PC randomly powered off - any advice?

Asus Deluxe a8n-sli deluxe desktop mothe...
July 28, 2014 at 03:46:25
Specs: Win7/Win8, AMD x2/3GB
I mainly use my laptop but I have an old PC I built 8 years back which still works pretty well and I use it occasionally (it runs on an Asus A8N SLI Deluxe board, 3GB RAM, Athlon X2 4200)

It has never really had any major problems, but when I was using it on Saturday, I was literally just in Windows and the PC just powered straight off. I've never seen anything like this before other than when there has been a power-cut (but this was not the case as my monitor was still on - it was just the PC that totally and instantly powered off)

There was no BSOD or any errors, or anything like that. I was in Windows 7 at the time just browsing the web on Chrome and then the power was lost!

Now I don't know what to investigate next. I thought maybe the PSU had blown, but I pressed the power button on the PC after it went off, and it started up again and seemed OK. I went into the Event Log in Windows but there were no errors occurring around the time it switched off, just the "Unexpected shutdown" ones.

What could be the potential issue? Is there anything you'd suggest checking on?


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July 28, 2014 at 04:29:16
Mmm very basic but are you sure the power cord was securely inserted into the socket on the case/psu. Is the power cable "solid" no intermittent breaks (usually near the plug ends)?

Check that all cooling systems/fans are running ok; and that all vents are dust free.

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July 30, 2014 at 03:55:27
Thanks for the response.

I've checked the power lead and it seems secure and to be working properly.

The fans all look like they are running OK too.

I know systems can shut down for safety when temperatures get too hot but I've never experienced this. Would it just shut off like they did in my problem above?

I'm still stumped by this. Hopefully it doesn't happen again. When I have the money I plan to upgrade this thing (and get a better, quieter PSU) but it still seems a pretty solid system. Do you think it's safe to use still?


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July 30, 2014 at 05:56:39
I would take the precaution of copying "all" my personal files - documents, photos, music - you name it - to external storage )typically DVD at least; and ideally to another external hard drive too). Then if per chance it does die.. (although not likely the hard drive is the culprit here) at least you data is safe. Also make a note of any software keys you have installed - hard copy and also a file (saved both "off the system" and also perhaps emailed to yourself... (The latter is a simple form of "cloud" storage accessible from any computer...)

Sadly very few copy/safeguard their personal files regularly off the system; and keep them current too...; and check they're OK as well... But when things go wrong... "tears before bedtyme..."

Belarc Advisor.com is a freebie that will scan the entire system; produce a report (printable) and also can be saved as a file); and msinfo32 is freebie within Windows that does much the same. Such a scan/report is useful at any time - especially if having to re-install..., and not sure what you may need to find drivers for at least...

msinfo32 - 'details on how...."

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/300887 (doesn't mention win-8 but useful nonetheless for general tips etc.)

These two are specific win-8 and also win-7



Having copies of all installation keys is useful should one ever have to re-install...; and all these utilities will dig them out.

All the above give details of hardware etc. too.

Otherwise I'd carry on with an awareness that you "may" have a problem brewing; pending digging further into it all physically? It may be the psu - as they can go down for whatever reason; and sometimes intermittently so initially. But anything you create - save off the system as well to as to the hard drive.

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Related Solutions

July 30, 2014 at 20:11:53
After protecting your files, try the following:
Install HWMonitor and read your motherboard voltages to make sure that they are within 5% of their nominal values (5% +/- from the 12V, 3.3V, & 5V). let is be while using your computer for at least 10 minutes and you can see the minimum and maximum values. If the variation is too wide, it is probably the power supply that is going. If the values drop a lot while under more stress, that is a sure indication that it is either bad or undersized (or over or incorrectly rated). Also as long as you are in HWMonitor, check your internal temperatures to see if it is a heat issue and make sure that all of your fans are running at reasonable speeds. A zero fan speed may mean that there is no fan connected or it is not turning, depending on how many you have and how they are connected (fans connected directly to power supply will not show up).

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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July 31, 2014 at 05:21:02
Thank you both for the replies.

Trvlr - good advice. I already have a number of my files on the PC backed up to my laptop and an external hard drive (also some in my OneDrive and on DVD) but I haven't completed the full set. Belarc is a good tool and I will make sure I use it to get my keys.

Fingers - thanks, I use HWMonitor a lot anyway for monitoring my temps and fan speeds, but never have known anything about the voltages if I am honest, I honestly haven't a clue when it comes to the electrical side of things. I've always wondered whether it needs to be over or under the Voltage listed, and from what you're saying it can be over or under 12v, 3.3v, 5v but only as much as 5% over or under? Learn something new everyday!

I took a screenshot of HWM when I first booted.

