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The all encompassing Computer help thread

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The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby Marsupialized on Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:35 am

Point me to it if one exists, but if we could have a thread where people post problems they are having with their computers and maybe those knowledgeable can chime in and recommend fixes to these problems.

My problem, my fairly brand new (about a year) old computer will randomly reboot out of nowhere, for seemingly no reason. at all. Happening more and more often.

How can I figure out what is making it do this and stop it from doing this?

Take me through the steps as if I am retarded.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby sleepkid on Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:52 am

Marsupialized wrote:
My problem, my fairly brand new (about a year) old computer will randomly reboot out of nowhere, for seemingly no reason. at all. Happening more and more often.

How can I figure out what is making it do this and stop it from doing this?



What make and model is the computer, and what operating system are you running (Windows 7?)?

That's how we start this thing.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby BusBus on Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:29 am

If windows, does it give you any sort of blue screen of death style error message before reboot?

You could maybe start it in safe mode and let it sit to see if it reboots. If it does reboot, something tells me it's hardware, maybe the power supply.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby scott on Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:46 am

Is it a laptop? If it's a laptop, are you operating it on a surface other than a hard flat one like a desk top? They stopped calling them laptops and started calling them notebook computers years ago. I think part of the reason is that most (but not all) laptops have vents in the bottom that are required for airflow for the fans to cool the processors. So operating them on a surface like your lap will block the fan airflow and make it overheat and shut down and stuff.

Depending on operating system there is a way to view the system message event log. It will tell you exactly what's wrong. So... What OS then?
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby Marsupialized on Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:57 am

Windows 7 Dell Studio xps 7100

In the event viewer it's just telling me Kernel Power Event 41, which just means that it rebooted, dosen;t tell me WHY it rebooted, how do I find out WHY it's doing it?
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby BadComrade on Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:43 am

My money's on a bad power supply. Dell use shitty cheap parts. My ex-girlfriend's Dell desktop's power supply shit the bed less than a year from new.

The only way a desktop is going to overheat is if the insides are caked with dust, or the fan for the processor or maybe power supply have died.


I've never seen "Kernel Power Event 41" but along with a bad power supply and heat issue, apparently that can also point to RAM problems (forgot about that one), video card problems (again, forgot about that), and even software problems.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby madlee on Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:40 pm

BadComrade wrote:My money's on a bad power supply. Dell use shitty cheap parts. My ex-girlfriend's Dell desktop's power supply shit the bed less than a year from new.

The only way a desktop is going to overheat is if the insides are caked with dust, or the fan for the processor or maybe power supply have died.


I've never seen "Kernel Power Event 41" but along with a bad power supply and heat issue, apparently that can also point to RAM problems (forgot about that one), video card problems (again, forgot about that), and even software problems.


So pretty much anything.

I'm actually surprised about how finicky power supplies are. I've had problems with an Antec that was considered high end in its day. I've had it replaced 3 times by Antec so far.

My first computer was a no name made by ABS. It had a rebranded powerman powersupply. That thing worked with zero problems. It was probably $15. Generic as can be. I opened it up at one point and put in a better, quieter fan. Too bad the ATX specs changed.

There are issues where if you don't have enough draw on one of the rails, it causes instability which can make the mainboard shut down.

You could have dirty AC going in that causes problems. It could be a malfunctioning video card, hard drive etc. The only way you are going to figure it out is by removing each item (and possibly replacing with a known good item if it can't boot without it) to determine where the problem is.

I'd boot into safe mode first. If the problem goes away, then it is probably a driver.

If it keeps happening, you will then have to do the swapping technique, which is another nightmare. Who keeps spare parts like that laying around? If you happen to live near a decent computer store, you can buy the parts and return them as you go, but most likely you won't find a decent computer store.

EDIT:

I just looked and there's a MicroCenter in the city. That will probably work. They aren't cheap but they generally have everything.

Double edit

Jesus, you guys have a Fry's as well. WTF. spoiled bitches.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby sleepkid on Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:14 pm

Marsupialized wrote:Windows 7 Dell Studio xps 7100

In the event viewer it's just telling me Kernel Power Event 41, which just means that it rebooted, dosen;t tell me WHY it rebooted, how do I find out WHY it's doing it?


As suggested by others here, this is most likely a hardware issue. Power supply or RAM being the probable culprits.

