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Random Pc Freezes & Reboots, Now No Boot Or Image


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#16
rshaffer61

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With the pc being over 5 years old maybe the Power button is causing this?

The age has nothing to do with it but it does look like the power switch may be faulty.

I can't think of anything else other than that or a shortcircuit which is corrected by laying the motherboard bare on cardboard.

Highly doubtful since it has been running for 5 years.

Could that somehow cause the freezing/reboots for some reason if the buttons bad?

Absolutely


I've pressed that power button a million times before. Could that somehow cause the freezing/reboots for some reason if the buttons bad? I have an identical power button that came with the custom case I could try

I would say that it most likely is the power button and possibly a wire that is either loose or maybe frayed that is causing the issue.

Should I try adding parts back to the system one by one and see what happens?

Yes just to make sure.



Or should I be testing ram with Memtest, or cpu with some other software? Any ideas? I'm so excited that it worked for a bit!!! I shut it off for now.

Since the system started and ran with your memory outside of the case with no problem I don't see the memory as being the issue. Your freezing outside was caused by the heatsink not being properly installed and you corrected that as you stated earlier. The system ran fine then.
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#17
Macboatmaster

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Test the power button switch by connecting a multi-meter on continuity circuit and operate the switch.

The other possibility is that the motherboard, is slightly stressed when in the case and a solder joint has gone bad, that will be the devils own job to find.

I know you insist that you did not stress anything on the sound card, but if it is not the power button, I still think you should explore the area around the sound card.

Edited by Macboatmaster, 06 July 2011 - 02:18 PM.

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#18
superstar

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Ok so this is The verdict so far.

I ran my pc barebones last night. No power switch just CPU, ram, onboard graphics, and a spare PSU. Though my Pc still froze... When it did I was ready to pick up my motherboard to try something else. Than all of a sudden I noticed the CPU heatsink was hot like [bleep]. The Pc could have froze during my first barebone test due to the small over heating, so I reattached CPU fan... Mind you the CPU fan has always been attached (of course), until i started diagnosing the freeze/reboot issue and unplugged it just to check if the board would start, and forgot to reattach it. Well there's been absolutely NO FREEZE since I reattached it. Before going to bed last night I attached one of my two disc drives and ran Memtest86+: I awoke to 8 complete passes with no errors so my memory is fine (The Pc didn't reboot/freeze overnight either obviously). I've made multiple reboots using the Memtest86+ disc as well as the PSU switch and no issues have occurred. So in essence I could have fooled myself this whole time diagnosing the initial problem, by unplugging the CPU fan and not narrowing down the REAL reason why my Pc was freezing/rebooting. Today I tried reattaching the Power switch/Power led/Hdd led one by one, and my system tested fine without freezes/reboots. I also attached a spare hard drive I always use to diagnose this Pc (which had froze before possibly due to my testing with the CPU fan detached), and well the Hdd ran fine. So I figured I'd unplug everything again and check for freezes/reboots by booting without a power switch just CPU, ram, onboard graphics, and this time try attaching the regular Antec Earthwatts PSU I always use. Just to see if its my PSU. An hour later and no freezes/reboots. I attached the Power switch/Power led/Hdd led at once and still no issue. I figure it must be something else so I'll continue reattaching parts now until I find the culprit. I hope the problem isn't my motherboard shorting somehow. As mentioned all tests I've been running since yesterday have been barebones laying the mobo flat on a wooden board with an anti static bag under the mobo.

Any suggestions while I continue testing?
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#19
rshaffer61

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It looks like you are doing exactly as needed.
I would say the culprit may have been a power connection in the case to the mobo like you said the switch.
The only way to really tell is to put everything back in the case and try it then.
Possibly a little dust on a lead or a wire may have come loose.
Take a look at the switch itself on the front of the case and make sure there are no loose connections or a possible wire that may be exposed.
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#20
superstar

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Still haven't found the root cause but the system seems stable as I'm adding parts bit by bit. Just added the agp card and it's running fine no freezes/reboots. I just wanted to thank you guys for all the wonderful tips your giving me in advance. I've been part of this site for years and you all are really part of my family. I've learned so much from you all over the years. Thanks guys!

Well back to testing...

As far as the Power switch front goes, I haven't swapped it with the identical spare that came with the case when I bought it. But I guess for safety's sake I should do so. It couldn't hurt... While bread boarding the motherboard on a wooden plank I've used a can of compressed air all over the board, vacumed it, cleaned the card slots with isopropyl alcohol on a lint free cloth using a credit card while pressing down on the slots, and cleaned the card connectors with the same substance/cloth. I obviously disconnected everything but CPU, and ram when I first began testing. So maybe some connectors got "cleaned up" so to speak with the removal process, which is why stuff is working now. Who knows I may just add something as part of testing that will freeze the system. We'll see...

