Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

An upgraded computer may shut down because the existing power supply isn't strong enough. Here's why.

I recently upgrade my computer from an AMD Athlon 900 Mhz to AMD Athlon 64 2800+ including a new AMD motherboard. I also upgraded my graphics card from NVdia 8Mb Vanta to ATI Radeon 9600 256Mb, and my hard disk from 20Gb to 120 Gb, as well as the memory from 64Mb to 512Mb. However, I still use the same old casing, with one fan. It keeps shutting down after quite sometime and reboots. What could be the problem?

Sounds like you've upgraded your machine quite nicely. I'm guessing it runs much faster, and much smoother.

Until it dies, of course.

There's one component you didn't upgrade that I suspect as being the likely cause of your problem.

Most people consider the CPU to be the heart of the computer. I don't look at it that way. The brains, maybe, but not the heart.

Your power supply is the true heart of your PC. Quietly, or not so quietly, pumping out electricity at the various voltages required by the various components of your computer, the power supply is an often over looked, and under appreciated component. I mean, when was the last time you saw anyone get excited about a power supply?

"Your power supply is the true heart of your PC."

With the changes you've made, it's likely that your new computer is drawing more power than your old one, and it's quite possible that your power supply isn't keeping up. It could easily be overheating and shutting down after you use it for a while.

You mention that it's the "old casing with one fan". Chances are that one fan is on a small box and that small box is your old, probably tired, power supply. That would be my first guess, and the very first thing I would replace. It's probably rated for some number of watts - I'd now get one at double that rating.

The other thing that your new components are probably doing is also generating more heat. It's possible that your power supply is ok, but that one fan isn't enough to keep the motherboard and other components from overheating. This is relatively easy to test ... keep the cover off of your computer, and get a table-top fan to blow air at it. If it stays running, then one way or another, you're probably overheating when the box is closed.

The solution may well be the same. That more powerful power supply I mentioned above may well include a more powerful fan capable of moving more air. Alternately, you might see if you can mount a second fan in your case to help move air through.

There's also a small chance that the problem is only the CPU overheating. If it doesn't already have a fan mounted directly on or over it, you might look into adding that as well.

Your new motherboard probably has thermometers in various places to help measure the state of various components. Check out Motherboard Monitor, a free tool that will report your CPU's temperature among other things. It's a tad geeky, but there's good information.

Article C2474 - November 28, 2005 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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47 Comments
Doug Martin
December 8, 2005 12:25 PM

Ok I have the same problem as " I recently upgrade my computer from an AMD Athlon 900 Mhz to AMD Athlon 64 2800+ including a new AMD motherboard. I also upgraded my graphics card from NVdia 8Mb Vanta to ATI Radeon 9600 256Mb, and my hard disk from 20Gb to 120 Gb, as well as the memory from 64Mb to 512Mb. However, I still use the same old casing, with one fan. It keeps shutting down after quite sometime and reboots. What could be the problem?"
However, mine is a socket 478 intel product with 400 watt power supply with cpu fan and system fan both running full on. I recently ran them memcheck86 on it which ran all day long without stopping. But, when I boot windows XP home edition I have the problem. As long as I am sitting there using it it works fine. But if I get up and leave it alone it freezes, The hd light stays on and mouse freezes. Help?

BiGS
December 25, 2005 1:59 PM

I had a similar problem that started yesterday. My computer seems to work fine when im at it, but if i leave it for a few hours it shuts down and reboots, except when it reboots my HDD is not recognized. Ive elimanted cooling from the equation, i have a large fan taking air through the frontm and 2 small fans extracting air from the back, as well as water cooling for my CPU. Power supply may well be a problem, and am deciding on weather my HDD is not getting the supply of power it needs, or my HDD is shagged. Last thing that crossed my mind is that the fluid for my cooler is getting low, even tho my intel active monitor shows no problems, could heat still be an issue? Any replys or help would be great.
Thanks

Eric Mabus
January 1, 2006 2:09 PM

My computor recently had spy ware on it ,so I purchased a soft ware to eliminate it. Now my monitor keeps shutting off and the green light blinks and then it turns back on. Any idea what is doing this?
My monitor is 7 years old.

