Computer turning off and on, on its own....

By Slayer_ ·
Ok, so this is strange.

It started off two days ago, I closed a cabinet in my room, and when I stood up, my computer turned off and restarted (my computer is set to stay off in a power outage). I figured, maybe it vibrated the video card, its happened before. Ok.
So I wiggle the tower a little, no issues. Stand up, walk passed it from right to left across the front of it, and it restarts again, wtf?

It didn't occur to me yet, but ok, so I just turned it back off (held power button) and walk away. I came back to put the item back in the cabinet, walked passed the machine from right to left again and the computer started itself!
So I waited for it, got to the login screen and it froze at the login....
So I hard restarted it, froze immediately after login, hard restarted again and it was running, but suddenly now, it didn't like resolutions under 1280 x 1024, anything less and it left about 50% black space on the screen on either side (25% on the left, 25% on the right). So I rebooted, I could see the windows logo and post was getting squished. Then it booted up again and 3 seconds after logging in, the screen turned black and white!
I thought maybe my old monitor dying, so I turned on the second monitor and turned on duel view, black and white on both!

So reboot again, same problem. So I go update the video drivers. Problem solved, but it still hates the resolutions. Ok, screw it, moving on.
Last night, it shut down again while watching a movie, it would not beep at the post for the first few tries, then it fired up after I unplugged it for a bit.

Now brings me to today, when I made the real connection.
I fired it up, and walked out to change the TV channel, I came back to grab the stereo remote out of the cabinet, and when I walked passed the computer, from right to left, I heard it restart. So I stepped back, and repeated my walk, and sure enough, it restarted again the very moment I stepped on the carpet.

So I tried standing there, lifting my foot up and down, etc, nothing. Only when I walked passed it. I made sure I did not rub the case, I even tried walking passed it naked, it still restarted! Then I closed the front door on my case (One of those cases that can cover the CD drives) and walked by it, it restarted one more time, so I tried again, on my last walk through, my monitor made a click sound and the video re snapped to the edges properly again. And it has stopped restarting when I walk passed it (for now anyways). I now take the long way around my computer to avoid walking in front of it.

WTF????? Any thoughts?

I double checked, all my games that suddenly had problems with the resolution are fine again.

Here is a folder of images.
The silver computer is the one with the problem. Its ventilation is on the front, left and rear, the right side is where the board is mounted, so no fans. So I can't see there being any ventilation issues.

It has started doing it again. I have removed the filter on the power, its still doing it. But the monitor and display seem fine so far.

Confirmed that the monitor is causing some problems, I can smack it and have the edges of the screen wiggle or even snap to the sides, to the top, etc.
By keeping the door closed the restarting has stopped. I'm starting to wonder if static is affecting the reset button, the next time I am in the case I am going to unplug the reset button and see if that solves the problem.

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All Answers

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Reponse To Answer

by Slayer_ In reply to Re: spare video card....

I don't want to drop the money on a 580 when benchmarks on the Asus 570 are so close anyways, but nearly half the price.

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Reponse To Answer

by Peconet Tietokoneet In reply to Re: spare video card....

You decide what you need/want. If you need a cheaper one then let me know. I know money is tight now-a-days so if you can get something at a lower price then that is better for you.
All of my componants are tested and cleaned, so no fluff or guff on these. If any componant does not pass my testing crunching/burnin then it goes right back and gets stripped down into smaller componants for recycling.

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Reponse To Answer

by Slayer_ In reply to Re: spare video card....

Thanks for the offer, but I think I will just go for the massive upgrade and get some new blindingly fast speed out of my machine again.

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Very interesting problem.

by kevin In reply to Computer turning off and ...

