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 Post subject: Spontaneous reboots - ARGH!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 4:42 am 
Little Foot
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Okay, I've got a Compaq Presario 5900T running a custom install of WinXP Pro, all latest updates, that frequently refuses to boot. When I first turn on the system (cold boot) the Compaq logo appears, then the Windows XP splash screen appears like normal, with the little blue bars moving across the bottom of the screen…

And then it just reboots. For no apparent reason. The Compaq BIOS logo appears again, then the WinXP splash screen with the blue bars…

And then it reboots again. And again, and again, and again. After ten minutes or so, the machine finally reaches the WinXP login screen. So I start typing in my username and password…

And the system reboots again. ARGH! Even if I do successfully log into Windows, it still tends to restart after a few seconds. If it runs after being logged in for more than five minutes, it usually runs just fine afterwards.

Once the system is up and running consistently, it gives me few problems. Even if I restart the computer (start, shutdown, restart), it will restart without incident. Shutting it down completely, or going into hibernate mode, results in more spontaneous rebooting when the system is turned on afterwards.

Booting into Safe Mode, LKGC, or booting normally all yield the same result – more reboots. Using System Restore to restore the computer to any configuration point before this problem occurred (a week ago) has no effect.

Norton WinDoctor, Antivirus, Spybot, firewall all yield no problems.

I haven’t installed any software for the last six months (except for Windows Updates), and haven’t added any hardware in nearly a year.

Nothing overclocked whatsoever, no beta software installed. Event viewer shows nothing helpful.

System specs include:

Compaq Presario 5900T
733MHz P-III
384MB PC-133
30GB 7200rpm Maxtor HDD
32MB DDR GeForce256

Yes, it’s old, and about time to build a new machine anyhow. But still…

I’d rather not run the system 24-7 if I can avoid it.

Any thoughts? Thank you in advance,

Treklink256


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 Post subject: Well....
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 5:18 am 
Willamette
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Well, your problem is stemming from 3 possibilities.

1) The OS is just corrupted and you need to backup all your data and do a fresh install.

2) You have a hard ware problem which is more painful. Most likely is memory or your power supply. Try testing your memory and see that that is the problem. If you have memtest86 use that. If not, I would buy TuffTest Pro for $20 its a good cheap testing tool and it really does catch a lot of problems for HDD and Memory as well as a bunch of other stuff.

if not the memory or PS then prob your OS. Could be your motherboard but doubt it. Willing to bet its the OS. Test first before formatting less of a hassle.


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 Post subject: Re: Spontaneous reboots - ARGH!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 2:36 pm 
Thunderbird
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Treklink256 wrote:
Okay, I've got a Compaq Presario 5900T running a custom install of WinXP Pro, all latest updates, that frequently refuses to boot. When I first turn on the system (cold boot) the Compaq logo appears, then the Windows XP splash screen appears like normal, with the little blue bars moving across the bottom of the screen…

And then it just reboots. For no apparent reason. The Compaq BIOS logo appears again, then the WinXP splash screen with the blue bars…

And then it reboots again. And again, and again, and again. After ten minutes or so, the machine finally reaches the WinXP login screen. So I start typing in my username and password…

And the system reboots again. ARGH! Even if I do successfully log into Windows, it still tends to restart after a few seconds. If it runs after being logged in for more than five minutes, it usually runs just fine afterwards.

Once the system is up and running consistently, it gives me few problems. Even if I restart the computer (start, shutdown, restart), it will restart without incident. Shutting it down completely, or going into hibernate mode, results in more spontaneous rebooting when the system is turned on afterwards.

Booting into Safe Mode, LKGC, or booting normally all yield the same result – more reboots. Using System Restore to restore the computer to any configuration point before this problem occurred (a week ago) has no effect.

Norton WinDoctor, Antivirus, Spybot, firewall all yield no problems.

I haven’t installed any software for the last six months (except for Windows Updates), and haven’t added any hardware in nearly a year.

Nothing overclocked whatsoever, no beta software installed. Event viewer shows nothing helpful.

System specs include:

Compaq Presario 5900T
733MHz P-III
384MB PC-133
30GB 7200rpm Maxtor HDD
32MB DDR GeForce256

Yes, it’s old, and about time to build a new machine anyhow. But still…

I’d rather not run the system 24-7 if I can avoid it.

Any thoughts? Thank you in advance,

Treklink256


I encounter this problem at work all the time. 90% of the time it is actually displaying a stop message which disappears almost immediately for the reboot.

