You are here

PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

For anything relating to music-making on Windows computers, with lots of FAQs. Moderated by Martin Walker.

PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby 4TrackMadman » Sun May 01, 2011 6:42 pm

Hey all.
I've had a DAW PC work fine for about 2 yrs. Lately, it's just rebooting by itself and can't find the culprit. There are no errors, no logs, nothing.

AMD4200 dual core, DFI mobo, 4 gb Corsair RAM.

I have two HDs - one if XP just for music and used to be very stable.

The other XP64bit for work (web design) also was stable as hell.

Now both do the same thing - work without a glitch then at intermittent intervals would just restart.

I transported it to a recording sessions a few times but it was treated with respect, but it did make a few trips out before the problems started.

Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot this thing?
User avatar
4TrackMadman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 12:00 am

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby DragonLogos » Sun May 01, 2011 9:27 pm

Off hand

reset switch sticking... with PC off and a fair bit of silence, can you hear the reset going click when pressing it - you might want to take it off the mother for a day or two just to test

Overheating - when it re-boots going into the BIOS and have a look at what temp the CPU is running at, over 60C is a bit hot for a 4200 - after two years you might have a fair bit of dust clogging the CPU fan, with the PC off you can stab it away with a small paint brush going in between the fan blades, just blow away the dust

Memory faulty, run Mem86 mem test - if you have two modules try it with one out... watch out for dust creeping into the empty slot, esp with the module closest to the fan, you can clean the edge connectors of the RAM modules with a pencil rubber, brush the dust off with a clean paint brush

Spongy cabs, have a look on the motherboard and see if any of the capacitors have got round heads, if you are feeling brave and its not any of the above you could open the PSU and look for the same
User avatar
DragonLogos
Regular
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 11:00 pm

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby 4TrackMadman » Sun May 01, 2011 9:49 pm

@Dragon - thanks for the quick reply.
I run a temp monitor on the PC while in there, doesn't seem to go over 35celsius but chipset is up at about 60celsius most of the time, but it used to be that way all the time.

I'll run the memtest, great suggestion about the reset switch, didn't even think of that.
User avatar
4TrackMadman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 12:00 am

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby zenguitar » Sun May 01, 2011 10:48 pm

Another candidate might be your power supply. As they get older their maximum power output can reduce. It would certainly be worth borrowing a higher rated one to test and see if that solves the problem, and if it does you can look closer at the power supply caps as mentioned previously, or just get a replacement.

Andy :beamup:
User avatar
zenguitar
Moderator
Posts: 7565
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:00 am
Location: Devon

OC/DC - All the right notes in exactly the right places.


Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby Exalted Wombat » Sun May 01, 2011 11:06 pm

4TrackMadman wrote:Hey all.
I've had a DAW PC work fine for about 2 yrs. Lately, it's just rebooting by itself and can't find the culprit. There are no errors, no logs, nothing.

AMD4200 dual core, DFI mobo, 4 gb Corsair RAM.

I have two HDs - one if XP just for music and used to be very stable.

The other XP64bit for work (web design) also was stable as hell.

Now both do the same thing - work without a glitch then at intermittent intervals would just restart.

I transported it to a recording sessions a few times but it was treated with respect, but it did make a few trips out before the problems started.

Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot this thing?

Are we talking about two computers, or two boots on the same computer?

The classic cause of random reboots is overheating. As it's been moved, open it up and check nothing's moved ans all the fans are spinning. It's not unknown for a CPU fan to actually fall off!
Exalted Wombat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5652
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:00 am
Location: London UK

You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont. Go fishing instead.


Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby 4TrackMadman » Mon May 02, 2011 12:28 am

Will do. I actually took off one of the factory fans due to excessive noise. They were advertised as noiseless but believe me, it qould print on condenser mic tracks without a problem :)

Not that the PC ran bad without it - about a year there was no glitch but that'll be the 1st order of business.

I am also using some Monkey Audio mp3 player on both drives as it handles 24/48k wav files, unlike Windows Media Player.

The PC is dual boot - winXP and Xp64, each on a separate hard drive.
User avatar
4TrackMadman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 12:00 am

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby ezza » Mon May 02, 2011 7:29 am

I had a similar problem with my new build. Sudden reset, no blue screen. I discovered that it was caused by a PSU cable hanging down and touching the RAM sticks. (I had dislodged it previously when I had been trying to debug another problem and thought "... yeah, I'll sort that out soon...)

I've tied all my cables neatly out of the way and no problems since. I didn't see any overheating reported in diagnostics but that's what it must have been.

/erol
ezza
Regular
Posts: 238
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:00 am

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby Ant Gamble » Mon May 02, 2011 8:28 am

Hi,

There could be many reasons for the reboot. Bad RAM,failing hard drive, overheated RAM/CPU....

