Hi, I have been doing a ton of research on overheating, and still cannot figure out what is going on with my stupid computer. About a year ago (when it was about a year and change old; just out of warranty) my computer started acting up. It would shut down unexpectedly and the power light would flash yellow. I found that if I took the side panel off the case it would work better. Eventually that fix stopped working and I installed a new hard drive as I could hear the hard drive start up and never stop reading when I started the PC. I don't know what that problem was (virus or excessive heat) but once I installed the new HD everything went back to normal (case back togeather and normal fans).

Everything was good until about two months ago when it started shutting down again. I hard another Hard drive laying around and installed and started putting a fresh copy of windows on it when it shut down again. I bought a new power supply thinking maybe that was the problem, I upgraded from a 220w compaq supply to a 350w raidmax. The problems continued. I changed all the fans (the only ones factory installed were the cpu and a rear exhaust fan) with new thermaltake fans. problems continued.

It would only stay on for five minutes or less at this point, no matter what I did, if I was in the bios screen or a blue windows installation screen. I did some research and decided to take the heatsink off and apply thermal grease to the processor die. I used a razor to scrape off the factory installed thermal pad from the die and the heatsink and applied artic silver 5 thermal compund. I started it up and it shut down after about three minutes; when I restarted it, it seemed to be better. The computer stayed on for about three weeks after this fix, we manually shut it down maybe three times during this period and it all seemed to be fine. But it started shutting down randomly again. I scraped, cleaned with alcohol, and and reapplied the arctic silver 4 times, using different amounts. I took the side off the case and drilled a bunch of holes and mounted an intake fan pretty much in line with the processor. air flow in the case is much improved. But the thing still shuts down abruptly after about five minutes and will not restart until it has cooled.

Immediately after shutdown I took the side panel off and checked the heatsink temp with my hand, slightly warm to the touch, but nowhere near 80 or 90 degrees celsius. I have tried to install MBM to see what the temperature sensors are doing but the computer won't stay on long enough for me to get through it. The only thing I can think of, is that I have a bad temperature sensor(s) that is blocked or for some reason is reading unusually high. To my understanding there is a sensor in the processor itself and also one or two on the motherboard somewhere.

Do I need a new chip or a new motherboard, or both? Or is there anything else I can try with the stuff I have? I have two other computers in the house that are running wonderfully, but the printer is hooked up to this family computer in the livingroom, and it just won't stay on. Please help! I am at my wits end!

Recommended Answers

All 14 Replies

This could be a number of problems, but I dont think it is a heating problem.

Your PSU is quite a low voltage, but if you could post your computer stats that would be very helpful.

Also I had a similar problem with my gfx card. Whenever I played an openGL game i.e. Half-Life or one of its mods my computer would wink out. This was sorted by updating the drivers.

Also, to check this isnt a hard drive problem, you need to set your pc not to shut down immediatly, but to display the good old blue screen of death. I am not entirely sure how to do this. At a guess you go to start --> control panel --> system --> advanced settings and have a sniff around there. Maybe someone else could post the direct instructions to set it :p

it's just a nothing computer, the family uses it for internet and word processing stuff-

compaq presario 5420us desktop
windows xp pro service pack 2
amd athlon xp 1700
512 sd ram (2x 256)
1x 7200 rpm wd 120 gb hd
onboard graphics and sound (no gfx card)
pci ethernet card (no other pci cards)

Is it possible this problem could be attributed to bad ram? I don't know what those symptoms would be. If anyone can tell me how to get blue screen errors like the previous post says that would be helpful. I'll do my best but I don't get much time to "sniff around", I only have about five minutes to do anything before it shuts down and has to sit and cool for some time.

I understand even a higher voltage lower quality psu is always an upgrade, but if it worked fine for about two years on a compaq 220w psu (I had two hard drives in it at the time) I think that the 350w raidmax should power it fine. And the Raidmax didn't have any problems for the three weeks before the compaq decided to revert to it's same old tricks.

Given all that you've described, it HAS to be a bad RAM module or a RAM mis-match.

Either that or the motherboard itself is cactus!

Given all that you've described, it HAS to be a bad RAM module or a RAM mis-match.

Either that or the motherboard itself is cactus!

So you think is it ram? Is the fact it won't power up if I try to restart it immediately after it shuts down, but will power up 15 minutes later conisitent with symptoms of bad ram, or overheating?

I am willing to try anything though, should I yank out one of the 256mb sticks and see if it works; if it doesn't I'll swap the one for the other and try that? Or should I just get all new ram in there?

So you think is it ram? Is the fact it won't power up if I try to restart it immediately after it shuts down, but will power up 15 minutes later conisitent with symptoms of bad ram, or overheating?

I am willing to try anything though, should I yank out one of the 256mb sticks and see if it works; if it doesn't I'll swap the one for the other and try that? Or should I just get all new ram in there?

