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September 23, 2011 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Memtest says the RAM is clean. So why might my Eee PC 1000 be repeatedly rebooting?

A short while ago, I ordered and installed a new SSD 32GB hard drive for my Asus Eee PC 1000, updating the BIOS in the process, as the original 32GB drive was failing and I had to upgrade from Ubuntu 8.04.

Everything worked for a day, so I made a USB key and installed Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

Unfortunately, the Eee PC now randomly keeps rebooting itself, often seven or eight times before finally making it through to the login screen. Sometimes it lasts a couple of hours after that, or sometimes a couple of minutes, before the whole reboot cycle starts again.

Also, annoyingly, the hard drive I installed (a RunCore 32GB 70mm SATA issue RCP-IV-S7032-C, fact fans) kept losing its label and partition information at similarly random intervals, rendering it less than useful.

I never had any problem with the system rebooting in Ubuntu 8.04, even after the new hard drive was installed.

So far, here is what I've done to try to fix it:

1. As other forums with similar questions blamed faulty RAM. So I ran Memtest -- three times on three separate occasions -- and all came up fine.

2. I have checked inside the computer to see if anything is loose, and there doesn't appear to be.

3. I swapped the new hard drive and old hard drive back, to see if that was causing the problem. The new hard drive seems to work absolutely fine if it's external to the computer in its USB housing. But the computer is still repeatedly rebooting -- even if the new hard drive is completely disconnected.

Does anybody have any more ideas? I'm a couple of grades above a newbie Ubuntu user, but I am not a wizard and nor do I have infinite time. So there might be something else I could try that I am missing.

Is there a log file that might point to a reason?

Also, I was cautious about static and electronics, taking the usual precautions -- could something have happened anyway? Is this the kind of thing that can result from unexpected zaps?

Thanks in advance.
posted by randomination to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
Response by poster: (I also asked the question here, but got little advice. I'm in touch with the manufacturers of the hard drive now, though.)
posted by randomination at 11:00 AM on September 23, 2011

Look at /var/log/syslog. I suspect you'll just see normal log entries and then all of a sudden kernel messages from startup after the reboot.

Does it work longer if you've left it off for a while and it has had time to cool down? Is the fan working OK? The vast majority of the time when I have seen problems like this it's heat related, usually a cruddy fan, but sometimes they just start turning slowly or not turning at all for no particular reason.

I did once have a driver issue that kept blowing up a machine, but that sort of thing is pretty rare in Linux.
posted by wierdo at 11:15 AM on September 23, 2011

Those machines were notorious for having underpowered and/or power supplies that failed after a few months/years which could explain the reboots that you are seeing. FYI.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:18 AM on September 23, 2011

Response by poster: Does it work longer if you've left it off for a while and it has had time to cool down? Is the fan working OK?

Yeah, often. Hmm, good point. It could do with a clean -- I could try that. It's possible that the new OS has the somewhat older machine working harder.
posted by randomination at 11:19 AM on September 23, 2011

My bet would be that the power supply is borderline and is crowbarring occasionally.

If so, then this would be more likely to happen when you have unpowered USB devices connected. Even a thumb drive could do it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:21 AM on September 23, 2011

nthing a heat or power problem.
posted by holgate at 11:26 AM on September 23, 2011

Response by poster: Alright. So if this is a power supply problem, is this fixable? If it isn't fixable, can it be mitigated?
posted by randomination at 11:33 AM on September 23, 2011

I'm not terribly familiar with the Eee PCs in particular, but if it's got a power brick, you can replace it if blowing the dust out of the netbook itself doesn't fix the problem.
posted by wierdo at 11:37 AM on September 23, 2011

For diagnostic work, Ubuntu has supposedly has an event viewer (I don't use linux so I can't really vouch for it). If its the power supply, you will just have to replace it.
posted by rtimmel at 12:17 PM on September 23, 2011

"Fixing" a power supply problem pretty much always means "replacement". You'd want a new brick with the same voltage rating and the same or higher current rating.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:36 PM on September 23, 2011

Isn't the Eee PC a laptop? I think the answers about replacing the power brick don't make sense given that I assume you have a battery in there and that it's at least got some sort of charge when you have been seeing the reboots happen.

I think you may need a new motherboard, if it's not a kernel issue as suggested above.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 12:44 PM on September 23, 2011

"Repeated rebooting" type freakouts have always been a dying motherboard, in my experience. Eventually the death rattle comes and it just stops turning on.
posted by kavasa at 12:55 PM on September 23, 2011

Go to Best Buy or similar and by a universal power supply and test you unit. With a netbook, any wattage should do. If that's not the problem, return it. If it solves the problem, buy a cheaper compatible power supply off of eBay, then return the unit to BB.

Morally dubious perhaps, but quick and minimizes cost.
posted by bonehead at 2:24 PM on September 23, 2011

Universal laptop power supply, sorry. This is the sort of thing I mean.
posted by bonehead at 2:43 PM on September 23, 2011

Blow out the fans with a can of compressed air. Spontaneous reboot problems like this one are almost always because of heat.
posted by mhoye at 4:32 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I have my can of compressed air and a Best Buy flyer. My weekend is now sorted. Thanks all.
posted by randomination at 7:04 PM on September 23, 2011

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