Old computer shutting off randomly on it's own?


Active Member
My grandma has an old computer, 2GHz Celeron (I think it's a socket 478), 2 gigs of ram, a hard drive, and a DVD burner.

So it randomly shuts off. We thought it's a borked power supply, so we replaced it with a Thermaltake 500W PSU to replace the generic 250W one. Now it lasts for 15-18 minutes, much longer than the generic one, then after that "safe period" then it will randomly shut off.

Also, the DVD drive is a hit and miss, sometimes it works, sometimes not. :(

Any help?
Have you considered heat? Maybe there's dust stuck in the fins of the heatsink, or maybe the fan is running as fast as it used to. Try leaving it offf for a while the rebooting it. If it's on longer then it's most likely the heat problem. Most computers have an auto shut off of about 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is likely your power supply. Try switching it out with another and see if the symptoms persist.

Well, that's odd. You replaced the PSU, but it still reboots? I hate to say this, but likely some capacitors have started to go bad, more likely the larger ones around the processor. See if any visible ones are swelling or have burst.
This is just odd. When I disconnect the DVD drive that is a hit and miss, the PC stays on. :/


thewise1: Nope. I had Motherboard Monitor installed on that PC and it shuts off at 40-45*C (104-113*F).

Bibin: The caps look fine, no swelling, no bursting, no leaking. I haven't probed them with a multimeter though.
If you have a spare dvd drive then you can test to see if the motherboard itself is intolerant of dvd drives or if it's just the drive that was on the computer.
Oh. If unplugging the DVD drive solves the issue, then something is wrong with the DVD drive. It may be shorting out the 12V or even 5V rail, so something is wrong with it. I'd unplug the DVD drive and buy a new one.
My grandma had a dead P1 that has a working CD ROM Drive. Installing it on the PC causes it to stall randomly again. :/
Plug the CD drive into different plugs - try a different IDE ribbon, and a different power rail. Or just stop using CD's, and externalize when you need them.