed plastic box with wires coming out of a hole in the bottom and the display on the front; nothing opens, so I doubt that a battery could be put in there -- at least not one that needs to be changed periodically.)  And the computer's clock (which is displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the screen) is still keeping good time (it has not deviated at all from my alarm clock which is automatically set by linking to the GPS satellite):  a while ago the clock's battery did die, but there was no alarm (the clock just went crazy, displaying weird times and so forth); though I can not recall if that was while I was having the issue with the phantom A: drive or not (when the phantom drive was present, the CPU temperature display did not light up at all).  I have an extra battery, so can replace it if needed (they sell two in a pack); but is this the battery you are talking about, or would it be somewhere else?

 

- I have never attached any probes anywhere, so...what do they look like?  There is a collection of wires snaking out from the bottom of the display on the front of the tower (only visible when the front of the PC is removed).  I trailed some of them to the fans, but do not know where the others lead.  (I had bilateral cataract surgery two years ago, and my eyesight is not really that good any more.)  The PC is a DaoKorea S19, a Chinese-Korean company (I am in South Korea now), which is probably a really bleepy company, but...

 

- I do not know if this motherboard has a "smart fan control," so would appreciate your instructions regarding where I might find this information (I would assume in the BIOS?), and how I might turn the one on (and the other one off, if that will shut off the alarm).  The PC is now swaddled in a blanket (with the high-speed room fan peeking out from underneath).  The necessity of giving the fan access to air precludes me from deadening the noise to a tolerable level.

 

     Anyway, thank you very much for your time.

 

 

-- Daniel M. Burkus


Edited by dmburkus, 14 July 2017 - 11:24 PM.


#5 jonuk76

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:06 AM

Thanks for the information and Speccy link.  I do think the CPU appears at 57 degrees c to be running a little hotter than it should be IF the system was not doing anything intensive at the time (i.e. if it was idling).  If it was doing significant work (e.g. if the computer was running some background task using a large amount of CPU resources at the time) then that temperature is OK.  Unfortunately as far as I know Speccy doesn't tell you the amount of load the CPU was under, so that's something you can check in Windows task manager.  The CPU fan speed is showing a reading  of around 3000 rpm, so at least that is indicative of the CPU fan operating.  BTW Speccy reads the motherboards and CPU's built in temperature monitors.  I don't think the 20 c figure you see displayed is real.

 

If the CPU heatsink is dusty, as is usually the case on older systems, it would be worth cleaning out with canned air.

 

Are there other case fans that you can see in the case? Commonly there is at least an exhaust fan to the rear of the CPU, and maybe others (e.g. intake in the front of the case).  And if so, the next thing to establish is are they running?

 

In the particular fan controller I had it's battery was actually located behind the display itself.  The controller was mounted in a 5.25" drive bay.  However I'm not at all certain of what this display you have is, it could be a fan controller responsible for running fans, or it may simply be a monitor, it may not have a battery, I'm just hypothesizing based on my own experiences.  What I mean by temperature probes is what looked like flexible copper strips in a plastic film, which were on the end of wires running to the fan controller. You attached these probes to say, the CPU cooler for the CPU temperature, or the top of a HDD for a HDD temperature etc.

 

I doubt this monitor/fan controlller is essential for the computer, and as it sounds like it's malfunctioning and reporting wrong temperatures, I'm wondering if it might be worth disabling it (disconnecting it's power) and if it is currently running any case fans, running them directly from the motherboard fan header instead.

 

"Smart Fan Control" (or whatever it's called by Biostar) if you have it would be in BIOS.  They vary a lot in their terminology, but usually there's a "Hardware Monitoring" section and within that you may have options to set the fans to different profiles like "Quiet", "Normal" "Performance" etc and how  it works is that it varies the voltage supplied to the fan header depending on temperature - with the aim of speeding up fans at high temperatures, and allowing them to run slower when it's cool.  Looking at the motherboard on Biostar's site, there are two fan headers on the board, one for the CPU fan, and one for a case fan.

 

I'm likely to be offline for a good few hours now, but I'll have another look later in the day, and of course if anyone else has any idea's no doubt they will chip in.


Edited by jonuk76, 15 July 2017 - 12:08 AM.

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#6 dmburkus

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 01:37 AM

Thanks for the information and Speccy link.  I do think the CPU appears at 57 degrees c to be running a little hotter than it should be IF the system was not doing anything intensive at the time (i.e. if it was idling).

