PC Keeps Shutting Down After Login

Hey guys,

A friends dad's pc keeps shutting down right after he logs into Vista. He doesn't get any errors, the PC just shuts down after it loads the desktop. I went over there and it sounds like the fans are running pretty hard once Vista loads. I can't really think of anything other than maybe the processor overheating. Does anyone have any other possible theories and/or fixes?

I had a real strange thing like this happen with Logan's PC. It turned out that the power button had become damaged, and it would send "I got pressed, shut down!" signals to the system, which would oblige.

The giveaway that this was happening is that the PC wouldn't turn off, it would shut down (as in, Windows would close itself and complete its shutdown process, as opposed to the system just cutting power). Thr only exception to this is if the signal was sent before the OS loaded, in which case it turned off as a system will if you hit the power button before it gets to the OS.

So, is the PC in question turning off, or shutting down? If it's truly overheating, it should do the former, not the latter.

(That incident with Logan's PC was truly the damndest thing I had ever seen, and it took us months of swapping out boards and CPUs and power supplies and RAM before I finally figured out the problem. One new case later, and the system never surreptitiously shut down again)

1) CPU Overheating
2) Motherboard chipset overheating
3) Bad RAM or the RAM is incompatible with your motherboard
4) Not a powerful enough power supply for the hardware

Make sure the fans are all spinning and check the temperatures. Did you upgrade it lately?

I had a weird problem just like this Windows 2000. After getting a new CPU and motherboard I installed a fresh copy of 2000, and not long after logging in the computer would shut down. It turns out that there was something in the NForce chipset drivers that it didn't like about one of my optical drives. I unplugged every single drive and card until I discovered this drive was causing it when it was plugged in. I got the new NForce drivers and it was fine. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like this is the case for you.

The machine just turns off right after it loads all of the startup programs. He told me before that it wouldn't happen until he started up a program, but now it just turns off right after he logs into Vista.

I wouldn't even know what to do to replace anything since it's an Acer with a case a third the size of a regular case and everything is crammed in there.

You know you can put the vista disk in the drive to boot and it will run a series of tests/fixes for you right? It's not a fully implemented pre-boot environment (wherein you can actually run stuff by hand) but it's there.

Grab a Linux LiveCD, boot to the desktop environment, and run it like that for a bit.

That will take the Windows OS and the hard drive out of the equation. If the system doesn't shut down after prolonged use like that, then you can probably pin the problem either on Windows, or a physical hard drive issue.

If it shuts down trying to do that, though, then you can conclude a hardware problem like overheating.

PoderOmega wrote:

1) CPU Overheating
2) Motherboard chipset overheating
3) Bad RAM or the RAM is incompatible with your motherboard
4) Not a powerful enough power supply for the hardware

You missed one, Virus.

KingGorilla wrote:
PoderOmega wrote:

1) CPU Overheating
2) Motherboard chipset overheating
3) Bad RAM or the RAM is incompatible with your motherboard
4) Not a powerful enough power supply for the hardware

You missed one, Virus.

Yeah, there was a virus a couple years back that acted like this.

A trivial question: have you tried booting up in Safe Mode and restoring to a previously made System Restore point, if one is available? Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | System Restore, or something like that.

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

A trivial question: have you tried booting up in Safe Mode and restoring to a previously made System Restore point, if one is available? Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | System Restore, or something like that.

Is booting into safe mode the same for Vista as all the others? I have no experience with Vista, and am still a novice at troubleshooting stuff like this.

Mr E.B. Slugworth wrote:

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

A trivial question: have you tried booting up in Safe Mode and restoring to a previously made System Restore point, if one is available? Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | System Restore, or something like that.

Is booting into safe mode the same for Vista as all the others? I have no experience with Vista, and am still a novice at troubleshooting stuff like this.

I don't think you can use safemode to do this with Vista (I haven't tried going into SM on my Vista boxen yet) but you can use the DVD (or if it's from an OEM there is most likely a recovery partition already built on the harddrive) to do it as I said earleir, here are the directions go to the Manual Diagnosis and Repair section and then it should be similar to G800#'s stuff. Again, I've not had to use the tools on the DVD or recovery partition, I just know they're there.

I don't know too much about Vista, the only machine I'm using that has it is my new laptop, and that was obviously a pre-install. The best option to rule out, or to diagnose, overheating in my opinion is the LiveCD. Ubuntu or anything else that uses a LiveCD would be fine. It would let you get into an OS and use it a bit, and if the shut-down problem does not persist, you can be certain it's a software issue. How you fix it, though, is something else entirely.

Have you googled it yet?

nsmik wrote:

The best option to rule out, or to diagnose, overheating in my opinion is the LiveCD. Ubuntu or anything else that uses a LiveCD would be fine. It would let you get into an OS and use it a bit, and if the shut-down problem does not persist, you can be certain it's a software issue. How you fix it, though, is something else entirely.

In other words: "What *Legion* said 6 posts ago is really, really smart. And he's so handsome too. SO smart and handsome!"

Is this an older computer? I had a similar problem a ways back and realized that the cpu heatsink and fan had gotten too dusty, probably because I always leave the case open. The cpu was shutting down to keep prevent overheating. A simple cleaning did the trick.

*Legion* wrote:
nsmik wrote:

The best option to rule out, or to diagnose, overheating in my opinion is the LiveCD. Ubuntu or anything else that uses a LiveCD would be fine. It would let you get into an OS and use it a bit, and if the shut-down problem does not persist, you can be certain it's a software issue. How you fix it, though, is something else entirely.

In other words: "What *Legion* said 6 posts ago is really, really smart. And he's so handsome too. SO smart and handsome!"

Did you guys hear something? Must have been the wind.

To add my two cents, what happens if you just let the machine sit at the login screen? If it waits until you log in to crash, you possibly have a software problem (virus, driver bluescreen, etc.). It could also be that the vid card heats up when the desktop loads, so that's not definitive. The LiveCD really is the way to check for overheating (along with BIOS sensors if you have them).

Oh, and Vista has safe mode (at least mine does). Tap F8 while booting (before splash screen) to get at the menu. Alternatively, shut the machine off hard in the middle of the boot process ...

Safe mode will let you check event logs, and maybe turn off some nasty startup items.

Yep, as LilCodger says. As soon as the PC powers up and finishes POST, start tapping F8. A text menu will come up. It works in Vista the same way it did all the way since NT 4.0, I believe.

I know he already used the can-o-air to blow dust out. How would I go about getting a Linux LiveCD?

Mr E.B. Slugworth wrote:

I know he already used the can-o-air to blow dust out. How would I go about getting a Linux LiveCD?

Knoppix

Ubuntu

Try booting into the F8 menu and use the "repair my computer" option. You can do a disk check from there, do a system restore, all kinds of useful stuff.

I gather that "Repair my computer" is for when you boot up from the installation media -- NOT from the Safe Mode menu.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

I gather that "Repair my computer" is for when you boot up from the installation media -- NOT from the Safe Mode menu.

It'll show up in the safe mode menu, usually only after windows shuts down improperly. You can force it to appear by interrupting a windows boot with the power button.

Sinatar wrote:
Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

I gather that "Repair my computer" is for when you boot up from the installation media -- NOT from the Safe Mode menu.

It'll show up in the safe mode menu, usually only after windows shuts down improperly. You can force it to appear by interrupting a windows boot with the power button.

So is this a tool for fixing corrupted OS files?

wordsmythe wrote:

So is this a tool for fixing corrupted OS files?

Aye, that is one of the uses.