There's always a memory dump/error code though. It's possible that you've got your system set to 'automatically restart' after an error - the memory dump will be on screen for a fraction of a second:

1. Go to system properties - advanced tab - startup and recovery - and uncheck 'Automatically Restart'.

2. If you have this dialogue at it's defaults, there will be a system log entry for each crash. This can be viewed by clicking Start - Run - and entering 'eventvwr.msc'. Select the system log and look for errors.

Usually, a memory address will be supplied. Google it - you'll find it may point to a piece of failing hardware.

Ant.
Ant Gamble
Regular
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2002 11:00 pm

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby Remeniz » Mon May 02, 2011 8:30 am

That sounds like the classic 'dying PSU' syndrome. From previous experiences RAM problems usually give BSOD's, not instant shut-downs. It's not a CPU overheat as you've established.

If you have a spare PSU give that a go. Run Prime95, while watching temps' for a few hours to stress the machine and check stability.
Remeniz
Regular
Posts: 175
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:00 am

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby DragonLogos » Mon May 02, 2011 11:44 am

Ant Gamble wrote:Hi,

There's always a memory dump/error code though. It's possible that you've got your system set to 'automatically restart' after an error - the memory dump will be on screen for a fraction of a second:

1. Go to system properties - advanced tab - startup and recovery - and uncheck 'Automatically Restart'.

2. If you have this dialogue at it's defaults, there will be a system log entry for each crash. This can be viewed by clicking Start - Run - and entering 'eventvwr.msc'. Select the system log and look for errors.

Usually, a memory address will be supplied. Google it - you'll find it may point to a piece of failing hardware.

Ant.

Valid point, never really understood why M$ did that, maybe to give us techs something to do and make a few pennies :)
User avatar
DragonLogos
Regular
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 11:00 pm

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby OneWorld » Mon May 02, 2011 12:40 pm

4TrackMadman wrote:Will do. I actually took off one of the factory fans due to excessive noise. They were advertised as noiseless but believe me, it qould print on condenser mic tracks without a problem :)

Not that the PC ran bad without it - about a year there was no glitch but that'll be the 1st order of business.

I am also using some Monkey Audio mp3 player on both drives as it handles 24/48k wav files, unlike Windows Media Player.

The PC is dual boot - winXP and Xp64, each on a separate hard drive.


I'd too would be looking at overheating and the power supply degrading as it gets older. I suppose you have already done this but cleaning all the dust out as well can help a great deal.

But I have a question of my own. How have you managed to dual boot on 2 separate drives? is one booting from c: and the other booting from d:?

I have 2 drives as well, but each physical drive but using those disk caddies which I slide in and out but like the idea of dual booting but on separate drives. That way I can boot from c:, if I booted from d: then my data drive, which also includes my Cubase Projects, and Cubase gets upset if the path to the various project folders changes.
OneWorld
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2060
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:00 pm

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon May 02, 2011 1:48 pm

OneWorld wrote:I have 2 drives as well, but each physical drive but using those disk caddies which I slide in and out but like the idea of dual booting but on separate drives. That way I can boot from c:, if I booted from d: then my data drive, which also includes my Cubase Projects, and Cubase gets upset if the path to the various project folders changes.

Dual-booting without swapping hardware is a standard technique (in fact drive-swapping could be considered as not really dual-booting at all, but just having two alternative computers available.)

The two Windows installations need to be on separate partitions, but not necessarily separate hard drives. They can both use the same names for all partitions. They can both be pointed to the same "My Documents" folder (when you come to set this up, you'll be pleased that you didn't try to double-think the system by refusing the default location for your data! "My Documents" can be anywhere, but life's much easier if everything is IN "My Documents":-)

But no need to go into details now. Yes, dual-boot can easily be arranged without swapping physical drives. Ore even if you have only one physical drive.
Exalted Wombat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5652
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:00 am
Location: London UK

You don't have to write songs. The world doesn't want you to write songs. It would probably prefer it if you didn't. So write songs if you want to. Otherwise, dont. Go fishing instead.


Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby 4TrackMadman » Mon May 02, 2011 2:16 pm

OK - I added the noisy fan assembly back. I did notice that during the move some cables had dislodged - USB cables for the extra USB extension I added on the back but they were pressed half in so that could've caused some confusion although I doubt it.

Blew the dust off the system as well, reseated the RAM sticks just in case.

The chipset fan on the mobo had a bit too much dust and that was running the hottest at 60C.

Had it on for about 2 hrs looping some music while I was working on this guitar piece and it was good, but usually these reboots happen unexpectedly so I wouldn't know until I run it longer.

