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Random Restarts, Can Hard Drive be the Problem?

1526 Views 15 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  gameman733
Hi guys,
Recently my computer's been experiencing total random restarts. It happened when I'm using MSN Messenger, burning a DVD, testing file with Winrar, before computer boots into Windows, and right at the log-in screen. I've come to suspect that the problem is the hard drive, since all the things mentioned above happened when my HD is loading. My HD is Maxtor 120GB 2MB cache divided into 5 partitions with about 90% occupation (rest of system is in sig.); it's a bit over a year old. Can a faulty hard drive cause restarts? I'd also like to ask for recommedations of tools that will test the stability of a computer system as well as specific individual parts (such as memory). Thanks in advance.

edit: Forgot to add, I'm using a Enermax 300watts PSU, which should be enough for my rig.
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you can get diagnostic programs at maxtor's site and for ram testing you should try memtest86 or anything similiar.
random restarts might also be caused by a weak power supplly.
could be that your temps are getting too high forcing a reboot.
2 possibilities:
-CPU temp is too high
-PSU too weak like said before

When I bought my Athlon 2200 long ago, I had to buy a 300W PSU cause 250W wasn't enough (esp. with 4 drives plugged)
I had a problem like that and reinstalling Windows XP fixed it.
Reinstalling is for noobs and/or the last hope solution...
try unplugging all non-vital stuff, like the secondary CDwriter, your scanner, the useless floppy, etc...boot your comp, play a lot, if it doesn't crash/reboot after a long time, you know you need a PSU :p
My comp's temp. hovers between 45-50'C and the automatic shutdown in bios is turned off, so I don't think that's the problem.
I've just had 3 reboots happening in short interval, so I'll describe them. First one, I turn on the computer, try to start Outlook Express, loading, hear the HDD make noise, retarts. Second time, turn on the comp, try to start Firefox, hear HDD noise, restarts. Third time, right before I finish this message, restarts.
I'll try to unplug things first and see. Thanks.
thats bizzarre. check to see if ur cpu isnt [email protected] out by using cpu-z and wcpuid. i recently had to replace my 1700+ DL3TC (was an awesome chip) because apparently half the l2 cache went on permanent vacation. similar simptoms as u are having now. now the 2500 mobile im running is perfect.
The random restart sounds very familiar to me... I had the same problem when we bought a new computer, and memtest86 saw some errors, so you can run that program to check if it is your ram memory or something else. Just my 2 cents.
Probebly pointless, but do you have the automatic resets turned off? It may give you some more information as to what the problem could be?
Download speedfan or any other program (might be one on maxtors site like yelo said) that can read the S.M.A.R.T diagnostic of your hard drive. You can also check in the device manager for any warnings for driver conflicts or errors. The next thing you could do is check for errors (right click the drive in my computer and look in properties).

Like gameman said,turning off the automatic restarts will let you see what error message is in the bsod.

Right click my computer > properties > advanced > startup and recovery > uncheck automatically restart.
Thanks for the replies.
I've downloaded the diagnostic tool from Maxtor website, but it requires a diskette drive, so I'll have to get one installed.
to D.D.- I've CPU-z on my computer and how do you know if, say L2 cache, is broken? Everything seems fine when I have it open except it's telling me I have an Athlon MP --?
Thanks to gameman733 for the suggestion and Reichfuher for the instruction on how to turn off automatic restart; didn't know there's such thing. This might help me identify the problem.
Again, appreciate the inputs guys ;).
to D.D.- I've CPU-z on my computer and how do you know if, say L2 cache, is broken? Everything seems fine when I have it open except it's telling me I have an Athlon MP --?
hmm...thats weird. sure it doesnt say "athlon Xp"? the l2 cache shud be 256 kb. if it really does say MP, then try updating ur mobo's bios.
Athlon MP with Palomino core, does such thing exist :eyemove:?
With the auto restart turned off, this is the error message I get at BSOD:
"blah blah blah
Driver IRQL not less or equal"
So I'm guessing it has to do with driver conflicts, weird thing is I did not install any new hardware recently and I see no conflicts in device manager either. I'm going to google it up and see what I can find.

EDIT: After some googling, it seems that the problem can be caused by either Norton 2002 or 2003. I've had Norton 2003 for a while, don't know why it's suddenly causing problems. After removal, my computer's been on for about 12 hours now. I'm gonna see how much longer it'll stay on and run the tests later.
IRQ less than or equal to... Ive gotten that before. If norton isnt causing it, try taking out a PCI device and see if it fixes it. If not, put that back in and take another out. My sisters modem caused that error. Moving it to another slot fixed it or something.
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