Auto-Reboot
January 12, 2006 6:59 AM   Subscribe

My XP Pro desktop has started rebooting on it's own (after it's been idle for a while, not while in use...). Any ideas as to the cause?
posted by JABof72 to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
 
memory problems? run memtest86.
posted by andrew cooke at 7:03 AM on January 12, 2006


bug in screen saver? set to blank screen.
posted by andrew cooke at 7:03 AM on January 12, 2006


you can look at the system log to see what the cause might be (sorry use win2k so can't give exact location, but it's in teh start menu or control panel somewhere)
posted by andrew cooke at 7:04 AM on January 12, 2006


Auto-shutdown due to overheating? Check the running processor temperature in your BIOS, and that the proc fan is functional.
posted by Danelope at 7:06 AM on January 12, 2006


Windows update auto-rebooting? There have been quite a few windows updates over the last week or so... Just a possibility (and my least favourite "feature" EVER).
posted by antifuse at 7:12 AM on January 12, 2006


Will do all of the above. Thanks! I had my suspicions of the Boinc screen saver. I've yet to figure out how to configure the damned thing. I've had a Seti Screen saver since inception, but will give Boinc another try this weekend, when I have more patience
posted by JABof72 at 7:13 AM on January 12, 2006


The most common cause for this is overheating, as Danelope says. Check if the fans (CPU and Video card) are working properly. Also, other problems in the electrical system may be the cause (faulty cable, mostly). The BIOS auto-shutdown temperature may be set too low (but that is a long shot and last thing you should be looking for).

You can prevent the reboot (turn it into a halt on error) by going to My Computer/Properties/Advanced/Startup and Recovery and unchecking the "Automatic Restart" box - next time around Windows will not reboot but it will halt and give you an error message you can then check in Microsoft or Google.

Memory chips may cause this problem too - it may help to use BIOS setup to force an extensive memory check (but the results may not be totally accurate - for this you must use some memory check app, there are some out there).

Another good thing to try is to disable, one at a time, the programs that start automatically with Windows. this way you can see if one of them is causing the problem.
posted by nkyad at 7:23 AM on January 12, 2006


curious - why would it overheat while idle? is it only laptop chips that consume less power when idle? (same worry applies to memory problems - in my experience they happen more often while processing, presumably since that's when you access memory most).
posted by andrew cooke at 7:26 AM on January 12, 2006


Will check all that out. The system is several years old, so it wouldn't be surprising that something is starting to give. Thanks everyone!
posted by JABof72 at 7:30 AM on January 12, 2006


If it's old, it might be worth your while replacing the power supply on spec. Also, check the motherboard for bad capacitors (good backgrounder here).

And a firm second for memtest86.
posted by flabdablet at 7:41 AM on January 12, 2006


andrew cooke : "curious - why would it overheat while idle? is it only laptop chips that consume less power when idle? (same worry applies to memory problems - in my experience they happen more often while processing, presumably since that's when you access memory most)."

As any "Law and Order" episode will teach you, eyewitness accounts are not always reliable. "Idle" as in "nobody at the mouse and keyboard, no visible application running" does not means "idle" from the system point of view. In modern desktops we usually run many background applications (I have at this moment Google Desktop, Picasa, Gaim, AVG and Nvidia Manager). Windows will also have some background tasks running. All of those will jump to the opportunity of grabbing more cycles when the user goes for a cup of coffee. Also, overheating is a process, maybe the user work pattern in this particular machine makes the temperature go up while the user is working but he/she always takes a break before the reboot threshold.

Memory problems occur usually at random times, but they may be hard to find (because the specific faulty memory locations are not accessed very often).
posted by nkyad at 7:42 AM on January 12, 2006


My money's on antifuse and the Windows Update poltergeist.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:47 AM on January 12, 2006


I've had a Seti Screen saver since inception

Wait, is that running when you say it's idle? 'Cuz the whole point of the various distributed computing projects is to use your cpu to the max when you're idle. The computer gets a pretty good workout and could very well be overheating.
posted by Pryde at 10:53 PM on January 12, 2006


« Older MP3 player for a backpack   |   Load Complete New Yorker on harddrive Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.