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PC Restarts Randomly in Games

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Windows: Windows XP5.1 (Build 2600) Service Pack 2
Internet Explorer: 6.0.2900.2180
Memory (RAM): 2048 MB
CPU: Intel® Pentium® 4 CPU 3.00GHz
CPU Speed: 2961.0 MHz
Sound card: Realtek AC97 Audio
Display Adapters: RADEON 9600 SERIES | RADEON 9600 SERIES - Secondary | NetMeeting driver | RDPDD Chained DD
Screen Resolution: 1280 X 1024 - 32 bit
Network Adapters: 802.11g USB 2.0 Wireless LAN Adapter #3 - Packet Scheduler Miniport
COM Ports: COM1
LPT Ports: LPT1
Mouse: 3 Button Wheel Mouse Present
Hard Disks: C: 92.8GB | D: 93.5GB
Hard Disks - Free: C: 86.5GB | D: 38.0GB
USB Controllers: 5 host controllers.
Firewire (1394): Not Detected
Manufacturer: Phoenix Technologies, LTD
Product Make:
AC Power Status: OnLine
BIOS Info: ATAT COMPATIBLE 020205 IntelR 42302e31
Time Zone: AUS Eastern Standard Time
Battery: No Battery
Motherboard: 865PE-ICH5
Modem: Not detected

This is a double edged problem.

First off startup. I had a similar problem 3 months back when my computer just kept Looping at startup. First it would load up to the Windows loading screen, then reboot. Before reboot the monitor will make like its going on standby and the keyboard will reset (all buttons flash caps lock, numlock etc.) then thats my reboot. Then I'd get the error message saying that windows gives you a number of options to choose from (start up normally, safe mode, last known config). During this time, no matter what I chose they all ended up going to a loading screen then rebooting. I even left it on for a day, and when I came home it was STILL looping. I gave it a further 3 more days, trying safe mode, checking bios for temp and what not, opening the case and putting another fan.. EVERYTHING and still had the problem. I eventually reformatted and it was all good.. until now.

Basically Im at the point where Ive already almost depleted my first HD 90gig to about 23 gig or so. I think my PSU or something cannot handle startups so easily, however I just let it loop a few times then its fine and dandy. If it still persists, I go into safe mode then do a system restore, or Ive found restarting it manually in safe mode also fixes it. But even now that is starting to stop working (not booting into safe mode), I only manged to get into it today because I let it loop for about 10 mins.

The second part of this problem is random restarts while playing something that requires a lot of power or memory, say games like Company of Heroes, World of Warcraft and Battlefield 2142. While using the computer normally (watching vids, music, going on net, doing work) it NEVER randomly restarts as it did 3 months ago. Back to the games, the time it takes for the game to randomly reboot is varied, sometimes it takes a mere 5 seconds in game to restart, 10 minutes, even 2-6 hours. I dont think its a cooling issue, because even straight after a restart its still at a stable temp, 32degress celcius for system, and 40 for CPU, shutdown is 70. Anyway when Im in game and it does one of these random restarts, the screen will go immediately black, no sound can be heard and it is indeed a reboot. The monitor will go into what seems a hibernate mode where it is actually infact, restarting with the comp. During this time it seems as if the computer's noises are going as if nothing happened.

Ive checked for viruses and spyware via Nod32 and Adaware SE, deleted a few things but still the problem is there. Before, I didn't realise, but I was actually running my ATI Catalyst Control centre at 5.7, but never had any problems until recently. I upgraded to 6.8 and it still does not work.

Sorry bit of a contradiction but It may be the Cooling, because I can play WoW or something for about 4 hours, out of CoH and BF2142 its the least demanding I think, the other games wont even let get ingame (bf2142 I got to a loading screen:P). I just read up something about faulty capacitators which Ill check out and Im also thinking it might be a Dying PSU.

EDIT: Just downloaded SpeedFan. Im getting something that Fan 3 is at 0RPM. Now to my understanding I have 3 fans in my PC, 1 for PSU box, 1 for CPU and an extra one for the system in general. But it's weird All fans ARE running, Im looking at it spinning right now as I type!

Edited by Kikujirp, 14 February 2007 - 06:38 AM.

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Speedfan only works and tells you the speed of fans that have sensors built in, just normal case fans don't usually have sensors built in. So it is right for FAN 3 to show as 0RPM. However I'm concerned about your system's temperatures. If the PC is very old and is in a dusty environment it is very likely that CPU Heatsink is loaded with dust, meaning its unable to cool itself, reaching the shutdown threshold and restarting. If you turn your PC off, remove all cables and hold the power button in to clear the remaining power in the pc (hold in for about 10 seconds). Then touch the top of your case to release any static from your hands. This processor is a Pentium 4 so I guess it has a heatsink like this one..

Posted Image

You will have clips either side of the heatsink that release when pressure is put on them (it's pretty straight forward when you look at it), take the heatsink off + remove the cable that is plugged into the motherboard. Take it outside and give it a good old blow and get all of the dust out (close your eyes too).

Put it back on afterwards, securing it with the clips AND REMEMBER TO PLUG THE CABLE BACK IN . Now run the PC again and try BF2142 again and see if you have any problems. If you do please come back here and I will help you with any other possibilities.
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