Solved XP Machine Powers Itself On - Ghost In The Machine?

Dell Gx520 optiplex desktop (3.0 ghz int...
February 11, 2014 at 17:32:51
Specs: Windows XP, 3.3 GHz / 4001 MB
My son's XP machine is channeling The Police. There appears to be a Ghost In The Machine.

He has a Dell OptiPlex GX520. I bought it for him 4-5 years ago from a shop that recycles computers from businesses and sells them to the public.

Last he told me that the computer has developed a vibration that causes an annoying buzz. I told him that if he brings it over, I'll take a look at it. Then he told me about a stranger problem.

Since the buzz was annoying, he had started to turn the machine off via Start...Turn Off Computer. What's weird is that the computer has started to turn itself on in the middle of the night. He'll turn it off before he goes to bed and then wake up to hear it buzzing a few hours later. He now unplugs it every night.

Any idea why the machine would power itself on? He connects to the internet via a wireless router rented from TWC. Somehow Wake On LAN seems like a long shot.

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✔ Best Answer
February 11, 2014 at 23:45:09
On page 9 of the manual:

http://www.levnapc.cz/ProductsFiles...

it describes an 'auto power on' feature under power management in bios setup where you can set a specific time to turn on the computer. That's your ghost.



#1
February 11, 2014 at 17:44:00
Have youchecked the long shot - wake on LAN?

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#2
February 11, 2014 at 18:45:47
Have you tried fiddling around in BIOS and seeing if there is something set to automatically turn the comp on at a certain time? Technically, that could be possible (I think?) because the BIOS is separate from the OS, and basically has its own power supply. Although I've never seen a computer with this capability, it doesn't hurt to check. Just don't change too many settings that you don't understand, that could actually hurt the computer.


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#3
February 11, 2014 at 18:47:55
Nothing has been checked yet. He just told me about it last night...the computer is at his house.

Let's say that WOL is enabled. What would be sending the signal to wake it up?

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#4
February 11, 2014 at 18:51:14
That would depend... What devices are connected to that network?

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#5
February 11, 2014 at 20:55:56
I'd check the BIOS to see if a wake time was set, but the actual time was forgotten (causing the PC to boot at midnight).

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#6
February 11, 2014 at 23:41:02
My money's on the cure being; disable wake on LAN. But why in the small wee hours?

The modem/router is still connected, so who knows what goes on at night. Such as happens with our digital TV and recording devices; Maybe it sends/receives a sync/status/update signal at a specific time -either as a function of the router or from the ISP.

A simple process of elimination should indicate whether the 'wake' signal is emanating from the router, or from the PC itself.

Disconnect the LAN cable from the back of the PC at night.
If the PC still wakes up screaming in the middle of the night, you can then discount the router. This being the case, maybe a Windows, scheduled task has been activated.
You can check this via; all programmes/Accessories/System Tools.


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#7
February 11, 2014 at 23:45:09
✔ Best Answer
On page 9 of the manual:

http://www.levnapc.cz/ProductsFiles...

it describes an 'auto power on' feature under power management in bios setup where you can set a specific time to turn on the computer. That's your ghost.


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#8
February 12, 2014 at 02:31:36
"daveincaps..." May have found your ghost...

But your post brings to mind the experience of friend in USA, at the time recently widowed. She would go out for a while, and return to find one specific table lamp lit when she arrived home - regardless of time of day/evening... I happened to be visiting for a few days and by chance noticed that the lamp came on whenever the land-line phone received a call... She has the usual base station with remote wireless handsets, and at least two conventional plug-in phones.

It would seem to be that the light was being triggered on by, either random radiations from the phone-base station, or possibly a "spike" induced into the mains running around the house when the phone rings... Bearing in mind the peculiarities of N. Am. domestic wiring a spike and/ or neutral current transmission is likely the cause - rather than her recently departed making contact... The lamp in question being a touch activated dimmer style of base...!


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#9
February 12, 2014 at 09:46:35
Another long shot is if your domestic power is a bit rickety (and blips off sometimes) there is a setting in BIOS set to switch on after power fail.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#10
February 12, 2014 at 10:10:50
I love how this is the thread that gets 6 people posting in it, but I'm kinda sad that no one has asked if DerbySon's been known to sleepwalk.

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#11
February 12, 2014 at 10:47:46
The one with the PC doesn't sleepwalk, but my other son used to sleepwalk when he was young. However, he now lives 2000 miles away. That's a long walk just to screw around with his brother by turning on his computer in the middle of the night. ;-)

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#12
June 20, 2014 at 19:37:43
I know it's been awhile since this thread was started, but my son finally brought his computer to my house for me to look at. I guess the additional problems it's been having finally added up to enough of a PITA that he got tired of dealing with them.

Anyway, DAVEINCAPS nailed it. Thanks! The setting in the BIOS was set to turn the machine on at 3:00 AM Everyday. I set it to the factory default of Off. I don't know how it got set to Everyday, but it was.

Now it's on to the other problems, like cleaning the DVD drive, getting the wireless working again, etc.


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#13
June 21, 2014 at 12:23:17
That's good news, thanks for the feedback.

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