If it was doing significant work (e.g. if the computer was running some background task using a large amount of CPU resources at the time) then that temperature is OK.  Unfortunately as far as I know Speccy doesn't tell you the amount of load the CPU was under, so that's something you can check in Windows task manager. The CPU fan speed is showing a reading of around 3000 rpm, so at least that is indicative of the CPU fan operating. BTW Speccy reads the motherboards and CPU's built in temperature monitors.  I don't think the 20 c figure you see displayed is real.

 
     The computer was working, since I was typing a reply.  As for whether other things were running, too, I do not recall.  Of course the 20° C figure is wrong -- no way that the PC could cool itself 7 degrees below room temperature with only fans to work with!
 
> If the CPU heatsink is dusty, as is usually the case on older systems, it would be worth cleaning out with canned air.
 
     I cleaned that thoroughly -- and everything else -- about a week ago.  It is still clean.
 
> Are there other case fans that you can see in the case? Commonly there is at least an exhaust fan to the rear of the CPU, and maybe others (e.g. intake in the front of the case).  And if so, the next thing to establish is are they running?
 
     There are two more, an exhaust fan on the back of the tower, and an intake fan in the side panel.  I removed the side panel so I could put the high-speed fan against the machine, so I had to disconnect that fan.  I did notice that the exhaust fan, which is still connected, does not seem to be working, however.
 
> In the particular fan controller I had it's battery was actually located behind the display itself.  The controller was mounted in a 5.25" drive bay.  However I'm not at all certain of what this display you have is, it could be a fan controller responsible for running fans, or it may simply be a monitor, it may not have a battery, I'm just hypothesizing based on my own experiences.  What I mean by temperature probes is what looked like flexible copper strips in a plastic film, which were on the end of wires running to the fan controller. You attached these probes to say, the CPU cooler for the CPU temperature, or the top of a HDD for a HDD temperature etc.
 
     No, nothing like that here -- no probes, and the only battery is the one that powers the clock.  (This motherboard is not very large, so everything is pretty easy to see; and as for the little display or monitor, as I said, it is sealed in a plastic box, and the only things on the outside are the display monitor and the wires coming out from a hole in the bottom.  The box can not be opened.)
 
> I doubt this monitor/fan controlller is essential for the computer, and as it sounds like it's malfunctioning and reporting wrong temperatures, I'm wondering if it might be worth disabling it (disconnecting it's power) and if it is currently running any case fans, running them directly from the motherboard fan header instead.
 
     Perhaps, since when the phantom A: drive manifested itself, the display was black, and so apparently not running.  In recent days I have noticed that when the display is black, the fans do not seem to work right, however -- and so the PC is more inclined to crash than when the display is working correctly (not just lit up, like now).
 
> "Smart Fan Control" (or whatever it's called by Biostar) if you have it would be in BIOS. They vary a lot in their terminology, but usually there's a "Hardware Monitoring" section and within that you may have options to set the fans to different profiles like "Quiet", "Normal" "Performance" etc and how  it works is that it varies the voltage supplied to the fan header depending on temperature - with the aim of speeding up fans at high temperatures, and allowing them to run slower when it's cool.  Looking at the motherboard on Biostar's site, there are two fan headers on the board, one for the CPU fan, and one for a case fan.
 
     I will give it a look, then.
 
> I'm likely to be offline for a good few hours now, but I'll have another look later in the day, and of course if anyone else has any idea's no doubt they will chip in.
 
     Fine.  Yes, I understand that you have to sleep!  Being on the opposite side of the world, more or less, tends to make it difficult to match with other people's awake time for much of the day.


Edited by hamluis, 17 July 2017 - 02:58 PM.


#7 dmburkus

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 04:56 AM

Good morning, Jonuk76.  Hope you had a nice rest!

 

I finished what I was working on, shut the PC down, and went into BIOS.  I found the "Smart Fan Control," which was turned off, and turned it on.  I also looked around and found another "Floppy" controller (which I do not believe was there back when the phantom A: drive appeared), which I turned off.  I shut down and did a couple of things to let the machine cool down.  When I eventually turned it on again, the alarm was gone, and it seemed to be working well.  However, apparently I spoke too soon:  when I decided to watch a movie, after about 10 minutes the PC crashed.  I suppose it overheated.  (In order to set the "Smart Fan Control," BIOS asked me to run a test, and plug the results into the parameters.  Perhaps, because of the room fan that I had blowing into the innards of the PC, the settings it suggested were too low?  Tomorrow morning, after it has cooled down over night, I think I will go into BIOS again and rerun the test without any exogenous cooling equipment, and see what it suggests then.  Hopefully that will be all that is needed -- but I will not know until tomorrow.)

