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My Gateway LX Series desktop is about 6-8 months old. When I bought it, it had Windows Vista. I then put the RC version of Windows 7 on it. About 3 months after I bought it, it would randomly start to reboot, actually just shut off. I monitored the temperature levels and they seemed normal. So I installed a fresh Windows 7 Ultimate OEM 64bit. It actually got worse and would reboot more frequently.

I then contacted Gateway and they said my machine was built for Windows Vista (made me chuckle), and told me to update my BIOS. So I did, and it was fixed for a good couple months.

Recently, it started to do it again. Now I noticed early on it was doing it most often, if not every time when I was either watching a flash video or playing a flash game. So I decided to download the drivers again and I also downloaded my motherboard drivers. Seemed to be okay. A week later it started doing it again. And now it's doing it even more frequently. Sometimes I would turn it on, login into Windows and *BAM!* it would shut off.

Now I am at the point where I can hardly get it to turn on. It would freeze at the point where it says "Starting Windows", with the Windows logo. Sometimes it would say "Checking disk for consistency" or whatever and freeze there (not shut off, just freeze). I even got the prompt to launch startup repair. But that also freezes when it says starting Windows. It does not really freeze, just never loads up.

I am kind of lost as to what's going on. I have a few ideas but nothing I want to pursue (graphics card? hard drive?). Another thing I did try was to boot into a live disk of Ubuntu and try to launch every program I could and get on the internet but I never got it to reboot. So it sounds like to me it's a Windows thing, but I have no idea.

I am just stuck and would like to see if any one has any ideas or could lead me in the right direction.

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migrated from serverfault.com Feb 18 '10 at 10:03

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

    
It actually will not boot up now. It hangs at Starting Windows.. –  Anonymous Feb 18 '10 at 5:50

2 Answers 2

Could it be the power supply. I would say 50/50 chance between the power supply and a malfunction of the system board. If the system board has standard power connectors, you can try swapping the power supply with another one with a greater power output and see what happens.

You can try unplugging the CD-ROM (and secondardy hard drives, if any) from power and see if something changes.

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I did consider that. I know mine isnt very big, something like 405watts. I just want hard ware replacement to be my last choice. I havent done anything to my computer besides add a n wifi card to it. –  Anonymous Feb 18 '10 at 5:42
    
How could the power supply being damaged not make it go past the Windows Starting screen? –  Anonymous Feb 18 '10 at 5:52
    
Power draw from components coming up and being initialised can tip the PSU over the total power it's able to supply, causing a drop on one of the lines. This in turn can cause a lockup. It is reaching a little though. In my experience I've seen this kind of thing from a driver issue or bad RAM sticks slowly degrading over time. –  Chris Thorpe Feb 18 '10 at 9:05
    
If you are looking at the PSU then it might be an idea to consider "brown outs" if the PSU isn't getting the voltage it needs then it won't be able to produce the power required. I'm sure I read a blog once where the user was having a problem with his PC randomly shutting down and it turned out to be related to brown outs. It might be worth monitoring what voltage you are getting to the PSU in the first place. –  Joe Taylor Feb 18 '10 at 12:04
    
Malfunctioning RAM is also something that can have funny random effects. –  Svish Apr 27 '10 at 18:02

If a LiveCD version of Ubuntu had no issues, this fact lends itself to be a malfunctioning hard drive, as Ubuntu won't touch the hard drive (except in a read-only mode) by default.

Other diagnostic things to try :

HardDrive SMART self-test : Using the Ubuntu LiveCD, install smartmontools, and then look up how to use the SMART self tests. You may also be able to use the Windows CD to boot into a recovery mode and run chkdsk in a mode that will test your hard drive, but someone else may have to tell you how to do this bit. Depending on the brand of hard-drive, there may also be diagnostic tools available from the manufacturer.

RAM torture test : http://www.memtest86.com/ You can download for free from this site, including bootable CD images, or buy it on CD if you like. This may or may not be still be included in latest Ubuntu LiveCD (it used to be).

CPU Torture test : http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft/ It is actually a program to search for very large prime numbers and compete in some sort of competition, but you don't have to do that. You can just run it to torture test your CPU, by selecting that option when you start the program. Considering the ability or not to be able to boot into windows, you may have to do this bit under the Ubuntu LiveCD too...

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