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Last post Author Topic: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?  (Read 24508 times)

dr_andus

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How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« on: November 22, 2013, 10:13:13 AM »
In recent days my Win 7, 64-bit PC has restarted itself automatically a number of times and I don't know why it is doing that and how I can prevent it from happening. Usually it happens when I wake up the computer and it is asking me to log on, having restarted itself. It does not restart the applications that were open at the time of shutting down.

The only major new installation I had done in recent days is that I have updated to IE11 (that is my latest restoration point).

Some other software I had updated or installed this week include TreeSheets and Ynote Classic, and AdBlock Plus. I use AVG 2014, Malwarebytes and WinPatrol Plus, but none of them have reported anything suspicious.

Oh, also, the first IE11 installation had failed, and it even put a shortcut on my desktop to its troubleshooting page, but the second installation seems to have worked (other than the above behaviour, if it's related).

Any suggestions how I can find out what's causing this behaviour and how I can stop it would be much appreciated.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2013, 10:18:15 AM by dr_andus »

MilesAhead

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2013, 10:32:57 AM »
It may not be an application doing it.  Windows 7 is set by default to reboot on a hard error.  Since IE seemed to have a problem on install, I would try either removing it or using the restore point to see if you can remove the cause of the error.

If that doesn't do it then the next step would be to read the event logs looking for errors.  But I'd try uninstalling IE, if it lets you, as the first step.

Edit: you can turn off the Restart on Error to test if it's an error or program causing it. This post tells how to change the setting.


hpearce

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2013, 11:00:09 AM »
You may also want to consider whether this happens after a SLEEP ....  I have this problem sometimes which I attribute to a driver not liking the sleep.
Windows 7 SP1 (TM) Home Premium 64-bit .. Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU P8400 @ 2.26 GHz / 2.27 GHz .. 4GB RAM .. NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTS .. Gateway P-7805u FX

MilesAhead

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2013, 11:14:18 AM »
You may also want to consider whether this happens after a SLEEP ....  I have this problem sometimes which I attribute to a driver not liking the sleep.

Good point.  That was my first thought.  Then I got distracted finding the hard error boot enable/disable.  Lots or problems with sleep and hibernation.  So far I've never tried either.  :)

Stoic Joker

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2013, 11:24:28 AM »
So for clarity:
Is the machine rebooting when you try to wake it up, or are you noticing that it has rebooted - presumable sometime in the night - after you wake it up, get to the desktop, and see that the thing that were left running aren't anymore?


Either way I'd start with the event logs to avoid making things worse if it's a memory or disk issue. Look for any critical events that may be listed (just before and/or after the reboot), and let us know what you find.

How is the power in your area, and are you running a battery backup (if yes, how old is it)?

dr_andus

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2013, 11:38:18 AM »
You may also want to consider whether this happens after a SLEEP

Yes, it does seem to be the case.

Lots or problems with sleep and hibernation.  So far I've never tried either.  :)

Were you just joking about you personally not sleeping and hibernating  :), or not using these functions on your PC?

Right now my PC is set to go to sleep after 15 min. and it's also put to sleep every night. I've been doing this for years with this PC and I haven't had any problems.

I have noticed in the past that occasionally (but relatively rarely) my PC would get restarted automatically after a major Win update. But in the last 24 hrs it has restarted 3 or 4 times, which seems to be unusual.

So for clarity:
Is the machine rebooting when you try to wake it up, or are you noticing that it has rebooted - presumable sometime in the night - after you wake it up, get to the desktop, and see that the thing that were left running aren't anymore?

Both has happened in the past 24 hrs. Edit: sorry, misunderstood your question. It's the second one: I come to wake it up, and it greets me with the login box...

Either way I'd start with the event logs

Where do I find those?

How is the power in your area?

Seems to be fine, nothing unusual (not a battery, from the mains).

Thanks for your advice!
« Last Edit: November 22, 2013, 11:56:21 AM by dr_andus »

Stoic Joker

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2013, 11:54:17 AM »
Right now my PC is set to go to sleep after 15 min. and it's also put to sleep every night. I've been doing this for years with this PC and I haven't had any problems.

So for clarity:
Is the machine rebooting when you try to wake it up, or are you noticing that it has rebooted - presumable sometime in the night - after you wake it up, get to the desktop, and see that the thing that were left running aren't anymore?

Both has happened in the past 24 hrs.

Hm... That feels like hardware to me. Do a memory test first, then check the hard drive with the manufacturers diagnostic CD.



dr_andus

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2013, 11:58:07 AM »
Hm... That feels like hardware to me. Do a memory test first, then check the hard drive with the manufacturers diagnostic CD.

