Computer keeps shutting down

August 9, 2010 at 06:37:22
Specs: Windoes XP Home Edition, pentium 4 3.0ghz/1.5gb ram
Okay so I'm trying to fix my Girlfriends computer Originally i thought it was a virus because the hard drive was heavily full of trojans and all sorts of other viruses.

I replaced the hard drive with a spare I had lying around, no luck computer kept shutting down.

I then thought it may be the Power Supply, so I replaced the one in the computer with another old one that use to run my old computer just fine. Still the same Problem Computer Kept Crashing.

Now I am trying to figure out what the problem could be

Its a old Computer so Pentium 4, 1.5gb Ram, old motherboard MSI 7071 i think for it was Nvidia 6600GT graphics card.

Just wondering if anyone can tell me what the problem is?

So tempted just to chuck it out and buy new parts and build her a new one.

Any help would be muchly Appreciated



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August 9, 2010 at 07:52:09
MSI mboards are more likely to have this problem than most others.

Some mboards develop this problem - electrolytic capacitors were installed on them that were not properly made, and they fail eventually - the mboard manufacturer didn't know they were improperly made at the time the mboard was made.

Open up your case and examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

This was the original bad capacitor problem - has some example pictures.
History of why the exploding capacitors and which mboard makers were affected:

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:

If you can't see anything wrong regarding that ....

Your problem could be caused by

- overheating of the CPU.
In that case, the computer will probably work fine at first when it has been started up after having gotten a chance to cool to room temperature, but when the CPU gets too hot, the operating system malfunctions, and eventually the mboard shuts off, and the computer will not start up again until the cpu has cooled to below some specific temp.

- a problem reading the ram - try cleaning and re-seating the ram (see below), then testing the ram (see below)

- a poor wiring connection inside the case

Unplug the case/power supply, or switch off the AC power to it otherwise.
Power off your monitor.
Open up the case by removing the left side panel as seen when you're looking at the front of the case.
Check all the connections of the wiring to make sure they are all the way onto their pins and into their sockets, especially the main connector from the power supply. The wires close to the mboard going into the main power connector/socket should be more or less perpendicular to the mboard surface rather than at an angle. Make sure all cards in slots are all the way down in their slots.

A common thing that can happen with ram, even ram that worked fine previously, is the ram has, or has developed, a poor connection in it's slot(s).
This usually happens a long time after the ram was installed, but it can happen with new ram, or after moving the computer case from one place to another, and I've had even new modules that needed to have their contacts cleaned.

See response 2 in this - try cleaning the contacts on the ram modules, and making sure the modules are properly seated:

While you're in there, if the cpu fan/heatsink has mung (dust, lint, etc.) on it, clean it off, but DO NOT use a vaccuum cleaner to do that (they produce a tremendous amount of static electricity when running, and anything connected to them can discharge that to your components) - use canned air, or an air nozzle if you have access to an air compressor, or an artist's brush that can be used in small spaces, etc. It may be difficult to clean the top of the heatsink under the cpu fan - the most likely place to have mung on it - and the bottom side of the cpu fan blades unless you remove the fan. If you have a case fan, clean that too if it needs it.

Also check for mung on the video card fan and heatsink if it has that, and the power supply's openings / fan.

With the cover still off, restore the AC power, start the computer and make sure the cpu fan spins - if it doesn't spin, if you're sure the power supply is working okay, don't use the computer until you have replaced it.
If it spins too slowly, and/or if it makes rattling or screeching noises, most likely to be noticed when the computer has cooled to room temp, has not been used for a while, and then is started up, the cpu fan's bearings are failing - the cpu is likely to overheat as a result of that if it can no longer spin it's full speed - replace it as soon as you can.

If you do a ram test, do that AFTER having tried cleaning the contacts and making sure the ram is seated properly - otherwise any errors found may be FALSE.
If the ram is incompatible with the chipset, or on more recent computers, incompatible with the memory controller built into the cpu, it will likely FAIL a ram test - that is NOT a true indication of the ram being faulty - there is probably nothing wrong with it, and it will pass the test if installed in a mboard it is compatible with.
NOTE: Sometimes incompatible modules (or matched pairs) won't work properly when more than one is installed, but will pass when by itself.

If you want to try a memory diagnostic utility that takes a lot less time to run a full pass than memtest86 does, this one is pretty good - Microsoft's
Windows Memory Diagnostic:
It can be toggled (press T) to do a standard or a more comprehensive set of tests - use the default 6 test one first - if it passes one pass of that, use the latter one. A few of the tests in the latter set are intentionally slower.
If you don't have a floppy drive, see the Quick Start Information at that Microsoft link for how to make a bootable CD of the Windows Memory Diagnostic (you need Windiag.iso - you don't necessarily need to use the program they mention to add it to the CD).

"I then thought it may be the Power Supply, so I replaced the one in the computer with another old one that use to run my old computer just fine."

