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We have a machine, Windows 7 (64-bit) with ASUS motherboard, in our building that only sometimes seems to go to sleep, but won't wake up. The machine is still running but shaking the mouse or hitting keys on the keyboard won't wake it up.

I have tried for days to isolate the problem, but every time we get to a "let's try this" scenario, it happens again, later.

All power options related to display being off are set to never, except the simple, "turn display off after..." setting. That is, the hard drive is set to never turn off, and the computer is set to never sleep nor hibernate.

All drivers seem to be up to date, but I am afraid I will hose the machine if I do a BIOS update (plus I figured that will probably have nothing to do with the issue and only make something else break).

Wasn't sure if there was something obvious I was missing?

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I know you said the computer wasn't set to sleep, but what does the computer power button look like during this time? Is it solid-on, or is it pulsing? –  Kruug Feb 1 '13 at 14:44
    
It is solid. Yeah, the blinking light would be a dead give away –  VoidKing Feb 1 '13 at 14:45
    
What about the light on the monitor? Maybe it is a monitor setting, to turn off after a while. Try pushing the power button on the monitor to turn it on, see if that works. –  BenjiWiebe Feb 1 '13 at 14:47
    
I have and it just gives me the "no signal" message. When this happens I literally have to hold the power button in on the machine until it turns off, then turn it back on to get display back. –  VoidKing Feb 1 '13 at 14:48
    
Is it a multiple-input monitor? Maybe once the computer turns off the display, the monitor is switching it's inputs. –  Kruug Feb 1 '13 at 14:57
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2 Answers

  1. Go to the "Power Options" in the "Control Panel"

    You will get the list of "Power Plans".

  2. Click Change plan settings

  3. Click Change advanced power settings

  4. Go to "PCI Express", "Link State Power Management" and set it to Off

I'm on Windows 8 so it may be slightly different on 7.

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I have had three systems that did this. After about 22 years of hardware woes, I have found at least one solution although it might not be yours.

One of the motherboards was high enough to intersect with the drive bays, apparently, due to crappy surface soldering and drive insertion. The capacitor up there got 'clipped off' and it didn't even appear to be missing, since there were plenty of places where parts were left out due to features being withheld from that model. It wasn't until I took it to sell the board when I found this out, and looking closer it was obvious because the capacitor was sitting at the bottom of the case in the corner (one of those mini silver caps).

After reconnecting the "fallen cap" the board (which the store wouldn't buy due to physical damage) now does not go into "snow white mode" anymore.

Possibility #2

This ASUS motherboard I have does this as well, checked for missing parts but that was fine--found out it was due to extreme heat, the inner layer of the board had been warping causing some traces to possible be disconnected which eventually ended the board as well--this was due to a CPU fan failure. Also, you might check the board & CPU temp immediately after rebooting when this happens.

Many systems overheat and it wasn't until I was running Linux that I found out that the system was shutting down just after CPU overheating not due to dirty fan but just too many times had I cleaned it, disconnected the CPU fan and heat-sink and over the years, the heat-sinking compound had become so thin, that overheating was happening between the heat-sink and chip, the solution there was getting a tube of heat-sink and that helped greatly (-20deg!!).

Possibility 3: USB

It was a faulty USB port that was the cause of my problems (waking up). I didn't use the USB on the back, and apparently its previous owner had messed up the pins. Because of this, I suspect that it wouldn't come back from sleep. I had to disable USB altogether and use a PS/2 keyboard and mouse, then it was fine. Now the other systems were pretty much like the three I mentioned, so I'll skip that.

The bottom line is:

  • 90% = hardware problem
  • 5% = software problem
  • 5 = BIOS problem

To this date I have never in the past 22 years EVER had a BIOS flash fix anything (however, I did have a few break PERMANENTLY afterwards!).

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