PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/Computer starts, stops, starts



When I power on my computer, it will start, turn off for a few seconds, and then start back up again and load normally, but it will ONLY do this if it loses power. So after a power outage, or if it's unplugged, it will do this only once, and then I can turn the computer off and on without it doing it until the computer gets disconnected again.

It has been doing this since I built it, but I have a UPS so it hasn't been a problem until recently, since my UPS batteries need to be replaced. I'm concerned my HD is going to crash because of what it's doing. This is a Windows 7 system.

Thank You

ANSWER: Many Intel motherboards will exhibit this behavior on power loss; some models will request the user to verify BIOS settings before booting up after a power loss as well. It's a degree of safety feature to ensure that BIOS settings aren't corrupted/lost due to a power outage, although I can certainly understand how it could be annoying or disconcerting. It isn't anything to worried about (abrupt power loss is likely a bigger concern, as it can be associated with surges, low/high voltage conditions, and so forth - with a proper surge protector or UPS the machine should be relatively well protected though). Depending on your motherboard model there may be a BIOS update that removes this behavior, or allows it to be manually disabled, although unless you're experiencing other problems that a BIOS flash may address, I would agree with Intel's general suggestion not to flash the board (the potential to "brick" the board during a flash exists, and in general you should only re-flash a board if the risk/problem outweighs the potential risks of performing the flash).

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Are you talking about power loss when the computer is already running, or power loss altogether? My computer will do this even if the computer was not turned on at the time of power loss. The motherboard manufacturer was supposed to have fixed this with an update, and while it has worked for several people, I'm still experiencing it.

Does the hard drive spin up immediately when the computer is powered, and can what is going on damage my hard drive?


Power loss when the system is in standby (plugged in, but "off") is of minimal concern (unless it's associated with a large surge when power is restored, it's no different than just unplugging the machine while in standby, or cycling the on/off switch on the PSU (if one exists)) - power loss while the machine is active can result in data loss (whatever is in memory is generally lost, as memory is volatile), and potentially hardware damage depending on the nature of the power loss. The UPS is designed to prevent this from happening, which protects the machine in such a situation by keeping power going to the machine to allow it to shutdown properly.

The start/reboot cycle, as previously stated, is nothing to be worried about. It's no different than restarting the machine from within Windows, except the system isn't booting all the way into the operating system on the first cycle (which doesn't really matter to the hardware, and from Windows' (or whatever operating system's) perspective nothing is happening because it isn't booting or failing to boot).


PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner.


I have been an enthusiast of PC's for many years, and can answer questions about the purchase/use of a new computer or the purchase, installation, and use of upgrades for existing computers. There probably isn't a whole lot related to the home computer that I haven't seen over the years.

15+ years of experience

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.