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  1. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2007
    Location: North America
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    It's strange, but I got a PC which seems to refuse to play video files anymore. Especially AVIs and MPGs.

    They start playing, and it doesn't matter what player is used (- WMP12, WMP6, MPC6, MPC-HC, GOM, even VLC [although it's harder to make VLC crash] -) - but then the computer just reboots.
    It doesn't always happen at the same point in the video.
    It happens with pretty much all AVIs. (I have mostly AVIs, at this point.)
    It happens with all files, independently of where they're stored: internal hard-drives, USB sticks, external hard-drives. (Of course those files play fine on other computers.)
    I've tried uninstalling and re-installing K-Lite, DivX, and it still happens. Practically, it seems to be worse now than ever.

    I remember somebody told me that, inside, that computer had some power capacitors (or some crap like that, I don't even know if I remembered the term right) that were abnormally bloated, so maybe that could be causing the PC to reboot.
    Would that be the cause, does anyone know?

    But if the motherboard has some bad/old/failing capacitors (- again, I don't know if I got the right word for those pieces -) how come it fails only when playing video?
    I can copy files, edit video, burn discs and more without the computer ever restarting...

    (Will try playing video games also, to see.)

    Or could there be another cause for the system rebooting every time a video file is played?

    [Of course, please, let's assume Windows, drivers, players, etc., are all installed correctly.]

    Thanks.
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  2. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2007
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    Oh, by the way -- and I thought this would be important enough to create a new reply, rather than editing -- I've noticed two things:
    1) the fuse allocated to the room where that computer is probably always very hot not long after these reboots (but not always hot when the computer is not heavily used, such as for playing demanding files);
    2) the computer is plugged into an extension splitter with an on/off button (- I would say a "power surge", but English is not my first language and, not having used this term before, I don't know if I'd be using it 100% right).

    So, would experts say they're probably due to the PC consuming an excessive amount of energy, those reboots?
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2005
    Location: UK
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    If this is a desktop PC (i.e. not a laptop) try taking the side panel off and seeing if your video files run OK now (or at least for longer). If they do, then you've got an overheating problem which could either be due to a build up of dust etc. in fans and/or heatsinks or the thermal paste between the top of the processor (CPU and/or GPU) has failed and needs replacing. If there's no difference then try unplugging ALL USB devices (even those that are independently powered) and run a video from the internal hard drive NOT from a memory card/stick or external hard drive. If the file now plays ok (or longer) then you may have a power supply issue.

    If neither of these tests shows any improvement then you could still have overheating and/or power supply issues, but your problems could equally be software related. Have you looked in the system logs yet to see if there are any hints as to what's going on there? Have you downloaded and installed one of the many Codec packs that are flaunted across the web as cure-alls for pretty much every video related problem that has ever been seen on a PC and yet tend to cause more problems than they solve? If the answer is no then get your PC checked out by someone who deals with this sort of stuff on a daily basis.
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  4. The usage of the K-Lite pack throws software into question.

    The usage of the extension splitter throws power into question. That is NOT a "surge protector" in any real sense.

    Both can, and should, be eliminated. The electric cord immediately.

    You can carefully examine the board for bulging caps. They look like little cans with crosses on the top. Should be flat.

    Most common cause for these symptoms is overheating. Blow the dust out of the fans and heatsinks, get a temp-monitoring program like Speedfan, and get some numbers.

    Also, pick up the PC, and move it to a different room with a different electrical circuit. Test.

    In the future, use real numbers whenever possible. Does the reboot happen after playing video for 5 minutes? 15? 30? 90? Without real numbers, most of the "information" you have given is nearly useless.

    Clarity is important. When you say "reboots", do you mean that the PC freezes and you must use Task Manager or the power switch to turn it off and then on? Does it shut down and then you must use the power switch? Or does it go to black screen and re-start Windows without any user intervention at all?

    Run a thorough virus scan with MalwareBytes.
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  5. Member
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    In response to TimA-C's reply:
    1) Okay, I tried it with only two USB devices connected; one is the mouse and the other a game controller which is always connected. Reboot after 5 seconds with Media Player Classic and then reboot after about 3 minutes with VLC Player (the next restart). Same file. If I try again, I'm sure I would get different durations, by the way.
    2) You say to see if files play longer when I do different things, but they play different lengths every time anyhow. One time, after reboot, I can play the same file 15 times longer, then another time as soon as the player starts it reboots. And it's never in strict descending order. Should I still try with the side panel opened?
    3) I would apply some thermal paste, but I have no idea what it looks like, where to get it, how much it costs and how to apply it. Is it worth the effort?
    4) I didn't look for any other codec packs. Besides K-Lite, I thought there was only CCCP. Of course, though, I tried using stand-alone players also, such as VLC and GOM, as I said. But the reboots still persist even when using these other players.