Sorry, I misunderstood your question. It was the second one: when I'm waking it up it has already rebooted.

dr_andus

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2013, 12:15:13 PM »
You may also want to consider whether this happens after a SLEEP ....  I have this problem sometimes which I attribute to a driver not liking the sleep.

I checked Device Manager and it shows that under "Other devices" "Bluetooth Peripheral Device" is missing a driver. I don't know what device this refers to (all it says is "on Microsoft Bluetooth Enumerator"). "Update driver" doesn't find anything online.

The only Blootooth device I use is a Belkin dongle, which I use for my Apple Wireless Keyboard. But under "Bluetooth Radios" it says that that Belkin Bluetooth Device and Microsoft Bluetooth Enumerator (whatever that is) are working fine, up-to-date, and so is my keyboard and Bluetooth connection...

4wd

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2013, 04:43:14 PM »
It's also sometimes easier to spot things in the Reliability History (Start menu, then start typing reliability) than looking through Event Logs.

2013-11-23 09_35_43-Reliability Monitor.jpgHow can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?

dr_andus

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2013, 05:46:13 PM »
It's also sometimes easier to spot things in the Reliability History (Start menu, then start typing reliability) than looking through Event Logs.

4wd, many thanks for that! I checked it and it says "Windows Logon Application stopped working" a couple of times today. When I clicked on "check for a solution," it tells me "no new solutions found."

Earlier today I also ran one of Windows troubleshooting tools, and it told me that it couldn't do something because more than one user was logged on at the same time (which surprised me, as I'm the only user and have only set up one account).

When I checked the user accounts, I saw that there was also an "ASP.NET Machine Account (Standard user, Password protected)" beside my own (admin) account. (Guest account was off.) So this made me wonder if my IE11 installation yesterday did something to this ASP.NET account. I'm not a .NET developer, so I've never used that account and wouldn't even know how to anyway...

4wd

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2013, 06:25:34 PM »
The ASP.NET account is so .NET developers don't have their code running with Admin privileges as it only has guest access, (if I'm reading the info right).  It's (should be) harmless and you can leave it there.

The failure of winlogon.exe could be due to registry corruption or something else entirely, you can try running SFC.EXE /SCANNOW at a command prompt to check all the system files are valid.

You could try rolling back the IE 11 install or doing a System Restore to an earlier time and see if it helps - before you do anything like that though, I'd create image of your system for backup, (even though it isn't working properly atm).

Maybe even boot off of one of the free AV live CDs and do a full scan but I'm inclined to think it's due to an update gone nuts or software clash.

Apart from a Repair in Place, (Upgrade in Place), Windows reinstall I don't know what else to suggest, (well, I do but if I did SJ, 40, f0dder, etc would probably hit me ... hard) - SJ may have some other ideas to get to the heart of the problem.

dr_andus

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2013, 06:44:32 PM »
The failure of winlogon.exe could be due to registry corruption or something else entirely, you can try running SFC.EXE /SCANNOW at a command prompt to check all the system files are valid.

Thanks, I'll try that tomorrow morning (time to sleep over here).

In the meantime I also got one of Windows' error reporting boxes popping up, saying it needs to dial home to check for solutions to 13 problems, 12 of which was a video hardware error, and the 13th was "Shut down unexpectedly." Connection failed, so I never found out if there were solutions to any of those.

But now I'm starting to think that maybe the video hardware error has to do with my DisplayPort to VGA Video Adapter Converter, which I'm using to connect the 3rd monitor to my PC.

Occasionally the converter does fail, when the PC wakes up from sleep, in which case I unplug it and replug it, and that usually sorts it out. However, that has been recurring for some time, while this rebooting problem has only started happening more frequently the last couple of days.

Anyway, I'll sleep on it (and so will the PC, hopefully) :)

4wd

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2013, 07:07:38 PM »
If that's the case, I think I'd be unplugging the adapter for the next few days and see how the system goes without it.

EDIT: It could be that a recent update has interacted badly with the adapter drivers, so it might pay to uninstall them also or look to see if there is a driver update.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2013, 08:54:35 PM by 4wd »

Stoic Joker

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2013, 08:04:11 AM »
In the meantime I also got one of Windows' error reporting boxes popping up, saying it needs to dial home to check for solutions to 13 problems, 12 of which was a video hardware error, and the 13th was "Shut down unexpectedly." Connection failed, so I never found out if there were solutions to any of those.

I don't think I've ever actually seen it come up with a solution, but it is a great place to get a synopsis of what's up on system land. So good for 4wd for thinking of it, as going to the logs is such a habit for me I always forget about it. It's still unclear if the shutdowns coincided with or were caused by the video errors but it's worth exploring.