First Boot

And this screenshot is after running some heavy duty 3Dmark06:

After 3DMark06 tests

Only the 5V voltage looks OK (to me - like I said, I am pretty clueless) What do you make of these voltages?

Also why do I have two lots of +3.3V and +5V listed?

One thing I've noticed now is even when running idle, my GPU temperature is in the upper 50s/early 60s, which isn't right. The fan on that is working, as I can control it, but it's only running at it's default of 30% speed.

Also, my CPU is stupidly hot. It's in the 50s at idle! Is this normal for this class of CPU? (AMD Athlon X2, 4200+ - stock speed, no OCing)

I fitted it with a "new" Zalman heatsink and fan last year in order to get the temps down, but it doesn't seem to have changed anything.

Any advice appreciated as always.


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July 31, 2014 at 07:26:22
Is there anything running the back ground - a real resource hog that you don't know about - as in it's nothing you elected to run etc...?

What does the processes window list - is everything as it ought to be in terms of running processes? I'm thinking nasties, pests etc...

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July 31, 2014 at 08:40:40
Thanks for the response.

I am on the whole quite strict with my Windows installations and do not allow any background hogs to last long, as I am constantly monitoring Task Manager (obviously not literally, that'd get very boring!) for processes that shouldn't be running etc. I am a stringent CCleaner-er, run Spybot scans once a week and I also look for startup items in MSCONFIG. SpyBot never finds anything and nor do I have any unnecessary startup items. There doesn't appear to be anything hogging the resources, but I am not at the PC at the moment so I will check back later and let you know.

Speaking of MSCONFIG, as the CPU is running hot, I expected that surely disabling a core would help in the sense that it'd cool it down - obviously I'd lose out on performance, but if the machine was running cooler I could live with that. So I set it to use 1 CPU core. But it is actually no cooler, whatsoever. So much for my expectations!

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July 31, 2014 at 18:29:58
Your 12V minimum is 8% low which is not conclusive but may very well be a sign that the power supply is not keeping up or is dying.
Your CPU is a bit warm but should be able to handle up to 70C for short periods of time. When a CPU is running warm at idle or under moderate load and there is an upgraded heat sink, there could be an error in applying the thermal compound during assembly. Please look up your CPU on this site and read up on the proper application of thermal compound (it applies to all compounds and all heat sinks) here:

If you have access to another power supply, you probably should try swapping them out to see if it helps the issue. If purchasing, look for a power supply with at least 80% certified efficiency rated, Active PFC, a single 12Volt Rail, a quality name brand, and a warranty of at least 3 years.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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August 11, 2014 at 07:01:44
Thanks for the reply, Fingers, I will keep an eye on those figures and I may also re-apply some thermal paste after looking at the link you provided.

One thing that has confused me slightly on the CPU-temperature side of things is this:

If I am in "normal mode" Windows 7, my temperatures for my CPU tend to stay around 49-59 degrees per core even when idle, but sometimes shooting into the 60s under load.

However, I tried one of those boot CDs (from a USB stick) that boots into a slimmed down version of XP and my temperatures there are usually in the 40s, although it only sees one core. So to get around this I tried the Windows 7 "Repair my computer" mode by pressing F8 on boot-up. I went to the command line and fired up CoreTemp and my temperatures were in the range I'd expect them to be when idle - in the 30s as shown:

CoreTemp and Task manager

You can see that the load is 0% on both CoreTemp and Windows Task Manager (the high of 64 degrees is because I ran a Prime95 test to see how quickly the temps would fall after I end the test). Obviously this is because no background services or applications are running in this mode but even so, when I am in normal mode, if the load % drops, my CPU temperature does not seem to! Seems a bit strange to me.

And whilst I am talking about the load %, it does seem to be quite high most of the time. Yet in task manager, there's nothing obvious using CPU cycles. At the moment in Core Temp (normal Windows mode) my cores are at 48 and 58 degrees. Yet I am just typing this message in IE.

It's either a driver/service using more of the CPU in normal-mode Windows, or something is reporting incorrectly. Not sure what though?

