The Fan of Death
July 29, 2007 12:06 PM   Subscribe

BSOD! My windows PC has decided to give up. I would just let it go, but it's got an interesting symptom...

When it starts up, it boots up, running Windows XP, it takes me to the screen where I can choose a variety of safe modes, a normal start up, or the last known good configuration. All of these lead to a BSOD.

The interesting thing is that it is plugged into a power strip, which is plugged into an electrical socket that shares a plug with a rotating fan. When the computer is off, and I turn the fan on, the computer attempts to boot up. Somehow hitting the on button on the fan causes the computer to turn on too. I've tried the computer plugged into a different socket, with and without the power strip, but didn't get any more luck.

Is this possibly an issue with the power supply? Something else?
posted by Pants! to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
 
I can't help directly, but maybe can provide pointers. I've seen computers that were upgraded but the power supply was too weak to handle the new hardware. In such examples, the computer can boot to DOS mode, but can't boot into full windows because that requires more power (I don't understand how). A BSOD inevitably occurs (there are even some BSOD error messages indicative of this fault).

In these cases, upgrading to a higher wattage power supply fixed the problem, and usually the computer was still using the original 300W (or so) PSU.

It might be that your PSU is broken, or shorting in some way, that it no longer provides sufficient wattage for your hardware.

Another thought is that your motherboard is touching the base board in some way, causing another weird short.
posted by deeper red at 12:15 PM on July 29, 2007


Thanks. I will try replacing/upgrading the power supply to see if that works. But I am still curious about that fan.
posted by Pants! at 12:19 PM on July 29, 2007


Regardless of whatever else is going on, it definitely sounds like a power supply issue to me. Try another power strip as well. If you know how, go into the BIOS and see if there is an option to display voltage levels -- it might even tell you which, if any, are off.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:13 PM on July 29, 2007


As for the fan, it begins consuming electrical power when you turn it on, which may result in a short-term voltage transient in the devices connected to the same outlet (especially if it's a powerful fan). Somehow, perhaps by interfering with a digital signal, this is triggering your power supply.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:16 PM on July 29, 2007


On further reading, you say you've tried a different socket but couldn't reproduce these results -- in this case, it may be that the socket is partially to blame. This may have wrecked your power supply as well.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:18 PM on July 29, 2007


Your PC probably has a BIOS setting that tells it to turn on automatically after a power failure. This is useful for PCs performing a server role. Something to do with the strip, fan or socket is causing the PC to think there's been a power failure, so it starts up.
posted by krisjohn at 4:40 PM on July 29, 2007


Unfortunately enough, I've also had BSOD troubles for the past few days (semi-resolved, for now, by removing the hard drive and connecting it to a borrowed laptop. The rest of my computer is still a doorstop until I can fix it.) Anyway, I found a very nice page of Windows stop errors (they're listed in numerical order and everything!) You might see what the people there have to say . . .
posted by oldtimey at 4:33 PM on July 30, 2007


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