PC Hardware forum

General discussion

PC boots on and off continually

by craigsline / January 23, 2006 4:41 AM PST

Hi everyone, could really use some help / advice on this.
I,m running windows xp home.
1500mb of ram, nvidia 5200 graphics card.
a gigabyte GA-81K1100 motherboard with a intel P4, dual bios / ata100.
A Enermax ATX 370W power supply.
And several periferials including a second monitor, a scanner, an external hard drive, a printer, a video cam & speakers.
Here's where I need the help;
The system has been running fine for over a year now. Have periodically been getting a blue screen over the past few months but after rebooting it has run fine. 2 days ago I uploaded new drivers for an epson 2400 scanner and the computer started shutting off for no reason (the downloaded drivers should not have effected the computer). Now the computer starts by itself then shuts down and will continually do this until I shut off the main power.
What I have done;
I booted the computer to CMOS and it still would go on / off continually, so next;
1) swapped the power supply...no change
2) reseated the CPU (cleaned the inside completely)...no change
3)Pulled sets of memory (running 2ea 512 and 2ea 256)...no change
4) started to reload windows xp but the computer will not stay on long enough to do anything. I get to the sign on screen and it will reboot, on-off-on-off.
I'm lost in Seattle, any advice / help would really be appreciated.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: PC boots on and off continually
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: PC boots on and off continually
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Some additional information
by craigsline / January 23, 2006 4:53 AM PST

I forgot to add that on boot-up I get the confirming single beep that all is OK.
Thanks again

Collapse -
Make simple system
by Willy / January 23, 2006 5:53 AM PST

You got a decent psu but after 1yr. you may haved pushed too long on its last legs. You're in need of another psu in greater wattage range. Even, if not the problems all those goodies have taken thier toll on the psu currently installed and 370W just doesn't cut it anymore. I often recommend 350W for a basic system but 400W is being practical but generic 500W at low cost and for basic systems is a must now. It could be something else, but with side cover off, try a new psu. If you can, return to the older drivers. There is need for new drivers if all worked OK, provided you didn't need what the new drivers corrected, rememeber that. If experienced no problems then why the update. Plus, you already experienced a few bluw screens, something was already going screwy, so resolve that problem. Remove all additions that needn't be attached, all USB, etc. a basic system if you need to reload XP. If it continues to non-load, then reduce to one HD, 1 CD and all ext. additons, unplugged. Reduce it to the simplest system you can.

tada -----Willy Happy

Collapse -
simple system
by craigsline / January 23, 2006 6:05 AM PST
In reply to: Make simple system

Yes, thank you. I am disconnecting the extras down to 1 CD & 1 HD and have all but the basic running. Will try and boot-up and see where it goes (I still need to get windows xp reinstalled if nothing else as a start). Another thought, could the on / off switch in the front of the computer case be shorted out? With the system shut down, I turn on the power switch on the surge protector and the computer starts-up without touching it. Just starting to fish for answers now. Thanks again and will now see what happens.

Collapse -
Update to on -off
by craigsline / January 23, 2006 10:24 AM PST
In reply to: simple system

Well very disapointing, I put in a new Enermax 535 W Power Supply, started up nice BUT same old thing. The computer started to turn on then off then on until I shut off the Surge protector. What will cause this to happen?? What about re-setting the CMOS, would that help? I can not get the system running long enough to get past the log-in screen, it gets to this point and starts its on / off routine.

Collapse -
by dbssmith / January 23, 2006 11:38 AM PST
In reply to: Update to on -off

Could it be a driver conflict? you might also, believe it or not this does happen even now, have an IRQ conflict. You need to get into Safe mode and go from there into the Control Panel - Device Manager and look for anything odd. Or even if you can reset it back to its former settings I think it sounds like it would be worth a try.
Otherwise I hate to tell you this but it sounds like you might have fried your motherboard when you installed one of those extra drives. Just the slightest bit of a pop of static electricity will do you in. I hope not though.

Collapse -
by Willy / January 23, 2006 11:46 AM PST
In reply to: Update to on -off

Your troubleshooting here so anything is suspect. reducing to a simple system allows extra items to be left out. But, understand if they're part of the boot-up (startup) process it should take longer to boot for fail if that critial. I suggest you hit the F8 key during inital boot to get the "safemode" going and see if it starts at all. If it can't even do that then you still got some h/w fault. You can reset the CMOS(do that last), but you're getting into areas that you need to be sure you can recover from. At least get into the bios and be sure the HD&CD you removed are no longer listed as part of the bios, reset to none or blank(if so). Remove ram as well, truly reduce system. Get your hands on a bootable floppy(got one), remove *all* CD&HDs, disconnect them and refelect that in bios. Now try to boot from floppy, if it can't do that then you have a solid h/w fault, maybe the mtrbd. or ram. Swap ram around, be sure of ESD(static) precautions.

tada -----Willy Happy

Collapse -
Right Track
by CG-TG / January 24, 2006 11:13 AM PST
In reply to: simple system

You are on the right track looking at hardware. A driver would not cause your system to randomly turn on. The power supply was not a bad upgrade with everything you have, so hold on to it. I would look at that power switch. The surge supressor would only cause it to shut down, not boot. The only else close to this I saw was the wake on lan, modem setting might be triggered. I had one that would not shut down once because of this. You might want to reset your BIOS back to the factory default. It should be one of your options. Just to be safe, you weer on the right track reseating all of your RAM and so on. Make sure the video card, sound card, and any other add-on cards are seated properly too.

