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Computer shuts down during startup

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by lith, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. lith

    lith Private E-2


    I’ve recently encountered a problem I am for now able to overcome, but which may have serious consequences in the future. Basically, when I switch on the surge protector (I turn it off every night after shutting down the computer) and I press the power-on button, the computer seems to start properly.. and then suddenly it dies. It happens quickly, a couple of seconds after pressing the switch, so I assume this is not an OS problem. To start the computer, I have to sit with my hand on the switch and press it again immediately when I hear it stops working, then pray that this time it will run (sometimes it takes even 6-8 attempts, sometimes the second works, like just now) I realize what this could do to my HD in the long run...
    The curious thing is, that the problem occurs only when the computer has not been running for some time (say - a night) and I can restart the system with no problems, even though (as far as I know) it is almost the same thing as a startup. The computer worked fine for some months now.
    I tried checking the cables and how things fit in the motherboard (Gigabyte GA-M55S-S3), I also did some dusting, but the problem persists. Because it happens only during an actual startup, not a reset, my guess is that the CPU fan may be the cause – it seemed to have some problems gaining speed during startup, but even when it starts running smoothly, the computer may still suddenly go off during those critical first ca 15 seconds of the startup. (Curiously, if I’m able to get to the XP loading screen, I’m safe.) I tried to turn off all fans checkup in BIOS and also turned SmartFAN option off (as far as I remember it was supposed to regulate the fan speed according to the actual needs) so now the fan works on full power. Still, maybe I’m missing something? Maybe there are some other options, specifically some that are responsible for turning off when no fan is detected? Any suggestion would be greatly helpful..

    Thanks a lot just for reading this
  2. studiot

    studiot MajorGeek

    PC's draw about 40% higher current at startup. If something, e.g. your surge protector, is limiting this then the pc may not be geeting enough oomph to start. So first off check the quality of the mains supply, leads and all, not only the surge protecter. Try taking the surge protector temporarily out of circuit.
    If it is not this ridiculously simple solution then I would suspect your internal power supply unit and start looking round for a replacement to try. you say you did some dusting. Did you clean inside the psu? If you feel brave enough to open it up are there any burnt looking components inside. Is its internal fan clogged? It is probably not user fixable but perhaps it's on its way out.

    Let us know how this works out

    Studio T
  3. lith

    lith Private E-2

    Well, this computer has been running on the same surge protector for years now, and nothing similar ever happened. I'll try replacing it with another one, though, see if it helps. Thanks a lot about the info on the draw during startup - I didn't know about it. My PSU is a veery basic model so I guess it can be it. It looked surprisingly clean, though. I don't think I want to open it up, I probably couldn't even tell the burnt parts from the good ones ;-)

    So do you absolutely reject the "fan theory"..? I mean, is it possible that somehow BIOS shuts down the computer even though when I enter it it detects the fan speed and such?

    I'll let you know if I get to something, could take a while..

    Once again, thanks
  4. studiot

    studiot MajorGeek

    There are several possible reasons for hesitant starting. Don't go there unless you have to.
    I don't mean buy a new surge suppressor. Just try straight off the mains for a few minutes, surely your mains are not that unreliable?
    You can see if the fans are running, and feel the draught, including in the internal psu.
    A SMALL squirt of WD40 works wonders on fans.
    You can clean the psu by blowing out with compressed air, a bycycle pump will do at a pinch.

    If yo udon't want to open your psu, take the unit to a shope and have them test it, they should do this for free if they think they can sell a replacement.

    Studio T
  5. lith

    lith Private E-2

    OK, I finally managed to check how it works without the protector - unfortunately no difference. I hoped it would be that simple..

    This might be a coincidence, but I started the computer twice today with absolutely no problems when I was pressing the CPU fan against the motherboard. I'll have to look into that, try to re-screw it.

  6. studiot

    studiot MajorGeek

    If the fan feels loose on its shaft, i.e. it can easily slide up and down about 5mm - replace it they are cheap enough compared to the other components that may be at fault.

    Studio T
  7. Fred_G

    Fred_G Heat packin' geek

    Lith, I think studiot is on to the problem. If you do suspect an overheating CPU, it can't hurt to replace the fan or even remove the heatsink and apply a good quality thermal compound. Like studiot said, fans are cheap!

    You could download this http://majorgeeks.com/download.php?det=4181. It should give you a fairly accurate CPU temperature while the computer is running windows. If your temps are good at idle (just running Everest) try running Prime95, Folding @ Home or something to give the old CPU a good workout, and monitor your temps. If you have a CPU heat problem, that will let you know pretty quickly! DO NOT stress the CPU if your idle temps are high!

    Everest should also give you a fairly accurate reading of the voltages the PSU is putting out. Underpowered and/or cheap PSU's can give you a lot of problems. In the worst case some damage to the PC. It is VERY BAD when the magic smoke escapes from the PSU!

    Last edited: Mar 4, 2007
  8. oldandconfusedagain

    oldandconfusedagain Private E-2 <i>emeritus</i>

    I can't help on the computer problem, however if you have been using the same surge protector for "years" I would replace it immediately. surge protectors wear out over time. there is no way to tell when this point has been reached without very expensive equipment. I believe that one could take it apart and visually check to see if the MOV's have been fried, leaving no protection, but the unit still provides power to whatever is connected to it, but I'd get pretty tired of this option on a daily basis. I replace the surge protectors that I use every year.
    more info on surge suppression here:http://computer.howstuffworks.com/surge-protector7.htm
    I am interested to see if Fred G and studiot might think if continuous small surges in the power feed over a long period of time could start to cause damage to some components in a system ie; power supply, fans, etc
    hope you get this figured out.
  9. studiot

    studiot MajorGeek

    I am not convinced of the need for MOV type surge protectors on the powerline. Most powerline damage to pc systems is done by undervoltage, not overvoltage. Hence the huge commercial market for UPS systems. If one really want belt and braces then an double wound inductive suppressor should do and does not wear out like MOVs. MOVs are used on telephone lines because telephones apparatus is voltage sensitive. PCs possess switching regulators which effectively isolate the rest of the circuitry , probably up to twice or more times the supply voltage. This includes the DC fans at 12 volts. Of course the psu itself will suffer if the overvoltage goes high enough. Lightning and Supply damage to pc components other than the psu are usually cased by earthing faults, which MOVs do not protect against.
    Thermal stress caused by poor initial design, dirty coatings insulating components, poor/ obstructed airflow, overclocking are the main cause of the demise of pc components, including those inside the power supply. Additionally a power supply will fail prematurely if the user has increased the current demand by adding too many extra components.

