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Computer turns itself on


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#1
BrianR1976

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I don't know if this is the proper place to put this, if it isn't please stick it where it should go.

In the past couple months we have had 2 power outages. Both times when the power came back on my sisters computer turned itself on. It wasn't on when the power went out. I'm looking for a reason this would happen and a fix to assure it wont happen again.

I do not know her computers specifics. I know its a Dell, P4 and is about 4 or 5 years old.
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#2
phillpower2

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Hi BrianR1976, Couple of suggestions for you to check out;
I would first check in the bios, to see if it is set to start when power is resumed, this is for power outages but it does the same thing when you unplug the computer and plug it back in (if not shut down correctly 1st).
Replace the CMOS battery and while you are there inspect the psu or replace it with a known good one because if it is a bad power supply it should be replaced, as a power supply can take out the motherboard, processor, ram, video, hard drives etc when it blows.
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#3
Digerati

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Agreed. There is a BIOS setting to boot the computer when power is restored. This is normally for servers or unattended computers.

Replacing the CMOS battery may be a good idea if you are having other problems too, such as date and time changing, or you are getting checksum errors during boot. And if not the problem, it not a big loss as they are very inexpensive and easy to do - just make sure you unplug from the wall first and take the necessary preventative ESD precautions. Not sure how "inspecting" a PSU will reveal much. About all you can do is verify it is still there, and not clogged with dust. If the computer works fine other wise, and is not shutting down or rebooting by itself, the current PSU is fine. There are ways to "test" a PSU, but only a qualified and properly equipped technician can do that - so swapping in a known good one is the best method for do-it-yourselfers, if the old PSU is suspect.

I would consider getting a good UPS with AVR - not just for power outages, but for the power regulation they provide. Today's highspeed digital electronics are not nearly as robust as electronics of yesteryear.
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#4
BrianR1976

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How do I check the BIOS? And both times it has done this the clock has reset to like 2004. Is that the battery issue?
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#5
phillpower2

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Replacing the CMOS battery should resolve this, when you have replaced it you will
need to go into the BIOS and re-set the time and date, save and then exit.
Try Tapping F8 on booting up to get into the BIOS, or possibly F1 or F2
The 2004 date will be the year of the default settings, regarding inspecting the psu
make sure all of the power leads from it are securely in the connections and as Digerati
said make sure the psu fan (or any other fan) is not clogged with dust.
Here are the keys to tap to get into the BIOS on the different Dell machines.
Dell 400 F3, F1
Dell 4400 F12
Dell Dimension® F2 or DEL
Dell Inspiron® F2
Dell Latitude Fn+F1 (while booted)
Dell Latitude F2 (on boot)
Dell Optiplex DEL
Dell Optiplex F2
Dell Precision™ F2

Edited by phillpower2, 29 August 2010 - 02:07 PM.

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#6
Digerati

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Try Tapping F8 on booting up to get into the BIOS, or possibly F1 or F2

No, not F8 - that's for Safe Mode. Usually to access the BIOS Setup Menu, you hit the Del key, but I have seen F1, F2, and F12 too.

And both times it has done this the clock has reset to like 2004. Is that the battery issue?

The date and time needing a reset is most commonly a battery problem. As noted before, unplug from the wall before starting. Then touch bare metal of the case before reaching in to discharge static and put you at the same potential of the case. Then pry out the battery - a strong thumb nail works. Take the battery to your local battery/watch/camera counter for a replacement - typically it is a CR2032. Most counters will recycle the old battery for you. Do not touch the new battery with bare hands - skin oils promote corrosion and attract dust. I put a clean sock over my hand.

Once installed and system is clean of dust, inspect to ensure all cables are still securely fastened. Then boot directly into the BIOS Setup Menu, set date and time, then Save and Exit to boot normally.
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#7
BrianR1976

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thanks I'll try this on my next day off.
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