As a 30+ yr systems technician I find this problem and the sugestions very interesting.
My first suggestion is to go back to square one in your troubleshooting flow chart.
So, IS IT ENVIRONMENTAL? In other words does it have to do with the placement of the tower where slight changes in the position caused by walking past it in one direction is causing the reboot?
To test that, remove the computer from the current location. Take it to a table in your garage or your kitchen and set it up there. Does the system still reboot randomly? YES/NO
If it does the problem is following the computer and not the location.
There are many good suggestions made concerning your power connections and some not so good about other cables etc. These other cables should not interfere in any way. Loose or worn out outlets on a power strip could cause this to occur. Since it can occur when the MOBO is still posting, I would rule out the OS and virus related issues since a system has not even booted yet.
I do question the power supply and the fact that you have 4 HDDs in this system. A 400w supply may not be enough, but then again, that doesn't explain why it happens walking past it in only one direction. Or why you can sit in front of it for long periods with no problems.
My first take is that something with the mobo is flexing just enough as you walk past.
Try putting the tower on it's side, which will change or eliminate the way the case is able to flex. Modern cases are built with much thinner materials.
Check that all the screws that hold the mobo down are properly tightened. Most of those connections are grounded to the chassis and if even one relaxes when flexed it could cause this sort of problem.
Two things you can try regarding the power supply unit.
First, try disconnecting HDDs that are not required or even all of them and the CD/DVD, floppy etc. Anything that has a power cord going to it. Be sure to pull the data cables loose too.
If the power supply is being overworked, even the slightest amount of stray inductance can cause it to 'crowbar' the system and cause a reboot.
Stray inductance could be introduced simply by walking past the computer. Also when a tower is in an upright position there is a double layer of the case protecting the mobo on just one side and not the other.
Second thing might be to try swapping the power supply out with your other computer.

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Reponse To Answer

by Slayer_ In reply to Very interesting problem.

Some good suggestions.
The machine did live in a different spot for awhile, it wasn't restarting but to be fair, I had little reason to walk in front of it :). It used to be located behind the big screen TV just out of site.
It is a 550 Watt Antec, about 3 years old, so it should have more than enough juice I would think. The other computer has a 120Watt PSU, so that's not gonna work . Where I used to live, had pretty dirty power, so I am not ruling out the power supply yet. I plan to buy one of these :)

Come to think of it, the newest hardware in it is a new DVD recorder, I could try unplugging that, I am not presently using it anyways. I have 2 DVD drives anyways.

Tightening the mother board screws, good idea, it HAS moved around a lot in the last half year. Its a real pain to move that computer off that stand, so I am lining up tasks I plan to do while its out, I'll add that to the list.

I don't see how it could really flex though. The metal shelving is in solid metal baskets, and the tower sites on a wood base with plastic legs and rubber feet, you can wiggle the tower a touch, but flexing it? Wiggling it a bit doesn't seem to bother it, not that I get violent with it.

I could disconnect the floppy drive too, its useless these days.

I forgot to change the power strip last night, if I remember I will do it tonight.

Thanks for the suggestions.

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Static electricity is clearly one of the culprits here.

by Varseller In reply to Computer turning off and ...

I'm certain of that from everything you've said and the pictures. Someone else mentioned bulging capacitors. If a capacitor is burst or leaking, strong ESD can overload the capacitor (remember, it stores electricity) and produce exactly the results you're getting. Moving right to left from that bed on a carpet is producing a very strong charge. The PC may be well grounded but you're carrying that charge through the air and it is going to look for the path of least resistance (any exposed metal). There may be other things going on, but that issue needs to be ruled out, period.

Did you check the capacitors? Can you disconnect the entire PC and connect it somewhere else and see if the problem still exists? If it goes away, the problem is ESD. If it still exists and your capacitors are OK, the problem is hardware or cable related. Swap the cables with the other PC to rule that out.

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Reponse To Answer

by Slayer_ In reply to Static electricity is cle ...

Yeah, I think I really got to pull it out and examine it.

Unsure how I can check the capacitors on the power supply, but the board should be easy.
As I said above, its just a pain to pull out, so I am getting together a list of things to check before I do.

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Reponse To Answer

by OH Smeg In reply to Static electricity is cle ...

The way to check the capacitors in the PS is to unplug it and press the on Button for about 10 seconds.

Then plug it back in and try turning on. If it turns on straight away the Capacitors in the PS are failing.


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Reponse To Answer

by Slayer_ In reply to Static electricity is cle ...

I unplug it every night, so I already know you gotta give it a second or its like it ignores the power button press. The mobo light only comes on about 1.5 seconds after I plug it back in. I just assumed this is normal.

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Have you ever made sure that Wake-On-LAN is off?

by seanferd In reply to Computer turning off and ...

In your network card properties.

Sorry to ask again, but between the new forum formatting and all of the responses which clearly do not address "turning on by itself", this is becoming a tl;dr exercise, unfortunately. (OK, even though I did try to re-read it all.)

I ask because since this may involve you somehow creating induction when moving past the system, it is one place to stop a wake signal if it isn't in the power button assembly or the PSU itself.

Still an awesome mystery, this. (BTW, the 256 color-style purple house was really cool. )

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