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Computer turns on and then shuts off after 20-30 seconds

kaynem

Junior Member
Oct 26, 2017
5
0
1
I'm totally confused as to what is wrong with my PC. I was on the computer the other day and just like that, it decided to switch off. The first time i tried to power it back on, it ran a disk check (i've posted a screenshot of this in the link below). Now everytime i start it up, it switches on for a moment and then takes me to a screen full of options, i click on 'Start Windows normally' and then it switches back off. I've also clicked on the other options available but that doesn't change anything.

You can hear it power up and load, the monitor shows the 'Dell' sign. So there does seem to be life to it!

Where do i go from here? Do i need to replace a part? Do i give up and buy a new desktop?

If it helps, i've uploaded screenshots of how it looks from start to finish. The first screenshot is of the disk check it ran the first time (not again since). The other screenshots are images of how it looks from the first step to the last: https://imgur.com/a/f3aZ1

Any help would be really appreciated!
 

Spjut

Senior member
Apr 9, 2011
901
89
91
What are the full specs? Try using the integrated graphics or another graphics card if available.
An immediate shutdown is typically caused by a bad PSU.

You can create a bootable Ubuntu USB stick just to rule out the HDD.
 

Despoiler

Golden Member
Nov 10, 2007
1,941
747
136
It's most likely the PSU. You can buy a PSU tester if you want to make sure.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,919
6,884
126
How old is this PC in question? (Model / family info would be good too.)

PSUs and HDDs start to go on OEM PCs, starting at the three-year mark, I've found. At least on consumer boxes. PSU replacement is the most common fault, followed by failing HDD, followed by mobo caps failing, I think. Fans needing replacement, if they've been clogged with dust often and not cleaned, are in there too. RAM and CPU failure CAN happen, but it's pretty rare.
 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
23,028
1,289
126
I personally have had that happen on three different computers and three different causes:
(1) A bad power button. I just removed the button and used a screwdriver but that was years ago when they were mechanical buttons.
(2) A bad power supply. I replaced the power supply.
(3) An object that fell into a fan (small screw). This was causing overheating and the system would shut down to save itself. Once I found the screw, I just shook it out of the fan and the problem was solved.

My bet would be the power supply if I had to start looking somewhere.
 

kaynem

Junior Member
Oct 26, 2017
5
0
1
Thanks for the input everyone.

It's 10 years old! Totally cant remember the specs though.

I'll look into a few of these options. I suppose i should stop being so tight with my money and just buy a new desktop.
 

kaynem

Junior Member
Oct 26, 2017
5
0
1
Think i'll have a go at buying a new power supply first. Are they relatively easy to replace? I'm awful at this type of stuff but it doesn't sound too hard.

Thanks again
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,919
6,884
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An OEM pre-built PC lasting 10 years before failure is... impressive!

Yeah, it's due for replacement. At the minimum, the PSU and HDD need to be replaced, but it might be pointless to keep the old thing going, because a motherboard failure might be just down the pike, and at that point, you would want to replace the whole thing anyways if the mobo goes.

Would you be buying a pre-built again, or would you be building? I'm going to guess buying.

Acer makes some fairly inexpensive ($400, give or take $20) Intel Core i5 desktop PCs, with adequate specs (quad-core, 8GB DDR4, 1TB HDD, etc.) Perhaps someone will give a link, I don't have it offhand.

I also sell custom PCs, and I do ship, if you were interested, PM me.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,919
6,884
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Power supplies are fairly easy to replace, honestly, but there are a few caveats.

They come in various types, AT / baby AT (not used any more), ATX 1.3 (older, generally has a 20-pin ATX connector), ATX 2.x (which has a 24-pin ATX connector, and a 12V CPU connector - these are the current type used today), and BTX (of which I'm not sure how they differ from ATX, but they were only popular back in the P4 days.)