I think you need to look at that power switch though.

Collapse -
Got IT!!
by craigsline / January 24, 2006 11:56 AM PST
In reply to: Right Track

Thank You everyone for your help in resolving this. Have the computer running great now for the last 12 hours. After striping the unit down to bare bones (had just power to the motherboard & 1 strip of ram (256), no hard drives, no CD/DVD, nothing, it kept on just rebooting, on-off-on-off until I shut off the surge protector.
I pulled the CMOS battery out for several minutes, after putting it back in I flashed the BIOS to previous settings. The computer seemed to run great for about an hour, then off by itself again. Time to go to bed. In the middle of the night it turned back on once again....enough. After AM coffee I reset the CMOS by pressing the insert key on start-up (not sure if that really cleared the CMOS but several referances said it would) then set the BIOS to default and shut back down. Installed all 1500 MB of RAM but changed there socket position. Been running great ever since, even better then before all this started.
Thanks Again

Collapse -
Not So Fast on the fix
by craigsline / January 24, 2006 11:32 PM PST
In reply to: Right Track

Looks like I jumped the gun a little. After running all day (nearly 15 hours) without a glitch, I shut down for the night. Right after midnight the computer just booted up???? Did the exact same thing the previous night at about the same time, just booted up. Now something I've noticed over the past several days is a deep vibrating/grinding noise and it is continuously getting worse. After poking around inside, seems to be coming from the Intel 875P chip fan. Would the fan vibration to the system create it to de-stabalize / run erratically? The MB is still under warrenty so I'm looking to see if I can return it.

Collapse -
Last thoughts....
by Willy / January 24, 2006 11:56 PM PST
In reply to: Not So Fast on the fix

If a cpu "overheats" due to an iffy fan, not running 100%, the system via the bios setting will shutdown to save the cpu/system. However, another setting can be set to reboot after x-time(usually a short time or immediately). While that minicks your problem it may also be a 2ndary problem due to all the shutting down/up etc.. If I remember correctly, you did clean the fan setup at cpu. If you reseat the cpu from the heatsink, etc. then be 100% sure its properly seated for full contact. Verify all that.

Yes, the on/off sw. can cause problems but its a *rare* problem indeed. Find the true on/off sw. wire harness and disconnect it at mtrbd.. YOu now have the 2-prong(usually) connection exposed, simply short that for a moment and the system power-ON, once started and like to stop the system, keep the contact shorted to power-OFF. You're manually doing the action of the sw. its real simple. Just be sure you contact only those pins. That tests the sw. and once the bios is set NOT to reboot upon power problem, if so set it will then remain OFF. You can also check for "remote" power-ON/OFF setting and set to OFF. That way any electrical surge or telephone spike/ring (on modem)on the modem won't start the system. Find those setting and verify them to be disabled(OFF). As for your surge protector, replace it to be sure that's not the problem, though I thought it, but you never know or simply connect directly to AC outlets for testing. If the surge protector is the problem get a better one and understand, if the surge protector did its job, it no longer is protecting, they are a 1-time protection device for the big one or after prolonged usage, become weak if problematic electrical faults.

After all this, nothing helps 100%, then like I mentioned before a mtrbd. probelm exists and really nothing can be done other than replace. If you paid a service tech to do all the work you just did, consider what the cost would have been. Then thinking all the $$ you saved by not calling a tech be now used to buy a replacement mtrbd. :(.

tada -----Willy Happy

Collapse -
by CG-TG / January 25, 2006 9:19 PM PST
In reply to: Not So Fast on the fix

You need to fix the heat sink fan, but like the other gentleman stated, it would shut down. You can check your BIOS settings to see if the restart after power up feature is on. It is probably off by default, and you just did the default BIOS settings. Replace the surge protectorright away too. The one surge protector I have had hit would pop the breaker when you plugged it in, and the switch was brown where it met the white body. I doubt that is it too. Is the system starting up at the same time every night? There is a place to schedule an auto start up inside Windows too. If that is not on, you may want to do a virus scan and anti-spyware scan. Make sure your definitions are up to date. After that, I would start to think there is a motherboard or BIOS chip problem.

I would look at the time it is starting up each night the most. That is really suspicious.

