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  1. #1
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    IE problem getting bigger!

    Hi --

    For the past few months, my computer has been, more often than not, freezing/re-booting itself while I'm online.

    I'm at the point where I just think the only solution is to re-install Windows 98 and put my computer back to its default settings (losing ALL my hard drive saved programs, etc.).

    The problem now is not only freezing, it's also (more frustrating) that several times a day the screen will immediately go to black and then re-boot itself. (As if someone unplugged it then plugged it back in.)

    What can possibly be causing that to happen?! Does anyone have any ideas on what the problem is or even how to fix it?! Is my only option to re-install Windows?

    Thanks for any help/suggestions.

    Josh

  2. #2
    SitePoint Enthusiast Chip D's Avatar
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    Are you doing anything specific when these problems are occouring?

    More often then not this kind of problem is usually caused by a hardware fault of some kind, at worst case the motherboard and/or processor are at fault.
    Chip D
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    Chances are what I think I'm typing is nothing like what I type.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply Chip.

    No, I'm not doing anything specific (that I can tell) -- just surfing away like usual...

    So if that's the case, that it's caused by some "hardware fault" involving the "motherboard/processor" what now do I need to do to fix this?!

    Thanks,
    Josh

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast Chip D's Avatar
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    Just had another thought actually . . . it could be the Power Supply. sometimes these can cause such problems. Basically I think the options would be to either, a) format the HDD and re-install Windows to eliminate a software fault, or b) find a local computer shop that will let you return goods if you "aren't satisfied" with them so you can start to eliminate the hardware components one by one.

    If you choose option b) I's start with the power supply, as it's the easiest to test, and cheapest as well.
    Chip D
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    Chances are what I think I'm typing is nothing like what I type.

  5. #5
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    hi--

    well if it's the Power Supply, how can I remedy that problem? And what exactly is HDD, Hard Drive?

    Thanks,
    Josh

  6. #6
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    Definately format your computer first to be sure that it isn't a software problem. More likely than not, it is a hardware problem.

    HDD stands for Hard Disk Drive.

    Try getting a hold of a new power supply if you can. Replace it and see if that helps. If you can, get one that is more powerful (in watts) than your current one.

    A few questions:

    - What hardware have you added to your computer (if anything)? Any new graphics cards, Hard drives, etc?
    - Are all of your fans operating?
    - Can you measure the temperature coming out of the fan in your power supply?

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard big_al's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Another thing can also be the power in your house, if it flucuates enough then it will cause your computer to reboot.

    Do your lights ever dim slightly?

    Other than that I would definitly say it is your PSU (Power Supply Unit) or a motherboard, if you can notice any consistency with it, like it will only reboot when it has been running for a while and unsualy in the day time, I could almost definitly say that it is your motherboard as you may have a hairline fracture on the board and as we all know heat causes things to expand, it expands and looses contact, causing your computer to freeze or reboot.

    If that is the case you will have no option but to get a new mother board.

    As for the PSU senario, it could possibly be a problem with an ATX PSU, but again I'd be more inclined to think it is the motherbaord or your mains power fluctuating.
    .NET Code Monkey

  8. #8
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    Thanks Aidan and Big Al for that great insight!

    Now some questions and answers!:

    1) I did recently add a DSL (from Earthlink) port to the inside of my computer.

    2) How can I tell if all my fans are operating properly?!

    3) You both mentioned my Power Supply Unit -- is that my surge protector with the six outlets?? Beyond that, I'm not quite sure what/where my PSU is or how to monitor it!

    4) I also just defragmented my HD for fun's sake and maybe that'll help something?!

    Well, thanks for these leads -- lookin fwd to hearing back!

    Josh

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard
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    1) Your Ethernet card shouldn't generate too much heat, or effect airflow much. Therefore, it isn't likely that that is causing your problem.

    2) To see if your fans are operating as they should, open your case and turn your computer on. You should have a few fans inside your case, and all of them should be turning. Make sure the one in your power supply (which I will get to soon...) is also in operation.

    3) Your power supply is the big metallic box that your power cable is connected to. It supplies power (in a way) to the rest of your computer. A faulty power supply can cause your computer to reboot randomly.

    4) The chances are slim that defragmenting will help, but you never know

    Also: Can you get into real-mode DOS and see if your computer is still rebooting? If it isn't, then you may have a software problem on your hands.

