Weird Computer User

By jarnold ·

I have quite an interesting problem with a student at my workplace. Whenever he goes to use a comptuer, it either shuts down or goes into standby. This has happened now for around 2 months, and i have tried everything that i know. We are running a server 2003 network with 4 servers and 120-130 workstations (including laptops). I have a new macbook pro, running osx and windows xp. For the ultimate test for this strange shutting down, I tried him using the macbook pro in osx and it still shutdown. I have tried to delete the user from the active directory, and even let him use the comptuer logged in as another student, a staff member, even an administrator. The problem is so weird, that i have watched him sit at a computer and not touch it, and it turned off. (he was just watching a video that i had set up for him). He brought in his laptop from home this morning, and it does the same thing on that. All computers apart from the macbook pro use windowsxp.

After all my debugging i have come down to a hardware issue with the student. It is not his uniform, as we have tried him in a change of clothes, and i tried connecting him using an anti static strap, but the computer still turned off. It is not a network issue, as it still turns off osx and his laptop which is not connected to the school network.

This student has been using the computers all year, but it only started doing this in the last few months. I tried re imaging the workstations to fix the problem, but that didn't work either.

I have tried a keyboard without a standby button, I have also tried a wireless keyboard and mouse and the monitor 5m away from the computer.

This problem seems rather weird, and I am unsure what to try next?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated..


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All Answers

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Ask an easy question why don't you?

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Weird Computer User

Have you tried to just get him/her to watch a video without a keyboard or mouse and see if it still happens?

Is there a regular cause of this happening and how long after they sit down in front of the unit does it happen? Do the computers normally go into standby or Shut Down or it is sort of both?

I've only seen one thing similar and that person had a high static charge to them which played havoc with the computer hardware but it could be traced to the clothes that he wore and the way that he dragged his feet on carpet. Being a salesperson on heavy earthmoving equipment he would regularly raise an eyebrow when he Zapped any potential Customer who walked in through the door.

You could try this new Windows Error Message that I've recently found here

But joking aside that doesn't make any sense unless of course there is something else coming into play where you are. This student hasn't been exposed to any sources of Radiation or something like that has s/he? What is s/he studding and what other type of equipment do you have at this Learning Institution?

If s/he's working near a Cyclotron or something similar often this could be the cause and it would be worthwhile checking the safety equipment on things like a Cyclotron, Linear Induction Unit for producing Medical Isotopes or something like that.

Has anything happened just prior to this starting? There has to be a reason why it's happening but without looking at stupid things like being Abducted by Aliens and I do mean the ET Type here none of the above makes any sense.


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My Reply

by jarnold In reply to Ask an easy question why ...

I have tried the student watching a movie, and he could watch it fine from a few metres away, but as he sad down on the chair, not touching the computer, it went into standby.

It standby's and shutdown's randomly, however after disabling standby all together it shutsdown.

I will try the new windows error message out some time today.

We have disussed the possibility of him being an alien, all jokes of course!

He is simply a middle school student, studying the exact same subjects as his peers, and we don't have anything like a cyclotron.

I am sure there is a reason, but i have no idea what. It simply started doing it one day.


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James I'm in AU so the terminology may be a bit different

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to My Reply

But does this boy have something like major Dental Appliances fitted?

Braces used to be a good form of RF interference a long time ago. And could play havoc with Silicon Based Microprocessor controlled hardware if it's not properly shielded.

There are also several Medical Appliances that could have the potential to cause problems like this though I'm sure that you would be aware of most of them being fitted as they all require major surgery.

Lets know how you get on as I'm interested in this one as it's different and is therefore interesting.

It's good to see that the problem hasn't driven you over he edge yet as quite often when things like this happen you go insane quite quickly.

The idea of braces and other Orthopaedic devices came to me while I slept on the problem as that's about all I can think of that has the ability to make something like this happen.

If none of these apply I would start to look at some Medical conditions that could cause an Iron Increase in the blood, heavy metals build up in the fatty tissue or something like that all very uncommon and I'm sure that there would be other signs not just the Computers shutting down when he's around.

But if you can not find a solution can I take him the the Vista Release as I love to watch when things don't go as expected. :^0

Does he affect any other devices like DVD Players TV's or the like? Can he carry around some magnetic storage device like a floppy and not affect it? That might be a starting point.

If he's generally unwell it could be some form of Heavy Metal Poisoning that is causing this problem. These nasty things get eaten or drunk and build up in the fatty tissue and in males can not be removed things like Lead, Mercury are the more common ones but there are many Heavy Metals that he could be exposed to just by his diet alone. If that's the case I really don't like his chances as they are all nasty with little in the way of accepted cures. But he would have to be tested for things like this long before anyone even thought about how to treat him.


DUH Look at the place where you are answering to you foolish boy. Has this boy been exposed to any seafood from polluted places or something along those lines as well? You can Peer Mail me if I can be of any help.

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Yes, lets plan the Vista release day. Front row seating

by w2ktechman In reply to James I'm in AU so the te ...

That autta be fun to see. we can get MS to troubleshoot for once.

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Nah, we already know what will happen

by Kiltie In reply to Yes, lets plan the Vista ...

A customer support wallah, with an Indian accent, will ask you to perform steps 1, 2 and 3.

Step 4: Reinstall Windows

Rinse and repeat

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OK, maybe this sounds bizarre

by Tig2 In reply to Weird Computer User

But the problem sounds bizarre.

You mention that your student is middle school age. The thought that occurred to me is that as he is maturing, he has developed a significantly high level of magnetisation. The easy way to tell if this is the right path is hold a compass next to the student. If the needle points to the student, you are on the right track.

While this is not a daily occurrence, it is not unusual for young people to change significantly through the maturation process. Whether he will change back is also unknown.

I will make a bet that this person cannot wear a wrist watch reliably either.

Do let us know what you discover!

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by Kiltie In reply to OK, maybe this sounds biz ...

My sister has a problem like this, whenever she wears a wristwatch, it stops working.

She used a pyramid something, to get them working again (I forget the name, and Google didn't help me find out what type of pyramid, although the letter "C" comes to mind)
maybe I'll phone her and ask (she's in States, so time zone differences apply)

She hasn't had problems with computers.

Thus sure sounds like some kind of electro magnetic phenomena, a very curious problem indeed.

Agree with Tigs, there are a number of experiments not involving computers to help either test ideas, or eliminate them.

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Maybe GhostBusters needs a shot at it

by w2ktechman In reply to watches

because it seems that an e-gremlin or ghost (spectre) is to blame for this.
This person is walking around with an Evil Spirit, so maybe call a priest as well.

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Compass Evaluation

by jarnold In reply to OK, maybe this sounds biz ...

I have just experimented with the student. When placing the compas near the student, it moves 40 degrees east. It does not point to the student, but it does have some interferance. Having said that, he has been using the comptuer this morning without any interferances.

What should i do to remove magnetic inteferance?

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I would try a test like this when he's breaking the computers

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Compass Evaluation

And see what happens. Also shove a floppy in a pocket and see if it's readable a few days latter. That will tell you if he's having any effect on Magnetic Storage Media.

While it's rare to have a strong magnetic field it's unlikely to impact on just computer hardware. Though if the field strength builds up you could try a Degaussing Wand over him but as this will be a Biological Thing it's going to keep reoccurring so I don't really know what the answer is going to be.

Of course it would help to know if he has this effect on other electronic devices as you could really mess with the various Doctors Minds when none of their equipment works with the kid.

Incidentally which end f the compass needle was deflected the North or South Pole?


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