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Author Topic: Haven't seen this before...  (Read 897 times)
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Gromit
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« on: January 12, 2011, 09:48:23 PM »

I bought my son a low-end e-Machine almost three years ago for his first computer (he's now 9).  It's run flawlessly up until two days ago.   Video and audio are integrated on the board...

Upon our return from a three week vacation in Arizona, he booted it up and it ran for two days.  The next day he booted it up, it got to the Win 7 splash screen and then the system powered itself down.  I cold booted it back up, and it did it again.

I've tried running the repair utility that it prompts me too, and it also ends up powering the computer down after about 30 seconds.  I've tried booting in safe mode, with the same results.

Any ideas what would be causing it to power down?  If it's not an easy fix, I'll simply replace the rig, considering I only paid $300 for it in '08.  Probably cheaper than repairs...

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
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rittchard
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2011, 11:44:12 PM »

Unfortuantely it doesn't sounds like there's an "easy fix" - I'm not an expert but it definitely sounds like something with the CPU maybe or the motherboard failing.  Hmmm or maybe a fan is not kicking in and something is heating up too quickly.

I guess it wouldn't hurt to:

1 - Open it up and clean all the fans, look for gobs of dust built up, etc.
2 - Check/reset/update the BIOS if you can
3 - Check to make sure all memory and PCIE cards are snug in place, and not dusty

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Gromit
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2011, 11:25:08 PM »

The rig has been off for the last 24 hours. I opened up the case, used compressed air to clean out what dust there was, and made sure everything was snug in place. I started the rig with case open, and the fan over the CPU works. The machine still shuts down in less than 30 seconds.

When it first boots up, it gives me 30 seconds (roughly) via a timer to select a normal startup vs the repair utility. I've let it run to zero, after which it defaults to the repair utility. Thirty seconds later, it shuts down.

Sounds more like a mobo issue? Would a bad HDD cause a shut down?  Might be cheaper just to replace it with another low-end rig...
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rittchard
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2011, 11:49:24 PM »

If I had to guess I would say it was either CPU or something on the mobo.  Unless it's for fun/hobby/curiosity that you want to fix it, I'd just replace it with a low end rig. 
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Giles Habibula
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2011, 01:30:44 AM »

If you've got a tube of thermal paste nearby, it may be worthwhile to remove the CPU, clean the old paste off, re-apply new paste, and reseat it. Possible that the old paste is no longer making proper contact, resulting in a fast overheat. I had this symptom exactly once, and this took care of it, however mine would go like two or three minutes before the shutdown (a few times much less than that though).

By 'powers itself down', do you mean it actually goes through the shutdown routine, or does it just suddenly switch off?
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Gromit
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2011, 01:31:45 AM »

Quote from: Giles Habibula on January 14, 2011, 01:30:44 AM

If you've got a tube of thermal paste nearby, it may be worthwhile to remove the CPU, clean the old paste off, re-apply new paste, and reseat it. Possible that the old paste is no longer making proper contact, resulting in a fast overheat. I had this symptom exactly once, and this took care of it, however mine would go like two or three minutes before the shutdown (a few times much less than that though).

By 'powers itself down', do you mean it actually goes through the shutdown routine, or does it just suddenly switch off?

It just suddenly and unceremoniously turns off.  No splash screen, no nothing...
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pingwrx
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2011, 06:11:05 AM »

Since it just shuts off really sounds like a mobo or cpu issue.
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Thin_J
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2011, 06:39:51 AM »

Quote from: pingwrx on January 14, 2011, 06:11:05 AM

Since it just shuts off really sounds like a mobo or cpu issue.

Power Supply is the cause of that way more often than the Mobo/CPU. You usually get warning beeps from the motherboard if it's the CPU, particularly if it's overheating.
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Purge
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2011, 12:34:10 PM »

Also, it may still be logical. I'd boot off a CD just to be sure. There is also a method to watch your bootup progress (f8 during startup), and it may be something as silly as a video card driver load that is causing the failure.

The first thing I was going to suggest swapping / testing is the power supply as Thin_J suggested.  It may be that the power supply is overrated, and after all these years handling the peripherals is tasking it. If you don't have an available PS, try disconnecting EVERYTHING (USB, DVD drive, blah blah blah) to just hard drive, keyboard, mouse, monitor.

If you want to test the heat, try powering it on 15 times (from a cold start) and see if the crash time reduces. If it doesn't, I think you can worry about your paste later. If you suspect memory, try running with one stick of memory( and test both).


Best of luck, and bring us the results.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 12:38:27 PM by Purge » Logged

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pingwrx
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2011, 10:43:51 PM »

Quote from: Purge on January 14, 2011, 12:34:10 PM

Also, it may still be logical. I'd boot off a CD just to be sure. There is also a method to watch your bootup progress (f8 during startup), and it may be something as silly as a video card driver load that is causing the failure.

The first thing I was going to suggest swapping / testing is the power supply as Thin_J suggested.  It may be that the power supply is overrated, and after all these years handling the peripherals is tasking it. If you don't have an available PS, try disconnecting EVERYTHING (USB, DVD drive, blah blah blah) to just hard drive, keyboard, mouse, monitor.

If you want to test the heat, try powering it on 15 times (from a cold start) and see if the crash time reduces. If it doesn't, I think you can worry about your paste later. If you suspect memory, try running with one stick of memory( and test both).


Best of luck, and bring us the results.

I've had that memory problem myself when 1 memory stick went bad.  icon_frown
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Gromit
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2011, 12:38:05 AM »

Tested each individual memory slot in each available slot.  No dice.  :/
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Purge
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2011, 01:46:36 AM »

Give us a full description of what's been tested and the results. Were multiple things tested at the same time?

Also, check your mainboard for popped capacitors. They are the cylinders and either have a Y or X on the top of them. They should NOT be sticking out.
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"If it weren't for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we'd still be eating frozen radio dinners." - Johnny Carson
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