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Question For Anyone Who Understands Windows
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Hi there, and thank you in advance for reading my thread. I have a question regarding what my computer has been doing lately and hope someone will readily know the answer.
I'll be sitting here, reading, typing, whatever. It could be anything from being on Scotster, or working in Word, to doing my online banking. Without warning my computer turns itself off. This morning it happened after I'd been on it for maybe 3 minutes, so it shouldn't necessarily be about overheating or something like that.
I have two laptops, so I set my Dell aside and got the touch pad out, hooked up, signed in and went to my banking site. After that I went to Scotster. After maybe 15 minutes THIS computer turned itself off. Only with a twist... Microsoft updates began installing, of their own accord, and when they were finished the computer rebooted and brought my login screen up.
How does Windows have permission to log me off the internet and begin installing updates? And how do I stop it from doing that in the future -- and is this possibly what is wrong with my other lap top?
I know, this is a lot to ask of you, my fellow Scotsters, but if anyone readily knows the answer to this, I would love to hear from you. I'm pretty frustated at this point :D
Cheers and happy holidays too!
I`m no expert as I have been trying to teach myself Windows since 1996 and just when I get the hang of a version, they go and update - so you have to "relearn" alot. You did not mention what your network connection is (satellite, DSL,ADSL,cable, dialup). Many times any wired connection may go dead from the source momentarily or for a longer time. If you are connected "by wire" of any means, make sure you don`t have loose connection.
1)Check your security settings
2) check to see if you are allowing automatic updates
3) check or reset your time to screensaver
4) check your unit "sleepmode" / hibernate settings
Most "time out settings" should be for only when the PC is on but not is active use.
Is this a recent happening that could be weather related or does is always happen ?
Maybe an inhouse Scotster IT specialist can give you better advice.
Hi Robert, these are all questions I never considered! Thank you for posting them.
Let's see... internet connection is cable, but the computer can shut down even if I'm not online. I don't think any of my security settings have changed recently, but I'll have to look at that and the update settings. That could easily be an issue. Also, it can shut down while I'm typing...so I don't think it's going to sleep mode, but a setting could be messed up. I'm going to get a can of compressed air to clean it out as I read that excessive dust can cause fan problems. So Cal can be very dusty. We seldom have weather, like lightening, or ice --we are having a lot of rain now, but no thunder or lightening. I'm not sure how it would tie in though? I'll look to see if one of the Scotster techies chimes in. :D
Thanks for all your help!!
Are you sure you weren`t having connection problems due to all of your recent (record) rainfall and or mud slides?
Do a scan for viruses. The scan should alert you as to when and how your computer shuts down. I save all the little moisture preventer sacks that come with certain electronic or pharmaceutical items (I get mine from my asthma inhalers) you can microwave them just a little to boil out the existing water then pack them around your dell and seal it with a plastic bag for a night. That might solve the problem. Do Not block the updates for Windows 7 as it is a new operating system and you may need the updates to solve your problems. Connection problems will not shut down your computer.
I am very sure that our rains aren't affecting my computer. Rain here is just too rare an event. In that note, it's typically really dry here... static in the hair kinda dry... so I'm curious about moisture being near my computer. Dust is more likely. My updates may be blocked though. I haven't turned on the Dell since it shut itself off this morning, but I will fire it up tomorrow and check it out.
Lisa you might even want to try a different electrical plug or cable. I once had a faulty plug that kept rebooting a computer.
Hi Lisa, This is not an unknown problem, and is usually heat related. But if BOTH your machines are behaving in the same way, then I would go with Kimberley's suggestion that you are plugged in to a faulty power point, or are using a faulty power lead.
How old are your computers? A 5-year old laptop will be very fluffy inside! Keeping the various holes and slots in your computer's case dust-free is good practice. If you can easily get the case off, you will be amazed at how much dust can accumulate inside the machine. Dusting with compressed air is a good idea.
Do you work with the laptop on a flat firm surface? There are probably ventilation slots underneath which you will block if you have the laptop on a cushion or similar (or on you lap...)
There will be at least one fan in your computer which runs all the time. If the fan starts running faster than normal, it's a sure sign that the computer is getting too hot. It can do this due to ambient temperature or because you are using a lot of processing power - running several applications at the same time and undertaking power-hungry tasks such as editing large photo files. Some antivirus software can take up a lot of processor power too.
It is JUST possible that you have a glitch in your firewall software. Are you using Zone Alarm by any chance? If so, it might be worth switching it off (or un-install it altogether) and see if that makes any difference.
As for windows updates - how to set this will depend on which version of Windows you are using. (XP, Vista, 7 ?). I think by default the computer will be set up to accept automatic updates, which it will download 'in the background' and install when you shut the machine down. (It will tell you it is installing updates after you click the 'shut down' button). I'm not aware of any setting which will allow Windows to 'take over' and shut down your machine without at least asking you if you want it to happen.
Computers ... *&@!!! ... Ignoring the system updates, and assuming you've checked-out the suggestions posted above, the symptoms you describe sound as though they are power-related.
Do you have power-surge protection? Do you have any other electrical equipment cutting-in and causing interference? (I once experienced similar sorts of problems where a refrigerator was the root cause of the problem - even with power-surge protection!) Try using your laptop in a different physical building and see if the same problems occur.
