Windows 7 crash and reboot (kernel-power error) - Check this out first RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • If you're having this problem (described in detail here) then here's a suggestion that might quickly resolve your problem: check to see if the vents on your computer are clogged. As suggested in one of the related threads the issue might be overheating, and the solution might not be as intense as messing with your hardware or device drivers.

    A few years ago I bought a high-end Toshiba laptop, where after a couple of years this problem started to occur—that the machine would inexplicably reboot without any warning. After attempting a number of unsuccessful solutions I ended up taking the laptop to an authorized repair store. When I returned to pick up the repaired laptop I was advised that the fan vent was so clogged with dust that the machine was just overheating, which caused the shutdowns. The problem wasn't obvious from the outside, and it turned out that while it was still under (extended) warranty this "repair" wasn't covered as it was considered maintenance which I was apparently responsible for (which seemed dubious to me as many users wouldn’t know to disassemble their laptops to keep it clean, let alone be comfortable tearing it apart in the first place). Nevertheless after I got the laptop back the problem didn’t reoccur, indicating that overheating was indeed the issue.

    I had forgotten about this when last week this same problem began to happen to my Dell desktop with Windows 7—sudden reboots where Computer Management displayed the kernel-power warning. My unit is under my desk, where generally I only look at it to turn on the power or mess with the headphone jack. After unsuccessful attempts to resolve this by messing with my software configuration I searched the MSFT forums and saw one of the techs mention overheating, which jogged my memory. After removing all the cables and pulling the unit out from under my desk the first thing I saw was that the vent holes on the side were totally covered by a thick layer of dust—it was as if the venting was covered with a thick piece of tape, totally preventing any air from coming in or out. Although the dust layer was easily removed I nevertheless opened the unit and cleaned each fan’s venting using a compressed-gas duster. (I should mention that recently the local weather has been warmer than usual where I live in the Seattle area, which may have contributed to the issue.)

    It has been a couple of days since I cleaned the unit, and while the reboot was previously happening fairly frequently (every couple of hours) it hasn’t happened at all since, which leads me to believe I have successfully identified and corrected the problem (I’ll followup is that was not the case).

    I thought I would share this experience to benefit others who might experience this same issue as the first thing to investigate, as the solution is simple and if it is indeed the cause of the problem will save others the time, trouble, and frustration (and possibly even expense) of other solutions. Though I can't say unconditionally that it will resolve the issue for you it nevertheless might be a good first (if not the only) step in resolving the problem.

    Monday, July 16, 2012 5:49 PM

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  • Mike

    Most system failures result in a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) and a dumpfile report is created providing that the computer has been configured to create reports.  In a limited number of system failures no dumpfile is created. A report is generated when the computer is next booted and placed in the System Log in Event viewer. The report is given an Event ID number 6008 and gives very little helpful information, save that the cause is unknown and that it occurred at the date and time specified. . A further report is placed in the Reliability Monitor with a red orb on the Miscellaneous Failures line and it is recorded as a Critical Failure. Unfortunately the Technical Details for this type of failure reveal no additional information.

    The more common causes of this type of failure all relate to power failure. These can be because:
    1. The user has pressed the Power On / Off button.
    2. A power failure or a loss of supply to home or office where the computer is located. If this has happened it will often be obvious because electric lights are other electrical appliances switch off.
     3. A faulty electrical appliance on the same electrical circuit as the computer or the computer trips the contact breaker or blows a fuse and switches off the supply for safety reasons.
     4. The power cable between the mains power socket and the computer becomes disconnected at either end.
     5. A power surge or lightning strike occurs. Your computer should connect to an uninterruptible power supply unit, which then connects to the mains supply. If an incident occurs you will have to reset the uninterruptible power supply unit. Without one of these units in place a lightning strike or power surge can damage the computer beyond repair.
     6. A faulty power supply unit. The best test here is to remove the existing power supply unit and replace with a known good power supply unit having the same capacity. Most home users do not keep a spare power supply unit to hand.
     7. A damaged or disconnected power cable or motherboard connector within the computer. You can check the cable is properly connected but a damaged motherboard is not easily checked.
     8. If the computer is a laptop check whether the battery can be fully charged, holds the charge and was or was not connected to a mains supply when the failure occurred.
    A related Microsoft Knowledge Base Article:

    If the Event ID 41 event viewer error contains a bug checker  there should be a dumpfile. Some of the earlier posters in the locked did not appreciate the distinction.

    Hope this helps, Gerry

    Monday, July 16, 2012 8:32 PM
  • Gerry,

    I'm sure that the issue can be caused by any of the items you mention. However in my case it was fairly obvious, and I see no problem with first ensuring that the unit isn't overheating--remember that this was the issue as described by the repair tech the first time I ran across this.

    My suggesting this as something to look for might quickly resolve the issue, as it did for me. It sure is a lot simpler than attempting to swap out the power unit or messing with the motherboard. If the unit's venting was dirty and the problem continues to manifest then of course it might be one of the items you listed. However in my case none of the items in your list applied to my situation, and the issue has not reoccurred since I cleaned the unit.

    One last thing. Your list doesn't include an item about possible overheating, though it was mentioned by another tech in a similar thread (which is what jogged my memory in the first place). I'd hate to think someone using your list as a TSG--without that overheating item--would go to all the trouble of running through those steps only to find that they are still experiencing the issue (though I would hope that with all the tinkering that the user would see that there is no or little air circulation in the pc). A quick search of the net where I plugged "Windows PC reboots overheating" into Bing bears this out, as the search results from various forums also listed this as a possible cause, so I would recommend you update your TSGs so the overheating item is added to it.



    • Edited by MikeTiano Wednesday, July 18, 2012 5:19 AM
    Wednesday, July 18, 2012 5:18 AM
  • Overheating is mentioned in KB 2028504. My point was that where there is an unexpected shutdown with no dumpfile there are a range of explanations.

    Hope this helps, Gerry

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012 6:44 AM