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Old 07-09-2005, 02:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Troubleshooting Random Reboots

Welcome to Elbatrop1's Random Reboot Troubleshooting Guide.

Random reboots seem to plague computer builders/users frequently. I will describe some common causes of random reboots, as well as some ways to help fix/prevent them.

~This guide is intended for computers that arent being overclocked. If you are overclocking and dont know enough about diagnosing random reboots, shame on you~

If anyone has anything to add to my list, please post below and I will add it. I know that this isnt complete, but these seem to be the most frequent causes of random reboots. Hopefully this gets stickied, as I'm sure it will help new and old members alike



Overheating

Description

When your CPU overheats, it will usually cause your computer to reboot. Video card overheating causes artifacts to appear on your screen, and usually wont cause reboots.

Diagnostic

Enter BIOS upon powering on your computer. Most BIOs have a hardware monitor. Use this to check your temperatures and fan speeds.

There is also hardware monitoring software that can check your temperatures from Windows. Your hardware monitoring software should have come with your motherboard. If you have no monitoring software, you can go to www.cpuid.com and get PC Wizard. PC Wizard is an easy to use program that will let you know what kind of temperatures you have, and what your fan speeds are at.

Causes

CPU overheating is usually caused by a failing CPU fan or improperly applied thermal paste. Fortuneately, these 2 causes are easy to fix. If the CPU fan is dead, buy a new one and install it. If the thermal paste is improperly applied, remove the old paste off and apply new paste.


Power Supply (PSU) Problems

Description

It is important to have a functioning, proper size of PSU for your computer. Having an underpowered or failing PSU is often the cause for random reboots. To get an estimate of how powerful a PSU, use this PSU calculator and add about 50W to the minimum power the calculator gives you.

Diagnostic

The easiest and best way to diagnose a faulty PSU is to swap it with another one that you know is in good working order. Because everyone doesnt always have an extra PSU around, this might not be practical. Other than swapping, the diagnosis of a faulty PSU might be because no other problems seem to be causing the random reboots.

Causes

PSUs just die after a while. Just like most electrical components, they age and die. Often, a PSU will make a loud noise, or let out some smoke. Sometimes, though, the PSU will die silently. Sometimes the PSU will die due to overheating because its fan died.


RAM

Description

Faulty RAM and RAM slots can cause random errors/reboots.

Diagnostic

The best way to determine if RAM is your problem is to run your computer with one stick at a time, and see if the problem occurs for either stick. This obviously doesnt apply if you only have one stick to begin with Also, try the RAM in different slots. The actual slots might be causing RAM-failing like problems. The next step is to run memtest86 to determine if you have faulty RAM.

Cause

Sometimes RAM is just faulty. Either it makes it past quality control at the manufacturer or it gets damaged during shipping. Because most Memory manufacturers have lifetime warrenties on their products, either return the RAM to the retailer that you purchased it from or return the defective product to the manufacturer.

Software

Description

Viruses, Spyware, etc can cause problems that resemble that of hardware problems.

Diagnostic

When none of the hardware causes seem to be causing the random reboots, there is a good chance that it is software related. Of course, software problems should be the first thing to check, because it is least inexpensive because you dont have to buy anything to replace faulty components. To prevent or fix, make sure you use a software or hardware firewall and an updated virus scanner and spyware scanner. Go to the TF Freeware Utilities List to get such things if you dont already have them.

Cause

Viruses, etc can come from a variety of places. Often, viruses will show up because of irresponsible web surfing or downloading, as well as pirated software.

Hopefully that helps some Random Rebooters
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Old 07-11-2005, 06:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good stuff. Try disabling the reboot after system failure in the startup and recovery section. That way, although it will probably lock up you can at least solicite an error to work with. Also, check out the event viewer.
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Old 07-24-2005, 09:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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good work. i only just decided to consult this thread after i've been having some problems . still can't figure it out though. best i can come up with is for some reason it seems to be related to network protocol because it happens when i am using FTP (to my xbox) or surfing the net :S. i dunno i am tired right now and if i can figure it out i will post my findings so they might help other people
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Old 07-25-2005, 11:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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one odd problem i had with my msi k8n neo2 platinum mobo was with the exact memory slot i used. for some odd reason they had a setup to where if you had a so in so number of dimms and if it was dual sided or not you had to use certain slots. it caused me alot of problems with rebooting randomly. this is really the only motherboard i had problems with, and i dont think most motherboard are set up like mine, but just thought you should take some situation into consideration if your troubleshooting
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Old 07-26-2005, 08:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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yes, some MBD have the memory matched differently. Say you have slot 1234, with 2 sticks you use slot 1 and 3 adding more would be slot 2 and 4.
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Old 07-26-2005, 08:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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it is a 1234 and i do have 2 sticks, but i use slots 1 and 2.
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Old 07-27-2005, 01:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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what helped my random reboot was msconfig.exe. disable all the startup items that u arnt sure about, but dont mess with anyhting other than the startup tab.... I kinda messed with the other tabs and made windows to not be activated anymore so unless u want to put in a 120 digit code than be careful.... lol im the only person on tf that could do that
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Old 07-30-2005, 11:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by TechKid
one odd problem i had with my msi k8n neo2 platinum mobo was with the exact memory slot i used. for some odd reason they had a setup to where if you had a so in so number of dimms and if it was dual sided or not you had to use certain slots. it caused me alot of problems with rebooting randomly. this is really the only motherboard i had problems with, and i dont think most motherboard are set up like mine, but just thought you should take some situation into consideration if your troubleshooting
I had a similar situation with an msi board. they don't configure ram settings properly somethimes. getting an updated version of that board fixed the problem
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Old 08-05-2005, 10:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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msconfig.exe what are some common services to shut off
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Old 08-14-2005, 01:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The NIC card can cause a computer to start up and won't shut down. This is like a hard reboot that can damage your computer.
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