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Random computer reboots. -Computer GURU's... Help Please?-

by rhyvun / June 24, 2004 7:13 AM PDT

Alright, I've looked everywhere for someone with a problem similar to mine. This may end up being a lengthy post so bear with me please people, and I thank any of you for input in advance.

First, let me describe the problem. As the title states, my computer reboots randomly, no Blue Screen, no forewarning, just like I switched the PSU on and off real quick. It sucks! I run Windows XP, and I have it set to give me Blue Screen error messages instead of just automaticly rebooting so that's not the issue.

It's been doing this for maybe a month, the first time I thought it was just a silly Windows error and thought nothing of it, same for the next few times, I figured there was something running after a while and checked it out. All normal, I hadn't changed my computer in any way to make it do this, all software that was running, did so just fine before, and I hadn't changed any settings either. Eventually, I completely reinstalled Windows, but to no avail. I'm now thinking perhaps bad drivers, I'll be installing Linux later to verify this.

The restarts aren't completely random, they happen more when I'm watching movies, and almost always if I leave Winamp running for any significant amount of time (took about 2 hours last night). But it also happens sometimes when extracting from archives (rar's), or downloading things, or uploading things, or whatever it may be that involves the PC to be in use.

Here's a list of what I've done so far to try to fix it.
1. Ran diagnostics on both of my hard drives, nothing to report other than a small file system error which was fixed.
2. Ran memory tests under Linux and with windows based programs, for many many hours, nothing to report once again, all good.
3. Made sure everything was properly seated, and there was nothing shorting any connections out, including dust.
4. Checked every system temperature, everything is running smooth below 40 celsius almost always (except durring processor intensive things).
5. Switched out all hardware. Including - RAM, Video Card, Sound Card, NIC, PSU, and I also removed a 5.25 drive that monitors fans/CPU temp etc... I moved around some other hardware (DVD-RW, and 1 of the HDD's) so they're all on one IDE channel now. I don't have another motherboard to test, so the possible culprits are the processor and the motherboard. And MAYBE the hard drives, although I HIGHLY doubt it.
6. I've quadripple checked the BIOS settings, everythings compatible, and I've also tried so called "safe-settings". I've updated the BIOS (even though it didn't need it).
7. I have all the latest drivers, I've also tried older drivers.
That's about all I can remember that I've done so far. Also, a strange thing. I have an ASUS A7V8X mobo, with speech reporting enabled. 3 times, and only 3, after the computer restarted itself... it gave me the no cpu detected error, but when I turn the PC off (hold the power button for 4 seconds) and start it back up, it's fine, no errors. I have a feeling this is somehow related to my problem, not sure though. As I said before, my PC ran like a CHARM previously, was very fast and no problems, I left it on for weeks at a time. Here is all my hardware, and also the hardware I switched it out for.

Motherboard: ASUS A7V8X
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (333 FSB) (Retail Fan)
RAM: 1xCrucial 512 DDR 2700 Non-ECC Unregistered
GPU: ATI Radeon 9600 Pro 128MB (Built by ATI)
Sound: Onboard VIA Sound
NIC: Onboard Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet
PSU: Thermaltake Silent PurePower 480 Watt
ROM: TDK DVD-+RW 440n 4xDR2xDRW16xCR10xCRW
HDD1: Seagate Baracuda 120GB 7200RPM SATA 8MB Drive
HDD2: Seagate Baracuda 160GB 7200RPM UIDE/100 8MB Drive
Generic Floppy Drive
Xaser Skull Case - 4 Fans - CPU LCD Temp Monitor
After Switching It Out - All is same unless I wrote different.
RAM: 1xBuyAIB 256MB DDR 2700 Non-ECC Unregistered
GPU: ATI Radeon 7000 32MB (OEM)
Sound: SoundBlaster Audigy MP3+ <-In Use
NIC: US Robotics NIC <-In Use
PSU: Antec TruePower 380 Watt (I Think - I know it's either 380 or higher)
Oh, yeah, when moving the stuff around, I also re-applied some thermal glue to the processor, it cooled it off by a few degrees which was nice Happy

ANYYYYYYYYYYY Help or input would be very much welcomed.
Ohh Yes.
Windows XP SP1 All Updates
Sygate Firewall (Newest) - ZoneAlarm When It Started
Opera 7.50
CPUIdle <-- Anyone Know ANYTHING about this if it could be causing my problem? I'd been running it for over 2 weeks before this started to happen.

I guess my only option is to switch out my CPU/hard drives... I really don't want to do that. But Like I said, I'll be testing with linux later to make sure it's not a driver issue.
Thank you all, will check this thread VERY often.

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How sure are you of the CPU temp readings??
by Ray Harinec / June 24, 2004 9:52 AM PDT

Have you eliminated all spyware potential problems??

Have you tried reducing the number of programs loading at boot and only use the "Problem" programs.

Making wholesale changes doesn't sound like a wise troubleshooting approach.

Have you checked the event monitor reports????