Well, I just though I would let you know that I tried pulling one stick of ram and it booted up fine; then it shutdown just like before.
So I tried swapping the two stick of ram and got the same results. It doesn't seem to be a ram problem.
At this point I really think it is a failed heat sensor of some sort. Would the heat sensor be located on the processor or on the motherboard? I need to know, so that I can replace one or the other. Thanks.

Only way of distinguishing if it's a stuffed processor or a stufed motherboard, that I know of, is to try the processor in a working motherboard, and/or to try the motherboard with a working processor.

Hi, I'm having a similar problem with the same model desktop.

My computer keeps restarting randomly. It's been happening for more than 2 years now. It used to only happen when I ran high end games like Counterstrike but it got worse. I've been running my system with the case open also because I figured it was an overheating problem, and that helps, but it still shuts down randomly.

At first I thought it was the video card that I installed in my machine, but removing it didn't help. I took off the heat sink and fan and found that there was a lot of dust collecting on the processor top because I ran it with the case open so much. It decreased the frequency of the problem, but I still get it.

Does anyone know if I should I buy another power supply and what kind? Will an ATX be compatible with my board? Any help or suggestions would be fantastic.

Here's my specs:
Compaq Presario 5420US Desktop
Windows XP SP2
AMD Athlon XP 1700
512 sd ram (2x 256)
Compaq 220W Power Supply
Maxtor 4D 080H4 80 gb HD
ATI Radeon Pro 9000 128MB Video Card
PCI Ethernet Card
Wireless ethernet card
Firewire 3 Port PCI Card
(The firewire and wireless cards haven't impacted the problem in any way)

I THINK I HAVE THAT PROBLEM TOO!! i dont have that model computer but VERY similar symptoms and this was funny to read because i went through pretty much all the same steps to discover/fix the problem. i've heard all this before and still dont think i've pin pointed the problem.

my computer seemed to shut down completely at random times when running heavy programs. for instance games or professional audio production programs.

thought it was power supply. replaced. problem still there. changed cpu fan. problem still there. i was almost then CERTAIN it was a RAM problem. bought 2 brand new matching sticks. same problem.

(i was pretty sure it was an overheating problem cos like this other guy, everything worked fine when the case was open and i had a huge ROOM fan next to it)

so what ever is busted it related to heat in SOME way. maybe somethin over heating BECAUSE its shot or broken

the only thing i changed before the problems started was i put in a new hard drive. but im not sure if it happend right away

ALSO this may or may not help. when my computer randomly shuts down due to this issue, it wont start up again.

i have to mess around with the voltage switch and start it up momentarily on the other voltage setting (once its cooled down), before i can switch it back to the normal voltage and have it start up.

IF ANYONE MAKES ANY PROGRESS ON THIS PLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAASEEEE IM BEGGING YOU LET ME KNOW!! i cant afford to spend anymore money on new parts that im not sure will even work

does this sound like possible symptoms of overheating/shot hard drive? motherboard? data cables? cpu?????

First off, JohnnyBopps and col, it's against the forum rules to post your problems onto someone else's thread. It dilutes the attention that can be given to one problem, and lessens the chance of you getting personalised attention.

That said, PBSKid, you could use an external temperature sensing device to check your CPU temperature. However, I also suggest you get new RAM sticks and see if the problem recurs. Also, strip the system down to the bare minimum (CPU+mobo, 1 RAM stick and nothing else connected). See if the computer works. If not, check the processor on a known working mobo and your mobo with a known working processor.

first of all.... what are you talking about??? its the same problem posted with more detail to assist with the original...
dont be against helping for the sake of complaining please.

Yes, but you can be sure you'll receive better responses if you start your own thread

I have a Presario 7110US with 1GB RAM AMD Athlon 1.33GHz and 2 Hard Drives. I had a similar problem. I would leave my machine on so I could access it remotely when I traveled for business so it was on for several weeks at a stretch. Everything was fine for several years. Then recently it started shutting down at night time. And unlike a normal power outage, it would not automatically restart. Then it started happening more frequently, until it would only stay on only a few minutes. I cleared out the dust from inside thinking it was overheating but the time got shorter and shorter. Eventually I could not start the machine at all. I read your thread and decided to buy an identical Power Supply from Compaq, thinking it would be the first step in a long story like yours, but hey presto, it worked! Everything is fine now. I should mention that I did refresh the CMOS by removing the battery for a while, but the system picked up all the extra memory and HDD correctly. So you were right to start with the Power Supply. (300W)

hello every one out there i found that not enough ram works hd harder it will cause it to over heat if PC is shutting down id say its a ram problem and it does memory dumps it got to be it I've had processors fail screen will go all blurry with lines running through it and the screen is unreadable cheers

Install a spare fan or fans pointed at the motherboard to keep it cool. You might have to try pointing the fan(s) at different areas of the motherboard. If the computer works better with that arrangement, then there is a component on the motherboard that is failing when it heats up. You could go the route of using component cooling spray to locate the offending component(s) and replace them, but it is easier to just replace the motherboard.

Be a part of the DaniWeb community

We're a friendly, industry-focused community of developers, IT pros, digital marketers, and technology enthusiasts meeting, learning, and sharing knowledge.