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Help, my computer just won't shut down

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 4, 2011 8:54 AM PDT

Help, my computer just won't shut down

Hello, I have an HP DC5700 desktop running Windows 7 and when I shut it down after about 6 seconds later, it will start itself back up. The only way to keep it shut down is to unplug it. Also while the computer is on and I leave it alone for about 10-15 minutes, the screen goes dark and then the computer will start to beep. I then have to unplug it and plug it back in; then when I push the start button it will resume Windows. Someone suggested that I reinstall Windows as it was a corrupt install. I did and it did not correct the problem. I'm hoping that someone might give me some information to help me correct this. Thank you to all out there in the CNET community for being there to answer my question.

- Submitted by Kimberly B.

If you have a suggestion or solution for Kimberly, click on the reply link below and submit away. Please be as detailed as you can when providing a solution for her. Thanks!
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Is your button actually set to shut down?
by Acaykath / November 4, 2011 11:05 AM PDT

It sounds like your computer is set to restart when the power button is pressed rather than shutting down. Right click on the start menu and select properties. One of the options in the start menu tab is what to do when the power button is pressed. This setting should be set to "Shut down".

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Power Supply
by webstajon / November 4, 2011 11:30 AM PDT

I had a similar problem, I would shut the computer down, lo and behold 5 minutes later it would be running again.
I tried everything, setting the button to actually shut down,etc. I eventually tracked the problem down to a faulty power supply,I replaced it with a new one and no further problems.

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(NT) Power Supply
by 293,692,076,921 / November 11, 2011 8:39 AM PST
In reply to: Power Supply
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Hardware issue
by rje49 / November 4, 2011 11:36 AM PDT

I had a similar problem recently with my new desktop. In my case, it came with a USB 3.0 port, although I don't have any 3.0 devices at the moment. But I was a few USB 2.0 ports short, so I unpluged and removed the USB 3.0 PCI card and replaced it with a 5-port USB 2.0 PCI card that I had used in my "old" computer. I didn't realize it at the time, but that's when the problem started; just as you explained, anytime you "shutdown", it would re-start seconds later. And no, re-installing the OS didn't change a thing. Finally, I decided it would be a good idea to return everything to it's original state. When the USB 3.0 card was replaced, everything was fine. SO, my advice is to look at any hardware modifications you may have recently made.

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by sdmitch16 / November 11, 2011 4:40 AM PST
In reply to: Hardware issue

Couldn't you plug usb 2.0 stuff into a usb 3.0 port instead of replacing the port?

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Yes, but
by rje49 / November 11, 2011 7:37 AM PST
In reply to: USB 3

My new Dell XPS 8300 has two USB 3.0 ports, one in front and one in back; still not enough. I just made do by not keeping everything plugged in all the time. I've used a 4 into 1 USB 2.0 powered adapter plugged into the rear 3.0 port, but just like with my old computer some devices don't work right (that's why I went with the PCI card).

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Windows 7 Restarting Sounds Like a Hardware Problem
by High Desert Charlie / November 4, 2011 12:01 PM PDT

Hi Kimberly,

There could be a few reasons for your spooky shut downs and restarts. Since you already re-installed Windows 7, I'm going to eliminate most software problems up front. It's unusual to have a corrupt install of Windows 7 but it does happen (rarely).

One thing you should do while your computer is off is to check the power button for proper operation. Sometimes a power button gets stuck in the "turning on" position and it causes all kinds of weird problems. With the desktop unplugged, simply click the power button a couple of times to see if you feel the button engaging and releasing properly. There should be a distinct click when the power button is pressed and it should return to its original position immediately. I know this sounds trivial, but HP desktops are famous for broken power buttons. You should also check your power supply to be sure it's set to 115V (if it has a switch). If it's set for 220V it can cause these problems. (WARNING! Please read darrenforster99 reply here in regards to switching power supply voltage). I should also mention that these desktops only came with a 240Watt Power Supply and it's possible that the power supply is failing.

