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Argh! What's wrong with my PC?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Eric Boyer, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. Hey guys,

    I'm having big time problems on my PC and it couldn't be coming at a worse time. I do a lot of graphics-based work and right now I have a bunch of jobs on the go that need to get done asap.

    I'm really worried it's a hardware problem. I built the PC myself with advice from people in the TB community, so I'm hoping you guys can help.

    **The problem** -> my computer just shuts off at completely random times

    It doesn't seem to matter how long it's been on. It's happened to me 3 times today alone, and I get no blue screen - it just completely shuts off, yet it sounds like something is still running inside the tower when it's goes dead - maybe it's just a fan or maybe the hard drive? And I know it still gets power because the LED on my media card reader stays lit.

    As far as I can tell, it's got no viruses or spyware/malware.

    The CPU temp seems to be fine.

    The graphics card temp seems to be fine as well (I mention this because I run photoshop and illustrator a lot).

    So is it a ram or motherboard problem maybe?

    The only things I can to do next are:

    De-Frag - though I doubt that even if the files were fragmented the thing would shut off

    Run a different OS like ubuntu - Maybe it's an XP problem? but again, I've haven't been getting a blue screen

    Run the UltimateBootCD or BootZilla - neither of which I know much about but I guess this would test the memory?

    HELP! (please!)

  2. Mortiis

    Mortiis Banned

    Apr 24, 2010
    Your computer is possessed by the ghost of a small Victorian child. She was mischievous in life and was always playing pranks on her nanny. One day the nanny could take it no more and she drowned the child during her nightly bath. Now the girl continues her pranks from beyond the grave by turning off peoples' computers.
  3. Mortiis

    Mortiis Banned

    Apr 24, 2010
    Is there any slow down when the computer is actually on?

    Despite you saying the temperature seems fine it still sounds a lot like an overheating problem to me, is the fan unobstructed, working and dust free?
  4. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    Check the power supply. I had this problem for a while, did nothing about it and just figured id replace the PSU when it died. Turns out it damaged my Mobo due to a malfunction, and new motherboard means new CPU.. in the end I basically replaced most of the computer xD

    But yeah, PSU is my guess if its not overheating.
  5. waleross


    Nov 27, 2009
    South Florida
    I still use XP on a few of my Pc's. What would I do is begin to back-up all that you need to and start a re-install if you can. This is a big hassle, I know but It could be time to get another PC at least for now. Do you have a back up cpu that you can just use? Then you are free to really get this one troubleshot......just a thought.
  6. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    yeah, migrate as much as you can and back it all up to DVD. Then, if you can, migrate it to a new computer or external drive along with your backup disc. Then start troubleshooting...nothing worse than looking everything while you are playing guesswork.
  7. windows:bag:

    like everyone else is saying back up everything and start troubleshooting.

    to me it sounds like some process is being a resource hog and causing it to crash. could be spy-ware or a virus. it never hearts to run a virus scan. if you have the software and the ability to back up everything then run a clean install.

    and it almost goes with out saying but. when in doubt buy more ram.:D
  8. Aw, you guys are scary - talking about backing things up, and re-installing :p Yes, it may indeed come to this shortly :atoz:

    Moortis, there doesn't seem to be any slow down before it shuts off, other than when it does go "off", my monitor tells me there's no signal, and goes into power saving mode, and if I was listening to music at the time, the song will stutter for a few seconds (2 or 3) and there's no sound.

    Also, the tower is pretty much dust free - so that "doesn't" seem to be the problem (I could be wrong).

    Simo98, I'm not sure it about it being the PSU (again, I could be wrong), because at the time of shut off, the tower still seems to be getting power (I guess it could be an issue of getting power directly to my video card) as light on my media card reader stays on and the "thinking" light flickers until I actually manually shut it off.

    waleross, hover, jonathan_matos5, I have started backing things up (which I regularly do anyway) and I do have another PC I can use - it's just that it's 7 years old (although it was pretty top of the line at the time).

    As I've said, it doesn't "seem" to be a virus or spy-ware as I've run checks.

    I've got 4gigs of RAM - but maybe it's dying?

    All of this is leading me to guess that it's the vid card (although I did just download new drivers for it - maybe that'll help?), which would stink, because I'm pretty strapped for cash these days. I recently bought myself two Danelectro FAB pedals because as a treat to myself because that was all I could afford - I haven't even had new strings in over two years :p

    Obviously, I'll try a re-format before going out and grabbing a new vid card though.