Thanks

Erick
February 20, 2006 11:30 PM

I have the same problem, i built my computer from scratch..bought everything including the power supply, its an Ultra / X2 Connect / 550-Watt / ATX / 120mm Fan / SLI Ready / SATA-Ready / 20/24-Pin / Modular Power Supply at first i though that i would be due to heat inside the computer, so i upgraded the cpu fan that came with the cpu to one with a bigger heatsink and it has 2 80mms fans. I also bought a faster fan than the one that came with the case..the case has one fan sucking in air and another one on the back sucking hot air out.. plus 2 fans on the pci slots blowing air to the video card nvidia geforce 7800 gtx, i notice that the computer shuts down when its peformance hits 100% or close for more than one hour.. and the temperature for is at 45 celsius or so, it usually stays at around 37-38.. i honestly dont know what else i can try.. i was even thinking of switching to that watercooling stuff, but i'm kind of scare of just messing it all up..

Imran Ahmed
April 13, 2006 3:50 PM

Dear Leo,

Whenever i am starting my PC it shut down automatically. when i am restarting my pc again it gives me the message that "my PC had overheated and needs to closed". Afterwards it gives me the message press F4 to resume. when i am pressing F4 it runs normally.

please suggest.

Imran

Rich
April 21, 2006 11:51 AM

Yup, I had the same problem!! I do PC builds for a hobby and I have never had so many problems then with the Ultra X2 PSU. Except I blame the poor quality of the Ultra X2 PSU. I just boxed up my second one to send back. The first PSU would simply reboot at random (whether it was prior to the BIOS posting or after Windows XP x64 loaded). So I sent it back and picked up another. This one ran fine for about 2 weeks, then last night the cool blue UV light went out, the PSU started to make a hissing noise and I could smell burnt electronics.

I am running a 900w UPS so I don't think clean power is the problem. My 500w Antec runs just fine, I just wanted something pimpier. My mobo is a P5WD2 Premium and is only a year old or so.

Diddy
April 24, 2006 3:03 PM

There can be many problems that can trigger the PC to shut down or restart. If you're lucky, all you need to do is get a new power supply. If you have upgraded your PC with new cpu and new video card etc, you need to upgrade the power supply as well to adjust to the new voltage requirements that you PC will need to run. If you DID get a new power supply (ie: the Ultra X2), and your mobo uses a battery to operate CMOS, then it can be that the Powersupply is sending an overwhelming amount of current to your mobo battery, draining the life of it quickly, so it won't last for over a few weeks, if even that long.

Another problem could be that your memory sticks could have gotten burnt out, or is overheating. You can buy heatsink covers for your ram, which CAN help with the ram from overheating for fairly cheap, but if it still doesn't fix the problem, then you may need to replace the bad memory entirely. (this is the bad thing about overclocking, I have experienced all these problems)

As for the overheating and resetting and not being able to log on again due to the heat, I would suggest buying a bigger case and adding more ventilation, there are many good cases out there that are fairly cheap (ie: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811156175) Add all your fans and get a GOOD heatsink+fan for your CPU, cuz you don't want it to overheat. ALSO, get a cood thermal paste conductor for it as well (ie: Artic Silver III).

A much more serious case may be that you may have a virus in your BIOS (VERY VERY rare) but there are some out there. In which case you would have to flash your PC to reset everything, and sometimes, that does not help, which means, you need a new cpu.

Hope these were helpful

Majid Khan
May 27, 2006 8:31 AM

My Computer keeps closing down when i went download any program or file, the computer will run fine and i can also browse the internet fine, but when i went to download a file or program it keeps shutting down, i have open and cleared out my computer from any dust,

Can you please help, or advise me

Majid Khan
Majidk87@hotmail.com
07841716844
UK

Sindhu Singh
July 17, 2006 12:30 AM

My Computer keeps closing down when i went download any program or file, the computer will run fine and i can also browse the internet fine, but when i went to download a file or program it keeps shutting down, i have open and cleared out my computer from any dust,

Can you please help, or advise me

Nako
August 1, 2006 4:38 PM

My computer is shuting down without warning me, when it boot up to windows just for five mins then it shutdown. The power supply and the cpu fan are work fine.

I am not sure what cause this problem.

