PC Restarts At Random Intervals

  Adam Harris 18:14 08 Oct 2005


Win 98SE, Pentium III 450, 256 Mb RAM, various other bits I'm not too sure about.

I've had the machine for 6 years, and it has never given me any problems (that I haven't caused)

Recently I have connected the machine to the internet (ADSL using a Sagem [email protected] 800 Broadband Modem). This is the first time it has been connected to the internet, and at random intervals (determined by how much I DON'T want it to happen...) the machine just restarts itself. There are no error messages - it just restarts.

I have run SpyBot and AVG and everything comes up clean. I also use ZoneAlarm, and GlarySoft Utilities to keep the machine clean.

I would love to be able to resolve this, so thanks in advance.


  Gongoozler 18:51 08 Oct 2005

Hi Adam. I recently fixed a machine that had a similar problem of crashing while on the Internet. In that one the problem was caused by faulty memory. Presumably a memory location that wasn't previously used was being accessed by the incoming data. Another possibility is that the USB modem is taking more power than the motherboard USB chip can handle.

  Adam Harris 13:44 09 Oct 2005

Hi Gongoozler,

Thanks for responding.

If the USB modem is taking too much power for the motherboard, what are the realistic options for resolving this. Something tells me you are going to say I need a new motherboard...something I'm not that au fait with.

Is there anything I can do with my current set up that would allocate requirements as needed.



1st step would be to make sure nothing has become unseated on the motherboard (loose graphics card etc).

Second, disconnect the modem and see if the machine still crashes. If it does not crash, then the problem is the modem or a power drain. Test the modem with another computer if possible, power supplies can be bought for a tenner, get at least 300W.

  Adam Harris 14:20 09 Oct 2005

Hi again,

Would that be a power supply for the modem - there doesn't appear to be anywhere to plug a power supply in.

My suspicions are that it is about time to update my machine for a newer model - this one is 6 years old now.

I will try the suggestion regarding no modem connected, and expect to find that everything is okay. Call me a durr brain, but do you think that a non-USB modem might be the answer?


If the modem has no power supply, then it has to draw power from your PCs power supply and consequently may have overloaded it.

If your machine is 6 years old it will probably have a 200 or 250 watt supply which is not much by modern standards (350 - 500W).

  Adam Harris 17:20 09 Oct 2005

Hi again,

Do you think that a power supply upgrade would be worthwhile. I have considered upgrading my machine for a newer model, and I suppose that now is the right time. However, I have become very very attached to this old box...


A power supply will cost you around £10 from Ebuyer for one of their "own brand" units.

Its worth a tenner if you can get a bit more life out of your old PC.

  Adam Harris 19:00 09 Oct 2005

Thanks again, and you are going to hate me for this...is it just a case of taking the old one out and putting the new one in?


  Gongoozler 19:47 09 Oct 2005

Hi Adam Harris. As long as your computer is an ATX type, then replacing the power supply is simply a case of unplugging and unscrewing the old one, and fitting a new one. Open the box and have a look at the power rating on the power supply. If you buy a good quality supply, then replacing it with one about 50% higher rating will give a useful increase in capacity. If you get a cheap supply such as suggested by silasgreenback, then I suggest that you go for double the rating.

  Adam Harris 20:53 09 Oct 2005

Thanks guys,

I will go for a power supply, considering your advice, and get back to you with the results.


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