Why My Computer Keeps Restarting

by Rod Dunne on April 9, 2011

in Hardware, Performance

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Anytime I find myself wondering why my computer keeps restarting and two key areas to check our hardware faults and software corruption. In this post I’ll show you my checklist of items to check for and ways to workaround or resolve the issue.

Hardware checks

Begin by making sure the system is not overheating. Check the air vents are clear of all dust and any blockages. Start the system and go directly to the BIOS menu (usually by hitting the F2/F10 key as the system boots). Review the CPU temperatures to see if overheating is in fact the issue.

Listen for unusual sounds coming from the hard drive. Grinding noises could indicate that the spindle or read heads have become misaligned and or scratching the data platters. A ticking sound is often heard if the motor is starting to fail. Both of these types of faults should be looked into by PC repair technicians promptly.

Software checks

There are three ways of booting the system in a non-standard way to bypass the issue. These are (in the order in which they should be best attempted):

  1. Boot in safe mode. This can be accessed via the advanced menu by hitting the F8 key as Windows is starting up.
  2. Boot from Windows own emergency boot disks (floppy disks). This is a last resort option if my computer keeps restarting even in safe mode.

Once you have booted up the system in these modes you need to first backup your data (e.g. to an external hard disk) and then establish what the software fault is. Running anti-virus programs should be your first step. Then use a registry cleaner or computer maintenance software utility (e.g. XP Repair Pro) to check the operating system programs for signs of faults.

You could also check the Event Viewer log file (start, run, eventvwr) to see what messages were being logged by the system before the restarts occurred.

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