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Tower shut down while momnitor and fan stay on

by Geary / January 28, 2008 12:10 AM PST

I have a Dell Dimension 3000 with Windows XP2 Norton anti-Virus software and Spyware Doctor. All scans are clear of viruses and spyware. 5 days ago my computer tower started to shut down while leaving the monitor and fan still on. The only way I could restart was to unplug the power cord from the tower and replug it in then press the start button and it would come on. Everything would be normal but 10-20 mins later it would happen again. this started around the same time everyday 2pm-4pm while I was working playing music etc., full usage. Once I was done for the day in the early evening it would run without problem all night to the next day when it was on but idle.I wondered if it is overheating the power supply because it happens when I am using it more in the daytime. I am confused as to why the fan and monitor would remain on when the tower shuts down. Any insight would be appreciated I am a newbie of sorts. Thanks

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My first thought is heat
by At The Opera / January 28, 2008 12:26 AM PST

Heat would explain those symptoms. The temperature inside the case gets to be too high when you're using it heavily, and/or because 2-4PM tends to be among the warmest points of the day, causing the system to shut down to prevent causing any damage to the hardware, but leaves the fan running to suck some of the hot air out.

Just to test this theory, take the cover off of the unit and run it like that for an evening, see if the situation improves. If it does, you will need to figure out how to improve air flow in your computer. Otherwise, your problem is likely something else.

Also, one spyware scanner simply isn't enough. Even if you tack on Norton's craptastic one, it's still not enough. If you're going to use high risk programs (IE, Outlook, Outlook Express, MSN Instant Messenger/Windows Live Messenger, Windows Media Player, etc) then you need to have multiple spyware scanners. No single program will catch everything, so be sure to add to that AdAware, Spybot, AVG Anti-Spyware, and even Windows Defender if you like.

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tower shuts down while momnitor and fan stay on
by Geary / January 28, 2008 11:21 PM PST

I did what you suggested and so far so good tons of dust were in there. If it continues I will look to the power supply. By the way I also have Spyware Doctor to go along with Ad-Aware. Thanks for you input.

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by caktus / January 28, 2008 3:15 PM PST

As At The Opera mentions, more than likely it is a heat issue. If you've had the machine a while, it may simply have dust build-up inside the tower. Open the tower and blow out the dust bunnies, etc. Most electronics/depatrment/office supply stores sell canned compressed air specifically for this purpose. If this doesn't do it you may need to install an additional cooling fan. I sometimes experience heat issues and have found that leaving the tower on it's side with the vents facing up helps a bit, so I just leave it like that. I also leave the cover unattached and slightly off-center too allow heat to escape a bit faster. And it's safe to just leave it on it's side. You can even create additional vents in the cover, but if it's still under warrenty I would forego this option. In fact, it is fine to leave the cover off for a while now and then. Just don't let the family pet climb inside. Happy

The monitor staying on should be normal. I have never seen a PC monitor that didn't have a manual shut-off. But then, existing are many things I have never seen. Happy


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tower shut off , while fan and monitor stay on
by Geary / January 28, 2008 11:16 PM PST
In reply to: reply

Charlie, thanks for your input. Inside my tower the dust bunnies
had dust bunnies :-). I have a not used my compressed air in months and the build up was tremendous. I blew it out completely and did open the side cover to vent it more. I also put it on it's side for more air flow as you have done. So far so good. If this doesn't do it looks like the power supply has a problem. Thanks Geary

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Might be heat. Heat usually doesn't crash the system.
by Dango517 / January 28, 2008 3:45 PM PST

Usually just small intermittent hangs, loss of graphic details and the like, minor stuff. Did have a guys laptop melt once but it kept running. He had removed the thermal grease.

Run this software to see for sure.

Might be faulty RAM; test it here:

Still not working? I'd suspect the power supply.

Any "beeps" when it starts?

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There is one situation where heat can crash the system
by Dango517 / January 28, 2008 11:56 PM PST

That would be a power supply fan failure. These can be replaced for about $7.00 (US). If in doubt replace it or better yet replace the power supply. You can put your system under load by running two scans at a time (anti-virus and malware will do). If this still is not enough to recreate the problem then unplugging the system fan and run the scans. In a cold climate? Turn up the furnace too. Do this with the tower cover on. This way you will not have to wait for 4:00 PM to see if it's fixed.

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tower shut down heat/
by Geary / January 29, 2008 12:16 AM PST

Just ordered the fan good price, power supply next if this doesn't work.

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RE: Heat usually doesn't crash the system.
by caktus / January 29, 2008 8:14 AM PST

Seems every time I have experienced heat issues my computers have never actually crashed but have always [completely] froze the system making it necessary to manually shut down and perform a cold boot. And of course fixing the heat problem has always helped. Silly

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Other posts related to over heating
by Dango517 / January 29, 2008 1:38 PM PST
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By the way, I see you've been a novice since 2003
by Dango517 / January 29, 2008 1:46 PM PST

Might be time for a Cnet update. Happy

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reply to: By the way....
by caktus / January 30, 2008 2:06 AM PST

Actually earlier. I don't remember if it was 2001 or 2002. CNET did a reformat or something and my profile was lost. I think many or all were lost. My screen name was Charlie but while re-registering I goofed up and used one of my other screen names and never bothered to fix it.

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RE: to fix it
by caktus / January 30, 2008 2:50 AM PST

Actually, I don't think it can be fixed except by reregistering.

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I meant,
by Dango517 / January 30, 2008 2:19 PM PST
In reply to: RE: to fix it

change your "novice" self description to maybe, "advanced"? Your choice. I'm not sure novice applies after 5 years+ helping on the forums.

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reply to: I meant,
by caktus / January 31, 2008 2:34 AM PST
In reply to: I meant,

Yeah, changed it. And I'd rather keep being a 'caktus' than bother reregistering again. Happy

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