Chunky
August 23, 2006 1:18 PM

Hi, i've just upgraded my pc AM2 Athlon 64 x2 4200+, pci-e graphics, MSI mobo, new 450w psu, 160gb sata hd. Everything seems to be fine until i try to transfer files over the network. Then the pc will just die on me and i'll need to reboot it, sometimes even take the power lead out the back to reboot.
Is the psu still not powerful enough?
Why would it do this only when i try to transfer files over the network?
Thanks

John
August 28, 2006 4:17 PM

I have just built up a new PC and 20 secs after I boot up, it just shuts down - can't even get into bios to check things out. Please help.

Logan
September 9, 2006 4:25 PM

Hey, yeah i already tried upgrading my power supply and my cooling fans, i got a new Vid card its a 512mb, and i put a larger and more powerful fan on it, but if i try to play any mmorpg it shuts my comuter down within 20 seconds... what do you tihnk?

Neeah
September 23, 2006 4:07 AM

Hey!!
My Computer keeps closing down when i went download any program or file and i dont know why. I think ts every since i updated my computer with the updates from the windows XP site not only this but it also causes my internet to lag im unsure what to do could you help please?

mzneeah_hamostyle05@hotmail.com
thank u = D

tripmix
October 12, 2006 4:05 AM

I had that. It's xp service pack 2 that screws up some network cards. Use service pack 1 and you should be fine.

elfjaw
October 17, 2006 2:06 PM

LOOKS AREN'T EVERYTHING!! ! ! When i got my computer several years ago, i simply removed the two side panels . .. works great! ! ! I've never had any kind of overheating problem . . .

ali
October 25, 2006 1:51 PM

My Computer keeps closing down and restarts all by itself whenever i try to download any program or file and i dont know why.
can you help?

kyle larson
November 2, 2006 6:24 PM

hey umm i got a fairly new computer its an amd athalon xp 2600+ and i upgraded my power supply recently from the stock 300 watt i got with my case to a 500 and something watt supply and my computer seems to be shutting down at random i dont know if its my power supply cutting out or if its my processor overheating or if its something to do with my motherboard or wat but i will just be on the internet and it will turn off when its loading or if im multi tasking such as playing music and on the internet and on msn messenger all at once i have a gigabyte of ram as well. please respond with what you think thank you.

D
November 13, 2006 7:08 AM

You shouldn't believe everything you read when buying a new power supply, as some power supplys say 500 watts, and they cut out as soon as the computer is turned on.

Calimann
December 8, 2006 9:31 PM

I trust everyuone here has multiple fans blowing on thier boards & processors. Pushing more power into a board will not only provide more power to the processor, but it will also heat it up quicker. Pushing sufficient air circulation into a tower is key, and should be advised for stock PC's, a cooler processor runs better. Give that a shot and see if you pc's keep cutting down in the middle of use.

Good luck and happying gaming!

bill
February 1, 2007 12:31 PM

solution is go to bios, and re-detect devices and driver, and set to default settings on device and drivers, upgrades on devices and drivers might not had installed properly. now it will

Leon
March 30, 2007 12:25 PM

My computer keeps shutting down after like 30secs, i can start BIOS and everything but once like 30secs go past it shuts down. My power supply is a 450W more powerful than the last one i had that it was 400W, its still the same components n it keeps shutting down, what am i overlooking?

Leon2
May 21, 2007 8:38 PM

Leon i have a 450 watt supply... my computer would shut of about every 10 min - 2 hours depending on the heat. i tried using some of that thermal greese on the fan on the processor and it just got worse... Im in the same boat as Leon where sometimes i can get the computer to the BIOS screen and it will last about 30-60 seconds...

z5teve
August 15, 2007 4:41 PM

I have to run my computer with an external tower fan to stop it from shutting down! Iv'e been told to get a more powerful power supply' its not my hard drive its the core over heating because my power is unsufficiant. Make sure youre hard drive is up to speed. email me your pc spec at [Email Address Removed]

Scott
September 1, 2007 4:26 PM

Although there are several reasons you would get a shut down here is most common I've seen.
"North bridge" is a power grid on the top of the board and the one at the bottom is called the "south bridge" If you can not power the pc up at all from the the power button and the power supply test good its a "south bridge" failor. You get constant shut downs and all your drivers are good and no over heating issues then its most likely a "north bridge" failor. Otherwords try a new board it may as well be a bios problem on the board. DO NOT! flash the current bios chip as this will void warranty. Most motherboard makers will back their product for 1 year. If you have an overheating CPU and its new send it back as well the multiplexer is not functioning correctly.