Go into Recovery Console and type "chkdsk /r" without the quotes. This will run a long an extensive test on the system and registry. With my experiences this fixes the problems 98% of the time.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 6:07 pm 
Northwood
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definitely could be a hardware problem like the ram of your computer. try testing out your ram by booting up with one stick a a time if you have more than one stick of ram on your computer.


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 Post subject: Re: Well....
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 5:41 am 
Little Foot
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Hey guys, thanks for the advice.

I'm thinking this isn't an OS issue, as the system restarts before the OS is even completely loaded, and nothing shows up in the event viewer. The two USB ports on the front of the motherboard have completely stopped functioning within the last few days (even though they're still detected in hardware) so I'm starting to think it may be a problem with the mobo, or possibly memory or PS.

No time to run chkdsk at the moment, I'll try that within the next few days.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 11:31 am 
Boy in Black
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Let's slim this down. It's not a driver because it won't go into safemode (if it does, it's not very long). Safemode uses the most basic sets of drivers. I also don't think it a hardware problem as it used to run fine, now it doesn't. If hardware doesn't change, it's hard to point the finger at it unless a piece just did a quantum leap in or out of there.

My first thought is heat. Thermal paste breaks down and doesn't work any more. You said it's a Compaq, so I'm assuming they use thermal tape. It doesn't go away like paste IIRC. But it's worth a shot to simply pull that thing apart and put your own stuff in there.

My next thought is power. Stock/OEM power supplies don't have a long life. 3 years is an elder life for an OEM unit...especially one from a Compaq. I think your power supply is 5-1/2ft into a 6ft grave.

I'd play with the HS/F first as it's something that you can actually do with a cheap tube of thermal grease (or a $5 tube of Arctic Silver5 or the like). I'm leaning on the PS, but that isn't really testable and you just have to splurge and buy a new one to find out.

*Shameless plug: Some other fixes are in the August issue of MPC (pg. 24) including BIOS, Timing, and the "Frankenstein Syndrome". nudge, nudge;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 1:22 pm 
Little Foot
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A failing PSU would make sense; I think it's a 200-watter or so, barely enough to get the job done, and starting to age. Plus the system is usually run nonstop during the day and set to standby at night, as it won't boot after being shut down :?

Heat is another possability. I think problems from overheating don't usually show up until after the system hs a chance to warm up, say, 15 min or so, and then the system starts displaying errors, spontaneous reboots, etc. That's almost the exact opposite of what I have here.

I can't think of anything in the BIOS that might be the culprit. Compaq doesn't allow access to very much in their BIOS, definetly not mem. latency, FSB clock, etc.

Frankenstein Syndrome... I haven't done a fresh install of XP in nine months, primarily because I've never needed to. I've had very few problems with this system other than the spontaneous reboots. Might be worth a shot after I run chkdsk


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 1:45 pm 
Boy in Black
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On the overheating comment taking 15 minutes:

A true overheating problem usually occurs within seconds of hitting the Power button. A CPU with a bad themal bond to the HS/F unit won't make it through the POST screen. That's quick! You can see this by taking off the HS and turning it on...I wouldn't do it on purpose though :shock: A bad themal bond can be just as bad as none at all. Again, these compounds tend to break down over the years and one day causes troubles.

Now, an overheating problem where all the critical pieces are there (good themal contact, fans spinning, all that stuff...) but slowly heats itself up is more of a sign of poor efficiency rather than a real grass-roots problem. Usually fixed with a better choice of parts or a better layout plan.

I'd still tinker as it's cheap, but I'm just assuming that it's the PS. Gut feeling?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 4:34 pm 
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Chumly wrote:
Let's slim this down. It's not a driver because it won't go into safemode (if it does, it's not very long). Safemode uses the most basic sets of drivers. I also don't think it a hardware problem as it used to run fine, now it doesn't. If hardware doesn't change, it's hard to point the finger at it unless a piece just did a quantum leap in or out of there.

My first thought is heat. Thermal paste breaks down and doesn't work any more. You said it's a Compaq, so I'm assuming they use thermal tape. It doesn't go away like paste IIRC. But it's worth a shot to simply pull that thing apart and put your own stuff in there.

My next thought is power. Stock/OEM power supplies don't have a long life. 3 years is an elder life for an OEM unit...especially one from a Compaq. I think your power supply is 5-1/2ft into a 6ft grave.

