My computer (windows xp) keeps shutting down after a few minutes - Microsoft OS Forum - Software & Operating Systems - Dell Community

My computer (windows xp) keeps shutting down after a few minutes

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My computer (windows xp) keeps shutting down after a few minutes

  • I've run Ad-Aware, MS Spyware, Spyware Doctor, McAfree Antivirus, and SpyBot but it keeps coming back. I start my computer and it runs for a few minutes (sometimes up to 10 minutes) and then everything goes off (without warning) and my power button on my Dell tower glows orange. I'm only able to restart my computer if I hold down the button for a while until the whole thing goes dark. Then I can restart the computer and the whole thing happens again. The timing before powerdown has always been different each time. Last week I was able to keep my computer on for more than 8 hours, but this week, I'm not so lucky.
    I think it's a trojan but I can't seem to keep my computer on long enough to do anything about it. "shutdown -a" doesn't prevent shutdown, and neither does changing my Power options to "never." Help, please!
    (This tower is only 1 yr. 2 mths. old and I only use it maybe 16 hours a week.)

    Message Edited by sgpgurl on 12-06-2005 02:12 PM

  • Hi

    Boot your Dell computer into Safe Mode and Run McAfee Antivirus to scan for the Trojan that may be present on your Dell computer.


    The following are instructions on how to boot into Safe Mode in Windows XP:

    How do I boot my system to Safe Mode in the Microsoft Windows XP operating system?

    Boot to Safe Mode

    To start the computer in Safe Mode perform the following steps:

    1. Restart the computer.

    2. Press the [F8] key when the system accesses the hard drive after the BIOS has finished loading, but before the Windows XP splash screen appears.

      The Windows Advanced Options Menu appears.


    NOTE:If the Windows Advanced Options Menu does not appear, restart the system and try again.

        3.  Select Safe Mode from the menu.

        4.   Log onto the computer as administrator.
              A warning dialog box with the message that you are entering Safe Mode appears.

        5.  Click Yes to continue loading Safe Mode.

    The Windows Safe Mode Desktop appears.

    Now click the Start Menu then move your mouse to All Programs and move your mouse to McAfee and click on McAfee VirusScan.
  • Now scan your Dell computer with McAfee VirusScan.
  • Sad to say the computer shuts down in SAFE mode also. I can't keep it running long enough to figure things out. And yes, I did do the whole McAfee virus scan, found nothing.
  • Does your Dell computer Shut Down in a few minutes after going into Safe Mode in Windows XP?


  • Yes. I tried to restart in SAFE mode earlier on, and right after getting my Windows started up in that mode, the computer did the surprise shutdown with warning. I did check my  drive for errors, no luck there.
  • Are there any error messages before your Dell computer shuts down?
  • Nope. No warning at all.
  • I don't think it's overheating. Someone on the Virus/Spyware board said that I might have a hardware problem. Which is a bummer. I would love to restore my system (back past Nov. 22), but I can't keep my computer running long enough to do that, I'm guessing.
  • I have posted your question on Microsoft Support Newsgroups and here is the answer:

    The problem appears to be physical rather than anything to
    do with software. The usual suspects are: (a) Heatsink/fan
    mounting on the CPU may be faulty, resulting in an elevated
    temperature and safety shutdown; (b) Unstable power supply
    or inadequate power supply; (c) Poor air circulation through
    the computer case, and so on. Begin troubleshooting with the
    simple, such as installing a computer monitor. Next, run the
    computer with the side panels or case removed, and graduate
    up to swapping out the power supply, and so on. Good luck.
    Contact Dell Hardware support by clicking on chat with Desktop Support option in the following link:
  • Try using Event Viewer in Windows XP to analyze hardware and software  problems and Windows security events on your Dell computer. 

    Using Event Viewer

    Event Viewer maintains logs about program, security, and system events on your computer. You can use Event Viewer to view and manage the event logs, gather information about hardware and software problems, and monitor Windows security events.

    • To open Event Viewer, click Start, click Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Event Viewer
    • For information about using Event Viewer, in Event Viewer, on the Action menu, click Help.


    Hope this helps you.

