Computer shuts down during startup

August 4, 2011 at 00:08:36
Specs: Windows XP Home, P4 2.0GHZ / 256MB 266MHZ DDR

When I started my computer the 1st time today, I could login to Windows. But after 5 minutes the computer had just automatically shutdown. I wanted to start it again, but I had to wait for about a minute. The 2nd time I tried, the computer could login to Windows again but not so long after that, it had shut down again. I had to wait a little longer to put it on again. I have tried about 5 times and the amount of time the computer stayed on was getting less and less and the amount of time I had to wait until I could put it back on was reaching 10 minutes.

Is this a hardware issue? How can I find out what is causing this?


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August 4, 2011 at 00:34:25
Likely it's overheating. Open the case and give the machine a good cleaning:

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

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August 4, 2011 at 01:07:05
You need to Clean up your System unit.

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August 4, 2011 at 01:42:25
If it is an overheating problem, your processor may already be damaged. Try cleaning it up, as suggested, and be particularly mindful of the dust in/on the processors heatsink. The better BIOSes will show the temperatures of hardware components (usually in the PC Health page), so try booting into the BIOS immediately after an unwanted shutdown/reboot. Post back with the temperature show for your processor (CPU), and someone here will be able to tell you whether or not it's at an acceptable level. Laptops are particularly susceptible to overheating due to dust build-up, but desktops are also at risk, more so when they are running in dusty environments, or are subjected to cigarette smoke (nicotine and tar residue tends to cause dust to collect faster, due to stickiness). As a moderate to heavy smoker, I have to clean my machines far more regularly than most (everything gets a sticky coating, that needs to be cleaned off). I've seen computers in very clean environments begin to overheat due to dust build-up, so don't feel ashamed if your machine proves to be quite dirty inside (unless it's happening often, like in my case,LOL).

The same problem can also be caused by a failing/underpowered power supply. What is the output of your power supply? How many hard drives, DVD/CD drives, Add-on PCI/PCIe cards, external USB/firewire devices (without own power) are competing for power from your supply? You don't state whether this is a brand-name computer, or custom-built. Many brand-name machines come with low-output power supplies (300 Watt or less), and struggle to supply enough juice for any added cards/ USB devices/ drives, etc. Power supplies are relatively cheap, so get the highest output you can (be aware that some supplies have different plugs, for connecting to the motherboard, and some without connectors for SATA drives). Often, a borrowed PS (even a low-powered one) is a no-cost option for testing purposes (a low-powered PS may still output more than your current PS, due to yours having been over-worked for an extended period of time).

I would expect overheating to be the first thing to investigate, but if that doesn't help, let us know the output of your PS and the number of devices/cards/drives you are running.

Please let us know if you found someone's advice to be helpful.

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August 4, 2011 at 09:48:49

Thank you for the replies. I just finished cleaning. There was quite a big piece of dust in the cpu fan. I was hoping that this was the problem. Eveything looks clean to me now but the computer keeps shutting down.

The system is a dell dimension 4500s. (from 2002)
Power output is 180W. (the one that came with the computer)
I haven't added any extra hardware so i dont think the psu is struggling.

There is one HDD, one CD drive and one diskette drive. No external usb or firewire devices are attached.

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August 4, 2011 at 11:40:04
180 Watt is a very low output, by today's standards. It's possible, due to its age, that the PSU is failing. As I stated in my previous post, PSU's are relatively inexpensive, so it may be time for a new one (go for 350 Watt or higher).

Please let us know if you found someone's advice to be helpful.

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