Assuming all is well with the power button, I would move on to the RAM (Memory). Sometimes when RAM is not properly seated or possibly bad, it can cause the kind of problems you described. Remove the side cover on your Desktop, remove and then reseat each stick of RAM. If the problem continues, you should run a memory checking program or the built in startup memory diagnostics to be sure your memory is sound. Bad Memory can make your computer do just about anything. There are a number of memory checking programs available on CNET. I prefer MEMTEST 86.

Before proceeding I would try to be certain that you have downloaded ALL Windows 7 Updates. All of them. I would also take a look at my device drivers to see if they are all installed properly. Simply Right Click on My Computer, Select Manage, Select Device Manager. There should be no Yellow or Red Warning Signs indicating bad or uninstalled drivers. You should also listen to be sure your desktop isn't overheating. The give-away for overheating is usually a very loud fan running constantly. You should be able to place your fingers on the heatsink over the CPU while the system is running. It may feel very warm which is okay, but if it's hot, overheating could be your problem. You'll need to remove the heatsink, clean, and re-apply thermal paste between the heatsink and the CPU. Actually, of all possibilities this could be the easiest fix!!!

If the memory tests good, drivers look good, you're not overheating, the power supply is set to 115V and you're still experiencing the same problem, I'd take a look at the BIOS.

Press Start and Type-> System Information, then select it from the menu pane.

Scan down the list and see which version of BIOS is listed for your system. Then go online to HP, enter your model number in the Search Bar, and find the drivers and downloads for the DC5700. There may be a more specific model number on your desktop as they made many different configurations. Make sure you select the right one. Make sure you're looking for Drivers and Downloads for Windows 7. I recommend you download and save the chipset drivers and the BIOS if it is newer than the one that was listed in your System Information earlier.

I must warn you that YOU DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!

Given the unexplained shutdown problems you're experiencing it is possible, but not very likely, that your computer could shut down during a BIOS Update. IT IS POSSIBLE THIS COULD RENDER YOUR MOTHERBOARD UNUSABLE.

I realize this seems like it's a lot more complicated than it should be. The truth is that it is complicated. As you have seen here, there are several factors that could be effecting the unexplained shutdown of your computer. Regarding the spooky start-up after shut down, again it points to the power supply, but could also be connected to the Setup BIOS program. You should get into set-up on start-up and find the place that instructs the BIOS what to do after an unexpected shutdown. Make sure it's set to keep the desktop OFF.

I hope somewhere in these ramblings you can find a kernel of wisdom for your ailing desktop. Good Luck.

Note: This post was edited by a forum moderator to add warning on 11/11/2011 at 4:13 PM PT

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by darrenforster99 / November 4, 2011 8:02 PM PDT

Re: "High Desert Charlie" - I notice in your post you advise Kimberley to change her power supply to 115v without checking which country she lives in. Please remember this is an international board and Kimberley could live anywhere in the world.

If you live in the US yes High Desert Charlie is right your PSU should be set to 115v

However if you live in certain other countries, such as the UK

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES lower the voltage to 115v. Check what your mains voltage is for your country or else you could blow your PSU.

In the UK our mains is 240v AC.

There is a full list of all countries here and what your voltage should be

But as long as you bought your tower from the country you are using it in, it should have been preset to the correct voltage and should not be altered.

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Thanks Darren--good to know. I've added...
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 11, 2011 2:13 AM PST

your warning into Charlie's post to warn others to check before proceeding.

Thanks again!

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Additional Recommendation
by MisterSpok / November 11, 2011 10:30 AM PST


All of High Desert Charlie's recommendations are great. I would add a few more. Since one of the symptoms is the monitor screen going dark, check to see that your monitor data cable is firmly attached at both ends. Also check to see if your computer has a separate video adapter, and if that adapter has a fan and heatsink on the video processor. If a fan is present, make sure the fan is turning quickly enough for the individual blades to be a blur when the computer is running and make sure that the heatsink and fan are not clogged with dust. (Also make sure the heatsink and fan on the CPU are not clogged with dust.)