z5teve
September 10, 2007 3:31 PM

Hi all, Mine is now fixed, i contacted MSI, they said i need to flash my BIOS' (dont do it unless you know what your doing) I've done it and cleaned the dust off around my core fan and the problem has been solved. Thanks all.. z5teve

Asaf
October 27, 2007 12:02 AM

Hi Leo & all, my pc crashes without an appearant reason (after 10 min or 2 days). It restarts immediately, and seems to have no recall of being crashed (no recovery message, just plain booting). When it tries to boot it goes through a series of attemps to power up. It looks quite scary: power is coming and going for 5 minutes until it "clicks" and boots.

Is this a power supply problem? and how can I fix it?

(I don't know the machine's history - besides that it is about 1 year old. I installed WinXP anew + new drivers.)

juan chabriel
November 5, 2007 8:04 PM

hi leo, i recently upgraded from old stuff to: twin geforce 8600 sli cards on a intel quadcore processor, 2 gb ram, and i have a ati 80gb and a sata 200gb, my asus p5n32-e sli plus is holding all this really expensive stuff and i have a 600 watt(supposedly)ultra power supply. my case is an asus vento and hastwo main fans, cpu fan, and chipset fan.. mind u i know little bout pcs, ironicly, i have no idea why it shuts off a few seconds after boot, whether i stay in bios or windows. PLEASE HELP ME USE THIS BEAST OF A PC SO I WONT PERFORM SUICIDE FOR MY FAILURE!!! PS. I TALK WAAAAY TOO MUCH, SORRY FIRST BLOG POST THINGY THANKS!

Chris
November 25, 2007 12:20 PM

My computer keeps shutting down and won't re-boot. I installed a new power supply with dual fans and still the same thing. I had a 500w ps and went to a 600ps. What am I doing wrong?

raju
December 18, 2007 9:23 PM

its quite simple.you have to change smps.

malcolm
January 25, 2008 1:50 PM

My computer used to shut down by itself about once every two weeks. But since I bought and hooked up a new printer, keyboard, and mouse it will shut off any where from 30 seconds to 10 min. whats my problem? Is it related to the new printer?

malcolm
January 25, 2008 1:53 PM

My computer used to shut down by itself about once every two weeks. But since I bought and hooked up a new printer, keyboard, and mouse it will shut off any where from 30 seconds to 10 min. whats my problem? Is it related to the new printer?

Joel Singh
February 15, 2008 4:19 PM

I recently did an upgrade to my machine...
I have an AMD Athlon AM2 Dual Core Processor, a Gforce 8400gs 512mb Graphics Card, and 2gigs of Ram... Every 10-20 mins.I get an irrating blank screen... I even have 5 fans inside of my case, while one of them is pulling out the air...
I'm a gamer so I'm desperate, please help out...

John Keeler
February 18, 2008 10:24 AM

External hard drive keeps shutting down. I bought the enclouser at radio shack and put in old hard drive. I can use it, but after a certain period of inactivity it will quit accessing. I can turn off / on and it comes up ok.

adriana
March 7, 2008 3:36 PM

my pc shutting down alone after 10 minits if i stay on the piczo site any help? thx very much

ishtarzana
March 22, 2008 1:24 AM

I just went in and the PC was turned off. I turned it back on figuring it would reboot and got the screen telling me that Windows didn't shut down correctly and do I want to start up in safe mode. So I continue and then the machine just shut off. I tried this several times and several different ways and every time I have about 30 seconds before the machine shuts off.
Is this a power issue or is it just time for TAPS on the PC?

steveo
March 25, 2008 2:45 PM

I had been having problems with my computer, recently installed 1gig memory to my already 1gig.
Computer would run then for no reason crash, went on for a couple of weeks,gradually getting worse checked leads etc, was certain it was a faulty power supply and was going to buy one, then as a last resort I took the memory sims out cleaned channels of dust and reinstalled in different slots, the flamin thing works perfect now... Just shows you it can be the simpleist thing and saved me 20 quid, by not buying new power pack.
Hope this helps...

sachin
April 2, 2008 10:51 PM

my system is shutting down when ever i am downloading any file from net.
so,any suggestions

donald cox
October 29, 2008 3:59 PM

computer shutdown had a new upgrade mb and graphics card but i can restart it do you think it is power supply? or is it my registry had a new mb put in runs good when it is on donald