    Thanks for the help though guys! It's much appreciated! :cool:

  9. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    Eric, at the very least see if there is a local "two guys" type computer parts resource in your area...they might be able to get you a new power supply or used p.s. & case to get you up and running again on the cheap...I have a few of these in my immediate area that I work with for getting cheap RAM cards, drives, ports and stuff.
  10. XtreO


    Jan 2, 2008
    Only last summer the powersupply on my stationary got fried by a bolt of lightning (forgot to take out the plug when on a two-month vacation). The pc answered by shutting itself off at random times without a bluescreen (very much like yours, seemingly). I got a new powersupplything through the guarantee, along with a new GPU (for some reason). If it is not the power-supply, my other guess is overheating. Try removing a tower wall when the PC is on. That should give the computer ample amounts of cool air.
  11. Simo98


    Jun 18, 2009
    QLD, Australia
    I still have a feeling its the PSU, that is all similar to what happened to me. I thought it was the video card, swapped it over for another older one and it worked for a little while, then it died again.

    Its probably worth giving the PSU a good look at, or even replacing it as they are not all that expensive. There were no signs of anything wrong with mine that I could see, the voltages were all normal and temp was fine, but it ended up being quite an expensive repair (And a good excuse to upgrade :D :D )
  12. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    Good call. I was going to suggest checking the "thermal grease" between the heatsink and the CPU to make sure it's not all dried out or non existent. I've had to do this a few times in a couple Dell laptops, and tho the age of the CPU was a factor as well, it did help it run smoother / cooler.

    Lastly, there are TONS of sites that deal in reclaimed / exchanged / refurbished office computers that can be had for cheap money. Dell Financial does this directly...my boss has bought a few slightly older optiplex tabletop towers with upgraded RAM and OS (and one with a new HD) for a couple hundred bucks all told.
  13. Again, thanks for all the help guys! :bassist:

    This is the PSU I've got - it's the 620w version:


    So as my computer is only just about 2 years old, at least it should be covered by warranty (I hope!)

    Are they're any programs/software (that's free) that I could use while windows is running to check on my temps? Would my mobo disc have something like that on it?

    Thanks again!

  14. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    To check temps download Coretemp here: http://www.alcpu.com/CoreTemp/

    You said that you still hear noises when it goes off. Are you sure that it's actually turning off and not just like the display going out or something?
  15. Dan B

    Dan B

    Oct 19, 2008
    Pittsfield, MA
    How many watts is your PSU? I also do graphics work and with the ram+large graphics card+motherboard+cpu+everything else I need a large PSU. For me 750W does the trick. Because from the sounds of what you have it looks like a PSU issue. And mind you, the PSU might be getting power but is it going to all the drives/GPU/CPU/whatever?

    You might want to do the usual malware/virus/adware sweep just to make sure. Defragging your drives wouldn't hurt either.

    4 gigs of RAM for XP is fine. I use 4 gigs on my machine and I haven't had a hitch.
  16. Cool I'm going to download that now.

    Yes, I definitely still hear noises when it goes "off" (hence the quotations).

    It's not my monitor, because I have tried immediately plugging into another one when the problem occurs and it too gets no signal.

    But yeah, there's still noise when it goes "off" and the thinking light flickers until I manually shut it off :meh:

  17. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I wasn't suggesting a monitor issue but it could be an issue of not sending the signal to the monitor. If that were the case then it wouldn't show a signal with any monitor.

    You said that you checked for virus/spyware. What checks have you run?

  18. My PSU is 620 watts (i linked to the exact ones above)


    You're absolutely right, it could be the PSU not getting power directly to the GPU for instance.

    I did check for viruses and malware and nothing came up - guess I could check for spyware too (any particular recommendations on program anyone?).

    I was thinking of defragging tonight just for giggles. Should I do a regular windows defrag or should I use something like this?:


  19. Sorry, that could absolutely be true.

    I've run avast for viruses and malwarebytes' for malware.

    At this point the two major leading contenders for hardware issues seem to be either the GPU or PSU.

  20. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Auslogics is superior to windows defrag.

    For spyware/malware/etc.. try this: http://housecall.trendmicro.com/
    and then download and try this: http://www.malwarebytes.org/
    EDIT: NM - I see you already ran Malwarebytes.

    Check all the connections in the PC very carefully, especially all the power connectors and any connectors involving the graphics card. One more thing is to very carefully check your RAM and be absolutely, without-a-doubt sure that the RAM sticks are fully seated in the slots. I've seen these kinds of things happen as a result of RAM that was just ever-so-slightly not fully pushed into the slot.


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