My computer has worked fine for the past few months, but all of a sudden it has started restarting randomly. Sometimes it will boot into Windows and run for up to a few hours, other times it will restart during the Windows loading and sometimes it won't even POST.

The most recent change I made was a new graphics card, which I added around Christmas. The motherboard is almost a year old, I upgraded to it in April of last year. As I said, it's worked fine up to a month or so ago.

I've checked the PSU, the RAM, the graphics card, and probably everything else I could think of. I thought it was a software problem at first, but since it won't boot into Windows, it's probably not.

My specs:

  • MSI K8T Neo2 Motherboard (with VIA K8T800 Pro Chipset)
  • 512 MB DDR RAM (1 stick) (not sure of the speed on that)
  • ATI Radeon 9800 XT based Graphics
  • WD 250 GB HDD
  • AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (clocked @ 2.0 Ghz)
  • Generic 420 Watt PSU

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Restarting randomly, for me, often implies a loose heatsnik that forces the system to restart/shut down to avoid damage. Here's my fairly trusty checklist on dud boxes:

1.) Heatsink is properly attached, therefore fully capable of distributing processor heat.
2.) RAM is a known stable stick. (Always troubleshoot with one stick at a time.)
3.) Nothing is shorting your motherboard. Screws and other small metallicy stuffs can fall between motherboard and case, creating many an electrical issue. Heatsinks are known to short boards. (Drastic measures involve removing board and components from case, laying on carpet/foam to test the shorting possiblity.)
4.) Your motherboard is fried and corrupt due to prior power issues--look for bulging capacitors or burnt plastic around the power connectors. (Many dead motherboards, however, are not apparently dead and need to be tested through this checklist to find defect.)
5.) Your motherboard is not currently receiving proper power, resulting in random boots and no bootup at all. (Many computers as of today should have 300watt-350watt minimum power supplies to avoid lack of juice. Antec = well approved manufacturer.)
5.) Monitors are rarely the problem, but it's always good to test a machine on another monitor to ensure results.
6.) A peripheral can cause the issue: Take out anything that doesn't produce your video. (Naturally, video cards can die, so you'll need another working machine to test these devices in before pronouncing dead.)
7.) Easy; make sure everything is connected nicely. :cheesy:

Now, you say you've checked a lot of your hardware. I'd point at your motherboard and call it something vulgar.

everything looks good on your rig except i dont like seeing generic 420 psu. That scares me and it is possible that it is the psu that is hurting your system (especially makes sense since you upgraded your graphics card and it requires even more power from the power supply.) If you have access to another power supply, i would try using that one and see if you notice anything different.

Power is the No. 1 component behind all boot-related issues.


Thanks for all the replies.

I was thinking the power supply was probably the issue myself, but I just finished taking it apart, giving it a good de-dusting, and putting it back together.

I'm watching install Windows now and seems to be going without problems. I found I piece of something lodged between the motherboard and it's tray, so maybe that was the cause? It looked like pottery or something but I didn't examine it closely.

If there are any more problems I'll probably go ahead and assume it's the PSU... I was looking at getting a new one anyways.

Thanks again.

Alright nevermind on the "seems to be going without problems." It kicked the bucket in the middle of the install.

Any reccomendations on a good PSU?

I gots me, as you may have seen, an "Antec 480-watter Truepower 2.0." I don't think your machine needs 480 watts, in which case I wouldn't even exceed 400 watts if you don't have a mad crazy video card or a lot of components. In simplest terms, Antec is an undying god amongst my issues. Highly recommended. :D

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