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How can I find out what is restarting my PC automatically?

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Were you just joking about you personally not sleeping and hibernating
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  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.  :)

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:
Using a clean/new paint brush and your lungs is very safe for cleaning.-Shades (November 23, 2013, 11:34 AM)
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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.

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.

I don't think I've ever actually seen it come up with a solution, ...-Stoic Joker (November 23, 2013, 08:04 AM)
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Neither have I but I usually hope it'll say View technical details and have something relevant under that.

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.

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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. -Shades (November 23, 2013, 03:54 PM)
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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.

How 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.


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