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We have many machines running windows xp embedded. The machines are configured to reboot if any problems should occur. But our problem now is that in some cases the machines seems to shut down, but never reboots again. The same machine might reboot fine in the next time we try.

  1. Does anyone have clue what the problem might be.

  2. Does anyone got some advice on how to debug this problem. Are there any logs that might contain valuable information? Recreating this problem is not done easily so elimination methods are not feasable.

EDIT:
new symptoms:

  1. The machine is either not shut down or fails to boot correctly. The fans has just started/doesn't stop running.

  2. Event logs last recording is that it shut down correctly.

  3. An error in the Event log tells us that our application was hanging right before we shut down.

  4. A changes to a enhanced write filter protected disk was committed.

It is unclear if 3 or 4 actually has something has something todo with the failed restart-

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4 Answers 4

Have you ever watched one shut down instead of rebooting? What does it do, just power off at the point where it should soft reset?

You could check Windows's event log for clues: Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > System Tools > Event Viewer.

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It just powers off, yes. Unfortunately I have not the logs available, the times this has been reproduced in-house has been accidental and something that haven't been investigated further. But as soon as I get my hands on a new case I'll ask for the event logs. –  daramarak Jun 16 '10 at 15:53

Event logs last recording is that it shut down correctly.

Are you sure your asking the machine to reboot, not shutdown?

If a normal reboot will reboot the system, a call to shutdown -r -t 1 should do the same.

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We both shut the system down programatically and use the menu and choose reboot. Also, the system can be seen hanging with the fans spinning. That is not normal shutdown behaviour. (look at my edit) –  daramarak Jun 29 '10 at 14:48
    
Update your drivers, cut down on running appliations and services before the reboot and hope for the problem to go away. Monitoring the shut down procedure that will hang is pretty hard as you will need to connect the computer with another one with a USB debug cable or Firewire and use WinDBG. Maybe XBootMgr.exe from the Windows Performance Toolkit stores the trace while shutting down but I haven't tried interrupting my shut down to know that yet... –  Tom Wijsman Jun 30 '10 at 20:27
    
Update drivers is not a small deal as this is prefabricated images produced for WindowsXP embedded, but i'll have a look at XBootMgr and WinDBG. –  daramarak Jul 2 '10 at 8:08

Are the machines similar (brand , specs? ). Could be an hardware problem, meaning : did you do an memory check ?

Another thing, (a long time ago) when one of our applications was writing something on the HDD the machine beeped and did a shutdown (hard way). We changed the HDD and all was well again.

Pls excuse my english.

Regards.

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We have reproduced this on two different pcs with different motherboards, but they have a similar drive (A 8GB flash drive). It might be worth having a look at the drivers there. –  daramarak Jun 29 '10 at 14:51
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Problem has been resolved. The problem turned out to be a bios problem. When updating bioses on the computers the problem never reoccured, and have been turned on and off for a couple of weeks without any problem. While computers with the old bios failed after a couple of hours.

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as no one submitted an answer that was near enough, it seems like my only option is to accept my own answer. But I have credited all helpful answers. Thank you all! –  daramarak Dec 1 '10 at 17:58

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