Occasionally the converter does fail, when the PC wakes up from sleep, in which case I unplug it and replug it, and that usually sorts it out. However, that has been recurring for some time, while this rebooting problem has only started happening more frequently the last couple of days.

That sort of detail is important...and fits with the above.


If that's the case, I think I'd be unplugging the adapter for the next few days and see how the system goes without it.

EDIT: It could be that a recent update has interacted badly with the adapter drivers, so it might pay to uninstall them also or look to see if there is a driver update.

I don't believe that type if adapter has/needs a driver. However it and its accompanying hardware will have an impact on the graphics card's workload. I'd go with 4wd on the run without the 3rd monitor for a few days experiment ... And also ask if the dust has been blown out of the machine recently?

MilesAhead

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2013, 11:08:04 AM »
Quote
Were you just joking about you personally not sleeping and hibernating
  Huh?  Wut wuz it?  Oh.  I dozed off there for a bit.  I get all the sleep I can.  I should set up cots and charge homeless people half their foodstamps for 10 hours uninterrupted.  I'm sure they'd say it's a bargain.  :)

Shades

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2013, 11:34:58 AM »
Cleaning your PC on a regular basis (like every 6 months or so) from accumulated dust and/or unnecessary software will work wonders. You will be amazed how much dust a PC collects when it isn't in a carefully controlled environment. And do not forget the power supply when cleaning out dust! Opening it up and remove dust from fans, cooling elements and electronics makes it last a lot longer.  

Two things to watch out for, though. First, don't short out any of the electronics inside. Using a clean/new paint brush and your lungs is very safe for cleaning. Second, always check if the fan(s) still rotate smoothly. If not, fan replacement always trumps lubrication (for ball bearing based fans). Know that a fan that is not running smoothly, draws a lot more current from a power supply. A fan that is stuck, draws way more current!

Power supplies do not last forever, though. I have here several that still output 12 volt but cannot do the required 5 volt anymore, or vice versa. Your PC will behave in very strange ways if there is something wrong with the output of the power supply. Spontaneous reboots could be one of them as there is a power peak when starting up a "sleepy" PC. Before I forget, after opening and cleaning your PC always check if all cable connectors are (re-)seated properly.

In one of my older computers (Windows 2003) a somewhat similar problem occurred. Sometimes after a restart it wouldn't start because of not being able to load one of the registry hives. Replacing this registry hive with a copy (made with ERUNT) would make the computer boot again. Windows wouldn't return any error when checking the registry files or filesystem, S.M.A.R.T. reports that all is OK as well. Still, the computer behaved as if there were bad (or insufficiently functioning) blocks of the hard disk.

My solution was simple. But first a bit of background. The hard disk is divided up into several partitions and I always set up my Windows systems in such a way that the C:\ partition holds the Windows installation, but not the temporary folders, page file(s), user related files/folders and extra installed software. This way the Windows installation doesn't fragment much, leaving files and folders in a stable position on the C:\ partition. As a bonus, the C:\ partition can be quite small.

Now I took a look on that partition to see where the Windows files were located, which was around 5 GByte of the total 10GByte assigned and practically all of the files/folders were stored conveniently close together. Then I used a (freeware) partition tool to shrink the next partition to <original size> - 5 GByte and moved the whole C:\ partition (as a whole) discarding the first 5 GByte of the hard disk.

This 7+ years old computer is doing it's job again as a LAN search engine without any hiccup. No repairs necessary even after seven power failures (or otherwise induced restarts).

Lessons I learned over time:
- Don't be cheap when buying a PC power supply (meaning: get a good brand and if for example your system requires a 400 Watt power supply, get one of 500 Watts!)
- Do maintenance on a regular basis


Stoic Joker

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2013, 12:38:01 PM »
Using a clean/new paint brush and your lungs is very safe for cleaning.

Um... Paint brush? Isn't that a bit of an ESD hazard? Granted I have used a tooth brush wet on a completely de-energized board ...(under controlled conditions)... But dry brushing sounds awfully risky. Now the lung method I have used in a pinch, but for a 30+ year smoker it's rather comical.

Shades

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2013, 03:54:07 PM »
Have been using one (actually just one) to clean 8 computers here for years and most of these systems have more than 6 years of continuous service under their belt.

It is a model of brush that a house painter would use to paint hard to reach spots, and its hairs do not come from an animal. But I must say that there is no carpet in this house, just stone tiles. Carpet is very uncommon here in this parts of the world.

Pressured air has given me more problems. On two different occasions the cap of a condensator flew off, effectively killing the motherboard.


