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PC shuts off every few days

Old 11-10-11, 02:31 PM
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PC shuts off every few days

I have 3 years old Dell Inspiron that runs well and I have not experienced any issues. Few weeks ago, I came home from work and pc was off. I tried to power it up, but start button flickered orange and nothing happened. I took it to the shop, tech plugged it in and pc started up normally. He checked mb, ps, disconnected few cables and connected them again. Said everything looks normal. I run virus check, found nothing. All programs work fine, games as well.

Several days later, again I came home and pc was off. I tried to power it up, nothing. I did what the tech did, unplugged hd cable and video card cable, pc powered up again.

This happens every 6 - 8 days. I never had pc shut down when I am actually doing something, playing games, watching movies etc. I have not gotten any error messages (except one that the virtual memory is low when I tried to multi-box in online game). I looked in log viewer but I am not really sure what to look for there.

Is it a power supply going bad? Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 11-10-11, 03:16 PM
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Re: PC shuts off every few days

Have you checked your Windows System event viewer to see if the shutdowns are unexpected? That should be a fair indicator of whether it's power related.

I suppose it could be software related but your comment about the power button flickering and not working at first definitely sounds like a PSU.

Hopefully it's not a proprietary power supply connection to the motherboard - Dell burned me with that years ago. If the connections are standard I would just go get a new PSU. Since you took it to a shop for the evaluation I'll guess you won't want to install it yourself although I think it's fairly easy as long as you keep track of what stuff was plugged in before removing the old one.

If you have it done at the shop I would hope the part wouldn't cost more than $100 even with a markup if you're staying under 700W which is more than enough for your average internet/MS Office/family use PC. I wouldn't pay more than $40 for it to be installed.
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Old 11-10-11, 05:19 PM
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Re: PC shuts off every few days

Yup, sounds like a failing power supply to me.

The other thing I've seen is if it's overheating. We got a Dell once where the fan would run loud all the time, and every once in a while it would shut off. Upon inspection, it turned out that during manufacturing a plastic punch-out insert which is supposed to be discarded somehow remained in the computer, between the heat sink and the processor, so the processor was overheating and switching the computer off. After getting rid of it and getting the heat sink properly installed, the fans were lower and it stopped switching off.

That said, given that you haven't had any problems in 3 years, it's probably not something like that (unless you've heard the fans running faster/louder than they usually do). Power Supplies are one of the more fallible parts in a computer, so it's not unlikely that it's failing after 3 years.
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Old 11-10-11, 05:34 PM
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Re: PC shuts off every few days

Thanks for the replies.

Overheating, could be. When I bought Inspiron, I took out the original video card and put in GeForce 8800 GTS ( I called Dell support and their tech said that PS is good enough to handle the card). During gaming, the card gets hot, but not above any numbers I've seen posted on gaming forums, and I never had pc shut down while gaming.

I thought about replacing PS, doesn't seem to be that expensive, but I've only done memory upgrades, and video card upgrades, so not really pc repair handy.
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Old 11-10-11, 07:16 PM
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Re: PC shuts off every few days

LOL at the tech from Dell - they know exactly dick.

You may have overworked that PSU with the added card. Plus not all PSU's are created equally so even if the wattage rating seems to cover the card OK the PSU's Dell tends to use are not as good as what one might by when building a system. I've always had good luck with Antec but there are many good ones out there.
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