  10. #10
    Fluffy Kitten Programmer~ Elledan's Avatar
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    Check for those things first:

    > heat
    > PSU
    > conflicting hardware
    > corrupted software

    Heat: with the system running, touch the HSF (the metal thingie beneath the fan that is mounted on the CPU). If it's too hot to touch for longer than a few seconds, get yourself another HSF.

    PSU: if the PSU doesn't provide enough juice for all components, random reboots are normal. Try hooking up another PSU.

    Conflicting Hardware: use the system with a minimum of components first (mobo, cpu, psu, hsf, video-card, ram). Then add the NIC (networkcard) and stay online for a few hours. If you didn't experience any sudden reboots/lockups, keep adding hardware and testing until it starts rebooting/locking up.

    Corrupted software: reinstall (and update) all drivers (video-card, soundcard, NIC. Updating the BIOS is optional, but can help too). When you're still experiencing problems, reinstall Windows on top of the current installation.

    Last resort: if all else fails, make a backup of important data, format the HD and reinstall Windows.
    www.nyanko.ws - My web-, software- and game development company.
    www.mayaposch.com - My personal site and blog.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard big_al's Avatar
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    Hi,

    You said you had a surge protector on your system (The box with 6 plug holes i it)

    Is it a UPS (Uniterupatable Power Supply)? this a little device that supplies power to your computer in the event of a black out, some have a cable that plugs into the back of your computer to shut it down when it is low on power.

    I have had this sort of problem with a Sola UPS and had to uninstall it's software to stop it doing this.

    If you just have a good ol' power board then ignore this post and try the things mentioned above
    .NET Code Monkey

  12. #12
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    hey Al,

    No, I think I simply have an off the shelf standard 6 plug surge protector -- not the other kind you are referring too.

    Could that be causeing some kind of problem?!

    Josh

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard
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    A standard 6-plug surge protector should be fine. However, it may be worth trying other surge protectors.

  14. #14
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    I don't know how it caused it but one time I had the same problem with the computer booting and it turned out to be the clock battery that was causing it, I replaced it and it stopped rebooting by itself.
    Last edited by damicatz; Jun 4, 2001 at 13:15.

  15. #15
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    The clock battery, huh! How exactly do I change the clock battery? Is that something physical, or is it located on my hard disk drive somewhere...?

    And on that note, as I'm still struggling to find the cause with the least headache attached, I called Dell Tech Support, and they were so unhelpful that it was almost laughable. The woman, after describing all my problems and possible causes, she said "check your system resources and if the % is low, I suggest you shut down your computer more often to prevent it from re-booting itself."

    (I do shut down my computer often and it still freezes and reboots.... ugghhh!)

    -Josh

  16. #16
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Inside your computer on your motherboard is a little watch battery (Usually it's a watch battery) that holds settings like your time and your hard drive settings and stuff.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast stuartd's Avatar
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    I've seen a few computers do it... Win 95, 98 and even Win Me installed on them....

    I've installed programs for people... went to run them, and they'd reboot the computer. Sometimes... it didn't even happen right away. It would be after a few months of using the program... it would just start to do it.

    I've found that most often times... it's because it's doing something the computer can't handle. You know that blue screen of death? Well, there's one worse... it's a reboot.

    Most cases I've seen was with the video card. The ram on the card runs out, and then you try to do a drop down menu, or a res change... or something... and the computer just can't handle it. Things like Layers on a webpage, or tables or forms definitely kill a video cards memory. And instead of an error... it doesn't know what's going on and just reboots.

    It's kind of like a fail safe.

    However... that doesn't really answer your question, because a fail safe can still be a few different things. Something is giving your computer a hard time. If it's not the video card, than I'd have to assume, that if it's happening all of a sudden for no reason, that it's a conflict of some kind. Netscape and IE, or two devices using the same driver... something that just makes your computer freak.

    The bad news.. in every case I've seen it... I've had to reformat and start over. Because as we all know with Windows... removing a program does not stop a conflict.

    Stuart Duncan
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  18. #18
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    I had that problem while playing games back when using Windows ME too, Windows 2000 doesn't ever seem to have this problem for me, the only thing it does is those STOP Errors (In Windows 2000 Blue Screens of Death are called STOP Errors lots of times), which can be set to automaticly reboot the computer automaticly for you if you want.


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