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Windows 7: Random restarts/shutdowns

03 Sep 2017   #1
rmadd101

Win7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Random restarts/shutdowns

I recently built myself a new rig and stripped my old one down to the bare essentials...

+ Removed standalone sound card in favor of the motherboard's (Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R) integrated audio.
+ Replaced big honkin' video card (PNY GeForce 8800 GT) with a smaller format one (Zotac GeForce GT 710 Zone Ed.) with slightly lower power consumption.
+ Removed one of two identical LG super multi DVD burners (the one that hadn't functioned properly in over a year anyway).

The aforementioned motherboard is still there, as are the PSU & hard drive w/ Win 7 Ultimate x64 (though I did remove a couple of additional HDDs.

My problem now is that the computer randomly shuts down (or very occasionally reboots); the amount of time before it shuts down again dwindles with each successive reboot--I just had it running for about 15' the first time I tackled it today, the next time it was maybe 5', then just a couple minutes on my most recent attempt.

Googling for answers has led me to a few potential conclusions:
1) Bad RAM? (I selected the memory diagnostic tool in Win7 to run upon reboot, which it did, then shut down after about 10 seconds)
2) Presence of a new device or drivers? (Video card is only thing new; I never did install drivers before I noticed the problem, but everything seems to work fine, graphics-wise, when starting up--problem is I basically have to wait until the first go-round tomorrow when I'll hopefully get enough time to try to install or roll back the driver version)
3) Bad PSU? (I just noticed today that the fan on the PSU doesn't work, but I really couldn't say one way or the other whether this just started or if it's been like that for months or years even... the oldest components in this build are 7 or 8 years old now, I think... not even sure how I'd go about testing or repairing this, or if I just need to spring for a new one)
4) Failing hard drive? (Easy enough to test out, as I've got an external drive docking station thing, but it's not making any funky sounds or giving me a BSOD)
5) Something else loose that I've missed triple-checking so far?

I'm leaning toward 2 or 3, possibly with the lack of air circulation inside the PSU causing it to hit a certain temperature and shut down; then it cools down briefly but the more it gets used, the less cool it gets, hence the ever-shortening duration between the next shutdown. Any thoughts?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Sep 2017   #2
TechnoMage2016

Windows 7 Ultimate, SP1, x86
 
 

You didn't say what CPU chip you're using, but when I looked up your motherboard on the net, it seems to be an Intel compatible board. Intel cpu's are notably temperature sensitive, witness the HUGE coolers common on Intel cpu's.
If your PC were sitting on my repair bench, (yes, I'm a PC tech) I'd remove the cpu cooler and clean it thoroughly and then apply new Thermal Paste to it and reinstall it. If that did not solve the problem I'd turn to the Main Power Supply. I might even remove the cover and look for bulging/leaking electrolytic capacitors. That's very common on older PC's. If there is any indication of a problem with the PSU, I'd immediately replace it, with one of 400 Watts or greater capacity. If you had a spare PSU, I'd connect it to your PC and see if that stops the problems.

Please keep us up to date on your progress.

Happy Labor Day Mate!

TechnoMage

PS: You might mention what CPU chip you're using and what brand name and wattage is on the label on your Power Supply.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Sep 2017   #3
rmadd101

Win7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Sorry for the incomplete info; you are correct, it's an Intel chip. Specifically the Core 2 Duo E8400 (3GHz). PSU is PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610W, so there's definitely enough overhead to run what I've got in there now (I've tried out a couple different calculators & they say I should be fine even with just a 300W unit).

I'll try reinstalling the CPU; out of curiosity, would the motherboard try to give me any warning codes if it knew the chip was on the verge of overheating? Mine doesn't have any LED display, just the beep codes, but I haven't noticed anything.

Either way, thanks for the quick response!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Sep 2017   #4
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

You mentioned "I selected the memory diagnostic tool in Win7 to run upon reboot, which it did, then shut down after about 10 seconds"
It seems that you may have a bad memory.

Memory tests takes hours, not seconds. To insert or take out the memory stick, it isn't enough to shut down the computer. The power supply must be unplugged from the wall for more than 30 seconds.

It also can be by CPU over temperature.
On BIOS, is the CPU temperature alarm enabled? Set it to 80C.
Is the CPU fan alarm enebled?
Do you have a hardware monitor? I use this Open Hardware Monitor - Core temp, fan speed and voltages in a free software gadget
Set to show one core at task bar.
Set it to start with windows.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Sep 2017   #5
rmadd101

Win7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Cleaned off & reapplied thermal paste--shutdown still occurred after about 10 minutes.

I had the video card driver & Open Hardware Monitor that Megahertz07 recommended loaded on a flash drive, ready to install, but Windows took a little longer to load an old backup I'd made, and once that loaded, for whatever reason it took a while for the USB's drivers to load, such that it wouldn't recognize the flash drive until about 45 seconds before the shutdown occurred.

