What happens when Windows isn't shut down properly?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by optigrab, Jul 1, 2007.

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  1. optigrab

    optigrab Registered Member

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    A family member's PC was delivered to me for repair. The problem is that it freezes randomly. When freezes occur, the owner typically just holds down the PC case power switch to force a reboot. The freezing re-occurs with increasing frequency until it won't immediately reboot at all. However, if the machine is powered down for some time, it generally does boot up okay, although it is bound to freeze again.

    I've periodically checked the machine when it was working well, and have found no obvious reasons for the freezes. I may have missed a software conflict or some other cause, but I am darn well certain that there is no malware problem. I have installed several really good AV's on this machine, and have checked every running process carefully.

    Here's what I suspect: the owner shuts the PC down using the power switch on the pc case even when the machine is running well. That is, he does not observe the normal Windows XP shutdown process, ever.

    Does that explanation sound plausible? What happens to the o/s, file system, and hdd platter when the pc is routinely powered down improperly?
     
  2. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,
    Sounds like cpu or mobo might be overheating. Did you check that?
    As to what happens ... well, files get lost, misplaced, entries get orphaned, not the best way to turn off the machine. Allegedly, NTFS is supposed to be a quasi-journaled filesystem, but it's not really. So you are bound to lose bits of data even if you don't feel it.
    Mrk
     
  3. optigrab

    optigrab Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I take it you don't think improper shutting down might be the culprit. o_O

    CPU or mobo overheating, huh? Sounds plausible I suppose. I'll have to research how to diagnose those problems & would love some tips if you can point me in the right direction. I suppose I could post complete system info, but it is getting late, so I will do it tomorrow. I do know it is an AMD Athlon CPU with integrated graphics card and not a lot of RAM.

    Family member reported there was an error message displayed when PC refused to boot, but he was unable to tell me what the error said. I'm running a full chkdsk now. I was considering reinstalling the O/S (it's XP, btw), but since the machine is running well at the moment, I'll hold off until it is absolutely necessary.
     
  4. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    If it is a heat problem, try running the computer with one side panel off and also check the fans are clean w/o dust.
     
  5. optigrab

    optigrab Registered Member

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    Looks like heat may be an issue. Updated the BIOS, and it is now telling me CPU is running at 57c - 60c, under a minor load an with a side panel off. High, right?

    CPU fan is running, but case fan runs mostly at very low speed, with occasional very brief bursts of speed. I see no way to change fan behavior in BIOS, nor does there seem to be an alarm setting. Will clean the fans tomorrow.
     
  6. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    Does the computer still freeze with the side panel off?
     
  7. DVD+R

    DVD+R Registered Member

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    ~ <Snip> Unnecessary off-topic comment removed - Menorcaman ~

    Incidently to Answer your question of what happens to an Improperly Shut Down Computer is this:

    Instead of reading and writing to the hard drive, the computer just reads what information was in the system swap file at the time the operation was terminated. Therefore any unsaved data is lost,as the Computer has not been able to write back and save the data. Secondly each time this happens, brute force chips away at your hard drive sectors,causing lost or/and damaged clusters resulting in any data stored in that sector to become corrupt,and be unreadable, therefore the Hard drive will instantly freeze when it scans that sector,as the data is unreadable, thus the computer is in a state of limbo,and is waiting to execute what is no longer there resulting in freezing and Blue Screen crashes.

    Hope this answers your question :cautious:

    Also yes the temperature is a little high Bassically you should be reading a temperature of around 48c or around 51-55c for a 3Ghz + Processor
    My advice is to remove and clean the side panel Air Inlet filter from dust, and thouroughly clean the System Fan Blades. Completely remove the Fan from its housing ( do not disconnect any wiring) and clean the vlades with an alcohol based solution to remove all dust and build up that has accumulated,and replace them.

    Open the My Computer Icon, right click on drive c: Click properties, and click Tools. Click the Error checking button "Check Now" click scan for,and attempt revcovery of lost sectors, and reboot the PC. the process could take a couple of hours. Then check the Computer temperature again, It should have dropped Several degrees.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2007
  8. optigrab

    optigrab Registered Member

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    The PC ran without issue overnight while running chkdsk & recovery of lost sectors. This morning I removed a good handful of dust clogging the processor heat sink vanes and processor cooling fan.

    Yes, that helps a lot - and was essentially the sort of detail I was hoping for.

    Based on the temp readings and the dust clogging the heat sink & fans, I'd say the freezing was a heat issue, exacerbated by the improper shutdown habits of the owner.

    I will take a post-cleaning look at the running temp this evening.

    Thanks a million, friends.

    - Optigrab
     
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