If the fan is not turning or turning slowly, it will have to be replaced if you can uninstall the existing fan and find a replacement. This can sometimes be a challenge with video adapters. If replacing the fan is not feasible, you'll have to replace the video adapter.

If the fan and heatsink are simply clogged with dust, get some canned air and blow out the dust. While using the canned air, be careful to keep it in pretty much a vertical position so that only gas comes out of the nozzle. If the can is tilted too much while depressing the trigger, the liquified contents will be forced out of the nozzle. This liquid may damage electronic componenets. Also wrap a paper towel around the can. As the liquid inside the can vaporizes, the outside of the can will become very cold and can cause frost bight.

That's all I have to offer. I wish you good luck with finding and fixing your computer's problem.

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To add to MisterSpok is make sure the video-graphics
by LucJPatenaude / November 11, 2011 12:14 PM PST

card has plenty of power for its own proper functioning. An expansion card above the standard 512Mb of video-graphics card will require a much bigger PSU in wattage capacity. My newest card of 1Gb+ does require that the machine has a 400watt and higher PSU.
Other than that, yes it is a power consumption setting in the Windows 7's power management's feature filled options. These options will auto. re-configure your machine's behaviour and, obviously, will create these anti-shutdown situations.
Check what kind of computer case do you have. I was told that I bought a mid-tower type of an HP Pavilion of a triple core machine and, after searches through sellers of computer cases(parts) for a better PSU included into them, I found out that my machine had a Mini-ATX case. Which in turn, comes with a minimal of a 180watt PSU up to 240watt PSUs for pre-built machines by makers such as Acer or HP. I found out, also, that there on the parts market Mini-ATX cases sold with PSUs of 400watt and even, 450watt. So, yes, it turns out that my machine's mainboard is an uATX mainboard sized one. Made especially for Home sized desktop machines such as a space non taking one as a Mini-ATX case. It still acts as full size ATX mainboard though. Fully expandable and has plenty of DIMM slots for way more RAM with a single slot for a x16 PCI-Express card for upgrading the video-graphics processing power of such small sized mainboard(came with only 256Mb of a video-graphics chipset onto it).
Good Luck to Kim. B. on these annoying reboots. Does not mean that these, becoming quite common situations, will not affect any of us. It is, only, a matter of time.

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Help, my computer just won't shut down
by tvaz123 / November 11, 2011 3:37 PM PST

Your problem is most likely a hardware problem for the computer turning itself off and on. I had a similar problem a few years ago with my computer (emachine) but not the same operating system. It was the power supply that was defective. I replaced it and never had the problem again. The monitor problem I have never experienced and I don't know if swapping out the power supply will resolve it, but it should resolve your shutting down problem. Good Luck Tony

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Good Answer!
by Michael Smith / November 11, 2011 9:50 PM PST

Outstanding compilation of possible answers; I can relate particularly to the stuck power button suggestion.

In the mid-1990s I had exactly this problem on a Gateway tower . . . way before I learned enough to even look for the problem. The issue dogged me for over a year, until I finally started tearing into the hardware - the back of the on/off switch had been touched with something very hot, probably a soldering iron.

The whole issue started to build my PC confidence, i.e., I now build PCs for family and friends.

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by mattd--2008 / November 28, 2011 3:53 AM PST

I had this exaxt problem. When the screen went blank the PC would not turn off. While I was on a remote support call the remote tech took control of my system and my screen went balnk but he could see my desktop. The solution was to replace the video card. Problem resolved.

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Help, my computer just won't shut down
by raydreamr / November 4, 2011 12:28 PM PDT

There is a setting in Win7... what to do after a power outage or power reset (something) I believe the default option may be to simply restart windows.

