Computer troubleshooting is sometimes confusing and costs you a lot of time. But with the help of this computer troubleshooting guide; you will be able to learn basic computer repair, troubleshoot computer hardware problems and many other basic computer repair tutorial provided with this blog.
In this troubleshooting example, an ASUS P5PE-VM has having problems with constant restart some few minutes after being turned on. Basing on the past computer troubleshooting experience, this is attributed to the overheating of the CPU or the Video Card. But there was no video card and as I have checked on the BIOS hardware monitor, the system voltage, motherboard temperature, and CPU temperature, everything seems just fine. And to add more problem, the hard drive has farmed with a lot of computer virus through mp3 downloads via torrent. But one thing I have noticed is that if I just leave the machine running without opening any application, the computer doesn't restart. And if I try to open a memory and cpu intensive application like a game or movie maker, the system shuts down. That leaves me to suspect the RAM or CPU to be failing.
Date Fixed : November 11, 2003
Problem : Computer restarts after a few minutes of operation
Owner : Ms. Luna (PESO Office, Dumageuete)
Motherboard : ASUS P5PE-VM
Operating System : Win Xp Sp2
Technician : drokz
Weblog : http://clhidohsr.blogspot.com
INTERVENING FACTORS :
- No motherboard support cd
- HDD is infested with many variants of virus
- Boots normally and everything seems fine
- Computer restarts if a RAM or CPU intensive application is being run
TROUBLESHOOTING PROCEDURE :
- Before doing anything, safety must be a primary concern. Be sure to turn off the AVR and unplug the power cord from the system unit before opening or handling it. Be sure not to wear any metallic objects on your body. Drain off ESD by touching the unpainted part of your system unit chassis for a minute before opening the side cover of your computer.
- Based on our previous observation, we know that the computer boots fine but only restarts when we try to open an application that is RAM or CPU intensive. This signifies that either the two peripherals when pushed too hard will cause the whole system to function. And with this type of error, video card or CPU is likely overheating. But again, there was no video card so it is least to be suspected.
- Since I have suspected the CPU to be overheating, we need to check first if the CPU heatsink fan is spinning normally. So open the side cover and flip the open side up, turn on the system unit and try to see and feel if the CPU fan speed is normal. But as I have checked, it seemed just normal so I need to check it in the BIOS to verify that there is a less possibility of an overheating CPU.
- Restarted the computer and pressed "del" (some are to press F2 to access BIOS settings), chose hardware monitor to check for voltage abnormality or motherboard and CPU overheating. But I found the voltage normal and the temperature on both the motherboard and CPU is even below normal. CPU overheating is not the most possible cause of the problem.
- I could not directly point that the RAM is failing because it has handled and passed initial memory test at POST. The operating must be corrupted due to virus infection and it is not out of the possibility. So I tried to backup the files but I always get an error message. This must be due to the effects of the virus infection.
- To copy the files needed, Mini Xp was used to boot up the computer and run unstoppable copier and finally got the files needed for backup. After the successful backup, we are now ready to re-install the operating system.
- As the boot sequence was configured in the BIOS and restarted the computer, Xp installation began. But a few minutes on the process of installation, there was a Blue Screen of Death or a Memory Dump Error. Bang! That's it, it could either be a Hard Disk or a RAM error. Since checking the RAM is easier as to check the Hard Disk, we can easily do so by replacing the peripheral with a known good one.
- The computer was turned off then had the RAM removed, replaced it with a known good RAM then retried installing Win Xp. Not with a big surprise, the installation continued. The RAM must be the one causing the problem. To verify this, all necessary software must be installed and test run every applications.
- Appropriate device drivers using a driver pack, Win Office 2007, VLC, Google Chrome, and other essential programs and utilities where installed. Had some games and RAM or CPU intensive applications opened but the computer just ran fine. The RAM has caused the problem. I reported to the system unit's owner that the RAM is defective and a few days later, she bought and had the RAM installed. Also, the backup files were virus scanned and copied back to her drive.
- Troubleshooting intermittent problems are one of the hardest computer problem to troubleshoot. As for our troubleshooting tutorial via example was, a sudden restart is not entirely caused by a video card or CPU failing or overheating. As for this experience, the RAM has caused the problem.
This computer troubleshooting tutorial has been tailored to let readers imagine and think how the actual computer troubleshooting really works. If you think there is a better way for you to learn, then let us know. :-)