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Sean Troy
04-13-2010, 11:56 PM
Hey all, my PC is a Dell Dimension 8300 and it shuts off after a few minutes of use. It does however stay on for extended periods in safe mode. I ran virus scans and nothing showed up. Whats the chance it's my power supply? Thankfully I have my laptop to use until I figure out what I'm going to do with the PC. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Sean

Glen Butler
04-14-2010, 12:03 AM
The chance of it being the power supply is slim. If it will stay on in safe mode, that is a good indication there is a faulty or conflicting driver or a virus of some sort. A pro could probably fix a problem like that, but it is beyond me. You could try installing windows to see if that will repair the problem.

paul cottingham
04-14-2010, 2:05 AM
Driver or virus almost for sure.

Bryan Morgan
04-14-2010, 2:47 AM
Could be a power supply... could be overheating. Crack it open and make sure the fans aren't covered in dust bunnies. Blow everything out with compressed air if you have it. We just had to fix a computer at work doing the same thing you describe. In our case it was one of the CPU fans was a little slow (dual CPU raster image processing server) and the power supply was toast. The power supply had some puffed and leaking capacitors in it.

Yours is not really an uncommon problem actually....

In safe mode nothing is taxing your system. In normal mode it draws more power and generates more heat.

Sean Troy
04-14-2010, 9:07 AM
Could be a power supply... could be overheating. Crack it open and make sure the fans aren't covered in dust bunnies. Blow everything out with compressed air if you have it. We just had to fix a computer at work doing the same thing you describe. In our case it was one of the CPU fans was a little slow (dual CPU raster image processing server) and the power supply was toast. The power supply had some puffed and leaking capacitors in it.

Yours is not really an uncommon problem actually....

In safe mode nothing is taxing your system. In normal mode it draws more power and generates more heat.

It does sound like it's working harder in normal mode than safe mode.

Prashun Patel
04-14-2010, 9:53 AM
+1 vote for virus or driver. I'm IT mgr for my company; been there b4 and here's what I'd do if it were me.

The 1st thing to try (I'm assuming yr using XP on a Dimension 8300) is to boot in safemode and then restore to a previous point. If that doesn't work, then I'd just buy a new machine. I believe the 8300 is about 7 years old? For $500 you can get a new, clean machine good for another 5-7 years. Donate the machine to a church, and use the writeoff on yr taxes.

If that's out of yr budget, then I'd reformat from scratch.

Of course, use safemode to get all yr data off the harddrive first.

In the future, I'd also advise getting an external harddrive to which you periodically backup yr critical data files (if yr not already doing this).

Charles Wiggins
04-14-2010, 9:57 AM
Could be a power supply... could be overheating. Crack it open and make sure the fans aren't covered in dust bunnies. Blow everything out with compressed air if you have it. We just had to fix a computer at work doing the same thing you describe. In our case it was one of the CPU fans was a little slow (dual CPU raster image processing server) and the power supply was toast. The power supply had some puffed and leaking capacitors in it.

Yours is not really an uncommon problem actually....

In safe mode nothing is taxing your system. In normal mode it draws more power and generates more heat.

+1

I had a "roaring" fan not too long ago. It was not shutting down, but had become very unresponsive. I cleaned it out, and now it is quiet and purring right along.

Pat Germain
04-14-2010, 9:59 AM
What OS are you running? I recall Vista had a problem with random shutdowns.

Chuck Wintle
04-14-2010, 10:03 AM
In the future, I'd also advise getting an external harddrive to which you periodically backup yr critical data files (if yr not already doing this).

+1 for an external drive for data backup! :D

Pat Germain
04-14-2010, 11:56 AM
[QUOTE=Shawn Patel;1399304 Donate the machine to a church, and use the writeoff on yr taxes.[/QUOTE]

I used to serve on the Office Systems Comittee at my church. People were always trying to give us their old computers for a tax writeoff. Again and again, we had to tell them, "No thanks". They got pretty steamed since all the financial magazines recommended doing this.

A church typically has no use for an obsolete computer. There are many software programs written just for churches and they require modern computers running a modern OS. If the church accepts an old computer anyway, they will likely have to pay to have it recycled. In most areas, it's against the law to just throw away a computer. This isn't practical just so people can get a tax writeoff.