I'd play with the HS/F first as it's something that you can actually do with a cheap tube of thermal grease (or a $5 tube of Arctic Silver5 or the like). I'm leaning on the PS, but that isn't really testable and you just have to splurge and buy a new one to find out.

*Shameless plug: Some other fixes are in the August issue of MPC (pg. 24) including BIOS, Timing, and the "Frankenstein Syndrome". nudge, nudge;)


Hi Chums - this is FYI as I have worked on a few compaqs. I ahven't read the whole thread yet :)

They use a thermal pad and it doesn't seem to dry up (nor - despite popular belief - does it appear to be wax based). I suspect its thermal grease based.

Compaq as well as many other OEM use Bestek PSU's. They are rated at load temps (so the number is a bit lower than it should be). They are good for about 5 years if you stay stock on an OEM - like you said, maybe less if you change stuff.

He could check voltages in MBM or the like could he not? Compaq uses FIC boards often and MBM (et al.) can see the sensors.

Anyways - thats just for you - I haven't read the rest of the thread yet. Despite what you might think, just before take over, compaq started putting out some very nice OEMs. Too bad it was too late.

Manta


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 4:52 pm 
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Chumly wrote:
On the overheating comment taking 15 minutes:

A true overheating problem usually occurs within seconds of hitting the Power button. A CPU with a bad themal bond to the HS/F unit won't make it through the POST screen. That's quick! You can see this by taking off the HS and turning it on...I wouldn't do it on purpose though :shock: A bad themal bond can be just as bad as none at all. Again, these compounds tend to break down over the years and one day causes troubles.

Now, an overheating problem where all the critical pieces are there (good themal contact, fans spinning, all that stuff...) but slowly heats itself up is more of a sign of poor efficiency rather than a real grass-roots problem. Usually fixed with a better choice of parts or a better layout plan.

I'd still tinker as it's cheap, but I'm just assuming that it's the PS. Gut feeling?


I have a cat and wood floors :)

If the box has never been opened then I go for heat.

Otherwise I agree with PSU, but I would check for dust build up first.

Manta


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 8:32 pm 
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iv had this exact same problem with my compaq. the way to fix it is to run chkdsk and have it repair all errors it finds. this has fixed the problem for me every time.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 6:34 am 
Little Foot
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Hey, finally got around to running chkdsk. Took about an hour or so; when it had finished, it had stated that it had "found and fixed one or more errors on the volume". After rebooting, I went to the event viewer to see if I could find anything useful. The only thing I found was from Winlogon, event ID 1001:

Cleaning up minor inconsistencies on the drive.
Cleaning up 322 unused index entries from index $SII of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 322 unused index entries from index $SDH of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 322 unused security descriptors.

Anyway, doesn’t seem to have done any good; as I was typing this very response, the system spontaneously rebooted a total of NINE TIMES (in under an hour). I had to type this very response in Word and save it every five seconds in case the system reboots again. So whatever the problem is, chkdsk apparently didn’t fix it.

My next step is to open the system, clean out the dust and re-tidy ide cables, etc. to try and increase airflow; if that gives no results, I’ll try reseating the CPU heatsink, then swapping mem. modules, and then replacing the PS, then reformatting (ugh).

Any other thoughts?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 6:48 am 
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Treklink256 wrote:
Hey, finally got around to running chkdsk. Took about an hour or so; when it had finished, it had stated that it had "found and fixed one or more errors on the volume". After rebooting, I went to the event viewer to see if I could find anything useful. The only thing I found was from Winlogon, event ID 1001:

Cleaning up minor inconsistencies on the drive.
Cleaning up 322 unused index entries from index $SII of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 322 unused index entries from index $SDH of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 322 unused security descriptors.

Anyway, doesn’t seem to have done any good; as I was typing this very response, the system spontaneously rebooted a total of NINE TIMES (in under an hour). I had to type this very response in Word and save it every five seconds in case the system reboots again. So whatever the problem is, chkdsk apparently didn’t fix it.

My next step is to open the system, clean out the dust and re-tidy ide cables, etc. to try and increase airflow; if that gives no results, I’ll try reseating the CPU heatsink, then swapping mem. modules, and then replacing the PS, then reformatting (ugh).

Any other thoughts?


Your current plan sounds good - try it.

