computer switching itself off

  rjweatherill 15:14 17 Jan 2010

Help! My computer keeps turning itself off. It happens at no particular point, not using any particular software and can go for ages without any problems.
I'm running Windows XP on a Packard Bell PC with loads of space left on it.

  Paperplane 15:19 17 Jan 2010

Sounds like the power supply is on the way out.

  OTT_B 15:22 17 Jan 2010

Overheating is another possibility. Check for dust build up in the case, especially on the CPU cooler and graphics card (if applicable). Clean out if necessary.

Do you get a blue screen at all?

  rjweatherill 15:40 17 Jan 2010

Paperplane - power supply within the computer hard drive?

OTT - no blude screen - no outward signs anything is wrong

  Paperplane 15:47 17 Jan 2010

The power supply within the PC powers every component in your PC including the hard drive.

Also like the other poster said it could be overheating too.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 15:49 17 Jan 2010

Assumming the machine is resetting itself (switches off and reboots) the most lkely causes are

The power supply unit (asumming machine is 3 or more years old)
PBs are notorious forcheap PSUs.

Overheating - clean out grills and dust, clean fan blades and ensure all fans running.

If renewing a PSU check:

1. The physical size of your PSU, some are hard to replace due to being a non standard size.
2. The amount of power need from the PSU don't skimp.
3 The correct connections for your equipment

1. Physical Dimensions

Besides the specs and form factors, the physical dimensions are also important factors in selecting a compatible power supply. Here is an outline of the physical dimensions of most standard power supplies:

# ATX: 6x3.5x5.5", HxWxD. Most common. Uses 4 mounting screws.
# Mini-ATX: 5x3.5x5", HxWxD. Rare size. Uses 4 mounting screws. Can be used in a regular ATX case, but often not the other way around.
# MicroATX: 5x3x4", HxWxD. Use 3 mounting screws. Not interchangeable with ATX or miniATX.
# Flex ATX: Even smaller than Micro ATX. Various sizes according to case specs; often not interchangeable.

Use the data above to determine if a particular power supply would fit your case.

The quality of a power supply can be estimated by its weight. While this is not a true scientific or thorough measurement of the power supply reliability, it is nevertheless a very simple and easy way for ordinary PC users to estimate and compare the quality of a power supply. Why weight matters click here

2. Power supply calculator click here

3. Correct connections
Some boards have 20 pin connectors others 24 pin
There is often a 4 pin plug required to power Intel CPUs
Molex D plugs for IDE HDD and CD/DVD drives
SATA power connections for latest HDDs and DVD drives.

Guide to changing PSU
click here
click here

  OTT_B 15:50 17 Jan 2010

There's no power supply in an internal hard drive. Paperplane was referring to the big old metal box inside your computer case that you plug your mains into.

With no bluescreen or any other info to go by, the power supply and overheating remain the two most likely candidates.

  rjweatherill 16:01 17 Jan 2010

Amazing response thanks guys.

Re the overheating - it sometimes happens as soon as we turn it on which makes me think that it doesn't have time to overheat?

  OTT_B 16:04 17 Jan 2010

That certainly makes overheating less likely, especially if you can turn it straight back on again and it runs for a long time before switching off again

  rjweatherill 16:05 17 Jan 2010

yeah - there seems no method to it. It turns off, we turn it back on straight away and it might stay on or might turn itself straight back off again!

  User-312386 16:10 17 Jan 2010

A CPU can overheat within a matter of seconds if the heatsink has become slightly unseated. At start up start pressing the delete key and go into the BIOS and look under the PC health status and see what the temperature is.

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