  • Using Event Viewer

    Using Event Viewer and event logs, you can gather information about hardware, software, and system problems, and monitor Windows XP security events.

    A computer running any version of Windows XP records events in three kinds of logs:

    Application log

    The application log contains events logged by applications or programs. For example, a database program might record a file error in the application log. Program developers decide which events to monitor.

    Security log

    The security log records events such as valid and invalid logon attempts, as well as events related to resource use, such as creating, opening, or deleting files or other objects. An administrator can specify what events are recorded in the security log. For example, if you have enabled logon auditing, attempts to log on to the system are recorded in the security log.

    System log

    The system log contains events logged by Windows XP system components. For example, the failure of a driver or other system component to load during startup is recorded in the system log. The event types logged by system components are predetermined by Windows XP.

    A computer running Windows configured as a domain controller records events in two additional logs:

    Directory service log

    The directory service log contains events logged by Windows directory service. For example, connection problems between the server and the global catalog are recorded in the directory service log.

    File Replication service log

    The File Replication service log contains events logged by Windows File Replication service. For example, file replication failures and events that occur while domain controllers are being updated with information about sysvol changes are recorded in the file replication log.

    A computer running Windows configured as a Domain Name System (DNS) server records events in an additional log:

    DNS server log

    The DNS server log contains events logged by Windows DNS service. Events associated with resolving DNS names to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are recorded in this log.


    • The EventLog service starts automatically when you start Windows.
    • All users can view application and system logs. Security logs are accessible only to system administrators.
    • By default, security logging is turned off. To enable security logging, use Group Policy to set the Audit policy. The administrator can also set auditing policies in the registry that cause the system to halt when the security log is full.
  • The event description

    The format and contents of the event description vary, depending on the event type. The description is often the most useful piece of information, indicating what happened or the significance of the event.

    The event logs record five types of events:

    Event type                                                                  Description
          Error                             A significant problem, such as loss of data or loss of functionality. For 
                                               example, if a service fails to load during startup, an Error will be logged.
          Warning                      An event that is not necessarily significant, but may indicate a possible
                                              future problem. For example, when disk space is low, a Warning will be 
          Information                  An event that describes the successful operation of an application, driver,
                                              or service. For example, when a network driver loads successfully, an
                                              Information event will be logged.
          Success                      An audited security access attempt that succeeds. For example, a user's 
           Audit                           successful attempt to log on the system will be logged as a Success
                                              Audit event.
          Failure                         An audited security access attempt that fails. For example, if a user tries
          Audit                            to access a network drive and fails, the attempt will be logged as a Failure
                                              Audit event.
    • If used, the optional data field contains binary data, which can be displayed in bytes or words. This information is generated by the program that was the source of the event record. The data appears in hexadecimal format. Its meaning can be interpreted by a support technician familiar with the source program.
    • When viewing an application or system log on a LAN Manager 2.x server, only the date, time, source, and event ID are shown. When viewing a security log on a LAN Manager 2.x server, only the date, time, category, user, and computer are shown.
  • To view more details about an event

    1. Open Event Viewer.
    2. In the console tree, click the log you want.
    3. In the details pane, click the event you want.
    4. On the Action menu, click Properties.


    • To open Event Viewer, click Start, click Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Event Viewer.
    • To view binary data as characters, in the Data box, click Bytes. To view binary data as DWORDS, click Words. (DWORDS is a data type composed of hexadecimal data with a maximum allotted space of 4 bytes.) To view details about the previous or next event, click the up or down arrow. To copy the details of an event, click Copy.
    • Not all events generate binary data. Binary data can be interpreted by an experienced programmer or a support technician familiar with the source application.
    • To retain the event description in binary data form, archive logs in the log file format (.evt). Saving logs in text format (.txt) or comma-delimited text format (.csv) discards the binary data.
  • The information right after I mentioned Event Viewer and how to start it talks about using Event Viewer, the event descriptions, and how to view more details about an event.

    I hope these information help you better understand and use Event Viewer in Windows XP.

    The event viewer will definitely help you troubleshoot what is wrong with your Dell computer shutting down in a few minutes unexpectedly.