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Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?

meself 17 Aug 12 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,999 17 Aug 12 - 10:06 AM
meself 17 Aug 12 - 10:14 AM
gnomad 17 Aug 12 - 10:18 AM
Waddon Pete 17 Aug 12 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Aug 12 - 10:24 AM
nutty 17 Aug 12 - 10:26 AM
meself 17 Aug 12 - 10:30 AM
meself 17 Aug 12 - 10:31 AM
Bernard 17 Aug 12 - 11:29 AM
s&r 17 Aug 12 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,999 17 Aug 12 - 11:41 AM
Jeri 17 Aug 12 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Aug 12 - 12:15 PM
meself 17 Aug 12 - 12:53 PM
meself 17 Aug 12 - 01:04 PM
Nigel Parsons 17 Aug 12 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,999 17 Aug 12 - 01:09 PM
meself 17 Aug 12 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,999 17 Aug 12 - 01:11 PM
meself 17 Aug 12 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,999 17 Aug 12 - 01:51 PM
meself 17 Aug 12 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,999 17 Aug 12 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Charles Macfarlane 17 Aug 12 - 03:08 PM
Jeri 17 Aug 12 - 04:33 PM
meself 17 Aug 12 - 08:08 PM
EBarnacle 17 Aug 12 - 08:41 PM
Melissa 17 Aug 12 - 09:15 PM
JohnInKansas 17 Aug 12 - 10:07 PM
GUEST,999 17 Aug 12 - 10:56 PM
Melissa 17 Aug 12 - 11:14 PM
GUEST,Tony 17 Aug 12 - 11:51 PM
GUEST,Tony 18 Aug 12 - 12:04 AM
GUEST 18 Aug 12 - 05:22 AM
GUEST,Charles Macfarlane 18 Aug 12 - 05:23 AM
meself 18 Aug 12 - 10:18 AM
JohnInKansas 18 Aug 12 - 05:08 PM
Gurney 19 Aug 12 - 12:20 AM
GUEST,MikeK, Guest 19 Aug 12 - 11:24 AM
Gurney 19 Aug 12 - 10:59 PM
Melissa 20 Aug 12 - 01:34 AM
Melissa 20 Aug 12 - 01:53 AM
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Subject: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: meself
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:02 AM

My laptop is about, oh, six-seven-eight years old, which, the kids tell me, puts it in the Methuselah range of human years. Except that they've never heard of Methuselah. Anyway, it keeps shutting itself off, with increasing frequency. No problem getting started again, but annoying as hell. Any suggestions? If I should replace it, I will, but I'd rather not dish out the bread ....


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:06 AM

meself, the heavy hitters to do with computers will likely require the make, model and what programs you're running, etc.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: meself
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:14 AM

I was afraid of that (sigh). Okay, here's a start: Acer "Aspire 3610". Windows ... 95 (? How do you even check that?) .... Use Google Chrome for internet ....


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: gnomad
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:18 AM

I am no techie, but do recall experiencing the same symptoms shortly before my then-PC turned up its toes and died. If you don't already have back-ups of all your data on an external hard drive now could be a good moment to make the investment.

More technical stuff I leave to the specialists, but I am certain of the value of a decent back-up.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:22 AM

Amen to that, Gnomad!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:24 AM

Step one: get an extension cord and plug the computer into an outlet far away from the one you are now using. With luck, the problem will be the outlet, not the computer.

Be sure to use an extension cord which is at least as thick as the computer's own cord, if not thicker. This is in keeping with the safety principle that you don't plug a thick cord into a thin one.
=========
Meanwhile, back up any treasured data you have before the puder goes belly up.
========
I used to have a computer with a very touchy ON button. The shop gave me a new power supply, and that fixed it. It turns out that the 'power supply' is not the local electric company (as I thought) but part of the computer. Your problem might be in your power supply.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: nutty
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:26 AM

I had the same problems with my PC when the fan was faulty and it was overheating. Don't know if laptops suffer the same problems though.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: meself
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:30 AM

Thanks, folks. I got an external fan last Christmas, and that helped - I believe at that time over-heating was causing it to shut down.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: meself
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:31 AM

And, yes, I do have a thicker cord going into a thinner cord ....


