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I've just built up a brand new 64-bit system with all the trimmings and loaded SuSE 10.0 64-Bit edition. However much to my utter infuriation, the system frequently just reboots itself halfway through me working- one minute I'm typing away, the next minute the monitor goes black and then the BIOS appears.
What logs in Linux would I check to see if there is any clue as to this strange behaviour? It used to happen a few times with my old PC but I never looked into it.
Along the same vein- the boot information that appears at startup contains a few seeming errors- where can I see a full copy of that once the system has booted? I presume it's in a log file somewhere.
Has this computer run OK before, or is this the first time you have used it? How long does it typically work OK before a reboot? Random reboots are typically caused by hardware problems (flaky power supply, CPU that is overheating, memory misbehavior, etc.).
Thanks for the replies! I'll check the locations suggested straight away.
In reply to Cogar - no, I put it together myself and I've had problems with it, but then everything seems to be correct and to be honest, I had these problems with my last computer (which WAS overheating and the CPU did blow). As well as random reboots sometimes the screen completely freezes- clock stops, mouse won't move. I'm sure I can hear occasional disk activity but the computer will not respond to me. Further, the computer boots sometimes and X doesn't start up- I get taken straight to the command prompt. Are these also signs of faulty hardware, or is it likely something else is causing them?
I agree. Going from simplest to more complex, I would run Memtest 86+ for a couple full cycles at least to check and see if the memory is OK.
While it is running, if you have an onboard temperature monitoring program, I would use that to monitor your CPU temperatures. As an example, ASUS has ASUSprobe for their motherboards.
It just occurred to me that you should not be overclocking for any of this. If you are, I recommend resetting your BIOS to default settings and see if that helps.
Next, I would investigate and see if the heatsink fan was properly mounted on the CPU. You did not mention the type of motherboard or processor you are using, but it is a good idea to use Arctic Silver 5 as an interface material between either AMD or Intel processors and the HSF. Incidentally, if you have a retail Intel processor and are using the included HSF, I recommend removing all that waxy interface material they use and using Arctic Silver instead. You can use a plastic spatula to remove most of it and then clean up with 99% isopropyl alcohol. If the HSF is already mounted with the waxy material, you will need to heat it up before trying to remove the HSF or it will pull the processor out of the motherboard (not good). Typically, people run their unit until it is good and warm and even use a hair dryer to keep things warm until they can remove the unit. (Be careful to avoid touching the hair dryer to anything. Static charge could be severe.) I also recommend using a wrist bracelet that connects to the computer chassis to keep static from being a problem.
Finally, if you have a spare power supply, you could trade it out and see if you have a dodgy PSU.
Making a guess, I would put the PSU as the primary suspect for random reboots, but I would place the processor and memory as primary suspects for the other problems you are seeing.
Is it possible that an unstable Linux installation could be causing these problems? Yes--all but the random reboots. Those I am reasonably sure would be hardware related.