Sporadic shutdown adventure — day 2

Day 2 of my super-happy-fun-time adventure with PC hardware.

The new PSU hasn’t arrived yet, but as previously stated I did go about rebuilding the system to some degree (sans hardware replacements). More specifically, the following things were performed:

  • Relocation of chassis/system atop my desk (vs. on the floor near my desk).
  • Full OS disk format. System disk is an Intel 320-series 80GB SSD with no anomalies of any sort (verified analysing SMART attribute data). “Full format” means I booted a Vista recovery CD, used diskpart.exe to delete the old C: partition and recreate it (CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY ALIGN=1024, followed by FORMAT FS=NTFS LABEL="OS", ACTIVE, then used HxD to skim through LBAs on the SSD to ensure they all got zeroed), and reinstalled Windows XP, drivers, DirectX, etc…
  • Re-did all system GUI settings, configuration adjustments that I like, and so on. This, combined with the above item, took most of the day.
  • My secondary storage disk (D:), a Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB drive, was not formatted or adjusted in any way. SMART attribute data also verifies the disk is in perfect condition.
  • Deleted my D:\Games\Steam directory. This is a key point because the game which was causing the reboots was Rift, despite the “Recover” option in-game finding nothing wrong (the option performs MD5 checksums of all game files and re-downloads any which don’t match what their server claims is healthy).

Much to my surprise, all games (particularly Rift) run completely fine now. No more random/sporadic system reboots.

Because of this, I’m inclined to believe the issue wasn’t PSU-related at all, but rather some sort of OS or kernel driver corruption may have occurred on my C: drive. Since I don’t perform MD5/SHA-1/SHA-256 checksums of all files on my OS drive, it’s impossible for me to determine if silent filesystem corruption may have occurred.

I don’t consider this issue solved; it’ll be a week or 2 before I feel certain that the problem is gone. If I had to take a guess, I’d say some sort of weird GPU driver corruption or DirectX installation corruption resulting in something extremely weird going on. Whatever it was, it was bad enough to cause my system to lose power rather than crash.