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 11:29 AM

You may find that there's a 'service' running that is causing the CPU to run hot, and the fan cannot keep up. It's also possible that the airways are clogged up with crud...

It's been a long time since I delved into Win95, so I can't remember how you look at which services are running - but Win95 was a lo-o-o-ong time ago, so are you sure? It's more likely to be XP, I would think, if it's less than ten years old.

Assuming it is XP and not 95, press Control-Alt-Delete to call up the Task Manager, look in the 'Processes' tab, then click at the very top of the CPU column twice (not quickly) to get the display to show the processes using the most CPU time.

The one that should be at the top with more than 90% is 'System Idle Process' - if there is another one, that's your problem!

Unfortunately, it's not necessarily just a matter of shutting that process down, although if it's WindowsSearch.exe you can safely end that process...

Have a look and get back to us!

To be honest, the mains cord thickness probably isn't a problem - unless the thinner one is getting very hot!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: s&r
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 11:37 AM

Clean the fan and ventilation holes = that's always a good start

Stu


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 11:41 AM

Re finding version of Windows you are running . . .

Also, meself, do the backup pdq, asap, right away, real soon, etc. That is excellent advice.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: Jeri
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 12:00 PM

I agree with Bernard: the cord size doesn't have much to do with it. Computers don't use that much current. (Unless the cord is hot.)

I've had computers shut down unexpectedly, and I believe it was due to overheating, but I'm not sure. Older laptops may run hotter than newer ones.

Agree BIG TIME with backing up.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 12:15 PM

Good grief! I just looked at the apertures where air goes into and out of my computer, and they were all clogged with lint and cat hair. A damp kleenex and a toothpick solved the problem.

Funny the way stuff like that sneaks up on us...


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: meself
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 12:53 PM

- Yes, it's XP.

- For the last few months, when I press cntrl/alt/delete, Task Manager fails to come up. I suppose there's another way of finding it - I'll poke around and see what I can come up with.

- Do we have to bring pdq into it? (A little humour there, folks).

- I'm going to put all my word-processed files onto a flashdrive, before anything else (they're the only ones that matter - wait, I have a ton of audio files I'd hate to lose - ).

- It may be that overheating is the main problem - I've noticed that the ol' pc does seem warmer in my lap than I remember from the halcyon days of its youth. But then, the question is, is there a cure? The openings don't seem clogged, and as I've mentioned, I have an external fan in a kind of a tray that sits under the pc ....


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: meself
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 01:04 PM

Okay, I just discovered that that external fan was not doing its prescribed job. I've got it back to work - the details are far too complex for you mere mortals to understand; suffice it to say that it involved an on/off switch ....


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 01:07 PM

It may be that overheating is the main problem - I've noticed that the ol' pc does seem warmer in my lap than I remember from the halcyon days of its youth
Most 'laptops' are not intended to be used on the lap. (the name is very misleading). Laps tend to have plenty of give in them, and flesh which can block the outlets from the cooling fans.
If you must use it on your lap, use a tray, or a hardback book, which ensures a flow of air is available below & around the machine!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 01:09 PM

She looks tuckered out, meself.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: meself
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 01:10 PM

Now I'm heating up!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 01:11 PM

Backup your stuff anyway.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: meself
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 01:18 PM

It's not because it's called a laptop that I often use it in my lap - it's because I'm a slack-assed sonofabitch who sits on the couch with his feet up half the day and piles, along with the laptop, sandwiches, cups of tea, magazines, books, remotes, babes like the one in the painting (yeah, right!), assorted garments, etc., onto his (that is, my) lap. And I do have that aforementioned fan-try underneath it. I don't know how all this effects my ability to procreate, but that's not a major issue at this point ....


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 01:51 PM

I appreciate your sharing that, meself.

