Solved Unexpected shut down & will not immediately reboot

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oldguy001

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I am running Windows 7, 8GB, i5-2400 CPU, @ 64 bits with Alienware
This has been an ongoing problem for a while now. My computer shuts down unexpectedly at seemingly random times. It may have something to do with heating issues since it usually occurs after the computer sets idle or in use for long periods. When I try to reboot after the unexpected shutdown, the fans wherrr, but it will not reboot until the computer is shut down for a cooling-off period of time. I've checked memory problems, all the usb cords are connected fully, drivers updated, system performance and all devices checked and just finished cleaning out any dust. Problem Example: When I do a backup to an attached hard-drive that takes a half-hour or so, it completes the backup and then shuts down (not instructed to shut down after backup). Then will not reboot until left idle for a long period of time.
 

plodr

Liz
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Do you have a cooling pad under the laptop? If not, get one.

I use a passive cooling pad under two of the 3 netbooks we have because these two tend to run hotter than the 3rd one.
 

oldguy001

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My machine is a desktop model (Dell Alienware Aurora R3). The fans seem to be cooling, however when it tries to reboot after unexpected shutdown, the fan(s) run quite loudly and do not back off.
 

Tanis

Shane
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Has the tower been cleaned out recently (ever)? It could be overheating due to dust build in generally, in particular in and around CPU / GPU heatsinks etc.

It could be a failing PSU also, can you give us the Dell Service Tag number for the machine then we can look up your exact system specs.

Roughly how old is the machine and have you change / upgraded any hardware in it or is it all stock?
 

oldguy001

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The Dell Service Tag is 361KWR1. This machine was a Dell Replacement under warranty of a computer that could not be repaired in my home. I think it was a refurbished model - 2011 vintage. While a Blu-ray drive was installed by Dell at my request, the rest is pretty much standard. When opened, it does not appear dusty. The unexpected shutdown occurs at a variety of time and functions - surfing the Internet, doing a backup, sometimes just moving the mouse to begin a function. Alienware allows me to adjust thermal controls - ambient sensors 1-2-3&4, the hard drive and cpi fans. All sensors read 25C and fans to auto control. Hard drive fan is at 33%. I have run the Dell diagnostics and everything passes. I have a can of compressed air for cleaning, but have read that is may only make matters worse.
 

Tanis

Shane
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If the temps reported are correct then it shouldn't be shutting down due to heat. A it could be a problem with the power supply, do you know what wattage / serial number it is as I can't find it on the Dell website for your PC (might be me being blind)?

If the PSU is failing then it might be a pain as it is likely a proprietary unit from Dell only and they will probably charge over the top for a replacement.
 

oldguy001

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Yep, that's what I've been thinking too, the power supply. I have taken it to a repair shop and they could not find a problem. Since it operates normally until heating up or whatever, I guess I'll just continue using it this way until it quits working entirely and the power supply fails completely. No, I don't know the wattage or serial number of the supply unit.
 

plodr

Liz
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Since it operates normally until heating up or whatever, I guess I'll just continue using it this way until it quits working entirely
IMO, that's not a good idea. Over heating or marginal power supplies unfortunately can kill other components.
Spend the money for a new power supply and save the components that work. otherwise, you may end up trashing lots of parts because you did not want to replace the power supply.
 

Tanis

Shane
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Have to agree with Liz (plodr), running a potentially failing PSU until it dies is asking for trouble, they do have a nasty habit of frying things like your CPU and/or motherboard and/or RAM etc if they fail. Obviously this will then become a bigger and more expensive problem to fix.
 

managed

Allan
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I agree you're taking a risk running it as it is now.

Having said that you could try using it with the case side(s) removed to see if that cools it down enough to stop the shutdowns. Also if you have a desktop fan you could use that to blow air into the case for extra cooling. Do that just for testing though and if the shutdowns still happen I think you will need a new PSU.
 

oldguy001

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Mar 31, 2013
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IMO, that's not a good idea. Over heating or marginal power supplies unfortunately can kill other components.
Spend the money for a new power supply and save the components that work. otherwise, you may end up trashing lots of parts because you did not want to replace the power supply.
Thanks for the help. Got my machine back from repair shop today. Everything seems to be fine again.
 

oldguy001

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Thanks for the help. Got my machine back from repair shop today. Everything seems to be fine again.
 
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