4wd

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2013, 05:40:46 PM »
I don't think I've ever actually seen it come up with a solution, ...

Neither have I but I usually hope it'll say View technical details and have something relevant under that.

Quote
I don't believe that type if adapter has/needs a driver. However it and its accompanying hardware will have an impact on the graphics card's workload.

I was wondering also with those whether or not the driver is contained within a ROM in the device, (as some do), so that it is loaded automatically when it's plugged in?

Have been using one (actually just one) to clean 8 computers here for years and most of these systems have more than 6 years of continuous service under their belt.

When I joined Telecom Australia in 1980, they issued us with a "sash brush" to clean around the electromechanical and electronic equipment, (mostly discrete electronics back then).

Since then I've been using it to clean telecommunications equipment, my computers, circuit boards, pretty much any and everything.

IMG_7508.JPGHow can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?

It's made with hog bristle as it's less likely to create a static charge than synthetic fibres.  I hold it as you would a pen with my fingers on the metal ferule and holding onto the metal chassis with the other hand, (or using an anti-static strap if I have one handy), which prevents any build up of static charge.

After loosening the dust, it is then removed with a vacuum, held as close to the end of the nozzle as practical, the other hand holding onto the chassis, and the nozzle never touches the equipment, (fast moving air and a nylon tube can sometimes cause a static charge if the air is dry enough).

I'm under no illusions I still might kill something through ESD but in 33 years I haven't yet.

EDIT: I was going to mention this first but then got sidetracked with brushes  :)

I wouldn't have thought a buildup of dust, (and heat), is the problem as the system is in Sleep state when the original fault happens and thus using minimal power.  If anything, it would happen more often when the machine was in normal running mode.
I also wouldn't have thought you'd get an indication in either the Event Logs or Reliability History as the machine spontaneously stops/restarts.

I'm not saying that it isn't a good idea to clean the machine, just that in this case dust might not be related to the original problem.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 06:27:30 PM by 4wd »

dr_andus

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2013, 06:49:35 PM »
And also ask if the dust has been blown out of the machine recently?

Nope...  :-[ Not in a few years...

Guys, many thanks for all the advice, much appreciated. I was occupied with some other duties today, but tomorrow I'll find a brush and start with a proper spring cleaning... I'll also try the other suggestions.

Another new behaviour I forgot to mention was that starting last week (so before the IE11 upgrade) my PC would refuse to go to sleep sometimes (when I was manually putting it to sleep). Then I would start shutting down software one-by-one to identify which one was keeping it awake, but it wasn't able to pin it down. This has recurred yesterday as well. Maybe it's related.

Stoic Joker

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2013, 09:25:19 AM »
I wouldn't have thought a buildup of dust, (and heat), is the problem as the system is in Sleep state when the original fault happens and thus using minimal power.  If anything, it would happen more often when the machine was in normal running mode.

Agreed, but I'm pondering fringe case options. If the user isn't much of a gamer (I'm not) then there really isn't much of a load on the card at runtime. But at start up (or wake) the machine will need to rapidly switch display modes several times...so if it's doing this for 3 monitors, it could make for just enough of a load spike to trip up the card.

4wd

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2013, 04:54:41 PM »
Hmm, more intermittent faults ... time for the Shotgun approach?  ;D

dr_andus

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2013, 05:53:46 PM »
If the user isn't much of a gamer, then there really isn't much of a load on the card at runtime.

No, I'm not. I don't do any heavy-duty image or video processing either. It's mostly just typing away, though I can have many different software running at the same time.

But at start up (or wake) the machine will need to rapidly switch display modes several times...so if it's doing this for 3 monitors, it could make for just enough of a load spike to trip up the card.

I did notice when I plugged in the 3rd monitor with the DisplayPort VGA Adapter for the first time that my PC became a bit less snappy. But I was willing to trade the deterioration in performance for having a 3rd monitor.

And yes, it is usually at start-up or wake when the Adapter would fail and I would need to plug it in and out. My guess is that it happens maybe 3-5% of the time, so not often enough to really make me want to buy a different make or look for another solution.

Otherwise my specs are: MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1, Intel Core i7 CPU 860 @ 2.80GHz, 8.0GB RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series, Adapter RAM 1.00 GB

Hmm, more intermittent faults ... time for the Shotgun approach?  ;D

...which is...? (sorry, you'd need to spell it out for me, I'm not much of a hardware guy either...)
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 07:01:11 AM by dr_andus »

4wd

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Re: How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2013, 06:00:33 PM »
...which is...? (sorry, you'd need to spell it out for me, I'm not much of a hardware guy either...)

See here