"babes like the one in the painting (yeah, right!), assorted garments, etc., onto his (that is, my) lap. And I do have that aforementioned fan-try underneath it. I don't know how all this effects my ability to procreate"

May I suggest you're going about this kinda backwards, buddy?


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: meself
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 01:54 PM

Yeah, you're probably right - but that fan's gotta go somewhere!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 02:05 PM

http://knowhow.com/article.dhtml?articleReference=1222&country=uk

Ya might want to look at that.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,Charles Macfarlane
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 03:08 PM

All computers produce heat, and most are cooled by air flow, hence it's important to ensure that any ventilation slots, heatsinks, etc, are kept clear, clean, and not clogged up as you have described. Assuming that there are no loose screws rattling around inside the laptop (if so, find out where they came from, and screw them back in place, otherwise they may short something), you can clean the ventilation grilles and inside the case CAREFULLY with the nozzle attachment of an ordinary domestic vacuum cleaner - hold the nozzle firmly at both ends to avoid the suction suddenly taking control.

Although laptops are usually lower powered and produce less heat than a same generation desktop, there's usually plenty of space inside the desktop, but precious little inside the laptop, hence it's particularly important to keep their ventilation slots clear. For this reason I never use mine directly on my lap, but place it on a board.

Although it sounds as though you've cracked it for now, I have a page on diagnosing hardware faults here:
www.macfh.co.uk - Diagnosing PC Hardware Faults


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: Jeri
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 04:33 PM

OK, that made sense. (Charles Macfarlane)

Meself is turned on and his laptop (the electro-mechanical one) is turned off... except you have way too much junk on your junk. What kind of sandwiches, BTW?
I used to use my laptop on my lap, but it was even lazier than you. I was in a recliner. I had red blotched on my legs which were probably caused by abnormal capillary growth because of the heat and electrical stuff. I dunno-- it was there all the time, but eventually went away.

I believe they sell little vacuum cleaners for keyboards.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: meself
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 08:08 PM

Thanks again, everybody. So far, it's all back on track.

Since inquiring minds wanted to know: salmon or tuna sandwiches - whichever is cheaper; tuna was cheaper for awhile, now it's back to salmon - my couch is actually one of those couch/recliner combinations, so ... - no red blotches; course it's hard to tell with all the tattoos, y'know - I have one of them there little vacuum cleaners; will have to try it out one of these days ....


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 08:41 PM

As old as you say it is, it is almost certainly dust in the cooling duct. Clean them out with the computer turned off. Then blow as much air as you can through the system to get the schmutz you cannot get manually.

Oh, yeah, you only get up to 30 inches of mercury with vacuum. there are not real limits with a blower.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: Melissa
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 09:15 PM

What about the other direction?
My laptop (Compaq, a year or so old) won't come on. It does give me a message on a black screen (which I don't understand) so I guess it's trying..but I don't know how to open it to a place to select something to make it go ahead and run.

I flipped it over and looked for fuzz and it looks surprisingly clean.
What is Plan B, when cleaning doesn't help?

Cord seems fine.
Fan runs like it always did.

Thanks,
M


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:07 PM

Most 'laptops' are not intended to be used on the lap. ...

It has been conclusively shown that using a laptop on your lap will cause deterioration in the quantity and motility of your little swimmers and can thus render you significantly less fertile (baked balls syndrome). ... Definitely something to be avoided ...although the reduction is insufficient to serve as a reliable contraceptive so don't rely on it for that!!!!!

For future reference: although I've forgotten things about Win95 (and WinXP) that I probably never actually knew, somewhere in your programs - possibly in "Accessories" and/or "System Tools" there should be something called "System Information." If you click it open it should tell you just about everything you need to know about your computer and all it's bits and pieces. It beats putting the machine on a lift to look underneath and up its backside for all the external data plates and labels.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:56 PM

My laptop (Compaq, a year or so old) won't come on

Melissa, Google the whole line you wrote--just above this line. There are many folks who have had a similar problem. Worth taking a look at some of the sites.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: Melissa
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 11:14 PM

It's a deal, 999. I'll try that!
thanks


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 11:51 PM

quote: - For the last few months, when I press cntrl/alt/delete, Task Manager fails to come up. I suppose there's another way of finding it - I'll poke around and see what I can come up with.

