Solving Issues Related to Computer Power
 
 
Solving Issues of Computer Power Repair

In this article, we'll go over some troubleshooting tips for determining causes for computer shutdowns. Also, we'll go over the details of the BIOS setup of a typical PC in the accompanying video.

Power Turns off Without Warning

If a computer turns off without any warning there are a few things that may be causing this. The problem may be from the system overheating, an issue or error in the hardware, a virus, or problems with the operating system.

Overheating – A computer will either automatically reboot or completely shutdown if it gets too hot. It does this to protect the CPU (computer chip) from damage. If any sort of irregular noises are coming from the computer, such as a high pitch sound, then this could mean the fan on the computer has failed. To fix this issue, examine the computer to see if the fan is moving and providing adequate air flow. Also, check the BIOS settings to confirm Fan speed and CPU temperatures. You can access the computer BIOS by hitting a special function key (for example F1, F2, or F10, etc.) when the computer is first turned on. The message that appears would be "Press F1 To Enter Setup" or something similar . Once there, review information regarding CPU temperature and fan speeds. Not all BIOSes will show this information, but most new computers will. CPU temperature varies depending on the processor, but usually (not always), if the computer is reporting CPU temperature above 82 degrees while idle, there may be an overheating problem. Review your computer documentation for the type of processor you have and the heat ranges it's allowed to operate in. Detecting overheating problems can be tough because if you have a poor fan or poor ventilation in the computer, the CPU while idle may not overheat until it does something taxing (such as running a processor-intensive game). The more a CPU crunches data, the hotter it gets, so that's why cooling is an important factor in maintaining a properly functioning machine.
Faulty Power Supply - If your computer turns off randomly (while sitting idle) and/or if it takes several presses of the power button to power on, you may have a faulty or dying power supply. Power supplies do fail often and are not that expensive to buy and replace.

Issues or Errors with Hardware – If a hardware issue or error has occurred (or been detected), it may cause your system to shut down automatically. This occasionally occurs when a new hardware has recently been installed into the computer. There are many ways to determine if this is the culprit depending on the specific piece of hardware you've installed. If you installed a PCI/PCIe card, and you turn on your computer only to find it now freezes, reboots, or completely shuts down, most likely that card is the issue. If the new hardware simply doesn't work properly, view the Device Manager Page. Once you check your Device Manager Page and it appears to have an issue, the hardware will need to be removed.

Virus – If the computer has been infected with a virus it can also cause your computer to reboot or shut down or behave erratic. Always, always, always run an updated anti-virus program on your computer.

Operating System Issue – If the computer continues to reboot itself without any warning then it may be caused from an operating system (OS) issue. One way to figure out if this is the cause, start by rebooting the computer and enter in a CMOS/BIOS Setup as the computer reboots. After the computer loads, sit and wait to see if the system shuts down. If it does not turn off, try rebooting your computer into Safe Mode. Leave it alone for the period of time it would normally reboot. If it's fine then there is most likely some sort of device driver conflict or other software conflict causing the issue during normal operating mode.

Windows Restarts without Warning

When Windows restarts without giving a warning it may be caused from a software issue or error, a hardware issue or error, heat-related issues, or a computer virus with the operating system.

Software Issue or Error – To find out if the issue is caused from a problem within the computer's software the computer should be rebooted in Safe Mode . Rebooting in Safe Mode depends on what operating system is in use. For Windows, once the computer has been restarted, tap the F8 key. While in safe mode you can check drivers located in Control Panel under Device Manager. Device Manager will indicate whether you have a hardware issue or not. If you recently installed a program which is incompatible with your system you may need to uninstall it. If the computer continues to reboot in Safe Mode then you may need to restore your computer to an earlier state by using Control Panel under the Recovery icon. This will solve most any problem you may be having with incompatible software.

Hardware Issue or Error – If hardware has failed then it may cause Windows to automatically shut down or reboot. This occasionally occurs when new hardware has recently been installed on the computer. To determine if this is the root cause, view the Device Manager Page. Once you check your Device Manager Page and it appears to have an issue, the hardware will need to be removed.

Overheating – A computer will automatically reboot (or shutdown) if it gets too hot. If any sort of irregular noises are coming from the computer such as a high pitch sound then this could mean the fan on the computer has failed. Examine the computer to see if the fan is running properly.

Operating System Issue – If the computer continues to reboot itself without any warning then it may be caused from an operating system (OS) issue. One way to figure out if this is the cause, start by rebooting the computer and enter in a CMOS/BIOS Setup as the computer reboots. After the computer loads, sit and wait to see if the system shuts down. If it does not turn off, try rebooting your computer into Safe Mode. Leave it alone for the period of time it would normally reboot. If it's fine then there is most likely some sort of device driver conflict or other software conflict causing the issue during normal operating mode.