I just ran "HiJackThis" and the report doesn't throw up anything obvious to me (although there are a load of "file missing" entries, which I don't understand) If someone could take a brief look through, that'd be great:

Logfile of Trend Micro HijackThis v2.0.5
Scan saved at 14:52:53, on 11/08/2014
Platform: Windows 7 SP1 (WinNT 6.00.3505)
MSIE: Internet Explorer v11.0 (11.00.9600.17207)
CHROME: 36.0.1985.125
FIREFOX: 24.0 (en-US)
Boot mode: Normal

Running processes:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Drive\googledrivesync.exe
C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Drive\googledrivesync.exe
C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE

R1 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Search Page = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?Lin...
R0 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = https://www.google.co.uk/
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Page_URL = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?L...
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Default_Search_URL = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?Lin...
R1 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Search Page = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?Lin...
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Start Page = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?L...
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search,SearchAssistant =
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search,CustomizeSearch =
R0 - HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main,Local Page = C:\Windows\SysWOW64\blank.htm
R0 - HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar,LinksFolderName =
F2 - REG:system.ini: UserInit=userinit.exe
O2 - BHO: Java(tm) Plug-In SSV Helper - {761497BB-D6F0-462C-B6EB-D4DAF1D92D43} - C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre7\bin\ssv.dll
O2 - BHO: Windows Live ID Sign-in Helper - {9030D464-4C02-4ABF-8ECC-5164760863C6} - C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Windows Live\WindowsLiveLogin.dll
O2 - BHO: Java(tm) Plug-In 2 SSV Helper - {DBC80044-A445-435b-BC74-9C25C1C588A9} - C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre7\bin\jp2ssv.dll
O4 - HKLM\..\Run: [SPIRunE] Rundll32 SPIRunE.dll,RunDLLEntry
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [GoogleDriveSync] "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Drive\googledrivesync.exe" /autostart
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Google Update] "C:\Users\Alex\AppData\Local\Google\Update\GoogleUpdate.exe" /c
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [SkyDrive] "C:\Users\Alex\AppData\Local\Microsoft\SkyDrive\SkyDrive.exe" /background
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [Sidebar] C:\Program Files\Windows Sidebar\sidebar.exe /autoRun
O4 - HKCU\..\Run: [NetworkIndicator] E:\Programs\network\NetworkIndicator.exe
O4 - HKUS\S-1-5-19\..\Run: [Sidebar] %ProgramFiles%\Windows Sidebar\Sidebar.exe /autoRun (User 'LOCAL SERVICE')
O4 - HKUS\S-1-5-19\..\RunOnce: [mctadmin] C:\Windows\System32\mctadmin.exe (User 'LOCAL SERVICE')
O4 - HKUS\S-1-5-20\..\Run: [Sidebar] %ProgramFiles%\Windows Sidebar\Sidebar.exe /autoRun (User 'NETWORK SERVICE')
O4 - HKUS\S-1-5-20\..\RunOnce: [mctadmin] C:\Windows\System32\mctadmin.exe (User 'NETWORK SERVICE')
O8 - Extra context menu item: E&xport to Microsoft Excel - res://C:\PROGRA~2\MICROS~4\OFFICE11\EXCEL.EXE/3000
O9 - Extra button: (no name) - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - (no file)
O9 - Extra 'Tools' menuitem: Sun Java Console - {08B0E5C0-4FCB-11CF-AAA5-00401C608501} - (no file)
O9 - Extra button: Research - {92780B25-18CC-41C8-B9BE-3C9C571A8263} - C:\PROGRA~2\MICROS~4\OFFICE11\REFIEBAR.DLL
O10 - Unknown file in Winsock LSP: c:\program files (x86)\common files\microsoft shared\windows live\wlidnsp.dll
O10 - Unknown file in Winsock LSP: c:\program files (x86)\common files\microsoft shared\windows live\wlidnsp.dll
O11 - Options group: [ACCELERATED_GRAPHICS] Accelerated graphics
O16 - DPF: {D4B68B83-8710-488B-A692-D74B50BA558E} (Creative Software AutoUpdate Support Package 2) - http://ccfiles.creative.com/Web/sof...
O16 - DPF: {E705A591-DA3C-4228-B0D5-A356DBA42FBF} (Creative Software AutoUpdate 2) - http://ccfiles.creative.com/Web/sof...
O16 - DPF: {F6ACF75C-C32C-447B-9BEF-46B766368D29} (Creative Software AutoUpdate Support Package) - http://ccfiles.creative.com/Web/sof...
O18 - Protocol: linkscanner - {F274614C-63F8-47D5-A4D1-FBDDE494F8D1} - (no file)
O18 - Protocol: skype4com - {FFC8B962-9B40-4DFF-9458-1830C7DD7F5D} - C:\PROGRA~2\COMMON~1\Skype\SKYPE4~1.DLL
O18 - Protocol: wlpg - {E43EF6CD-A37A-4A9B-9E6F-83F89B8E6324} - C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Photo Gallery\AlbumDownloadProtocolHandler.dll
O23 - Service: Adobe LM Service - Adobe Systems - C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe Systems Shared\Service\Adobelmsvc.exe
O23 - Service: Adobe Acrobat Update Service (AdobeARMservice) - Adobe Systems Incorporated - C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\ARM\1.0\armsvc.exe
O23 - Service: Adobe Flash Player Update Service (AdobeFlashPlayerUpdateSvc) - Adobe Systems Incorporated - C:\Windows\SysWOW64\Macromed\Flash\FlashPlayerUpdateService.exe
O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\Alg.exe,-112 (ALG) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\System32\alg.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: Apple Mobile Device - Apple Inc. - C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Apple\Mobile Device Support\AppleMobileDeviceService.exe