Is anyone else in your neighbourhood experiencing similar problems?
If none of this helps, I'm afraid it sounds like you'll need to find yourself some good local techie support (which is never a bad thing to have up your sleeve anyway).
P.S.: I'm not sure that ANYONE understand Windows ... and that includes Bill G.! ;-)
Hi Richard and Ewen! Thanks for all the suggestions. Since I live in an apartment and the power points are under the control of my landlord's maintenance crew, I will rule out everything else first. I am now about 95% sure that at least part of the problem with the Dell is dust. I never use it on cloth surfaces because the internet on it isn't wireless. It's 3 years old now too. The remaining problem most likely has to do with security and update settings - and I say this because my internet provider also provides the antivirus and the firewall, so it's constantly on and running. I've got two spyware defenders as well that run periodically. I was thinking maybe I would do a total clean up of the drive, offload foto files etc onto an external drive and do the general system maintenance on it. I'm worried about those settings. :( I am super lucky in the sense that, at work, my employers also own an IT company. They handle all of our computers etc so I can talk to one of the guys about my problems should none of these remedies do the trick.
You guys are great! Thanks for everything :D
quickfind:whigmaleerie > "the symptoms you describe sound as though they are power-related."
Lisa - does the problem occur if you are running your machine on its battery...?
Oops - our posts arrived at the same time.
Having two different spyware/antivirus applications installed and working is not a good idea. They can conflict, and cause all manner of problems. Just go with one. The best free ones are Avast or AVG.
BUT...you say your ISP provides its own antivirus/firewall. I would therefore suggest you switch off or un-install any other antivirus or spyware catchers that you have installed.
BUT... (again) ... from what you have said, I suspect your own disconnection problems are nothing to do with antivirus/firewall - but these suggestions may be of use to others who read this thread who have a similar problem.
Keep us informed as to progress!
quickfind:augustgirl > "I never use it on cloth surfaces because the internet on it isn't wireless."
errrrmmm....??? What has that got to do with anything? :o)
quickfind:bonio200 > " un-install any other antivirus or spyware catchers "
I only have one antivirus, but I do have 2 spyware catchers. One of the 2 runs only when I tell it to, the other is always going. I'll change that.
quickfind:bonio200 > "What has that got to do with anything"
quickfind:bonio200 > "Do you work with the laptop on a flat firm surface? There are probably ventilation slots underneath which you will block if you have the laptop on a cushion or similar (or on you lap...)"
This was just me saying that I work on the laptop on a desk surface vs working with it on the bed, or my lap, or another non-solid surface. Sorry for the confusion :D
quickfind:bonio200 > "because the internet on it isn't wireless"
Oh sorry, forgot to say: because my internet is cable, the laptop is plugged into the cable modem all the time and the cord is really short. I'm stuck with a non-portable laptop LOL, unless I use it for other things that don't involve the internet.
Again, sorry for the confusion...
quickfind:bonio200 > "does the problem occur if you are running your machine on its battery"
The internal battery on the Dell died eons ago, I guess they don't build them to last. I've another on order. In the interim, I only use it plugged in.
I should probably add that we use the Dell on both the desk and the dining table. These two locations have different powerpoints as they are in different rooms. The Dell can shut itself off in either place, so maybe the odds that both powerpoints are faulty is rather low, I'm thinking. The other laptop is also used in the same locations and has never turned itself off the way the Dell has. I hope I'm not confusing everyone...
The external power supply that you are using to make the thing run might be flaky. With the internal battery being dead, the computer has no way to survive even brief power losses. If the problem goes away when you get a new internal battery, replace the external power source.
Humidity, humidity, humidity
I'm thinking we have two different problems on the two different computers which are producing similar results.
The Dell might respond to a bit of TLC - a good dusting, some spyware stuff removing and a new battery (though I have been using my old Dell laptop without a battery installed for about two years now with no dufficulties... )
I think I am right that the problem with the other machine was that it took it into its head to suddenly update Windows and then it rebooted itself (that is, shut down and restarted). In XP, Vista and Win 7 you get into the Windows Auto Updates settings from start>all programmes>windows updates. It won't hurt to turn off auto updates altogether, though if I did that, I would check manually for updates about once a month.
quickfind:bonio200 > "with no dufficulties"
Now that's a Windoze-eum if ever I've heard one ;-D
Re. the Dell running without a battery, this sometimes leads to the eventual demise of the power-relay ... but that's reparable. If I were you, I'd replace the battery and get the power-relay checked.
Once the 'physical' elements are functioning again, I'd back-up all the files you want to keep (unless you already have), re-format your hard-drive(s), and perform a clean re-installation of Windows and other software.
Having said all that, buying a new lap-top might be a cheaper option ... depends on how you value your time, etc.
quickfind:bonio200 > " It won't hurt to turn off auto updates altogether, though if I did that, I would check manually for updates about once a month."
There is an option in the choices to be informed updates are available but you choose whether it is convenient to do them then or later !!
quickfind:whigmaleerie > "Now that's a Windoze-eum if ever I've heard one ;-D"
quickfind:texasgaidheal > "The external power supply that you are using to make the thing run might be flaky. With the internal battery being dead, the computer has no way to survive even brief power losses. If the problem goes away when you get a new internal battery, replace the external power source."
Great advice! thank you!!!
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