Virus – If the computer has been infected with a virus it can Windows to automatically shut down. Viruses can be created to reboot the system every 5, 10, 15, 30, etc. minutes. Make sure the virus protection program on the system is up-to-date. To resolve this issue, a scan/clean/recovery will need to take place. There are many antivirus tools made available that can help protect a computer.

How to Determine if a Serious Error has Occurred

Believe it or not, sometimes it's difficult to determine that a serious error has occurred, particularly if you were away from the computer when the event happened. For example, the computer may reboot itself from a "bug check" while you were away, but you may not have noticed when you returned as the computer had already reloaded the desktop. There are several clues though that the OS will give you. For example, on Windows, you may receive an error message that looks something like this:

Clearly, the OS detected the computer was shut down unexpectedly. Moreover, in this case, it detected a "System Failure: Stop Error ". This essentially means there was a serious error that the Windows OS detected and as a result "blue screened" (more on that later), dumped the memory to a file for later debugging, and rebooted itself.
The computer may also alert you of a serious error by prompting you to report the error to Microsoft Corporation. This means that the error it encountered has "befuddled" the OS and it wants to send the details to Microsoft engineers (anonymously) so that they can review this information and determine if it's something they need to address in future service packs/patches. Don't hold your breath. They're not going to directly help you fix this issue.

But the most useful tool by far for documentation on the error that occurred is the Event Viewer . The Event Viewer is available on all versions of Windows from Windows 2000 on up. It is located in the "Administrator Tools" folder. For serious system errors, you want to look in the "System" section of the Event Viewer.
As you can see from this snapshot of a "System Error" above, there are error codes in the "Description" section of the error log. Do a search for these error codes online (i.e. Google search) for more help to determine the root cause of these errors. In addition to the System Error entries you see in the System area of the Event Viewer, you can also look for the "Save Dump" entries. These entries will look something like this:
This more detailed information reveals that it rebooted itself from a "bugcheck". It gives the error codes of the bugcheck and dumped the memory involved in the error to the "memory.dmp" file for debugging by engineers.
All this information is useful because it tells you when the error occurred (timestamp on event log), what the computer did as a result of the error (it rebooted itself), and the error codes that were generated so that you can research those codes online for additional information, help, and possible solutions.


Keywords

CMOS/BIOS Setup : To get to CMOS/BIOS Setup, during the rebooting phase try entering one of the five following keys on the keyboard: F1, F2, DEL, ESC, F10. The monitor should display the exact key to hit during reboot to enter Setup . Be quick, the message will only appear for a few seconds at power-on.

Device Manager Page: Depending upon the computer system, the Device Manager Page can be accessed in different ways. For the Windows version, click the "Windows Key" and "Pause Key" at the same time.
Download – This means to transfer any sort of content from a remote computer down onto your own computer. For example, you may download a video, a game, a document, etc. When you download an item you are copying files from somewhere else to your computer. You can download something from the internet, from a disk, another computer on your network, etc.

Upload - This is the opposite of download. This is when you transfer file(s) from your computer up onto a remote computer.

Hardware - This refers to any objects associated with the computer that can be actually touched, such as disks, keyboards, printers, chips, disk drives and more.

Install/Uninstall/Reinstall – When you install something on your computer, you are adding it to your system to be used in the future and it will remain within your computer until it is removed. The removal of a program is called "Uninstall" while a reinstall means you took the program off your system and then put (installed) it back on. Some examples of things that can be installed are a, operating system such as Windows, a game, an antivirus program, etc.

Operating System - This is a program that is used to run other programs on the computer. It is the most important program a computer will have and is considered the "backbone" because it manages the resources of both hardware and software.

Reboot – To reboot a computer means to turn it off and then back on again so that it reloads everything from scratch. It is also called "Restart" or "Reset."

Safe Mode - Allows you to diagnose operating system problems. It can be used to fix many issues found within the operating system. Most particularly, if your computer works fine in Safe Mode but has problems during Normal Mode, you can then determine that the core functions of the computer work correctly and you should move your focus onto the more advanced drivers controlling computer peripherals that load during Normal Mode.

Software - Different from hardware, software refers to computer programs and data that are stored on a computer. Software is not 'touchable' while hardware is. An example of software includes video games, language programs, office productivity tools, photo-editing programs, etc.

Virus - A computer virus does all sorts of "evil" things that depend on whatever the programmer of the virus wanted it to do. Most likely, they delete files, corrupt data, hide themselves so they can be replicated quickly to other machines, compromise your computer security, etc. It can come from emails, instant messages or spread from certain websites. They are hidden software programs that may have been accidentally downloaded or they can be "worms" that specifically shopped the Internet for computers that have software vulnerabilities. Scary, right? That's why it is paramount that you have an updated virus program at all times.

Windows - This is a type of operating system from Microsoft and is very common in many computers, particularly in the business world. Windows includes all different versions such as Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, 2000, 98, 95 and more.

 
 
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