This sounds like heat to me, but it could be a bad memory module, PSU, MB problem. Tell us what happens

Manta


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:01 pm 
Little Foot
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Well, finally broke down and took apart my rig today. First I reseated the memory modules, IDE cables, and made sure all expansion cards were plugged in firmly, and cleared out as much dust as I could. I then put the machine back together and turned it on. No effect.

My system has two sticks of RAM: a 128MB and a 256 MB, 384 total. I tried booting the system with only the 256MB module installed. No effect. I then tried booting it with only the 128MB module installed. Again, no effect.

After replacing both modules, I tried booting the system with the case off, to see if that would somehow make a difference. None.

That’s when I noticed that the fan on the GPU (model AP4512MX-G90) wasn’t spinning. JACKPOT, I thought. Seems it’s so full of dust, the blades don’t spin. I can barely even turn the blades with my fingers. Naturally, I didn’t have a replacement – but I do have an ancient Pentium 133 system in the basement. I eagerly tore the rig apart and removed the Sunon CPU cooler, Socket 7 (model KD1245PFB3-8). Almost the exact same size, twice as tall, probably gives better cooling, same voltage and everything. Plugged it into my possessed system, spins fine. I dug up some spare screws and kind of custom-fitted the cooler over the videocard’s heatsink. It’s not an exact fit, but it’s close. Plugged the entire contraption back into the computer and fired her up (talk about a Frankenstein installation; it looks like crap, but it does spin).

No difference. It took almost exactly twenty minutes of spontaneous reboots just to get my first glimpse of the Windows XP login screen.

This report you are now reading is, as of this moment, over TWO HOURS in the making, typing at around 60wpm. I again had to type this in Word, and save it every other keystroke for when the system reboots. The system is getting worse and worse. If I ever turn it off again, I’m not sure if it’ll ever come back on.

I guess my next step is to grab some Artic Silver off eBay and reseat the CPU and maybe the GPU heatsink. If that doesn’t do anything, I’ll stop at PC Power and Cooling and grab me a new PSU.

If none of that works, then I’ll need those parts anyways to start building a new rig. :(

Anyone else have any thoughts, suggestions, voodoo rituals, anything that might help? I appreciate any and all feedback, if even remotely insightful. Thanks!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:25 pm 
Little Foot
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Clean OS install. I it still happens then you know it's not the OS but hardware or a failing part. We can go from there.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2004 5:59 am 
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I would not trust that P133 fan to cool your CPU.

When you go get the AS, buy a new fan. It can be a cheapy - but make sure its rated for your proc.

Manta


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2004 6:08 am 
Thunderbird
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Tobyrama wrote:
Clean OS install. I it still happens then you know it's not the OS but hardware or a failing part. We can go from there.


When you go in to do a reinstall of the OS it does give an option to fix an exisiting installation. That deletes all the system files required for xp and then takes them directly from the CD. This might help fix the problem without killing any of your personal files.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:50 pm 
Little Foot
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What Mr. baldeagle said :) ^^


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:43 pm 
Little Foot
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Hi all,

The system now completely refueses to boot. It's dead.

I noticed a pair of capacitors on the mobo near the CPU had some brown corrosion on them. Looks like they blew, which could be why it won't boot.

Already tried a full reinstall, and the "fix existing installation" option. No effect.

I'm also not using the P133 fan to cool the CPU - I'm using it to cool the GPU, a 4-year-old GeForce256 board. It's not ideal, I know, but it's better than no fan at all, which at the moment is the only other alternative.

In the meantime, I ran out to the local Best Buy and grabbed an off-the-shelf Sony VAIO desktop system (time for an upgrade anyhow). I was hoping to remove the old HDD and install it in the new system, boot that into safe mode, and ditching my needed files onto a CD-R.

When I removed the HDD from the VAIO system and installed the one from the "bootless machine" in it, the VAIO refused to boot. It just sits and emits a long, nonstop beep. Tried both cable select (end IDE connector of course) and explicitly setting the drive as master, still won't boot. (mobo is P4SD-VL). Inserted a Ghost boot floppy, and Ghost did detect the HDD, so I'm thinking the drive is installed correctly. Don't have time to troubleshoot at the moment, will try again tomorrow - any thoughts, anyone? Thanks!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2004 9:17 pm 
Celeron
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so, faulty capacitators was the problem...

anyway, first, try booting with the hard drive that came with the VIAO. if it boots, its probably your hdd.

if it doesnt boot, call up best buy (or sony) to get a refund.


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