Collapse -
This just doesn't want to go away!!!!
by craigsline / January 26, 2006 1:33 AM PST
In reply to: Hmmm

The computer has been running great, Updated the BIOS. But again the computer just turned on by itself. This time it was at 0830 this morning, the last 2 nights it was at midnight. I have ordered a new replacement fan for the chip, when the computer first starts up the chip fan will make a loud vibrating sound (up and down in tone) for 2 maybe 3 minutes then settles down and runs quiet the rest of the day (this part is getting fixed). But I'm lost with the booting up on its own. I will go over the BIOS/CMOS settings again but also look into the windows settings as you suggest (where is it located?). One of the things I did after flashing the BIOS was go to CMOS and on the right side of the pannel I selected to "optimize settings". Could that have been a mistake? I'm really fishing for a cure to the out-of-the-Blue start-up

Collapse -
Auto Startup
by CG-TG / January 26, 2006 8:39 AM PST

I was thinking it was under Power Management, but it was in the BIOS.
In the BIOS, you may have something called Power Management Setup.
Settings to check there would be:

Power up on PCI device
Wake/Power up on ext modem
Atuomatic powerup
AC Power Loss Restart

There may be variations on these like wake on LAN, and some of these might not be in yours. I think you get the idea. The one I see there the most would be to wake on modem, lan, device or after the power loss. You don't seem to be getting the shut down anymore though. After this, you might want to see if you can swap the power switch for the case.

Collapse -
Power UP...Blah
by craigsline / January 27, 2006 2:46 AM PST
In reply to: Auto Startup

I found the settings you refere to and all were disabled, so not that. I went through the BIOS flash once again, very methodicaly, so that is OK... Same old thing, 5:00 AM this morning booting-up SOOoooo, tonight I will disconnect the on-off power switch on the front of the computer box and see what happens. If it still boots-up overnight Then I think the motherboard is corrupt, ahhhh the fan on the 875P chip is on its way out also so may be time to replace the mb. The CPU 478 socket is the only problem then but thats another subject, so thank you and we'll see what happens tonight with the on-off switch.

Collapse -
Try this tonight
by CG-TG / January 26, 2006 8:49 AM PST

I am thinking if it is the power switch shorting, we should be able to test it. The fact that the time changed tossed things upside down a little.

Follow the lead from the back of the power switch back to the motherboard. Make sure you make specific note of where the lead plugs on to the pins on the motherboard. Now removed the lead from the motherboard. Leave it off for the next few days to see if the system just powers itself on. If you need to start the computer, you can take a paper clip (VERY CAREFULLY) and touch it to the two leads to start the system. You shut down like normal from the START button. I have a feeling the random start up will go away.

Collapse -
Power switch
by craigsline / January 26, 2006 10:26 AM PST
In reply to: Try this tonight

Ya, the different time of the event really blew me away. I'm still not absolutely sure on the BIOS flash (it was automatic over the internet with "gigabyte.com.tw"). I may reflash it manually before anything else. Something I may have missed in the update was to go back into BIOS after restart, enter "BIOS Fail-Safe Defaults". Not sure what that will do but after reviewing everything, that is the only uncertanty I have. If that doesn't work then the switch.
Thank You very much for the continued advice and help.

Collapse -
just a thought
by dbssmith / January 29, 2006 4:10 AM PST
In reply to: Power switch

Do you have a cable or broadband connection? When I first got mine my computer started turning on at all hours all by itself. Come to find out some gangsters from Russia had access to my computer. I ran a virus scan and found 8 files infected so I put a firewall in place. Just a thought. Good luck.

Collapse -
Will it happen again???
by craigsline / January 29, 2006 6:38 AM PST
In reply to: just a thought

So far so good. I've had the computer running for 2 days now without a glitch. The chip fan grumbles when I boot-up after the computer has been off for a few hours so I've kept it running. Friday at midnight it shut-down on its own, I left it until morning, started it up and Its been working great ever since. Yes I have comcast since Dec 1, 8 megs up and 3 megs down, and I'm using a firewall. I've ran a variety of virus scans, Norton, microsoft beta, Lavasoft, S & D, and several others, I keep it real clean. I would love to figure out what happened so to avoid it again.
Thanks for everyons help on this

Collapse -
Booting on & off
by wonbae / February 5, 2006 5:15 AM PST
In reply to: Not So Fast on the fix

Reboot your computer and press F8 while booting, and get rid of all your virus. Hope this will take care of you.


Collapse -
Restore tool in WinXP
by pgahlot / January 27, 2006 12:48 PM PST

1. Restart your computer, and then press f8 during the initial startup to start your computer in safe mode with a command prompt.
2. log on to your computer with an administrator account or with an account that has administrator rights.

3. type the following command at a command prompt, and then press enter

4. follow the instructions that appear on the screen to restore your computer to an earlier state.

Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Help, my PC with Windows 10 won't shut down properly

Since upgrading to Windows 10 my computer won't shut down properly. I use the menu button shutdown and the screen goes blank, but the system does not fully shut down. The only way to get it to shut down is to hold the physical power button down till it shuts down. Any suggestions?