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Computer Restarting

Computer restarting problems.

Most people who use a PC powered by Windows will be familiar with the scenario of trying to turn off their machine only to find it restarting again a few seconds later.  Perhaps surprisingly, this is in fact one of the most common PC errors, and whilst it is not necessarily a major problem in itself, it could nevertheless be indicative of more serious malfunctions or errors within the operating system of your machine.

Having said that it is generally not a major problem per se, it is nevertheless an extremely annoying and frustrating problem to find that your computer automatically switches itself on every time you try to shut it down.  Almost inevitably, this will happen at a time when it is least convenient for you, and is the kind of thing that will only ever happen when you’re trying to run out of the door!

Because such a problem is more than likely indicative of more serious errors within the registry of your PCs operating system, you do need to have some idea of why this is most likely to happen, and what to do about it when it does.


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What are the causes of your computer restarting?

As the Windows Vista operating system is still relatively new, the previous incarnation of Windows, XP, is still overwhelmingly the most popular operating system in use in the world today.

XP has an inbuilt failsafe mechanism that automatically reboots the computer in the event of the previous shut down being caused by a critical failure or system error.

Thus it is that even the smallest problem or error occurring during the previous shut down will tell the XP operating system that there was most probably a critical failure, and therefore the system will automatically reboot itself.

In fact, when you are closing your computer down, each individual program that is running will be closed down in turn.  If any of these programs encounter any kind of difficulties when doing so, then once again this will send a ‘critical error’ message to your XP driven machine, and thereby guarantee that it will automatically reboot on closure.

There are three basic reasons why you will encounter automatic reboot problems:

  • Recovery settings

  • BIOS difficulties

  • Software incompatibilities, including driver problems.

Of these, by far the most common is the last and if therefore you begin to suffer automatic computer restarting problems then this is the first place you should look.

If you have only recently installed new software or drivers and the problem first  surfaces, then it should be a relatively simple matter to trace the cause of your difficulties.  If, however, you have simply been living with the problem for some time, then you may well have little or no idea what the proximate cause is likely to be.

In this case, there is inevitably going to be a degree of trial and error in finding the root cause of the problem.  Before closing down your machine, open the Window’s Task Manager and check what processes are running.  If you close them down one by one, this should enable you to eventually find the cause of your problem.

Having said that, it could be quite a time-consuming process!


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Dealing with computer restarting problems.

The first thing that you can do, as long as you have not changed any of the system failure (recovery) settings, is to check the Event Log in order to see what the problem is.

However, a better and more efficient long-term solution is to turn off the automatic reboot.  To do this, right click on ‘My Computer’ and then click ‘Properties’.  From there, you need the ‘Advanced’ tab, and when you see ‘Start Up and Recovery’, click ‘Settings’.  Clear the ‘Automatically Restart’ check box and click okay as many times as necessary.

The next time you restart your computer your new settings will take effect.

What this means is that you can now see what the problem was that was previously causing your machine to automatically reboot before it does so.

So, for example, if it is a software incompatibility issue, you will see this and deal with it accordingly.

A far less common cause of automatic restarting problems lies within your computer’s BIOS.  If there is any fault or error in your BIOS, this could cause a system instability and therefore lead to an automatic reboot, especially if the malfunction is in the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) section of the BIOS.

In this case, it would probably be worth your while to check your PC manufacturers website to see if there is an updated BIOS available.

Alternatively, if you have registry scanning software installed on your PC, this would be a perfect time to use it in order to establish whether problem lies.  This will also enable you to fix, whatever problems you find within the registry of your machine as quickly and efficiently as possible.

If, however, you do not have registry scanning software on your machine, then you should at least take advantage of a free online scan from one of the market leaders such as SpeedyPC.

This will at least allow you to establish what you problem is, and from there, you can then decide how you want to handle it.



PC Error Repair Visitor Shout Box

  1. Edmund Geng:

    fatal error c1000021a after windowsxp servicepack 3 update.
    no boot from cd-rom possible

Updated: July 31, 2014

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