Why does my PC spontaneously reboot?


Starting about 2 weeks ago, my computer started spontaneously shutting itself off. It doesn't matter what I am doing at the time, it just shuts down, then automatically reboots itself. Last night it did this about 7 times in a row, and it never got fully rebooted before it shut off again. I have ran the scan disk and defragmented the hard drive and it is still doing it. I found the following questions to answer so that someone can hopefully help me:

1) When your computer restarts itself, are there any programs running? If so, please list all programs that are open at the time your computer shuts down, and if you are using any of them.

It used to be when I was running IE and AOL instant messanger. But it has also happened when I have not been online and the computer is just idle.

2) Do you have any Virus detection software installed? If so, then how is it configured/scheduled to work? Have you scanned your hard drive for viruses recently? (Don't let this question scare you, it's a standard question).

I have an old version of McAfee virus scan. It has not been updated recently. It scans what it's configured for everytime it starts up.

3) Have you already tried closing down ALL programs and running ScanDisk and Defragmenter?

Yes. The problem is still occuring. It actually shut off during the degragmenting process.

4) Have you recently installed any new software, or downloaded anything from the Internet? Have you installed any new hardware?


5) Have you made any changes to your computer settings recently?


6) Has your computer always done this? If not, then what took place just before you started having these problems? Was anything new added to your computer?

No, this just started about 2 weeks ago. To my knowledge, nothing has happened that would cause this. Nothing new has been added.

7) Have you been getting ANY error messages? If so, then please write down the message, word-for-word, so you can supply that information as well. (The information contained in these messages can be very useful in researching a problem).

Yes, for as long as I can remember when my computer is idle I get an IE message saying it has performed an illegal operation and needs to be shut down. This happens when the computer is idle. I do not have to be running IE to get this message.


This question was answered on July 18, 2002. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

A slowly dying power supply often causes spontaneous reboots, as well as intermittent lockups and bootup problems Before replacing the power supply, check the connections from the power supply to the components to make sure they are tight and don't look damaged The easiest way to make sure your getting the correct replacement part is to remove the power supply and take it with you to a local computer store There are step-by-step easy to follow instructions for removing and replacing a power supply at http://www.pcnineoneone.com/howto/powersupply2.html?

Good Luck

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Posted by Lois of Mesa Community College on July 18, 2002