Prashun Patel
04-14-2010, 12:05 PM
Yup, I understand, Pat. That did happen to me when I tried to donate an OLD computer. However, his Dimension is 7 yrs old, probably running XP and is still in fine working order for an IT type who wishes to reformat it.

Sean Troy
04-14-2010, 12:16 PM
Yep, windows XP. I can't find any registry errors, viruses,bad drivers, start up errors, missing .dll files anything out of the ordinary, thats why I was thinking power supply. I haven't changed or added anything for quite awhile either.

Jim Podsedly
04-14-2010, 12:47 PM
I would blow out all the holes on the laptop to start with. You would be surprised how much dust gets in there and how much harder/hotter it makes your pc work.

Secondly run malwarebytes. this will do much more than the typical AV software. http://www dot malwarebytes dot org it is free and very good.

Thirdly use something like CC Cleaner and clean out the 'junk files' and also run the registry cleaner. Be sure to make the backup it suggests prior to running the registry cleaner.

good luck,
jim

Sean Troy
04-14-2010, 12:49 PM
I would blow out all the holes on the laptop to start with. You would be surprised how much dust gets in there and how much harder/hotter it makes your pc work.

Secondly run malwarebytes. this will do much more than the typical AV software. http://www dot malwarebytes dot org it is free and very good.

Thirdly use something like CC Cleaner and clean out the 'junk files' and also run the registry cleaner. Be sure to make the backup it suggests prior to running the registry cleaner.

good luck,
jim
It's actually the PC giving me the troubles. I did all you mentioned plus more. I started the reformat process and if that works, great, if not, oh well, I still have the laptop. Sean

Logan William
04-14-2010, 2:16 PM
I'd crack the case and give it a good blow off, then carefully check all the connections and make sure the harness are seated firmly. My great aunt recently had some issues and I was assuming that she got somewhere she shouldn't have, eventually pulled the case off and the IDE cable to the harddrive had wiggled out. She moved about a year prior and the tower sat down by her feet and probably got kicked occassionally. Connected the cable and it worked great.

If you don't find anything with the cables and then reinstalling XP doesn't help, start looking for a new one if you can afford it. $500 will get a computer that will do almost everything the average user needs it to, add another 100 bucks for an external HDD as already mentioned and you'll be good for 5-7 more years hopefully.

Glenn Vaughn
04-14-2010, 5:36 PM
You might look in the event log and see if there is anything there.

Sean Troy
04-14-2010, 6:33 PM
I couldn't even get it to go past 25% on the reformat. Took it the shop here in town and found out the motherboard was bad and that cooked a few other things. At least my daughters will get the nice 22" screen to use on their computer. I'll just use my laptop for awhile. Question, is it ok to leave the laptop plugged in all the time and just shutdown the laptop when not in use? Does leaving it plugged in cause any problems? thanks for all the help, Sean

paul cottingham
04-14-2010, 7:59 PM
Bad motherboard? and yet it ran in safe mode? I still think virus (would also explain the reformat issue) or driver.

Clarence Miller
04-14-2010, 8:07 PM
+1 on the malwarebytes, great program. Avast has a good free prestartup scan with their anti-virus. It did a good job the pesky virus on my neices laptop that prompted the green (apparantly they changed colors for Vista) screen of death to come up when not in safe mode.

Sean Troy
04-14-2010, 11:09 PM
Bad motherboard? and yet it ran in safe mode? I still think virus (would also explain the reformat issue) or driver.

Yep, the mother board was actually fried, I smelled it toasting. Now I still don't know if that was the original problem or if something else started the whole mess. When I started smelling what would be described as very hot plastic, the screen started shaking for a minute or so, No, not the whole screen :), but what was showing on the screen and then the computer just shut off. I do know I'll be saving up for a new PC.

paul cottingham
04-14-2010, 11:25 PM
that sounds more like the power supply. they often smell while dying, mb usually don't. but if the PS dies, it often kills the mb.
my condolences, dude.

Bryan Morgan
04-15-2010, 12:47 AM
Yep, the mother board was actually fried, I smelled it toasting. Now I still don't know if that was the original problem or if something else started the whole mess. When I started smelling what would be described as very hot plastic, the screen started shaking for a minute or so, No, not the whole screen :), but what was showing on the screen and then the computer just shut off. I do know I'll be saving up for a new PC.