The MS-7071 has S3 onboard video. The Nvidia 6600GT AGP ? video card in a slot doesn't require much power.
The PS would probably need to have a (total output) capacity of at least 250 watts.

You could try, with the AC power to the case removed, removing the 6600GT card, wiping off it's contacts, don't touch the contacts with your fingers after that, installing it again, making sure it's all the way down in it's slot, and making sure it's secured at the bracket end - there may also be a clip or sliding piece on the AGP slot that locks down the inner end of the card.

MSI MS-7071 VIA P4M800 Skt 775 mATX Motherboard w/Video, Audio, LAN & RAID

# General Features:

# VIA P4M800 chipset
# Socket 775
# mATX form factor
# Supports 533/800 MHz Front Side Bus (FSB)
# Supports Intel Hyper-Threading technology
# Supports up to 2 GB DDR RAM (DDR333/400)
# S3 Unichrome Pro Integrated Graphics
# Realtek ALC655 6-channel AC'97 integrated audio
# Realtek 8201CL integrated 10/100 LAN
# Two (2) Serial ATA (SATA/150) controllers
# Supports Serial ATA RAID 0, RAID 1
# Two (2) UDMA/66/100/133 IDE controllers
# One (1) Floppy controller

# Expansion Slot:
# One (1) 8x/4x AGP slot
# Two (2) PCI slots
# Two (2) 184-pin DIMM sockets

# I/O Ports:
# Two (2) PS/2 ports
# One (1) 9-pin serial port
# One (1) 15-pin VGA port
# One (1) 25-pin parallel port
# Eight (8) USB ports (four on back and four via header)
# One (1) RJ-45 Ethernet jack
# Line-in
# Line out
# Microphone jack

# BIOS Features:
# Plug
(It's in a socket and is removable ?)

If you have checked out the above and
still have problems...

It is common to un-intentionally damage IDE data cables, especially while removing them - the 80 wire ones are more likely to be damaged. What usually happens is the cable is ripped at either edge and the wires there are either damaged or severed, often right at a connector or under it's cable clamp there, where it's hard to see - if a wire is severed but it's ends are touching, the connection is intermittent, rather than being reliable.
Another common thing is for the data cable to be separated from the connector contacts a bit after you have removed a cable - there should be no gap between the data cable and the connector - if there is press the cable against the connector to eliminate the gap.
80 wire data cables are also easily damaged at either edge if the cable is sharply creased at a fold in the cable.

Try another data cable if in doubt.

Check your SATA data cables. The connector on each end should "latch" into the socket on the drive and on the mboard, or on the drive controller card - it should not move when you merely brush your hand against it near the socket - if it does, mere vibration can cause a poor connection of it - use another SATA data cable that does "latch", or tape the connector in place.
(There is a slight projection or bump on one side of the outside of the connector that "latches" it into the socket - it's easily broken off or damaged)

The same thing applies for the SATA power connection.

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.

Seagate's Seatools will test any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.

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August 9, 2010 at 08:45:04
hey dude,

thanks for your info, I think I've worked the Problem out, I was going through Bios and noticed that the CPU temperature was reaching 80c which is way to high! so I think I need more thermal Paste also thinking of getting a new cooling CPU fan ??

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August 9, 2010 at 11:59:51
If the cpu fan and heatsink is clean and the cpu still gets too hot, yes, a better CPU fan (more cfm ) is a very good idea. Larger diameter fans usually make less noise because they spin slower. Fans with deeper (thicker) blades move more air. A fan that draws more current (ma) when it's the same diameter usually moves more air. Ones with TWO ball bearings or two ceramic bearings will last longer. If the label or description says ball bearing without an S, it probably has one ball bearing on the top side, a sleeve bearing on the bottom side towards the cpu .

NOTE that if the fan can be installed either way, the correct way is for you to be able to see the entire fan blade from the top when it's installed, no supports or non moving middle part in the way.

As for the cpu heat sink and removing it is concerned....

Don't try to fix what ain't broken !

DO NOT attempt to remove the heat sink from the CPU unless you were the one who installed it and you might have forgotten to place thermal compound between the two of them. If the heat sink is not loose, you do not need to remove it !
Thermal compound or a thermal pad still conducts heat fine when it's dried out.
When thermal compound has been used, the heat sink is often so well stuck to the CPU that it's as if it was "crazy" glued to it - it's difficult or impossible to remove it, even if you press down hard on the heat sink and twist the heat sink back and forth. If twisting the heat sink back and forth (with the heat sink clamp(s) un-clamped) does not loosen it, go no farther ! You have no choice except pulling straight up on the heat sink with the cpu attached without being able to get at the lever that releases the CPU from it's zif socket, and it's possible you could pull pins out of the cpu, and/or damage the zif socket when you do that. If it's well stuck, the thermal pad or compound does NOT need to be replaced !

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