Testing the power supply theory either involves measuring the voltage on the rails or swapping out the power supply with another one (easiest option, though involves buying a power supply unless you have a friend with an extra one which will work.)

A visual inspection and gentle tug and push on the RAM (make sure you're grounded first) might indicate that some of it is loose, which might cause the constant reboots. There is some software that can test RAM as well (Try Memtest), though it's not as reliable as a hardware test of the RAM. RAM is cheap and easy to replace if you have a bad stick.

Since your computer is roughly a year old, if you purchased it new, you may still be under DELL's warranty. They are an absolute bitch to go through, as calling them up usually involves going through some customer support center in India where they will walk you through a bunch of useless diagnostics tests which they are reading to you out of a three-ring binder.

The one thing they may have you do which might prove slightly useful is perform a clean boot of the system to determine if any third party software is causing the crash (unlikely, but possible.) You can find instructions for doing this here.

If you are under warranty, the thing to do is play ball with Dell a little bit, then ask to speak to a native speaker, ask to speak to a supervisor, tell them you're sure it's a hardware problem and that they need to look at your computer. They will then give you an address to send it to, and they will either fix it or replace it. Sometimes they will only think they fix it, and you have to send it to them again. But, none of this costs you anything ultimately, as they provide you with shipping pickup tickets to print, etc.

If this is not an option, then I would go ahead and do it the following way (easiest to hardest) - if you get no result on one step, go to the next:

1) Run Memtest
2) Run a Full Virus Scan (if you can do so without it crashing)
3) Open up the computer, gently inspect the RAM.
4) Do a Clean Boot and run it that way to see if it still crashes.
5) Do a Hijack This log and get an opinion at Geeks to Go (free tech support advice forum)
6) Replace the Power Supply
7) Replace the RAM


Options in green represent cash outlay.

If you want, I can also look at the HiJack This log once you run it, but the guys at Geeks to Go will be much, much quicker at spotting an anomaly or issue than I will. I haven't worked in tech support since 1997 or so, and while I keep up with computers and technology and such, I'm a little off the game.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby Marsupialized on Sat Sep 01, 2012 4:01 pm

Is there possibly something more I can be looking for in the event viewer or something trying to track down a rough idea of what it is?

here's one from right before a previous shutdown:

Event ID 12348 — Volume Shadow Copy Service Operations

Also, what is bonjour service? there are about 200 error messages regarding some sort of task scheduling error

ID: 100
Source: Bonjour Service
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby Marsupialized on Sat Sep 01, 2012 4:09 pm

Thank you guys, BTW, I appreciate it. Shit it all fucked up every direction suddenly in my day to day.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby madlee on Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:10 pm

bonjour is apple bloatware that gets installed when you install itunes. It is a network discovery service.

I have no idea about the shadow copy error.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby Ernest on Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:37 pm

I had the same issue with this one; I added another two gigs of ram for cheap, and bought a more powerful power supply. It fixed it.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby BadComrade on Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:12 pm

madlee wrote:So pretty much anything.

I'm actually surprised about how finicky power supplies are. I've had problems with an Antec that was considered high end in its day. I've had it replaced 3 times by Antec so far.


I think part of the problem is the power supplies that manufactures put in these things just barely cover the wattage required by the hardware. Plug a fucking USB charger in or something, and you're stressing the power supply out. That's why I built my last computer myself. Fuck a $15 piece of shit power supply. I put this $200 motherfucker in my PC:

Image

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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby tbone on Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:48 pm

'sup - the bonjour thing is probably not causing the reboots, but it does cause other issues. Like if your computer ever says that it can't connect to the Internet, for no goddamned reason at all, and a reboot fixes it--that is caused by bonjour. I always disable it. I can go into details on how to disable it but it won't fix the reboot issue. If anyone has the "random no internet connection" problem lemme know and I'll explain in further detail.

Power supplies fail all of the time because the power from com ed sucks ass. I always put in some sort of network connected monitoring device on the battery backup system wherever I work, and I get several emails a day from these devices telling me the voltage is fucked up or something, and then another one a few seconds later that it's OK. Every place I've worked in IT, same deal. Power supplies really take a beating.

So even expensive ass crazy overbuilt power supplies for servers and shit fail all of the time. That's why servers and network equipment tend to have redundant power supplies in them. Just like hard drives. If only one fails, you have a backup to keep the server online until a replacement part can be installed. Sure, cheap ass power supplies can fail more frequently I guess, but even expensive ones do too.

