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PC Reboot after inactivity

By tjbaum ·
I have a few users over the last six months report that while they are gone for lunch (a period of time) they come back and the computer has rebooted.
This happen ramdomly throughout the network, say 3 or 4 out of 100. Ramdom people and ramdom times.

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Do you believe them

by house In reply to PC Reboot after inactivit ...

Do you believe them?

It could be that they are going into hibernation mode, or that they have the screensaver/standby option set to resume at the login screen.

It could also be a virus or a power issue.

Have you witnessed this yourself?

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by mparker_UK In reply to Do you believe them

if they win NT/2k/xp the eventlog will confirm whether they did shutdown.

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Happened to me some years ago

by PalKerekfy In reply to PC Reboot after inactivit ...

The same happened to me personally some 7 or more years ago on two different notebook models (one was Digital, the other don't know, maybe TDK). Both used to reboot or just hang if left alone for long time (connected to the power, and automatic standby was not configured). It happened once or twice a month.

My guess is memory error. Could you run a very agressive memory test for a few days on one or two of these computers? It may be disk error as well, and the disk error may cause memory corruption when errors are paged into memory. You may want to run a very good (read/write) test against them.

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Check power settings

by Blackcurrant In reply to PC Reboot after inactivit ...


Check the Power Options in Control Panel. On older systems, when the PC is configured to minimise power usage when idle, the drop in power consumption causes the machine to reboot.

Try adjusting these settings.

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Deffective UPS?

by scottb In reply to PC Reboot after inactivit ...

I have seen similar symptons due to a deffective UPS. Also, if there are sudden drops in voltage on the circuit this can "kill" a UPS over time. If these PC's are on a UPS, you may want to explore this possibility.

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more likely

by apotheon In reply to Deffective UPS?

It's more likely the power supply in the system than the UPS, actually. PSU (power supply unit, as opposed to UPS, which is uninterruptible power supply) problems are some of the most difficult to diagnose for someone that hasn't dealt with them many times before. Variation in power output from a PSU can cause all kinds of weird, unpredictable problems, and can cause gradual degradation of performance and functionality of other components.

Power supply problems are one of the most serious, and one of the most elusive, hardware failures, because the symptom set is so hard to define and the problem can cause more problems in the rest of the hardware.

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Automatic Updates

by Schuylkill In reply to PC Reboot after inactivit ...

If the OS on these computers is either Windows 2000 or XP, it might be that Automatic Updates is set to automatically install updates without prompting. You can configure the time at which updates are applied, and if this is set at lunchtime, your users would never see any prompts. The computer would just reboot on its own.

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Rebooting - Check Mainboard Capacitors

by JNolan3 In reply to PC Reboot after inactivit ...

It is probably no news to this forum, but several years back IBM and a few of the other major PC vendors were fed a bad batch of capacitors by a Far East component manufacturer. The capacitors were properly designed, but were manufactured with a faulty batch of electrolyte that deteriorated slowly over time. The caps and the mainboards they were installed on would pass QC testing and burn-in. The deteriorating electrolyte apparently takes hundreds if not several thousand hours to degrade to where a cap no longer meets spec. Main board caps filter the ripple from the PC's power supply, and when that ripple gets through to the chipset and CPU, anything can happen, especially random rebooting.
Do a close visual inspection of the electrolytic caps on the motherboard. Look for bulging and evidence of leakage, such as a dried encrustation. It can happen to PC's that have been in service for several years or more.
There is a lot of info about this on the net. Start by searching Google with "IBM NetVista" "known issues".

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good call

by apotheon In reply to Rebooting - Check Mainboa ...

I'd forgotten all about that.

By the way, I think you might be surprised by how many people, even IT professionals, don't know about that. Sometimes, individual issues like that just slip by. I hadn't heard about that particular problem until last year, in fact.

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What's missing here?

by deepsand In reply to PC Reboot after inactivit ...

As an IT Mgr., surely you must know that you've provided no real information about the problem; all we have is anecdotal reports of a symptom.

As such, we can say no more than that, if there is in fact a problem, the cause could be anything from a marginal source of power to the deliberate act of someone with unauthorized access to the network.

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