Windows restarts without warning can be caused by a multitude of causes, so in order to cover this topic completely, I am breaking it down into 2 parts. Restarts are a major problem and are posted in the forums quite often. Part #1 will cover the causes that can effect all versions of Windows. Part #2 will be more specific to Windows XP problems.

Overheating

Most of today’s computers are designed to turn off or automatically reboot if the computer, processor, or other device in your computer gets to hot. You may also hear a high squealing noise which could indicate that a fan is about to fail. Some of the critical fans that are needed to keep the system running cool are:

  • Processor – known also as the CPU – this fan is critical!
  • Video card display adapterĀ  if so equipped
  • Power Supply
  • Additional case fans – if so equipped

You may have to open the case to take a look at some of these fans, and while you are inside of the case, check the system for dust and dirt. These can sometimes clog the fans and render them useless. See my article on heat & dust here.

After you have removed the computer case, start the system. Take a look at the fans I have mentioned above. Are they turning properly? Is dirt or dust clogging the fans? Sometimes just a good cleaning can correct a over heating problem. Sometimes the fans may have to be replaced.

Processor – CPU fan and heatsink. These are critical. Here is a old computer trick that still holds true even for todays computers. With the system running [be careful now] place a finger on the heatsink which covers the Processor/CPU. If you can’t hold your finger on the heatsink for 10 seconds you MAY have found the problem to the restarts. Replace the CPU fan with a new unit that provides increased cooling.

You may also check in your BIOS since some of the newer ones will keep track of temperatures and fan rpm speeds.

Computer Virus
Computer viruses such as the blaster virus, can be designed to restart your computer at preset times which can vary. You may have to run your anti-virus program in SafeMode. To enter into Safemode, continue to press the F8 key on your system while the computer is starting. Then use your up/down arrows to locate Safemode, then press the Enter key. Now run your anti-virus program and see if it finds any bugs.

For the more experience among us, take out the hard disk from the offending computer system, set it to Slave, and install the drive in a known working system. You can then use your anti-virus, anti-spyware as well as online scanners to check the drive for ‘bugs or critters’.
[tags]windows restarts, over heating, fans, dirt, dust, BIOS, safemode, virus, [/tags]