PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

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PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by 4TrackMadman »

Hey all.
I've had a DAW PC work fine for about 2 yrs. Lately, it's just rebooting by itself and can't find the culprit. There are no errors, no logs, nothing.

AMD4200 dual core, DFI mobo, 4 gb Corsair RAM.

I have two HDs - one if XP just for music and used to be very stable.

The other XP64bit for work (web design) also was stable as hell.

Now both do the same thing - work without a glitch then at intermittent intervals would just restart.

I transported it to a recording sessions a few times but it was treated with respect, but it did make a few trips out before the problems started.

Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot this thing?
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Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by DragonLogos »

Off hand

reset switch sticking... with PC off and a fair bit of silence, can you hear the reset going click when pressing it - you might want to take it off the mother for a day or two just to test

Overheating - when it re-boots going into the BIOS and have a look at what temp the CPU is running at, over 60C is a bit hot for a 4200 - after two years you might have a fair bit of dust clogging the CPU fan, with the PC off you can stab it away with a small paint brush going in between the fan blades, just blow away the dust

Memory faulty, run Mem86 mem test - if you have two modules try it with one out... watch out for dust creeping into the empty slot, esp with the module closest to the fan, you can clean the edge connectors of the RAM modules with a pencil rubber, brush the dust off with a clean paint brush

Spongy cabs, have a look on the motherboard and see if any of the capacitors have got round heads, if you are feeling brave and its not any of the above you could open the PSU and look for the same
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Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by 4TrackMadman »

@Dragon - thanks for the quick reply.
I run a temp monitor on the PC while in there, doesn't seem to go over 35celsius but chipset is up at about 60celsius most of the time, but it used to be that way all the time.

I'll run the memtest, great suggestion about the reset switch, didn't even think of that.
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Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by zenguitar »

Another candidate might be your power supply. As they get older their maximum power output can reduce. It would certainly be worth borrowing a higher rated one to test and see if that solves the problem, and if it does you can look closer at the power supply caps as mentioned previously, or just get a replacement.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by Exalted Wombat »

4TrackMadman wrote:Hey all.
I've had a DAW PC work fine for about 2 yrs. Lately, it's just rebooting by itself and can't find the culprit. There are no errors, no logs, nothing.

AMD4200 dual core, DFI mobo, 4 gb Corsair RAM.

I have two HDs - one if XP just for music and used to be very stable.

The other XP64bit for work (web design) also was stable as hell.

Now both do the same thing - work without a glitch then at intermittent intervals would just restart.

I transported it to a recording sessions a few times but it was treated with respect, but it did make a few trips out before the problems started.

Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot this thing?


Are we talking about two computers, or two boots on the same computer?

The classic cause of random reboots is overheating. As it's been moved, open it up and check nothing's moved ans all the fans are spinning. It's not unknown for a CPU fan to actually fall off!
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You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont bore us with beefing about it. Go fishing instead.

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by 4TrackMadman »

Will do. I actually took off one of the factory fans due to excessive noise. They were advertised as noiseless but believe me, it qould print on condenser mic tracks without a problem :)

Not that the PC ran bad without it - about a year there was no glitch but that'll be the 1st order of business.

I am also using some Monkey Audio mp3 player on both drives as it handles 24/48k wav files, unlike Windows Media Player.

The PC is dual boot - winXP and Xp64, each on a separate hard drive.
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Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by ezza »

I had a similar problem with my new build. Sudden reset, no blue screen. I discovered that it was caused by a PSU cable hanging down and touching the RAM sticks. (I had dislodged it previously when I had been trying to debug another problem and thought "... yeah, I'll sort that out soon...)

I've tied all my cables neatly out of the way and no problems since. I didn't see any overheating reported in diagnostics but that's what it must have been.

/erol
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Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by Ant Gamble »

Hi,

There could be many reasons for the reboot. Bad RAM,failing hard drive, overheated RAM/CPU....

There's always a memory dump/error code though. It's possible that you've got your system set to 'automatically restart' after an error - the memory dump will be on screen for a fraction of a second:

1. Go to system properties - advanced tab - startup and recovery - and uncheck 'Automatically Restart'.

2. If you have this dialogue at it's defaults, there will be a system log entry for each crash. This can be viewed by clicking Start - Run - and entering 'eventvwr.msc'. Select the system log and look for errors.