I hear what you guys are saying about the Power switch front. Hmmm just pressed it whil the Pc was unplugged a few times. And man it really does feel a lot different than the reset button when it's pressed down. Like much more loose... Heavy years of pressing I guess. YI just don't really understand the science of how it could potentially be the root cause of my freezes/reboots. It's just a button. And when the issues occured why would it turn the system on and than cause the problem so long after? (eg: 5-15 mins)

Edited by superstar, 06 July 2011 - 03:27 PM.

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#21
superstar

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So I've reattached every single component one by one [while bread boarding - bare bones outside of the case], and haven't experienced any freezes/reboots again. I'm actually on the computer right now!!!

I don't know what the heck could have caused any of this. All I know is I'm switching the Power switch with the identical one I have that came with the case. & well... I'm going to place everything back in the case and hope it still works. Because if it doesn't than I guess that means somethings wrong with the motherboard. Because it all works fine laid out bare bones on my wooden board.

Any tips, comments, or suggestions are welcome.
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#22
Macboatmaster

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There are I think five possible causes.
1. The motherboard - when in the case on its spacers and with all cards inserted is OR was slightly stressed and causing the fault due to a faulty track on the PCB.

2. Overheating problem, in the case. - do we know the case fan is working - as well as the CPU fan.

3. USB port header for front ports.

4. Front audio header.

5. Optical drives if not yet connected

OR finally maybe - other connections not yet made - camera, printer, external drives etc.
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#23
rshaffer61

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1. The motherboard - when in the case on its spacers and with all cards inserted is OR was slightly stressed and causing the fault due to a faulty track on the PCB.

Everything is working outside of the case.

2. Overheating problem, in the case. - do we know the case fan is working - as well as the CPU fan.

I don't believe heat the issue here but a faulty power switch on the case.

3. USB port header for front ports.

4. Front audio header.


When reinstalled in the case this could be a possibility.

5. Optical drives if not yet connected

OR finally maybe - other connections not yet made - camera, printer, external drives etc.

Possible and after reinstalling mobo back into case I would suggest not hooking any external component up except KB and Mouse.
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#24
superstar

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Well I've got the computer carefully assembled back together nicely in it's case. Hooray no more bread boarding! & I'm using it right now... No reboots, no freezes... I'm good. Everything is connected as it was when there were no issues [ie: usb external drives, mouse, monitor(s), headphones, every case fan, etc]. What the heck could have been the problem? My pc was extremely clean... I mean maybe a bit of dust but like a 1mm film over certain parts nothing drastic. I actually used "Contact Cleaner" on a soft cloth using a credit card to push it down in the pci, agp, and ram slots. Just for some extra clean, also used that to clean the add on card connectors for some extra shine. Even cleaned the ram contacts with it too. Dropped some fresh oil in the cpu fan bearing, cleaned out all of my fans, installed the brand new spare identical power switch front that came with the case, etc. I really don't know what went wrong when my freezes/reboots started happening. Seems like I'm a happy camper now!


Thanks Guys...


Though what the heck went wrong?


I can't lie though there was a small bit of dust film on one of the memory modules contacts. Though that could have just been dust outside of the memory slot that got on the module when I took it out to clean. It was a thin layer but substantial. You know like to the point where dust starts curling into little balls, or braids of hair type looking sinister things. Very small though, and I can't think how it would make it's way into the memory slot. I know I cleaned that before ages ago. The dust was in the slot too but that could have also been due to it falling off the module when I took it out to clean. I can't think of how dust could gather inside the slot with the module sitting on it. Just thought I'd point that out. All the other slots were clean, with the exception of my agp card that seemed to have the same issue.

Edited by superstar, 08 July 2011 - 11:47 AM.

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#25
rshaffer61

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But you did replace the power switch on the case correct?
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#26
superstar

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But you did replace the power switch on the case correct?



I did replace it with the new spare, now... I used the old Power switch during my bread boarding tests, and it didn't cause any issues. Though who's to say? It could have been the way the guts were bread boarded/positioned in irregular placement. As opposed to the normal way the old Power switch strands flow when the pc guts are inside the "case." Possible cold solder joint on the power switch, or damaged pcb from pressing it in and out for the past 5 years. I just don't know... It's just a power switch though, how the #### can that cause freezes/reboots? I even remember 1 "Fatal Error" blue screen at one point!

Edited by superstar, 08 July 2011 - 02:19 PM.

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#27
rshaffer61

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If the power switch had a solder point loose it could short out causing the reboots to happen at random times. The freezing is another question in its own.
Right now I'm really interested to see if it goes 24 hours without any issue.
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#28
superstar

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I had a BBQ to handle today so I wasn't able to run my machine extensively. But I'll definitely post back with some results!
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#29
rshaffer61

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Thanks for letting us know and enjoy the BBQ. :)
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#30
superstar

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So RShaffer61 I've been running my pc on and off for a few days and no freezes or reboots. Until this morning when I booted up it past the bios screen, and just before loading windows [XP LOGO w/progress bar], it rebooted. I promptly did a hard power off holding the NEW power button, and waited a while. Turned it on again and now all's fine since morning time, which was hours ago... Hmmm...

Edited by superstar, 13 July 2011 - 12:14 PM.

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