Look for that, un check it, and be happy (I suspect though, there is some other setting (perhaps in the bios of the machine) that is set wrong. like the power butto being set to reset instead of power down, or the buttons on the box plugged into the wrong spots on the motherboard...

I hope you find it

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Restart on "failure"
by Ted-T / November 4, 2011 12:28 PM PDT

My recollection is that there is an option to restart on error or not restart on error. Yes, it occurred in my XP system several years ago with a bad graphics card, but only on shutdown of all things. In my case there was a driver issue that could not be overcome even though I had a running commentary with the supplier's tech team. Finally, I said I don't have time to debug an issue and I purchased another graphics card.

Suggest a review of the event log to see what "errors" were detected and recorded.
How To Disable the Automatic Restart on System Failure in Windows 7

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Bios On Failure Settings
by rod156 / November 4, 2011 1:11 PM PDT

It may be the BIOS that is forcing the restart. Try shutting down the desktop, and as soon as you see the HP Boot Logo, press F10 to go to the Setup Utility. The following steps show how to turn off the "After Failure" restart which is done by the BIOS after a power failure.

Once you see the BIOS menus, press the right arrow key until you reach the "Advanced" tab. Then press the down key until the "After Power Loss" item is highlighted. Press enter and select "Off" if it is on "On" already. Then save the changes. If the problem keeps on going on, it may be a hardware problem.

If you want to look at the whole HP BIOS menu documentation, then go to
and scroll down until you get to the "Computer Setup - Advanced" section for the steps.

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PC Will Not Restart for One Hour After Shut Down - Solved
by brian.catt / November 11, 2011 7:30 PM PST

Hope this helps someone.

My sons home built ASUS Mother board gamimg machine would not restart after shutdown for about one hour. Looked like a hard fault. All checks witn ASC and Norton, etc. were fine.

Turning the mains switch on and off while jiggling the on button sometimes got it back - if done right after shut down (as in Oh ****! its shutting down).

Tried every sort of Windows Cleaner then BIOS Upgrade. Nothing worked.

It was the Power Supply. New Power Supply, problem solved - 100%.

Presumably could not hack a restart vs coldstart. No idea why. Marginal for sure. I also got a bigger PSU 500 Watts ish vs 300 Watts ish.

NB: When running there was no problem of spontaneous shutdown.

Hope this helps someone by adding to Rod's store of knowledge. This wasted SO much time, it went on for nearly a year...........


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by snoopindaweb / November 12, 2011 11:53 AM PST

I've been using It and didn't know..HAR.! All I ever heard was "It's in the Motherboard". Thank Ya' G-G

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by GEO2003 / November 4, 2011 1:48 PM PDT

There was comment already made about the Bios, I just want to follow up with a couple of points.
In the Bios there is a setting - the name of which I don't recall exactly but my sister has an HP and the same thing was happening.
You could do this at the Bios level or inside of Windows 7.
Find the setting for the LAN Network card - and see what options you have.
It should be set to - Not to wake up the computer when it receives any activity.

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Strikes me as a hardware problem...
by windfish113 / November 4, 2011 3:58 PM PDT

Hello, here are a few things to try.

First of all, I would suggest following the advice above regarding power button settings in windows, as well as the BIOS settings. That would be the easiest place to change startup/shutdown behavior (assuming you haven't changed any of the default settings in Windows.) Also, the ideas about checking the RAM and even USB devices attached to the computer are definitely worth following. If that doesn't work, there are a few other things you can try.