About the dual - I installed one OS, detached the drive, installed the second on the second drive, reattached the drive and I pick drives from the mobo menu by hitting ESC when it is booting.
User avatar
4TrackMadman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 12:00 am

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby Ant Gamble » Mon May 02, 2011 3:27 pm

Dual boot

You could just edit the hidden system file C:\BOOT.INI and provide another option pointing to a different partition of physical drive.
Ant Gamble
Regular
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2002 11:00 pm

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby Martin Walker » Tue May 03, 2011 12:53 pm

4TrackMadman wrote:I like GAG for boot manager:
http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Boot-Manager-Disk/GAG-d.shtml

So do I - been using it for years 8-)


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 10104
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Steampunk & Synth News | Mad Scientist Mode


Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby 4TrackMadman » Sat May 14, 2011 7:47 pm

OK, issue seemed to have been solved for about a week and here it comes again.

To recap:
2 physically separate drives, on IDE0 WinXP64 (work) drive and on IDE1 WinXP (recording DAW drive).

Now, it gets even stranger as Windows XP (my recording partition) won't boot up when both drives are attached. It would only boot when the other drive (Win XP64) is physically off.

Don't know exactly what happened but on one of the boots the other drive was not found and the system went directly to my recording drive.

In the meantime I actually won a local PC store price drawing for Cinco De Mayo (Mexican Holiday) and I got a 850 watt mammoth power supply.
Strangely enough the drive would power up after I removed the power connector and plugged it back in.

Since there was erratic power action going on I decided to see how things will run with the new power supply - same thing as before.

XP64 (my work drive) boots fine and my recording drive (XP) gets to Windows XP loading screen and reboots the machine.

... I am starting to view my aging Mac laptop with nostalgia ....
User avatar
4TrackMadman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 12:00 am

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby DragonLogos » Sat May 14, 2011 8:22 pm

Apart from this problem of which drive boots up, has the is the original problem of the system rebooting now gone / fixed?
User avatar
DragonLogos
Regular
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 11:00 pm

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby 4TrackMadman » Sat May 14, 2011 9:12 pm

Hasn't phantom rebooted since.

I did try to start my recording drive with both drives connected and noticed that WinXP will fail right after my fw interface (Presonus Firepod) would light up the sync light. So just for fun I shutdown the fw interface and rebooted, WinXP on my recording drive came up fine, so it looks like the Firepod is acting up on boot.

So it is possible that it was the cause of the phantom reboot, maybe recent windows updates and the Firepod are acting up.

I just so miss the analog 4 track days - this crap has eaten 4 hrs of my day today :frown:
User avatar
4TrackMadman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 12:00 am

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby 4TrackMadman » Sat May 14, 2011 11:44 pm

oh great, we're back to phantom rebooting again.
User avatar
4TrackMadman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 12:00 am

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby 4TrackMadman » Sun May 15, 2011 4:17 am

OK, apparently I managed to isolate the phantom reboot issue to having both drives connected. When the work drive (XP64) is unpowered I can get in the DAW recording drive and it won't reboot.

Getting weirder by the second. Looks like mobo to me since both are on IDE, although on different channels.

I'll run memtest just to verify, if worse comes to worse, I at least have a stable recording installation when the other drive is off so I'll have to keep it physically unpowered, the case at least is with a latch that opens fairly easy.
User avatar
4TrackMadman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 12:00 am

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby 4TrackMadman » Mon May 16, 2011 2:54 pm

I installed brand new 750 watt PSU over the weekend, apparently it got lost in the thread.

So you think the XP64 is acting up as that one not coming up initially got things acting weird?

At this point I am thinking either on of the drives, mobo or IDE controller.

I have a spare controller too so I might pop that one in there just to see how things will act up.

It's not the PSU for sure.
User avatar
4TrackMadman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 12:00 am

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby 4TrackMadman » Wed May 18, 2011 4:33 am

Disconnected my "work" drive and so far everything is booting fine in the recording drive, 3 days in a row.
The work drive also boots fine when it is by itself.
When I have both connected the work drive boots fine and the recording drive boots about 1 out of 3 times when the recording audio interface is off during boot. Really strange but same boot problem happens either when I use GAG installed on the work drive or when I boot from the mobo boot manager.
User avatar
4TrackMadman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1055
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2002 12:00 am

Re: PC phantom reboot - can't find the cause

Postby DragonLogos » Thu May 19, 2011 2:24 pm

Could you maybe get the exact model of the Motherboard, I know there were some issues with nVidia and Western Digital - Also there were some issues with nVidia... but that's another story, and if its working with one drive I do not think that is coming into play
User avatar
DragonLogos
Regular
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2002 11:00 pm


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Aural Reject and 4 guests