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Me again. About a month ago I repaved the family PC. If there were a decent iTunes clone for Ubuntu, I would have gone with it, but we're stuck with this, and I'd prefer not to go the hackintosh route.

All was fine. Viruses gone, startup much faster. But about a month ago, we find that every few days the machine shuts down instantly without any warning. Startup sometimes comes up in chkdsk mode.

Are there utilities out there I can test the disk and RAM with, to find a bad sector or a bad chip or whatever? Anyone have other suggestions?

Let me know if hardware specs would help. The machine just shutdown, so I'm using my more reliable MacBook; it's too late to restart the machine right now.

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Rhythmbox and gtkpod are just as good, if not better than iTunes, and have excellent support for the iPod database. –  Delan Azabani Sep 19 '10 at 11:46
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3 Answers

You might check the eventlog for disk errors, and monitor the CPU temperature to see if it's getting too high shortly before the shutdowns. Though if it's running for days before shutting down, it's unlikely to be a badly fitted heat sink.

Memtest will give the memory a workout...

Prime95 stresses the CPU as well with its 'torture test'.

I had various intermittent random problems (usually manifesting with a blue screen, admittedly not a shutdown) with my overclocked Quad 6600, which became instantly apparent with the Prime95 torture test. Reducing the OC a bit made them all go away.

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Immediate shutdowns like that are likely to be caused by a hardware failure. I would suspect your power supply is failing or that your CPU fan is failing, leading to CPU overheating, leading to immediate shutdown to protect the CPU.

When you say "shuts down instantly", I am assuming you mean that the machine actually powers itself down - if it is just rebooting or freezing randomly, I would look for a RAM failure. Memtest as mentioned by @ChrisA is my favorite - leave it running overnight and you may have sad (but clear) news in the morning.

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saw it recently on a laptop with no battery. The workings related to the power connector on the laptop were a bit faulty.. If a battery was in then it just went to battery from time to time when the wire moved. But with no battery it just shut down straight away.

Other than that, I'm not sure what'd cause it.. perhaps a bad motherboard could too.

If you think it's RAM, and you have two sticks, then an easy thing to try is to try running with one stick.. then the other. see if problem persists. I don't know if RAM problems can cause a sudden shutdown.

chkdsk /r could check and fix any corruption on the hard disk(due to itself or a past crash). though that wouldn't prevent further corruption if a hard disk or cable or mbrd connector is bad and writing junk..but I don't think hard disk corruption would cause this.

I think for a windows crash.. you either get a BSOD or a restart, but not a shutdown. hence, why people have suggested it's hardware.

You can check cpu temp with software like speedfan.

If it's a laptop you might feel the heat of it.

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