The first thing I thought of when reading your problem was that the power switch itself is bad, or possibly the wires connecting that switch to the motherboard. These switches are designed to be pressed thousands of times before failing, but it does happen. If you open up your computer, you should be able to see five or six different colored wires coming out of the back of the power button and probably disappearing behind the hard drives. If you are able, trace these wires to where they connect to the motherboard. Each one should be plugged onto a pin. These pins are usually grouped together near the bottom of the motherboard, next to where the hard drive cables are attached. Now, before you disconnect any of these wires from the motherboard, it's a good idea to draw a little diagram of where each one goes, so you can plug them back in the correct spot. Hopefully, both your motherboard and the end of each wire will be marked with what goes where. For example, it should say "PWR+ and PWR-" for the positive and negative leads of the power on/off switch, "RST+ and RST-" for the reset switch, HDD for the hard drive activity LED, and possibly one for the CPU activity LED.

The one we are interested in is the power switch, but I would recommend unplugging all of these wires just to be sure. (Unplug your power supply and ground yourself by touching the metal chassis of your computer before doing any of this.) Now, the best thing to do would be to take a working power switch from another computer and plug it into your motherboard to test whether that is the problem. If that's not an option, you can simply jump the power pins. Find a flathead screwdriver, preferably with a long shaft and a plastic handle. Now, (after turning your power supply back on,) touch the head of the screwdriver to the pins marked PWR+ and PWR- at the same time. Your computer should turn on. Wait for it to boot up, then shut it down through the start menu. If your computer stays shut down, this would definitely indicate a problem with the power switch. Although it's unlikely, I've ran into similar problems when building computers and it's a relatively easy fix, so I would check that if the software/BIOS settings don't do the trick.

Along with updating the BIOS and motherboard firmware as suggested previously, you could also try clearing the CMOS on the motherboard. CMOS is a little tiny piece of memory next to a watch battery on the motherboard. It stores things like date/time and other BIOS settings even when there is no power attached to the motherboard. There should be three pins on the motherboard next to the battery, with a jumper covering two of them. To clear the CMOS, place that jumper so it is on the other pin (meaning if the jumper was on pins 1 and 2, place it on 2 and 3) and unplug your power supply. Replace the jumper and your CMOS should be cleared. You will need to reenter several BIOS settings the first time you turn on your computer. Check and see if the problem persists.

One last thing I would suggest is that the power supply itself is failing. Although a PSU failure more often manifests itself with random shutdowns, it's possible you could be getting a surge of some kind when the "shut-down signal" is sent to the PSU, resulting in the computer starting back up.

I hope you are able to fix your problem. Good luck!

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CMOS Battery
by Ferretkeeper / November 11, 2011 1:16 PM PST

You mention the CMOS battery in your post, yet do not suggest replacing it. If a motherboard is a few years old this will be starting to deteriorate. After replacement the BIOS will revert to original settings ( same as clearing). Download the latest BIOS version and install. Some boards offer an EZ - Bios feature which allows this from the setup menu.

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shutdown issues..
by e-paladin / November 12, 2011 1:57 AM PST

Reading the responses here, most of the posts are correct in that they are recognized diagnostic procedures, but many are not addressing your problem.
Updating software/hardware to fix a problem that was not caused by a hardware/software change can only complicate things, expecially playing with a flash BIOS. BIOS flashing should only be done on an error free pc for improved utility patches -or- for compatility for new hardware like a processor. If its not broken, dont fix it. The chances your CMOS info is corrupt is very slim and a bad battery would present differently like not keeping time settings
windfish113 + darrenforster99 posts imo are the most applicable for this type of problem. A PC that reboots instead of powers off can be an indication of an incorrect ACPI setting in the BIOS or incorrect header wiring on the motherboard from the front panel. Trouble is, most OEMs (Dell, Gateway, HP) come with a ribbon to a plug on the motherboard instead of front panel pins+wires. So a poorly seated (wiggled out), bad or pinched cable can be a small possibility.
Power supply issues can be intermittant, or cause bizarre pc behavior, but i would think it would reboot while using the pc and not when you're trying to shut down.

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shutdown issues..
by e-paladin / November 12, 2011 2:09 AM PST
In reply to: shutdown issues..

Lol, forgot to get to my point.