You can right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager from the context menu.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 12:04 AM

Melissa, have you tried to start it in Safe mode? Usually you press F8 at some point during the start-up to get that.

What does the message on the black screen say?

Does it happen both with battery power and with AC power?


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 05:22 AM

> From: meself
>
> For the last few months, when I press cntrl/alt/delete, Task Manager fails to come up. I suppose there's another way of finding it - I'll poke around and see what I can come up with.

Start, Run, taskmgr.exe, OK

... but my guess is that it still won't run. This is usually a symptom of a PC being infected with some sort of malware, which disables TM so that you can't see the extra processes running.

Definitely assume the worst, and go through the normal procedures to disinfect your PC.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,Charles Macfarlane
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 05:23 AM

Above was me, sorry, forgot to sign it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: meself
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 10:18 AM

Will do! Thanks for that, Charles.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 05:08 PM

Regarding the first post, that suggested a replacement computer might be in order -

If you haven't looked recently, you might be surprised at what's available in new computers. Six or seven years ago, a "middle grade" computer likely was near $1,000 (US) and may have been a little more machine than you needed - or really thought you did.

There are lots of machines at very much lower prices now, with a few "desktops" on the shelves at around $350 (US), although some of the cheapest ones barely deserve to be called "computers." At around $500 (US) you should be able to get a fairly decent one.

Laptops also come in a similar price range, and most people can probably find something that satisfies normal needs for around $500, or $700 if you need a little extra.

I recently blew $700 for a new laptop, primarily because I needed a "spare" for a special purpose job in order to avoid tying up the desktops that we mainly use. I paid a little more than many people would need to, but I think my needs are a little in excess of what's reasonable of what most people would need, but the next step up would have been to about $1,200 - like they all used to be. I haven't used that laptop for anything except the one job, as yet (copying VHS to DVD to save shelf space) but it appears to be adequate for other uses. A main reason for "buying now" was to get Win7, since Win8 will probably be the only option soon. More recent info seems to indicate Win8 will likely be "usable" but the early reports were a little scary, and I wanted to "lock in" the same OS as on our other couple of machines.

If you get the urge for a new machine, there are a couple of warnings I/we might offer about some of the new stuff, but that sort of info could change so a new thread might be warranted if such info would be helpful.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: Gurney
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 12:20 AM

Her Indoors has been telling me that this machine has been turning off on her. It just did it to me, and it isn't turning off, it is losing the signal somehow. Tried another screen, still no signal. Then suddenly the screen came on.... Oh dear.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: GUEST,MikeK, Guest
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 11:24 AM

Back to meself's original problem: Here's a link to a suggested free software ("Core Temp") that monitors CPU temperature for some, but not all, CPUs. The discussion below it suggests similar products (mostly free) that do the same job.

http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/check-temperature-your-cpu.htm

By the way, the website - TechSupportAlert.com - is a superb source of suggestions for all kinds of free - and tested, and rated - software.

MikeK


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: Gurney
Date: 19 Aug 12 - 10:59 PM

MY problem just above turned out to be faulty RAM.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: Melissa
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 01:34 AM

Thanks, Tony. I hadn't thought to try it with the battery (didn't make a difference, but it was a Good idea!) When I tried opening with Safe Mode, it gave me a screen full of number stuff that I didn't understand at all. The error message (non-system disk or disk error) shows when I try Start Normally.
I don't remember what screen I got when I hit the one about Starting at Last Workable Settings (or whatever it says..something like that)

I tried 999's idea of just searching with the error phrase and now I'm following directions that I don't understand but seem easy to follow. Maybe that will work.

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PC shutting itself off - what to do?
From: Melissa
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 01:53 AM

Fixed!

You guys are my Heroes

Thank you


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