Were the capacitors on the motherboard puffed? I know Dell had an issue with capacitors a few years ago. I believe it was the the gx270's... and of course my company bought a bunch of them. Dell replaced the motherboards for years after they were out of warrany. If you are handy with a soldering iron you can replace them yourself. Electrolytic capacitors don't last forever unfortunately...

Chuck Wintle
04-15-2010, 8:45 AM
Were the capacitors on the motherboard puffed? I know Dell had an issue with capacitors a few years ago. I believe it was the the gx270's... and of course my company bought a bunch of them. Dell replaced the motherboards for years after they were out of warrany. If you are handy with a soldering iron you can replace them yourself. Electrolytic capacitors don't last forever unfortunately...
One needs to be very skilled at soldering components given the size of them. In my opinion not really worth it given the price of the components vs a new board. :D

Sean Troy
04-15-2010, 9:20 AM
Were the capacitors on the motherboard puffed? I know Dell had an issue with capacitors a few years ago. I believe it was the the gx270's... and of course my company bought a bunch of them. Dell replaced the motherboards for years after they were out of warrany. If you are handy with a soldering iron you can replace them yourself. Electrolytic capacitors don't last forever unfortunately...
It just doesn't seem worth the trouble for an old computer

Bryan Morgan
04-15-2010, 4:23 PM
It just doesn't seem worth the trouble for an old computer


Maybe maybe not. Depends on what you use it for. Depending on how many caps are puffed, they are ~ 5 cents a piece and around a minute to remove and put on a new one.

We replace caps and other parts on computers here. Cheaper and faster and the older computers still work great for general accounting office tasks and billing stations.

Of course, for a home computer I like to play games with... "Honey! The computer is toast! Shoot! Aw man! I guess I'll just have to go buy the new ZX Mega Blaster 9000 to replace it! Probably have to pick up a couple new games just to make sure it works. Darnit!" :D

Tim Robert
04-15-2010, 5:05 PM
I just repaired my neighbors 8300 yesterday, their screen would go black. Nothing else. When I went over there, it happened to blue screen with an nv4_disp error, nvidia display driver. I think it was the geforce 5300 driver, but I may be a little off. They had friends with the same exact thing on another 8300 happen a day earlier.

I find it hard to believe the shop when it was running in safe mode, sounds like they wanted to sell you a new computer.

Harry Hagan
04-15-2010, 11:08 PM
Sounds like it's overheating. As others have stated; clean it up and check for proper fan performance.

Joe Shinall
04-15-2010, 11:20 PM
Sean, if you're having a hardware/software issue your computer will usually "blue screen" and shut down. Sometimes the blue screen is so fast that it literally never pops up. Try the following steps in safe mode:


Right click "My Computer" and choose Properties.
Click on the "Advanced" tab
Click on the "Settings" button listed under "Startup and Recovery"
In the middle of this box under "System failure" there is a check box next to "Automatically restart". Uncheck this box.
Now OK out of "Startup and Recovery" and "System Properties"

Reboot into Windows XP normally.

If it is blue screening, now it will stay on the screen until you turn it off. It may give you an easy error code to let you know what is wrong now.

Sean Troy
04-15-2010, 11:46 PM
Sean, if you're having a hardware/software issue your computer will usually "blue screen" and shut down. Sometimes the blue screen is so fast that it literally never pops up. Try the following steps in safe mode:


Right click "My Computer" and choose Properties.
Click on the "Advanced" tab
Click on the "Settings" button listed under "Startup and Recovery"
In the middle of this box under "System failure" there is a check box next to "Automatically restart". Uncheck this box.
Now OK out of "Startup and Recovery" and "System Properties"

Reboot into Windows XP normally.

If it is blue screening, now it will stay on the screen until you turn it off. It may give you an easy error code to let you know what is wrong now.

It won't even start up anymore after burning the mother board

Joe Shinall
04-16-2010, 12:33 AM
It won't even start up anymore after burning the mother board

Well nevermind on my idea then :(

Sorry, not sure if you said that before or not. Sometimes I hate the way you have to go through the top section to see what everyone has said instead of just reading through the pages.

Well, I've done computer repair for 7 years now and to me it sounds like your motherboard is fried.....:rolleyes: