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Solved: System Shuts Down During Boot Up

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Lee&Sally, Nov 10, 2007.

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  1. Lee&Sally

    Lee&Sally Thread Starter

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    Messages:
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    My PC had become rather slow after it had notched up 5 years of faithful service, a problem that wasn't helped by Norton Antivirus (SystemWorks 2002) becoming ever more bloated and resource hungry. So I decided to wipe and re-format the hard drive and opt for a complete fresh start. I didn't re-install Norton - I opted for the latest free versions of AVG Antivirus, with Spybot Search & Destroy and Lavasoft Ad-aware taking care of all the other nasties. The system is cleaned rigorously and is free of all viruses / nasties.

    All went well and my PC returned to its former glory - running faster than Ben Johnson on steroids! However, an annoying problem has recently set in whereby it shuts down during boot-up for no apparent reason. Approximately 2 to 3 seconds after switch on, the whole system shuts down in an instant - just as though someone has pulled the plug. But the power supply is fine as the motherboard LED is still lit. At this point I am unable to restart the system via the on/off button on the front of the tower case. I have to pull the mains plug and wait for about 15 seconds before reconnecting and switching on.

    The system will then re-start but goes straight to the BIOS setup screen where it says during the last boot-up, the system hung for an incorrect CPU speed. Yet the correct speed is displayed (1733MHz) so I press F10 to save the settings and the system will then re-boot perfectly.

    Having put up with this everyday for 2 weeks, I decided to replace the CMOS battery (which turned out to be OK anyway) and to test the RAM chips with Simm Tester. All were perfect. More recently, the problem has got worse. It now occurs twice during each boot - once as described above and then again when Windows is about half way through loading. I've also tried a different hard drive but the problem still exists. I can't help but feel I'm now on borrowed time!

    One thing I have noticed is that it only occurs when the system is cold. Once it has been running for about 15 minutes, I can shut down and re-start immediately with no problems. This made me wonder if it was an electrical issue, but given I'm not an electrician, I'm a little lost. I have tried inspecting the cables, connections and capacitors but cannot see any apparent external damage.

    Can anybody out there please help? (y)

    SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS:
    YEAR OF BUILD: MAY 2002
    MOTHERBOARD: ASUS A7A266-E
    BIOS: ASUS - 42302e31 Award Medallion BIOS v6.0 Award Plug and Play BIOS Extension
    CPU: AMD Athlon(TM) XP2100+ 1.7 GHz
    RAM: 512MB DDR PC2100
    VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4400 (Microsoft Corporation) Ver. 6.14
    AUDIO: CREATIVE SOUNDBLASTER AUGIGY
    HARD DISK: 80GB - 7200rpm
    OP SYSTEM: WINDOWS XP SP2
    ANTI-VIRUS: AVG (FREE EDITION)
    ANTI-SPYWARE: SPYBOT SEARCH & DESTROY
    ANTI-ADWARE: AD-AWARE 2007
     
  2. ChuckG

    ChuckG

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2002
    Messages:
    281
    Well Lee and/or Sally the first thing I would do is to go back into my CMOS/BIOS and look for the option to load default settings. Load that option and then save and exit out of there.

    It's a starting point.
     
  3. Lee&Sally

    Lee&Sally Thread Starter

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    Messages:
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    Many thanks for that tip, Chuck. I reset the BIOS to the default settings and switched off the PC for about an hour so it could cool down. When I came to switch it back on, it got passed the BIOS stage perfectly so it looks like that bit has been cured by your advice. However, it did still shut down during the Windows boot stage.

    I've just been chatting to someone in the pub about the problem and he suggested to change the power supply unit. But I'm a bit worried about doing that because;

    1. I'm scared stiff of tackling all things electrical!
    2. I can't understand why it seems to work perfectly once the PC has warmed up, e.g. if it has been running for about 15 minutes and I attempt to re-start, it will boot up perfectly. The problem only seems to occur when the system is 'cold'.

    Thus I'm not too sure if it would be the power supply unit. Nevertheless, at least your tip has helped get passed the BIOS stage. Many thanks.
     
  4. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    39,877
    Just because you see an LED on the board means next to nothing; your pw supply could well be failing.

    The quickest and easiest way to test it would be to swap in a known good unit.

    It is not too difficult to swap pw supplies. It is held on by four screws and of course the pw leads. Just take your time and watch where things connect and you should be fine. You can use a digital camera to take a few pics of the inside of the case before you start. This can be useful if you forget where something connected.

    Note to test I would go by compusa and pickup an antec unit. If it works, great. If not, they will let you return it.
     
  5. Lee&Sally

    Lee&Sally Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Great idea... especially liked the tip about taking pics with a digital camera. I'll give it a go in the morning. I've got another PC so I'll try swapping the Power Supply Units for a test run and then report back in due course. If it works, then I'll go out and buy one of the PSU's that you've recommended. Many thanks - it is deeply appreciated.
     
  6. Lee&Sally

    Lee&Sally Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2007
    Messages:
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    Well after all your wonderful advice I finally took the plunge and donned my rubber suit, gloves and wellies, opened the case and ripped out the somewhat ageing 300W power supply unit. Quite an anti-climax really - I was expecting to get fried alive but the job was done in under 10 minutes.

    Then it was in with a brand new Antec Earthwatts 430W PSU and guess what, no more problems.

    Once again, many thanks for all your help - I'd have never got by without it.
     
  7. ChuckG

    ChuckG

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2002
    Messages:
    281
    Nice work.

    Don''t let these computers intimidate you. There is no need to be afraid of them. It's just a process of elimination, that's all. All you need is a little hardware knowledge and before you know it you'll start building your own computers like many of us here.
     
  8. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Messages:
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    You are welcome. I will mark this one as solved for you. For future reference, you are able to mark your own threads as solved using the thread tools at the top of the page.
     
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