Follow sleepkid's advice because there are some good tips on how to exhaust most of the free ways to possibly fix it before you buy anything. I'd say chances aren't that great it's anything but the power supply, but definitely try to do that stuff in case it works. If you need to buy a new PSU, MicroCenter and Tiger Direct will both have them, and they are only a few blocks apart from each other on Elston, so you can easily comparison shop. I actually kinda like Tiger Direct a little better. MicroCenter used to rule but got a little douchey and I haven't shopped there in a while.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby tbone on Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:51 pm

Oh hey, also, forgot to add--one more cheap ass potential fix--do you have it plugged into a surge protector? Try swapping that out or just plugging directly into the wall and see if the problem still comes back. Sometimes those things shit the bed. Especially if it's one that you have had for like 15 years and it's caked in dust. I've almost gotten electrocuted by one of those fuckers at the rehearsal space when my amp was plugged into a faulty surge protector.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby scott on Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:01 pm

Fwiw surge protectors are useless at accomplishing what they pretend to accomplish. If there's a spike in the voltage, and actual spike, nothing short of a fancy-ass power conditioner is gonna stop it. "surge protectors" are useless at that, they can't react quickly enough to trip.

Also, the thing that kills electronic devices typically isn't too high of a voltage, it's too *low* of a voltage. And that's something I found to be a huge problem in Chicago, the power is low and sometimes *way* low. Voltage regulators don't do well with shitty too-low voltage.

The only actual solution I know of is to run a fancy-ass power conditioner, and they probably cost more than a normal-priced computer.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby warmowski on Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:20 pm

Here's a thread of someone getting that error and how they got rid of it.

Says the error is the CPU waiting too long for some other hardware component, kind of like a IRQ that never ends and panics the kernel. Software can cause that, hardware can cause that. This guy got rid of some app and says it cleared up. Maybe there's a silver bullet in that thread.

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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby tbone on Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:22 pm

scott wrote:Fwiw surge protectors are useless at accomplishing what they pretend to accomplish. If there's a spike in the voltage, and actual spike, nothing short of a fancy-ass power conditioner is gonna stop it. "surge protectors" are useless at that, they can't react quickly enough to trip.

Also, the thing that kills electronic devices typically isn't too high of a voltage, it's too *low* of a voltage. And that's something I found to be a huge problem in Chicago, the power is low and sometimes *way* low. Voltage regulators don't do well with shitty too-low voltage.

The only actual solution I know of is to run a fancy-ass power conditioner, and they probably cost more than a normal-priced computer.


Truth! Yeah surge protectors are really just a way to plug more than one thing into one power outlet, with some snake oil added on.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby noise&light on Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:35 pm

tbone wrote:
scott wrote:Fwiw surge protectors are useless at accomplishing what they pretend to accomplish. If there's a spike in the voltage, and actual spike, nothing short of a fancy-ass power conditioner is gonna stop it. "surge protectors" are useless at that, they can't react quickly enough to trip.

Also, the thing that kills electronic devices typically isn't too high of a voltage, it's too *low* of a voltage. And that's something I found to be a huge problem in Chicago, the power is low and sometimes *way* low. Voltage regulators don't do well with shitty too-low voltage.

The only actual solution I know of is to run a fancy-ass power conditioner, and they probably cost more than a normal-priced computer.


Truth! Yeah surge protectors are really just a way to plug more than one thing into one power outlet, with some snake oil added on.


I once worked in a small office and we used some pretty decent surge protectors because some of our inventory was stored on computers. During a particularly fierce thunderstorm in the middle of a workday, we heard a lightning "Snap!" and all the power went out in the building. We were able to turn everything back on with the exception of a couple computers plugged into one surge protector. When we unplugged the protector from the wall there was a tiny, perfectly smooth, pie-shaped metal piece that came out off the socket from one of the prongs. We plugged the computers into a new surge protector and everything worked perfectly. The protector that got hit (we assumed it was a lightning strike as that's what it seemed like) actually worked in the way that we needed it to even if it wasn't in the way that it was designed to work. Not sure if this was a completely fluke incident but it was pretty remarkable to see.
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Re: The all encompassing Computer help thread

Postby scott on Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:04 am

This is totally off topic in that it offers no help. But it reaches the right audience (computer geeks) and bumps a good thread.



His prediction about the next revolution in computers back in 1990 is kinda staggeringly spot-on
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