General Question

bomyne's avatar

Why is my computer shutting down randomly?

Asked by bomyne (636points) January 26th, 2012

This happened twice yesterday and once today though today was the only time i was at the computer.

I was in a (single player) game of Starcraft II when all of a sudden the computer shutdown, as if it lost power. The fan thats connected to the same outlet continued working. The number lock light on the (USB) keyboard stayed lit. When windows (7, 64bit) returned, it acted as if i had shut the computer down incorrectly.

It’s a custom built desktop (i7 CPU, 2 monitors, ATI graphics card, 6GB ram) and its the first time i’ve had this sort of issue with it. It wasnt a blue screen of death either.

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28 Answers

saint's avatar

A ram chip is not seated, the fan that cools your processor is clogged with dust, or your hard drive is in the process of failing. Back up everything while you have a chance!

bomyne's avatar

I’m pretty sure its not the ram chips not being seated as i’ve been using this thing for over a year with no issues.

Whats the best way to deal with the processor being clogged (if that’s the case)? And is there a way to prove or disprove the harddrive?

saint's avatar

Before you fret these details, is everything backed up to a different hard drive? That should be your first concern.

bomyne's avatar

The majority of stuff is stored on an external drive at all times. If the HDD dies, the most I’ll lose is my steam saved games. (Firefox bookmarks are even backed up with xmarks)

saint's avatar

Turn off computer, take off the cover look for dust clogging the ventilation opening, or in the fan that cools the processor. Blow it away with compressed air. Best bet is either your i7 is getting too hot, or your drive is dying.

ragingloli's avatar

Most likely overheating. Issues with RAM or a failing harddrive do not include powercuts, but bluescreens of death.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

I started following this question because this has happen to my lap top also. I don’t know anybody nearby to come over and check it out for what it happening.

auhsojsa's avatar

StarCraft2 works my laptop like a horse. I would recommend upgrading your fanning system. Even external ones work wonders. Good luck!

jerv's avatar

Another vote for overheating.

Also note that repeated heating and cooling (like using a computer, letting it warm up, then shutting it off) will case things to expand and contract. That can eventually unseat DIMMs and cards. While unseated RAM is not the cause of your problems, it may become a problem eventually ;)

Coloma's avatar

99% probability of dust. This has happened to me once or twice on my laptop and a few blasts in all the vents and ports with a can of Blowoff does the trick, instantly.

jerv's avatar

@Coloma I find that cat hair and lint are more common.

Boogabooga1's avatar

Overheating.
Get a free a program like CPUZ or similar and monitor your CPU (main processor) and GPU (graphics) temperatures whilst playing games.
Different CPUs and Gpus have different operating temps but generally 70c is getting too hot for a CPU and 100c for a gpu.
They will either need the fans cleaned, the case better cooled or the chips reseated with fresh thermal paste.

(if its not an overheat issue then its likely to be a corrupt registry and only a roll back or reinstall of the game may fix this,, worst case scenario a fresh reinstall of windows 7)

bomyne's avatar

Computer just shut down twice in a row, both times i was playing The Old Republic. When i touched the case, i almost burnt my hard.

We are having some unusually hot weather here. it hit 38C (the weather) yesterday so i assume that my PCs fan must be clogged up. I plan on getting that can of air to clean it, but can i suppliment the inbuilt system with a desk fan?

Boogabooga1's avatar

A desk fan wont do jack if your cooler is blocked.
Yes a case fan is a great backup for cooling issues but you do NOT need to buy that silly air can.

Since you have a desktop you can just open up the side casing and brush the cooling fins with a small paint brush then close your eyes and blow hard a few times until you get rid of that dust.

You can even get the vacuum cleaner in there if you have a small brush attachment. Be gentle on the fan blades but don’t be afraid either.

Seelix's avatar

Mr Fiance’s computer did the same thing due to a fried heatsink. My old desktop did the same thing because it was all clogged up with dust and kitty hair. There could be a couple of reasons why your computer is overheating; try the simplest solution first and clean out your case.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

I just noticed that the battery detection is indicating no battery connected but it is. My current power plan is VA1O Optimized. I am going to check the fans and have my son in law open and blow out all the dust bunnies from inside.

auhsojsa's avatar

Vacuum your room and especially around your desktop at least once a weekend.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

I actually vacuum everyday in the only room that there is carpeting in where I keep my lap-top.

bomyne's avatar

@Boogabooga1 I actually meant setting up the desk fan after the dust has been removed, to help circulate the air and cool the system.

Damage control wise, is there a program that can detect when my computer is overheating and automatically place it into hibrernation? Its a real pain to lose work/game progress/whatever when this happens and i realize that it may take a while to get it all sorted.

jerv's avatar

@SmoothEmeraldOasis Vacuuming kicks dust into the air, so it may actually accelerate the problems. The only real solution it’s to operate the computer in a clean room, complete with airlocks, and wear a “bunny suit” to prevent skin flakes from getting sucked into the computer.

In practical terms, you are far better off just accepting that opening up your computer for a good cleaning is required, just like cars require oil changes.

ragingloli's avatar

or use water cooling

jerv's avatar

@ragingloli That usually involves radiators that likewise need occasional cleaning.

bomyne's avatar

I downloaded CPU-Z, I couldn’t find any temp monitor indicator. I found RealTemp 3.70 online. My quadcore CPU is currently reading as

96C 99C 97C 99C. I assume that’s too hot. What’s the normal temp for a quad core to run at?

For the record, it’s currently 2:25PM. Yahoo weather says the outside temp is 34C

ragingloli's avatar

around 44 when idling is normal for a quadcore. 60 to 70 under load. You definitely have overheating.

bomyne's avatar

I just discovered something. The computer has two vents. The usual one on the back of the computer where the fan is but also one on top of the case. I put a couple of items (Books) on the case a couple of days ago. I started experiencing issues with it not long after. Is it possible these are related?

I still plan on cleaning out the computer when I can find a brush that’s appropriate (Somehow I don’t think a hardwire brush should be used and that’s all I have ATM :P) or the can of air thing.

EDIT – I just looked inside the case and there’s two fans around the CPU areas. One isn ‘t working.

ragingloli's avatar

Well, there’s your problem!

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