I'll double-check on the RAM next time, as well, but I'm pretty sure it was all loaded properly & recognized all four sticks I have in there. I'm no expert, I admit, but I'm inclined to think it's an overheating issue. When I last messed around with this a couple months ago, I was trying numerous times to restart after it shut down, and each time I had less and less time, until it wouldn't even make it to the BIOS loading screen and I could do absolutely nothing. It sort of reminded me of the series finale of Phineas & Ferb where the time loops become progressively shorter, if you've ever seen that.

Before I crack open the PSU to look for melted and corroded things, is there a way I can test it separately from the PC? I came across a support item on HP's website that suggested using a paper clip to connect the PS_ON green wire to a black ground wire on the 24-pin connector. I can hear it turn on, but since the fan doesn't work and there's no nifty light on my PSU like HP says theirs have, I don't think I have any safe/reliable way to check to see if it's shut off after 10 or 5 or 2 minutes (short of touching the paperclip, I suppose). Thoughts/suggestions?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Sep 2017   #6
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Unless you have a sub dimension ed heat sink, I don't think is shuting down by overheating.
On BIOS, is the CPU temperature alarm enabled? Set it to 80C.
What is the temp showed on BIOS?
Is the CPU fan alarm enabled?

Open hardware monitor doesn't need to be installed. You can run from the USB flash disk.
I have expanded to C:\Program Files (x86)\HardwareMonitor. Run the exe file and on options tab select to run on startup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Sep 2017   #7
Mellon Head

Win 7 Pro x64/Win 10 Pro x64 dual boot
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by rmadd101 View Post
I came across a support item on HP's website that suggested using a paper clip to connect the PS_ON green wire to a black ground wire on the 24-pin connector. I can hear it turn on, but since the fan doesn't work and there's no nifty light on my PSU like HP says theirs have,
Which fan doesn't work? If it's the PSU fan, your PSU could be overheating and causing shutdown. There would be your problem right there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2017   #8
rmadd101

Win7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Megahertz07 View Post
Unless you have a sub dimension ed heat sink, I don't think is shuting down by overheating.
On BIOS, is the CPU temperature alarm enabled? Set it to 80C.
What is the temp showed on BIOS?
Is the CPU fan alarm enabled?

Open hardware monitor doesn't need to be installed. You can run from the USB flash disk.
I have expanded to C:\Program Files (x86)\HardwareMonitor. Run the exe file and on options tab select to run on startup.
Got in to BIOS, CPU temp was already at 90C and climbing, turned on alarms for both the PSU & CPU fan. Set the alarm for 80 as suggested. About 2 minutes in, shutdown.

Decided to take everything out so either the chip or PSU could cool down, and I wasn't entirely confident I'd fully reattached the heatsink/fan properly (I don't ever remember having as much trouble with that as I did yesterday & today, and it worked fine for 7 or 8 years with my first attempt--which had been the first time I'd ever assembled a computer, to boot). Took everything apart, made absolute certain the fan was seated properly, then let it sit for a good hour while I attended to other things.

Came back, reassembled the entire rig, turned it on, and almost immediately, an alarm starts sounding. Unfortunately, I can't tell whether it's the PSU or CPU, and something is preventing the computer from even booting, so I can't get in to BIOS to even monitor the CPU temp.

So, I guess at this point, we can safely assume it's either the CPU overheating, or the PSU.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2017   #9
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Unless you have a huge overclock, the CPU at 90C isn't normal. Or the heat sink isn't attached well or the air flow isn't on the right direction.
Check if the CPU heat sink is attached well to the MoBo.
" turned on alarms for both the PSU & CPU fan." Is the PSU fan connected to the MoBo? Normally the PSU fan is driven directly by the PSU.

My suggestion is to reset the BIOS and program it again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2017   #10
rmadd101

Win7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Okay, I reset BIOS by removing the button cell battery and was able to monitor CPU temp for about 2 minutes before shutdown occurred. Never got above 43C.
The mobo has 3 fan headers other than for the CPU fan. One with four pins labeled System, and two with three pins apiece labeled as System and Power. Thing is, I don't recall ever having plugged in the PSU for the fan, but it almost certainly worked at some point in the past... just not now. The digital copy of the PSU's manual that I have makes no mention of having to power it {in the only install step that mentions fans, it refers to "other components (i.e. fans and controllers)"}. Plugging the four pin connector attached to the PSU in to one of these three doesn't even allow the computer to turn on; unplugging it and trying again, it turns on fine (albeit without the PSU fan spinning, and the obligatory shutdown after a couple minutes).

So... I guess I can call this solved, with a dying PSU as the culprit?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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