Parth Kadakia
February 20, 2009 7:32 PM

Hey guys i read ur comments i tried to solve urs throush Dell and Hp, but they couldnt help me either, so guys my problem is same as urs, My computer keeps shutting off, whenever i try to turn on, it work only for 5 min and then turns bak of immediately i have every kind of protection Anti virus, Avg, anti malware, but still if any of u guys find anything useful paste on this topic thx

Tamz Maj
March 18, 2009 2:22 AM

There are many possible reasons for a machine to shut down suddenly.But most of them are often associated with a "blue screen of death"(BSOD).
There are many causes for a BSOD to pop up-
*Software or device drivers may have a problem
*A piece of hardware is malfunctioning, or it is not supported by windows.On older machines,outdated BIOS information can cause problems
*Corrupted startup files
and the like.

The first thing to do if any such things happen is to go through the error message and try to identify the problem.But in most cases this message pops up very briefly,and the Automatic Restart checkbox in Startup and Recovery should be unchecked, provided that you are able to work on your PC for some time.If this is not the case, then press [F8] during POST and boot into Safe Mode.If you are able to do so, then the problem is not hardware related.Then run a virus scan, uninstall any recently added software and roll back any updated device drivers.You can also run System Restore.If there is an intermittent error which crops up in Safe Mode, then its a hardware problem and you should troubleshoot any hardware which you suspect might be causing the problem.If it is due to a software then remove it from startup and uninstall it.If you get a problem during installation it can be due to any of the peripherals.Even after all your efforts, if nothing works then press [F8] during POST and select "Last Known Good Configuration".If this fails,then perform a reinstall of Windows after all other hardware related issues have been sorted.

someone
June 11, 2009 7:22 PM

my computer shuts down when ever my avg scans the whole com.i cant stand my com i feel like punching it everytime it shuts down

xyberviri
June 28, 2009 11:57 AM

My pc shuts down to a black screen at random intervals, some times i hear the click when like when you hit the reset button im starting to think its the case, i just replaced the power supply about 5 months ago with a 850w, im runing a Q6700 just replaced on friday and the temperature is not a factor when the restart happens, Core temp has shown in the logs that it happens when my cores are at 45* or 55*, i just replaced the memmory friday too along with another dvd drive, the only thing left is the case????? I'm thinking maybe my cable to the reset button is bad or has a short some where but i have moved my case around and it doesn't restart???? maybe its cursed, the motherboard is new and so is the video card there about 4 months old and 8 months old.

Anthony
January 30, 2010 6:41 AM

After a complete reinstall using the factory recovery disc, my computer repeatedly cycles on and off automatically by itself. This is after completing the prompts on the recovery disc and it is through. What do I do?

this workrd for me
March 25, 2010 8:49 AM

had same thing happen to me i replaced the fans cleaned them all that. ask a friend of mine what to do and he said right away "change your thermo-compound" that is between your prosessor and heatsink i did that and haven't had a problem since. i bought the 10$ stuff instead of the 5$ stuff there is a video on YOUTUBE [incorrect link removed] on how to change it hope this helps

khaja
November 27, 2010 3:07 AM

help me,my system is rebooting ever time .please slove problem

am khafaji
December 27, 2010 10:16 AM

My recently custom built computer has a hard time starting. Specs are as follows:
Hard Drive - 500GB, 7200rpm, 16MB, SATA-300,
GeForce 9500 GT Video Card - 1GB DDR2, PCIe
Cooler Master CM690 Nvidia Ed. ATX Case
DiabloTek 650-Watt Power Supply - ATX, SATA
Windows 7 premium 64bit
Corsair CWCH50-1 Hydro H50 CPU Liquid Cooler - 120mm Fan
2- Corsair RAM - 2GB, DDR3, 1333MHz
Intel H55HC Motherboard
intel i5- 661 with 3.33ghz

The computer keeps turning off and restarting on its own after a few seconds, that is, after i pushed the power button once. I noticed that the computer would restart less on warmer days, and would not restart at all on hot days. Since november, i decided to buy a small heater (face it towards the computer for about 5 or so minutes before turning the computer on). At first i thought it was a power supply problem, but after reading a few of these articles, im guessing its not. Though now im comlpletely clueless. How can i solve this problem, please help?

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