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Spontaneous Reboots


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I hope that someone can help me with this problem and point me in the right direction. I am trying to build a box that will be used oprimarily for storage. I am not really concerned with high performance, but I am looking for data protection and reliability, so I am using older equipment.


I got an Intel Core 2 Duo process at work that I poulled from a scrapped PC. I bought a Gigabyte motherboard and 4 gig of DDR2 ram. I built the machine in an old case that I have the=at will hold about 6 3.5 drives and 4 5.25 drives. I have 4 2TB drives and I purchased a low end RAID card with the plan to put them into a RAID5 array.


I put this all together and loaded my WHS V1 on this machine and it seemed to be working fine. I started to move my daya from my older WHS V1 machine to this new one. But the new server would reboot itself for no apparent reason. I was not able to find anything is the logs to indicate to me why the server crashed.


I thought maybe it was a problem with the raid card so I oulled it out and connected the drives directly to the MB. I also switched to OpenFiler since I still want to RAID5 the drives. That loaded OK but I could not get the default account to log in. And I did not want to buy the documentation for it so I switched to FreeNAS.


I now have FreeNAS running on that machine and have created a volume that is shared out to my Windows machines. I can see them from my Windows 7 desktop and started to transfer video files from the WHS to the FreeNAS box. That seemed to be going ok for a while, but then the FreeNAS machine shutdown and rebooted itself. It has now done that repeatedly for no apparent reason.


I was watching it this morning and I see that it does go through a shutdown procedure and then reboots. I is not hard crashing.


Also, I am using the on-board NIC with is a GB NIC. I have a GB NIC that I can use in this machine if that might help.


Lastly, the machine seems to run fine if it is simply idling. I can leave it sit for hours and it is fine. I can connect to the configuration web page and work with it with no problems. But, when I start to transfer data to it it will reboot after 15 minutes or so. Has anyone else seen something like this, and is there anything that I can do to resolve this problem?


Thanks for your help.

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  • jmwills


  • ikon


  • brwd09


  • cclayton


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See if you can boot into Safe Mode and at least get to the Event Viewer. If not, this could be a heat issue due to an improperly seated fan, bad video driver, or memory. The Event Viewer will tell you where to start looking.

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I like to go back to basics when I run things like this.


In addition to jmwills good suggestions, I would like to see you run memtest86 to verify the RAM is good. I would remove/disconnect all extraneous items (HDDs, add-in cards, etc.) from the machine first; just have basically a bare system with video and KB (not even a mouse).


If the RAM checks out OK (i.e. zero errors) then I would move on to a single HDD. Install WHS on the single drive and then try copying files to it.


If the copy fails, remove the drive, install another one, install WHS on it and try again. If copying fails again, disable the onboard NIC, install your add-in one, and try again.


Myself, I would test all the drives with SpinRite, but you may not have it and may not want to pay for it.


I don't think jumping from one storage system to another is going to help here. I would go back to WHS once all the components have been tested.

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As above, I'm leaning toward memory. Spontaneous reboots are usually either bad power supply. bad memory or overheating. Overheating should be easy enough to detect either from the fan(s) continuously spinning up faster or via a temperature monitoring program. PSU and memory are harder. One warning: Memtest86 is great but from experience I can tell you it can go through many iterations and show no errors and still cause a reboot.


Might want to ensure you have the latest BIOS for your motherboard and try going to just one stick of RAM and see if it runs. You definitely want at least two sticks for dual channel but start that way.

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Guest no-control

Sounds like the PSU is underpowered or just crap. When the PC is loaded it'll fail to supply power and fail. I would swap out the PSU.


Event viewer should give an idea whats going on.


To add: I would go to the basics 1 stick of RAM & 1 HDD no other cards no NIC. And load it if it works start adding items one at a time. start with RAM, then Cards, Drives, finally NIC. Loading it each step of the way with a combo of intel burn test and a drive bench like crystaldisk

Edited by no-control
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Spontaneous reboots are usually either bad power supply. bad memory or overheating

Sounds like the PSU is underpowered or just crap. When the PC is loaded it'll fail to supply power and fail. I would swap out the PSU.


True enough, and hence why I posted that I would love to have a good PSU tester. Alas, there don't appear to be any at a price mere mortals can afford.

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Thanks for the responses so far. Right now I think that No-Control is probably pointing in the right direction. I think that for a couple of reasons. First, this case is still open so I would suspect that heat is probably not an issue. The CPU fan is running fine and the case exhaust fan is running as well, but the side is off. There are 2 2 gig brand new sticks of ram in it. I know that they can be bad when new, but the machine seems to run fine except when I am transfering data to it.


That seems to point to where No-Control is suggesting the power supply. that makes sense to me since there are at least 4 drives running when I do this. There may be the OS drive running as well and the CPU would be working at the same time, sio I could see how that woud be a big draw on the power supply.


What I have in there nis a 500 watt Diablotek ATX power supply. It either came with that case or I might have bought the ceapest 500 watt power supply that I could find. So I tend to think that No-Control is right. What do you think? Can anyone suggest a decent power supply for a setup like what I am trying to build?


Also, I went this route with FreeNAS so that I could try to use it to create iSCSI targets that could be used by my WHS and possibly my desktop machine. I thought I might put my photos on it with direct access from Photoshop Elements.


Thanks again for your help. please let me know if you agree that the power supply is probably the problem, or if the memory or heat is still your diagnosis.

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You don't need anywhere near 500w for that system, but as you stated it might be a bad rail (or rails...). You could check the BIOS and see what is says you're actually getting on your 12, 5, and 3.3V lines at rest. Agree completely with ikon's list of PSUs, probably in the order he listed them.

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I did check the bios and here is what I see:

Vcore - 1,284V

DDR18V - 1.952V

+3.3V - 3.328V

+12V - 12.112V


I don't see anything indicating a 5V supply.


I do have SpinRite and will start it and let it run overnight. I am sure that it will take a long time to go over 4 2TB drives. I would guess a couplke of days.


I also might swap power supplies between this machine and my desktop as it might have a better quality power supply than this one. Since it has only 2 drives in it and access them one at a time this supply may work fine in that machine, at least until I can get a better power supply to replace this one.

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