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Screen Goes Blank with warning Bleeps
by Robinwl / November 4, 2011 4:48 PM PDT

Hi, I had a very similiar problem, it was caused by a smal thermal
crack in the Mother Board affecting the Video card, I had to fit a new
mother board which also allowed me a faster Video card. The new parts
have been running for some time now, with improved peformance.

That may be heplful.


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Wake on LAN settings in the BIOS
by darrenforster99 / November 4, 2011 7:54 PM PDT

In this situation I would highly recommend that you get someone to look at the various wake-on events in your BIOS.

When your computer first boots up and you get the Dell screen in the bottom corner you have a message that reads something like "Press F2 to enter Setup" or "Press DEL to enter Setup", or "Del: Setup F12: Boot Order" or "F2: Setup F12: Boot Order" (or something along them lines.

Whatever key it tells you there for Setup press it when the Dell logo is on screen (or if you don't get a Dell logo at startup when the black screen comes on with all the hard drive/memory information).

If it doesn't tell you a key just try pressing F2, mostly on Dell's it is F2 to enter Setup, but some do use the Delete key (Del).

When you go into the BIOS have a look around and there should be options in there such as Wake On LAN, Wake on Keypress, and things about sleep states such as S3 or S1 sleep states and what it should do when either a key is pressed or when the LAN is accessed.

You should make sure you have Wake on LAN switched off firstly, because if your computer is constantly connected to the internet this can trigger that off.

Then also check the other options such as which key triggers the computer to "wake-up" - sometimes this can be set to "Any key press" and even "Mouse movement", which obviously if you just touch your mouse the computer will wake up and start booting.

All these settings should be in the Power Management section of the BIOS and some of them even have settings to set your PC to turn on at specific times of the day, and on specific days so check if you've got any of them set.

In Windows there are also power management options as well but if you've re-installed Windows then these should be set right anyway.

The other problem it could be is a problem with internal wiring on the power switch being defective, as this is a PC from Dell running Windows 7 then I presume you bought it new and if it's still under warranty unless your really good with the internal bits of a computer, call Dell up and get them to fix it (and even if you are good with the internal bits of a computer I would still call Dell up because if you start playing inside it'll probably void your warranty).

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Also Check the WOL in the NIC Properties
by Carl-Delta / November 11, 2011 1:20 PM PST

You also want to check the Wake On LAN settings in the network card driver. I had the WOL disabled in BIOS but the card settings would still cause my PC (Vista) to restart likely because it was a discrete card (Intel Pro 1000) and not embedded on the motherboard. Bring up the Device Manager and go into the Properties for the Network Adapter and you will see an Advanced setting for "WOL" or "Wake ON LAN".

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Good thought That one :-)
by markandcheryl / November 11, 2011 6:54 PM PST

Most people wouldnt ever think of Wake up on LAN settings, wouldnt occur to me either, so am glad you mentioned it. Happy

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obsolete computer
by j_cat / November 4, 2011 11:36 PM PDT

you computer is a low end HP product 2006. the use of windows 7 should not be used. I would have kept windows XP in it.

with the windows 7 buy a new desktop for about 500.oo will be very happy since it is designed for todays programs/operating systems.

I have operating now windows 98se,windows XP, vista. my XP operates great with the 2005 lap top I use for basic internet searches. no gaming etc...

my windows 98se has many expensive programs that is not used on the internet basicly documents etc...

vista is a problem probably one of the most flawed microsoft systems ever made. huge updates with many issues and flaws. but as of today works good.. when new however vista was a very bad experience.

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Restarting Automaticly
by sarcoidman1 / November 5, 2011 12:56 AM PDT
I would suggest to check for bios updates and if there isn't any then I would use the bios disc that came with your computer and flash the bios. If all else fails take it to a computer shop and they will fix it in a jiffy. People trying to solve your problem without having a hands on are just guessing and could cause you to mess it up even further. BE CAREFULL!!!
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