    Hope this answer helps - for more detail the question really should be pursued in another (new) thread.

    Studio T
  10. lith

    lith Private E-2

    EVEREST gives me the following values in the "sensor" section:

    Field Value
    Sensor Properties
    Sensor Type ITE IT8712F (ISA 290h)
    GPU Sensor Type Driver (NV-DRV)

    Aux 25 °C (77 °F)
    GPU 34 °C (93 °F)
    Seagate ST3250620AS 24 °C (75 °F)

    Cooling Fans
    CPU 2909 RPM

    Voltage Values
    CPU Core 2.27 V
    +2.5 V 2.64 V
    +3.3 V 3.01 V
    +5 V 4.70 V
    +12 V 11.65 V
    +5 V Standby 4.68 V
    VBAT Battery 3.07 V
    Debug Info F E8 FF FF
    Debug Info T 25 234 252
    Debug Info V 8E A5 BC AF B6 3D 2F (77)

    Honestly, I have no idea if those are acceptable. It seems that the surge protector has nothing to do with the issue, when I plugged the computer directly the problem was still there...
  11. Fred_G

    Fred_G Heat packin' geek

    Your temps look pretty good. I don't see one for the CPU, your board might not have a temp sensor on it for the CPU. I still suspect you need a new psu. Some of the values are a little low, but I also do not trust software for checking voltages. Maybe someone else has some ideas on that.

    How does your computer do at a full load? Try running Prime95 http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft.htm in the background and maybe watch a DVD at the same time. You might also want to keep everest running while you do that, and watch your temps and voltages.

  12. studiot

    studiot MajorGeek

    OK so keeping with the simple (and cheap). the psu and motherboard are actually partly live as long as the power is plugged in. When you press the 'on' switch all you are actually doing is signalling to the motherboard that you want to run this start up routine. This causes a signal to go to the power supply, which in turn sends a signal back to the motherboard when the outputs have run up to value and stabilised.

    Either of these wires could have partial breaks or poor connections at either end. If you don't feel confident to check these have you any friends who could? It is really a very easy check.

    You need to check the grey lead on pin 8 and the green lead on pin14 of the main psu to motherboard cabling.

    Studio T
  13. gigabyte

    gigabyte Private E-2

    does your gigabyte mother board have the dual bios feature? its switching from one to the other for some reason. my does that when i shut it all the way off sometimes.
  14. lith

    lith Private E-2

    Dual BIOS? I have no idea, would you be more specific? I'm asking what does this feature "do" and how to check it if one has it (manual? in what features?)

  15. lith

    lith Private E-2


    I know it took me ages, but I've been very busy recently. I've managed to replace the PSU and..that's it ;-) I post this for people who might have similar problems - when the computer shuts down immediately after pressing the power-on button, in my case it was the PSU.

  16. studiot

    studiot MajorGeek

    Glad you are sorted we do try our best.

    Studio T
  17. lith

    lith Private E-2

    Yes, StudioT, once again thanks everyone for all your help!

  18. kaleidoscopelex

    kaleidoscopelex Private E-2

    Iam having exactly the same problem, I havent tried the solution yet. I wanted to add some info...whenever I email with a big file size attachment or whenever Im using an application that's taking too long to process, My PC shuts down also. So does it also have to do with the PSU also? is the PSU we are talking about the external one or the one inside the chassis?

    please help, thanks in advance.
  19. studiot

    studiot MajorGeek

    You have obviously read through this thread and prhaps others? So you will have noticed that similar problems can arise from many causes.

    You should start your own thread, posting details of your systm, the symptoms the pc displays and what if any new hardware/software changes you have made lately. Also copy any error messages received.

    Shutting down on transmitting email is not normally a psu related problem.

    Studio T
  20. zawadzki

    zawadzki Private E-2

    Hi, I've read through several posts and, though the problem seems similar, none match mine entirely. About a week ago my computer turned itself off with no warning. That was the first time it had ever done it. Its always made a continuos beeping noise which I believe is memory related. That comes and goes so i've just learnt to live with it-it doesn't seem to affect the running of the PC. Yesterday I looked inside my computer as the sudden power downs became more frequent. No correlation between which programmes were running. I saw that my fan on the mother board was clogged with dust. The side panel has been off the PC for ages. The dust caused the fan to overheat so I cleaned that and figured everything would be ok. It worked ok for about an hour and then turned off again. Now im stuck because when my computer boots up, it asks me how I want to open windows (safe mode etc). No matter which option I choose, it just goes back to the first screen with computer specifications and goes in a circle again asking me which mode to start in. After a few tries, it seems to give up and turn off. I've checked for loose connections but cant find any. Any ideas?? I'd rather not have to replace the power supply if I can avoid it - seems tricky.

    Cheers in advance
  21. studiot

    studiot MajorGeek

    One and all please note. you can, of course refer to a previous thread.

    Oh and welcome to Major Geeks.

    Studio T

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