O23 - Service: Creative Audio Engine Licensing Service - Creative Labs - C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Creative Labs Shared\Service\CTAELicensing.exe
O23 - Service: Creative Audio Service (CTAudSvcService) - Creative Technology Ltd - C:\Program Files (x86)\Creative\Shared Files\CTAudSvc.exe
O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\efssvc.dll,-100 (EFS) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\System32\lsass.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: @%systemroot%\system32\fxsresm.dll,-118 (Fax) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\fxssvc.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: Futuremark SystemInfo Service - Futuremark Corporation - C:\Program Files (x86)\Futuremark\Futuremark SystemInfo\FMSISvc.exe
O23 - Service: Google Update Service (gupdate) (gupdate) - Google Inc. - C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Update\GoogleUpdate.exe
O23 - Service: Google Update Service (gupdatem) (gupdatem) - Google Inc. - C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Update\GoogleUpdate.exe
O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\ieetwcollectorres.dll,-1000 (IEEtwCollectorService) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\IEEtwCollector.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: iPod Service - Apple Inc. - C:\Program Files\iPod\bin\iPodService.exe
O23 - Service: @keyiso.dll,-100 (KeyIso) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\lsass.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: Mozilla Maintenance Service (MozillaMaintenance) - Mozilla Foundation - C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Maintenance Service\maintenanceservice.exe
O23 - Service: @comres.dll,-2797 (MSDTC) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\System32\msdtc.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\System32\netlogon.dll,-102 (Netlogon) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\lsass.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: Performance Service (nTuneService) - NVIDIA - C:\Program Files (x86)\NVIDIA Corporation\nTune\nTuneService.exe
O23 - Service: NVIDIA Display Driver Service (nvsvc) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\nvvsvc.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: @%systemroot%\system32\psbase.dll,-300 (ProtectedStorage) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\lsass.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: Remote Packet Capture Protocol v.0 (experimental) (rpcapd) - Riverbed Technology, Inc. - C:\Program Files (x86)\WinPcap\rpcapd.exe
O23 - Service: @%systemroot%\system32\Locator.exe,-2 (RpcLocator) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\locator.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\samsrv.dll,-1 (SamSs) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\lsass.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: Skype Updater (SkypeUpdate) - Skype Technologies - C:\Program Files (x86)\Skype\Updater\Updater.exe
O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\snmptrap.exe,-3 (SNMPTRAP) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\System32\snmptrap.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: Sony PC Companion - Avanquest Software - C:\Program Files (x86)\Sony\Sony PC Companion\PCCService.exe
O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\sppsvc.exe,-101 (sppsvc) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\sppsvc.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: Steam Client Service - Valve Corporation - C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Steam\SteamService.exe
O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\ui0detect.exe,-101 (UI0Detect) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\UI0Detect.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\vaultsvc.dll,-1003 (VaultSvc) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\lsass.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\vds.exe,-100 (vds) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\System32\vds.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: @%systemroot%\system32\vssvc.exe,-102 (VSS) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\vssvc.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: @%SystemRoot%\system32\Wat\WatUX.exe,-601 (WatAdminSvc) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\Wat\WatAdminSvc.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: @%systemroot%\system32\wbengine.exe,-104 (wbengine) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\wbengine.exe (file missing)
O23 - Service: @%Systemroot%\system32\wbem\wmiapsrv.exe,-110 (wmiApSrv) - Unknown owner - C:\Windows\system32\wbem\WmiApSrv.exe (file missing)

End of file - 9360 bytes

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August 11, 2014 at 08:01:33
Update: Think I may have discovered 75% of the problem!!

A USB Bluetooth dongle.

I was sat there thinking about a time when I remember trying ReadyBoost once with a USB memory stick and how it used up loads of CPU cycles, and the CPU usage was always quite high. So I wondered whether my USB webcam, which has been plugged into the back of my PC but unused for a long, long time now, was using up cycles, so I unplugged it. But whilst doing so, noticed that I also had plugged in, out of view, an old USB 4 port hub which had a USB bluetooth dongle plugged into it, flashing away. I unplugged it.

The CPU temperatures and % loads dropped instantly, and now at idle, I tend to be around 35 C for one core and 40ish C for the other. A big improvement.

However, I am still wondering if there are any other processes eating CPU cycles so any further information is much appreciated.

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