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Overheating problem? Random shutdowns

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Hello, Ive lately been having problems with my pc running windows XP.

Firstly if I need to reset the computer it will load back up but constantly beep, which I assume is caused by overheating. However if I shutdown the computer and instantly turn it on again I don't get the beeping. This seems weird to me as it surely wouldn't have cooled down that much in such a short space of time.

The other problem I have been betting is random shutdowns. Well it doesnt even shutdown, it just goes off (overheating problem again?), the problem with this is when I try to turn on the computer again it will not come back on. When the blue welcome screen appears there is a message saying 'preparing network connections' which stays on for a few seconds before the computer switches itself off. It will not even start up in safe mode. A bit of research from google allowed me to find a workaround, by plugging an external harddrive in as soon as the blue screen appears, the user log in screen appears as normal.

Any ideas if I have a virus causing it or is a hardware issue?

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Hi wysiwyg2008
You need to provide information about your computer, this includes is it a laptop or desktop, is it a custom build or brand name such as Dell or HP and if it is provide the model name or series number, motherboard , PSU and any add on card details would also help others to help you better.

Below is my canned text on how to safely clean out a desktop computer;
If the computer needs cleaning out, first remove the power cord from the wall and open up the case, take anti static precautions before touching anything inside, you can do this by touching a bare metal part of the case, remove the video card, blow out the slot and re-seat the card securely, do the same with the memory sticks then any other add on cards, clean all internal fans, if you use canned compressed air do not let any fan spin freely this can damage them, use something like a clean lollipop stick to hold the fan steady.
Make sure all internal connections are secure and that there are no loose components, write down the psu details (make and model) re-assemble the computer, boot up and see how it goes.

When done download and run Speedfan from http://www.almico.com/sfdownload.php this will enable you to keep a check on your temps and manually adjust the fan speeds, if a clean out does not resolve the issue take a screenshot of the Speedfan readings and post it here so that your temps and voltages can be checked.

Cleaning out a laptop is more difficult so more information about the laptop would be needed to be able to offer the most suitable guidance.
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