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Re: How sure are you of the CPU temp readings??
by rhyvun / June 24, 2004 1:39 PM PDT

The temperature. I'm extremely sure of. I had a heat sensing diode with thermal tape attached to the bottom of the processor, and the onboard temperature sensor as well. They were very nearly the same. I'm also positive that the heat sensor is pretty accurate, i untaped it and let it sit inside the case and the motherboard temperature monitor was exactly the same as the LCD one.
The programs that startup are at a minimum, and yes I've only had the "problem" programs running/not running. No difference.
Spyware/adware is non-existant, i control every cookie that comes into my computer, and also have 2 filtering programs. Ad-aware picks up nothing, not even alexa.
Event monitor returns nothing, other than the normal stuff that happens AFTER the reboot, nothing prior, no patterns.
I've switched the power supply, the test one was the antec. Same stuff happened. The original is the thermaltake. Still same, not the power supply
As an update, I've changed out the CPU to a less powerful one. AMD Athlon XP 1800+
I Will be letting winamp run tonight to see if it restarts, if so... wellll that kind of narrows it down to bad drivers/bad motherboard/bad hard drive.
Bad motherboard being what I'm aiming for... it's the easiest for me to fix. Happy

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I would certainly try another power supply
by Ray Harinec / June 24, 2004 9:58 AM PDT

that's pretty simple.

I paid the extra big bucks for an Antec true power430, and the thing would turn all the rails on but it never released the power GO signal so the system would never try to boot.

Got a replacenment, but haven't tried it yet.

The two systems that the Antec didn't work with are now both running using $25.00 500 watt supplies from computer geeks.

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Re: Random computer reboots. -Computer GURU's... Help Please
by JMarchi / June 24, 2004 10:55 PM PDT

Most common cause of this type of problem is the hardware, but it could be any component. To fix, you re-install the OS, and if that doesn't help (it is unlikely to help) you start replacing parts one at a time until the problem goes away.

There are not instant answers or easy fixes for this type of problem.

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Re: Random computer reboots. -Computer GURU's... Help Please
by zhorton / June 25, 2004 12:34 AM PDT

Ran into the same problem. Tracked it down to a bad power supply that apparently the load from the devices changed sometimes during different programs. The power supply would cause a spike that would cause a loss in voltage causing a reboot. Replaced power supply with a higher wattage rating.

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Re: Random computer reboots. -Computer GURU's... Help Please
by angieb1008 / June 25, 2004 1:21 AM PDT
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Re: Random computer reboots. -Computer GURU's... Help Please
by ereedks / June 28, 2004 12:06 AM PDT

You are partly correct, Sasser makes the infected computer reboot. But he has a hardware problem. You can tell due to the discrepencies in what hardware is on his machine, eg. different RAM sticks, different NIC, etc. Sasser doesn't do that.

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Re: Random computer reboots. -Computer GURU's... Help Please
by AutumnPeace / June 25, 2004 1:51 AM PDT

I do not know if this applies to your problem but I had the same problem with my old computer. I do not remember which firewall (have used zonealarm, norton and mcafee) I was using but it appeared to me that my reboots were coming through the firewall as a "bootpc . . ." command. I tried blocking the address that the command was sent from but then the commands started showing my own computer address or the address of my ISP. I think that maybe I ended up formatting the firewall to block the bootpc command.

This was all a very long time ago so the details are very foggy. But if you are able to look at your firewall log, check for something that says bootpc. Hope it helps!

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Re: Random computer reboots. -Computer GURU's... Help Please
by rhyvun / June 25, 2004 2:38 AM PDT

Thank you all for the very quick responses. Happy It's very much appreciated.
As for the virus's, yeah I forgot to say anything about that but with me I take it so for granted that I don't have one because they're so easy to spot lol. But I randomly run norton antivirus 2004, with the latest virus definitions. I had thought of sasser and eliminated that possibility after formatting the entire drive (that took a LONG time lol!) and also fdisking the MBR.
I have the voltages logged, there are no spikes whatsoever, just the common minor deviances from when I use the mouse or rom or whatever.
I've looked at the firewall logs extensively, still nothing Sad - I've also tried more than 1 firewall, hence my switch from zone alarm to sygate. Still happens...
However, I have some seemingly good news.

The way I've been testing is... I'll leave winamp running all night and a good portion of the day, on random. It usually crashes within 2-8 hours. In fact, it's always crashed within 2-8 hours lol.

Yesterday I put in the XP1800 CPU, and did th winamp test, I'm still doing it right now as well and I'm trying to stress it out as much as possible, later I'm going to rent a nice long DVD... and watch it, that almost undoubtedly kills it 2 or 3 times before I'm done with the movie. If it doesn't kill it, I'll feel even more safe that my problem is the processor!

After a week of testing, with no crashes (like the one I've been having) I will then contact AMD and get them to gimme a new one... This is by far the most bizarre problem I've ever encountered.
More input is welcome, and once again I thank you all Happy

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Have you run the memory test from for at least 8 hours and get ZERO failures?

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Re: Random computer reboots. -Computer GURU's... Help Please
by precious81098 / June 25, 2004 11:55 AM PDT

Hi, Ryhvun, Here's a stupid question - did you check for a virus? Otherwise, I had an hp that did that all the time before it died after 6 months. They kept sending me new towers, because it happened 3 times with in a year of purchasing it. I'm no guru, just a sympathetic victim of glitches!

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Re: Random computer reboots. -Computer GURU's... Help Please
by rhyvun / June 26, 2004 2:58 PM PDT

yes, checked for viruses, i have none
and i already said i ran a memory test for over 8 hours
no errors
id ran other memory tests prior to the 8 hour one too, with nothing

going on the 2nd day with the less powerful processor, no reboots whatsoever... im 70 percent sure its the processor now
that, coupled with the crap os im using... windows Silly
ill be changing that soon as i know how to secure linux enough to my liking Happy

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Re: Random computer reboots. -Computer GURU's... Help Please
by toph / June 28, 2004 2:53 AM PDT

I would try and get my hands on a similar mobo to test it, sounds like that may be the most likely problem...

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