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Random restarts on fairly new system

Looking for most common causes

     
12:04 am on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hi all,

I have a Celeron 1600 that I built about a year ago and it's suffering from a problem of random restarts, with or without a load. Win98se... Restarts sometimes as soon as 1-5 minutes and sometimes after several hours. No blue screen of death, just acts as if the reset button was pressed.

Temps are mid 30's for the Mombo and low to mid 40's on the cpu. I checked all connections inside and made sure they were all nice and tight. Reformatted and reinstalled OS. Next I thought it might be "dirty power" so I moved the system to a circuit with little to no other connections in the house. No go, same problem. Considered power supply and dropped in a brand new 450 watt. Still no go.

I have 3 other computers here and none of them do this. What components should I now target on this system and in what order?

Thanks for helping

12:14 am on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have found that when hardware conflicts in 9x occur, often the easiest way (as long as you have all of your drivers) is to remove the PCI Bus from the device manager then do a reboot. When the machine reboots, you will be promted to reinstall all drivers for any plug and play hardware that you have. Normally the process can take as little as five minutes and can save a lot of hair-pulling (and an OS rebuild).

Personally, I would remove any pieces of hardware that are not necessary to boot windows and start adding things back one-by-one. If you have multiple RAM modules you should test them one at a time.

<added>You may want to look at the BIOS too, perhaps a reset and/or a flash update.</added>

1:53 am on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Wasn't there a worm a while back that caused this sort of behavior?
2:10 am on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Wasn't there a worm a while back that caused this sort of behavior?

Yeah, but it didn't affect 98, the worm is called Sasser

5:19 am on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have seen this many times. 75% of the time it is the video card or the motherboard.(mostly MB)(PS can also cause this, but you said you already tried replacing it) There are small chips on the board, usually between the CPU socket and the KB/mouse plugs that are defective. A whole lot of these defective chips were made and put on boards built by companies like PCChips, MSI and others in Taiwan, they will eventually get so hot that they will de-solder and fall off the motherboard resulting in the system dying all together.

If your video card is not part of the MB, try another first, if the problem continues and you have already replaced the Power Supply and ESPECIALLY if you have a MB made by PCChips or MSI, then the MB is your problem.

5:39 am on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Moishe,

I agree 100%, however to make sure before outlaying the money on a new MB I would remove all components that are not necessary for the boot process. Memory can also be as tricky to identify faults on, so as I said before you would want to try and isolate the possible offending module.

6:07 am on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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good point UDAman, reducing a PC to it's basics is always a good plan when trying to identify a problem.

[edited by: moishe at 6:09 am (utc) on July 27, 2004]

6:07 am on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Yes, excellent advice. Thank you folks. I'll remove all components not needed for boot up and go one stick of RAM at a time.

The thing that really gets me is no blue screen of death. In the past I've always found that bad RAM or other components other than the PS produce some sort of error. Can this happen with a bad Mombo, cpu or RAM (no errors that is...)?

I'll get to it and post back for future reference.

6:11 am on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Can this happen with a bad Mombo, cpu or RAM (no errors that is...)?

Definately

6:13 am on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Absolutely
6:24 am on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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One of my PC's has been doing this for the last two weeks.

I figured a temperature problem, but soon ruled that out. No chance of any sort of worm or software issue, so it had to be hardware!

Anyway, if any of you wish to solve this problem for me you can find this particular PC at the end of my drive next Friday morning waiting for the trash men to collect it!

6:36 am on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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LOL, I hear you on that one. This was supposed to be my gaming machine (as weak as it is), but it's kind of hard to game with my friends if I'm always re-starting. :(

Hey, as a matter of fact percentages, maybe I could steal some parts off your system when you are not looking.....At least one of us gets a complete system eh? hehe

7:13 am on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Anyway, if any of you wish to solve this problem for me you can find this particular PC at the end of my drive next Friday morning waiting for the trash men to collect it!

Country, state/county, zip, street name, door number?

7:44 pm on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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ok, here's a little wrench... what do you do when it's a laptop doing this? We've got a compaq with a <shiver> AMD </shiver> and it does the same thing. Pulling things off the bus isn't really an option here. Reloaded the OS and STILL has a problem. It's XP too... is it just a POS and now a great Frisbee?

It must be me, but I've NEVER had good luck with AMD stuff. Seems like no matter what, SOME hardware doesn't last long with them

7:49 pm on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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SEOMike, funny you should mention that, I have my old Compaq laptop sitting on the shelf above my desk (I'm pretty certain the MB is screwed). Haven't used it in a year due to this fault. I gave up with it, and thought that it might come in handy one day for some spares.
8:54 pm on July 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It must be me, but I've NEVER had good luck with AMD stuff. Seems like no matter what, SOME hardware doesn't last long with them

Must be you:) I have been running AMD based boxes since 386's, built tons of em and with the exception of the K6-233's which ran too hot, I have been nothing but happy.

As to the laptop question, unless it is pretty new and still worth some cash, it just isn't worth fixing. Sell it on Ebay, describe the problem it has, someone will buy it anyway.

7:12 pm on July 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Quick little update for those curious...

At the advice of a friend yesterday afternoon, I killed all apps running through task manager except for Explorer and the computer has been on for a good 16 hours straight now. Isolating which app it is should be easy because I only have Norton and ZoneAlarm running after bootup.

I hope this really is what was causing it (knock on wood) because my budget won't allow any new hardware at this time.

Was thinking about dumping Norton for AVP free version and also dumping ZoneAlarm for something else.

7:15 pm on July 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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dumping ZoneAlarm for something else

Good call - it's garbage, try:

Kerio
[kerio.com...]

or

Outpost Free
[agnitum.com...]

7:19 pm on July 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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#1 cause of random crashes/reboots: Windows.

Good luck :)

7:22 pm on July 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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#1 cause of random crashes/reboots: Windows

Hahaha... At least XP is more stable than 98. Man I hated 98.

1:36 am on Aug 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I killed all apps running through task manager except for Explorer and the computer has been on for a good 16 hours straight now

10 to 1 it's bad memory, now that you aren't making any demands it's not crashing, that's a good sign of faulty memory. if you got the memory on sale, or it's not one of the major name brand memory suppliers, or if you mixed brands/speeds, it's very likely to be a memory problem.

Real memory brands are things like kingston, crucial/micron, corsair, samsung. I've learned, painfully, to never skimp on memory, it's never worth it. Sometimes no name brands use name brand chips, I've seen that with micron, but the rest of the circuits are junk, so you can't always tell by looking.