 

Since you said you were going to look at the Speccy snapshot, please do so and see if you notice anything irregular -- because the other issue (with renaming or moving folders) also still remains.

 

Thank you very much for your time!  I hope you will have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

-- Daniel M. Burkus


Edited by dmburkus, 15 July 2017 - 05:33 AM.


#8 jonuk76

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 08:40 PM

Good morning, Jonuk76.  Hope you had a nice rest!

 

I finished what I was working on, shut the PC down, and went into BIOS.  I found the "Smart Fan Control," which was turned off, and turned it on.

 

Thank you Daniel, I needed it! 

 

That is the first step. You mention elsewhere that the case fans (or at least the exhaust fan) aren't turning.  In order for the motherboard to control the case fans, they would need to be wired to the motherboards System Fan header (I'm making the assumption they aren't already, because no system fan speed is reported in Speccy).

 

Here is what the fan header on a motherboard looks like (not your specific board):

 

Attached File  FanHeader.PNG   191.43KB   0 downloads

 

And here is the location of the header on your board:

 

Attached File  Fan_Location.PNG   24.18KB   0 downloads

 

The slight issue here is that you have two fans, and only one spare header on the motherboard.  A way around this is to use a "Y" splitter cable, which are inexpensive and widely available, for example on Amazon, Ebay or whatever is convenient to you.  Here is one as an example - https://www.amazon.co.uk/StarTech-Power-Splitter-Cable-TX3SPLIT12/dp/B002DY7M1G/

 

With the fans run from the motherboard, I believe you should be able to disconnect the power connector from the monitoring panel and this should stop the annoying alarm.

 

As for the file error messages you are getting, I don't believe these are hardware related, and are possibly an issue with the Windows registry.  Searching online, I found a reference to what sounds like the same problem, with some registry corrections suggested.  https://www.sevenforums.com/general-discussion/81527-need-help-unable-rename-move-folders-2.html#post711908

 

Registry edits are potentially hazardous to your system, so before attempting them, please review the whole thread I've linked to make sure the problem described is the one you have, and 1) create a manual system restore point, and 2) create a manual backup of the registry.

 

How to back up the registry
 
Before you edit the registry, you should make a backup (i.e.backup the current settings). 
Open the Registry editor.
On the 'Registry' drop-down menu, click 'Export Registry File'.
In the Export range panel, click 'All', then save your registry as Backup.
 
If you believe you may have a Malware infection, then I suggest creating a new thread in the "Am I Infected" section of the forum, I am unable to help with that.
 
Also I note there are a number of failures to install Windows 7 updates logged in Speccy.  Are there any still waiting to install?  
 
I would suggest running System File Checker to ensure all system files are intact.  You do this by opening an elevated command prompt (type cmd.exe into the start menu search box, right click the item found and choose "run as administrator").  When the command prompt opens, enter the command sfc /scannow (usually takes 10-15 minutes or so to complete checks).

Edited by jonuk76, 15 July 2017 - 09:28 PM.

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#9 dmburkus

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 12:44 AM

Thank you very much for your reply jonuk76.

 

A lot to do!  Now I understand the problem with the fans (I have been using the high-speed room fan to cool the innards of the PC since this morning).  Since I can not see anything on the motherboard unless I shut the PC down and then hold it up near my face (plastic lenses are a pain in the bleep -- avoid cataracts if possible is my advice), that will have to wait until later (I am in the middle of some other work right now).  I will also have to go to a PC center and see about the "Y" splitter cable -- I have an appointment near one on Wednesday morning, so will probably wait until then.  (I wonder what "Y-splitter cable" is in Korean...?)

 

Yes, the other may well be a registry issue.  The question was (and remains) how it came to be (since, as I said, it appeared simultaneously with the present problems, suggesting -- at least to me -- some sort of relationship in causality).  As I said, I did suspect a malware problem first (as I did when a similar thing happened a year ago), and so went to a forum for advice, and was guided through the scans by a professional.  And basically came away feeling like a total idiot -- since the recommended scans showed nothing, so I must be imagining things (basically was the response)....  I will think about whether I want to go through that again somewhere else, or just toss this PC in the trash and be done with it.

 

I think I ran an sfc scan recently, but there can be no harm doing it again.

 

As for the rest, it will probably take a couple of re-readings before everything sinks in (I am having some other, non-computer-related, issues just now), and I will attempt to apply your suggestions as soon as that happens.  Again, thank you very, very much for your time.  Please do have a great week!

 

 

-- Daniel M. Burkus


Edited by dmburkus, 16 July 2017 - 12:46 AM.





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