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Yesterday my computer suddenly powered down, without warning or going through the normal shutdown procedure.

I know it wasn't a powercut because everything else in the house stayed on. This is the first time it has happened, and it turned on again without a hitch (bar some fsck'ing).

My question is, where do I begin looking for a reason why. I appreciate it could be hardware, and was hoping someone could lead me in the direction of some logs, etc. that I could use to confirm that it isn't a problem in Ubuntu; or learn a little more about how it happened.


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Sudden power down could possibly a protection mechanism against overheating. There should be kernel messages regarding this in your error logs at /var/log/kern.log and /var/log/debug

If it's related to overheating:

  • What were you doing while the power got cut down? Something CPU / GPU intensive?
  • Is your CPU overclocked?
  • There are various applications to monitor your temperature, CLI and GUI. One program for the terminal is sensors (sudo apt-get install lm-sensors). KDE has a Temperature widget, I expect Gnome to have something similar for its panel.
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Hi, some good advice. Unfortunately in this case I know that it's not over-heating (having previously had trouble due to failing thermal couplant). Any other suggestions are more than welcome. – thomas michael wallace May 29 '11 at 15:10
@thomas: try removing dust from the inside of your computer (desktop). I've once had random errors varying from an infinite loop in starting up to lock-ups which were gone after cleaning the inside. In the event of power-loss the logfiles are often corrupt or missing, anyway check your logs. – Lekensteyn May 29 '11 at 19:55
thanks, i'll give that a go. haven't had any trouble since so guessing it was a bit of a dip in power or something. – thomas michael wallace May 29 '11 at 20:38

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