Usually, a memory address will be supplied. Google it - you'll find it may point to a piece of failing hardware.

Ant.
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Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by Remeniz »

That sounds like the classic 'dying PSU' syndrome. From previous experiences RAM problems usually give BSOD's, not instant shut-downs. It's not a CPU overheat as you've established.

If you have a spare PSU give that a go. Run Prime95, while watching temps' for a few hours to stress the machine and check stability.
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Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by DragonLogos »

Ant Gamble wrote:Hi,

There's always a memory dump/error code though. It's possible that you've got your system set to 'automatically restart' after an error - the memory dump will be on screen for a fraction of a second:

1. Go to system properties - advanced tab - startup and recovery - and uncheck 'Automatically Restart'.

2. If you have this dialogue at it's defaults, there will be a system log entry for each crash. This can be viewed by clicking Start - Run - and entering 'eventvwr.msc'. Select the system log and look for errors.

Usually, a memory address will be supplied. Google it - you'll find it may point to a piece of failing hardware.

Ant.


Valid point, never really understood why M$ did that, maybe to give us techs something to do and make a few pennies :)
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Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by OneWorld »

4TrackMadman wrote:Will do. I actually took off one of the factory fans due to excessive noise. They were advertised as noiseless but believe me, it qould print on condenser mic tracks without a problem :)

Not that the PC ran bad without it - about a year there was no glitch but that'll be the 1st order of business.

I am also using some Monkey Audio mp3 player on both drives as it handles 24/48k wav files, unlike Windows Media Player.

The PC is dual boot - winXP and Xp64, each on a separate hard drive.


I'd too would be looking at overheating and the power supply degrading as it gets older. I suppose you have already done this but cleaning all the dust out as well can help a great deal.

But I have a question of my own. How have you managed to dual boot on 2 separate drives? is one booting from c: and the other booting from d:?

I have 2 drives as well, but each physical drive but using those disk caddies which I slide in and out but like the idea of dual booting but on separate drives. That way I can boot from c:, if I booted from d: then my data drive, which also includes my Cubase Projects, and Cubase gets upset if the path to the various project folders changes.
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Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by Exalted Wombat »

OneWorld wrote:I have 2 drives as well, but each physical drive but using those disk caddies which I slide in and out but like the idea of dual booting but on separate drives. That way I can boot from c:, if I booted from d: then my data drive, which also includes my Cubase Projects, and Cubase gets upset if the path to the various project folders changes.


Dual-booting without swapping hardware is a standard technique (in fact drive-swapping could be considered as not really dual-booting at all, but just having two alternative computers available.)

The two Windows installations need to be on separate partitions, but not necessarily separate hard drives. They can both use the same names for all partitions. They can both be pointed to the same "My Documents" folder (when you come to set this up, you'll be pleased that you didn't try to double-think the system by refusing the default location for your data! "My Documents" can be anywhere, but life's much easier if everything is IN "My Documents":-)

But no need to go into details now. Yes, dual-boot can easily be arranged without swapping physical drives. Ore even if you have only one physical drive.
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You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont bore us with beefing about it. Go fishing instead.

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by 4TrackMadman »

OK - I added the noisy fan assembly back. I did notice that during the move some cables had dislodged - USB cables for the extra USB extension I added on the back but they were pressed half in so that could've caused some confusion although I doubt it.

Blew the dust off the system as well, reseated the RAM sticks just in case.

The chipset fan on the mobo had a bit too much dust and that was running the hottest at 60C.

Had it on for about 2 hrs looping some music while I was working on this guitar piece and it was good, but usually these reboots happen unexpectedly so I wouldn't know until I run it longer.

About the dual - I installed one OS, detached the drive, installed the second on the second drive, reattached the drive and I pick drives from the mobo menu by hitting ESC when it is booting.
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Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by Ant Gamble »

Dual boot

You could just edit the hidden system file C:\BOOT.INI and provide another option pointing to a different partition of physical drive.
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Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Post by Martin Walker »

4TrackMadman wrote:I like GAG for boot manager:
http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Boot-Manager-Disk/GAG-d.shtml


So do I - been using it for years 8-)

Martin
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