The only thing that gives me pause, is that older Dells, of which yours might qualify, used a non-standard, "proprietary" ATX pinout. Same connector and everything, but if you plug in a standard ATX PSU, you can fry components.

So, first, we need to establish exactly which model or family Dell PC you have, in order to rule out the possibility of it requiring a special "Dell Proprietary PSU" (which are still available from specialty online retailers).

If you don't need that, and can use any old ATX PSU, then you could get a really-good quality ATX 2.x PSU, which you could then take and move to a custom build in the future, or you could buy a non-garbage ATX 2.x PSU, which is basically just enough to get by for another 3-5 or more years.

I recommend a 400W or 430W or 450W, Rosewill Stallion, EVGA or EVGA 80Plus, some Cooler Master PSUs are adequate, and possibly an Antec VP450, although those tend to be more expensive.

This one is probably in the "Adequate for 3-5 years" category.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817339042

Here's Antec's budget PSU, the VP450. It's $39.99, with a $10 MIR currently. These are solid, I own two of them.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371045&ignorebbr=1

If you do rebates, this Corsair 450W 80Plus Bronze semi-modular is only $26.99 after a $20 MIR.
That would be my pick out of all three of these, although the Antec is a strong PSU too.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139146&ignorebbr=1

But we still need to find out your Dell model.

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/t/2902785

Here's a dell forum link, that has a phone number for "Dell parts dept.", they should be able to help you with a PSU. It might be more expensive.
 
Last edited:

kwalkingcraze

Senior member
Jan 2, 2017
278
25
51
There are plenty of used Dell OEM power supplies for less than $15 shipped on eBay. Good enough to last you for several more years until you retire the PC. A Corsair 80+ Bronze would be a waste.
 

kwalkingcraze

Senior member
Jan 2, 2017
278
25
51
An OEM pre-built PC lasting 10 years before.
An OEM power supply generally lasts for 7-10 years, sometimes more. Some of the new ones, including Bronze certified, don't last as long as the older ones because they have smaller and lighter heatsink on board than before.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,919
6,884
126
There are plenty of used Dell OEM power supplies for less than $15 shipped on eBay. Good enough to last you for several more years until you retire the PC. A Corsair 80+ Bronze would be a waste.
Does "Peace of Mind" mean anything to you? Granted, spec-wise, if you can get an IDENTICAL Dell-branded PSU, even used, as long as it's in good shape (that's the HARD part), then that would be pretty ideal. But otherwise, get something half-decent NEW. That is, if your Dell doesn't require a proprietary Dell-wired PSU.
 

kaynem

Junior Member
Oct 26, 2017
5
0
1
Power supplies are fairly easy to replace, honestly, but there are a few caveats.

They come in various types, AT / baby AT (not used any more), ATX 1.3 (older, generally has a 20-pin ATX connector), ATX 2.x (which has a 24-pin ATX connector, and a 12V CPU connector - these are the current type used today), and BTX (of which I'm not sure how they differ from ATX, but they were only popular back in the P4 days.)

The only thing that gives me pause, is that older Dells, of which yours might qualify, used a non-standard, "proprietary" ATX pinout. Same connector and everything, but if you plug in a standard ATX PSU, you can fry components.

So, first, we need to establish exactly which model or family Dell PC you have, in order to rule out the possibility of it requiring a special "Dell Proprietary PSU" (which are still available from specialty online retailers).

If you don't need that, and can use any old ATX PSU, then you could get a really-good quality ATX 2.x PSU, which you could then take and move to a custom build in the future, or you could buy a non-garbage ATX 2.x PSU, which is basically just enough to get by for another 3-5 or more years.

I recommend a 400W or 430W or 450W, Rosewill Stallion, EVGA or EVGA 80Plus, some Cooler Master PSUs are adequate, and possibly an Antec VP450, although those tend to be more expensive.

This one is probably in the "Adequate for 3-5 years" category.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817339042

Here's Antec's budget PSU, the VP450. It's $39.99, with a $10 MIR currently. These are solid, I own two of them.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371045&ignorebbr=1

If you do rebates, this Corsair 450W 80Plus Bronze semi-modular is only $26.99 after a $20 MIR.
That would be my pick out of all three of these, although the Antec is a strong PSU too.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139146&ignorebbr=1

But we still need to find out your Dell model.

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/t/2902785

Here's a dell forum link, that has a phone number for "Dell parts dept.", they should be able to help you with a PSU. It might be more expensive.
Thanks for the info.

I have a Dell Inspiron 531. Looking on ebay, this seems to be a fit for my PC:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-Inspiron-530s-531s-535s-537s-545s-547s-560s-580s-PSU-power-supply-NEW/272116823923?hash=item3f5b6d3773:g:xiEAAOSwl8NVbWI4

Would this get by, or can i do better? Might be a stupid question but do all power supplies fit all PCs? If so then maybe i'll look into your options (like the Corsair)
 

kaynem

Junior Member
Oct 26, 2017
5
0
1
The Dell Inspiron 531 power supply is ATX. So i guess buying any ATX power supply should fit my PC?
 

Pick2

Golden Member
Feb 14, 2017
1,058
1,507
91
Be advised , a new PS may not fix it ... you might end up buying parts that may not do you any good in the end. You can by an off an lease refurbished PC for a couple hundred dollars. Shutting down at 20-30 seconds each time would indicate a thermal problem. might be a bad fan , CPU thermal paste or a bad Motherboard.
I'd advise to get a different / newer PC.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,919
6,884
126
OP, has the dust ever been regularly cleaned out of this PC, in the ten years that you've had it?

Because if the answer is NO, then you probably need to clean out the dust bunnies. It could in fact be overheating.

But if it's not a hardship to you, then consider buying a new PSU, like the ones I pointed out, they aren't super-expensive, and that is one of the most common failure modes of OEM PCs.
 

Markfw

CPU Moderator, VC&G Moderator, Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 16, 2002
21,561
9,624
136
10 years old ? I say build a new one.....
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,919
6,884
126
10 years old ? I say build a new one.....
Yeah, that's definitely a good option.

OP, have you ever considered building a PC? It's not that hard, it's kind of like Lego Bricks, but with electronics. We can help assist your build it, if you're willing. (Edit: Really, if you're capable of replacing a PSU, then you're already half-way there to building a PC.)

Or just get that $400 Acer Skylake / Kaby Lake i5 PC, and call it a day.
 
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VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
51,919
6,884
126
I have a Dell Inspiron 531. Looking on ebay, this seems to be a fit for my PC:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-Ins...823923?hash=item3f5b6d3773:g:xiEAAOSwl8NVbWI4
I took a look at your link, that is not an ATX supply. Notice the "s" after every model number in the title? More than likely, that means "SFF" - Small Form Factor.

If you have a Dell Inspiron 531, and it's a stand-up tower, then that isn't the PSU for you, you're is most likely ATX form-factor.

Do you have a 531, or 531s?

Edit: Here's another thread on this site, where someone was having issues with the AC power cable coming in from the wall, it was a custom pre-built, and the AC cable was apparently really cheap, and flaky. But if that were the case with you, I would expect that some times it just wouldn't turn on at all, and at other times it would shut off randomly, and not after a specific range of time (which does seem like overheating, although it could be a power issue too, if during a certain portion of the Windows boot or POST process, the system takes more power, and it trips the weak PSU).

https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/new-prebuilt-ryzen-system-shutting-down-randomly.2524396/#post-39140338
 
Last edited:
Aug 11, 2008
10,451
641
126
I had the same symptoms and it was caused by a PSU in which the fan was not working. If the comp is ten years old though, I also question if it is worth spending any time and money to repair. What OS are you running? If it is XP or Vista I would for sure get a newer machine with a supported and more secure OS.
 

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