    In response to Nelson37's reply:
    1) I should eliminate K-Lite, you say? Nah, man, I can't! You know how many files wouldn't play without that codec pack? And I kind of hate the pack, too, you don't need to sell me on that. But I am just crazy about Media Player Classic. Not Home Cinema, the old one. (I think VLC, for example, looks ugly like hell, and its skins behave like they were made by retards (e.g. no fullscreen play slider). So, even though I'd like to use one good player and get rid of the K-Lite pack, there is no better option. [Maybe you know one option I don't??...]
    2) Also, I can't get rid of the six-outlet extended with the power on/off button. If I do, I won't be able to plug in half the things I'm using now.
    3) That's what I meant, the little cans with crosses on the top. I thought those were called 'capacitors'. Whatever. Anyway... At least 2 were not flat, but severely bulging, one of the last times I looked inside. An expert pointed that problem to me, and told me to think about another computer. [Is playing media files putting too much stress on this PC in that regard? What about video games? What should I not use on that PC anymore? How come burning DVDs is fine?]
    4) That's exactly what I'm going to do. Move the PC to another electrical circuit. I've been actually thinking whether that might be a good move. Thank you very much. (I'll do it as soon as possible.)
    5) I wanted to give real numbers, but like I previously said "[the crash] doesn't always happen at the same point in the video" and therefore it pretty much always happens after a different number of seconds/minutes. Yeah. So, it's not the file or the sectors of the drive(s). That much we know.
    6) Clarity: The PC goes to black screen and re-starts Windows without any user intervention at all.
    7) No need for virus checks, I believe. This computer has never ever been connected to the Internet since I got it.
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  6. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2004
    Location: Australia
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    Would that be the cause, does anyone know?
    How those caps might affect a system is a minefield of guess work ... but they place greater load on nearby connected components which affect the system in any number of ways ... add the os layer on top and the problems multiply.

    You problem might be best solved by replacing the system board or a new pc.
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  7. Member
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    Hmm, my bad luck, I guess, huh?

    That's probably also why the fuse gets hot, too. The electrical part of the computer doesn't handle power as well as before, right?

    I should re-profile this PC on being used only for browsing the Internet and other lighter operations, right?
    (If I want to keep it, that is - I'm quite sure I'm not savvy enough to replace the motherboard and re-wire everything, even if I was lucky enough to get a suitable board to work just like this one...)

    Thanks.
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  8. Member
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    Originally Posted by jeanpave View Post
    ... I should eliminate K-Lite, you say? Nah, man, I can't! You know how many files wouldn't play without that codec pack? ...
    They would if you used a player that doesn't need that crap, which is known to cause system comflicts. It isn't the worst but yanked it from my windows system ages ago, along with all other 3rd party codec packs.

    One such player is, yes, vlc. It's not my favorite but it's quite useable whether you like the skins or not. BTW I won't touch 3rd party skins either. You're asking for more software problems, which may be a part of your more important problem here. In windows it's my favorite music player I've tried but I don't play music in windows any more.

    Another is smplayer, which is my default player in both linux and windows, though I rarely use windows these days. I get better video playback performance with that than anything else, plus it will play files that vlc won't.

    Potplayer doesn't need 3rd party codecs either but, while I've never uninstalled it from my windows partition, it's such a poorly documented bugfest I rarely used it.

    This may be a digression from your more serious issue but I agree software may be contributing to it.

    Above all: when you're trying this sort of thing it's very important to change only one thing at a time.
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  9. Whether you have software problems or not, those bulging capacitor are a ticking timebomb. Replace them. Or the entire motherboard.
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  10. Member
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    I'll keep smplayer in mind, for sure, and will be trying it very soon, hopefully. Thanks.

    Thanks, jagabo. I'm not an expert, though. Is it even possible to replace just a capacitor, or two?
    Since I'm not an expert, like I said, I would try to replace just one piece, if it's easy enough. But an entire motherboard... I'd rather just keep the computer for pieces (or only for surfing the Internet or something).
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  11. Member DB83's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2007
    Location: United Kingdom
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    I am no electronics expert either but I do wonder if these bulging capacitors are the result rather than the cause of the issue.

    You have not stated your OS but my XP machine will also reboot if there is a serious problem. However you can over-ride that in 'Sytem Properties/Start Up and Recovery' by un-checking the re-boot box and dumping your memory to HD. MS provides a utility to read that dump and give you some clues as to the root of the problem if it is related to your PC itself rather than external power.

    I had a similar issue some time ago and the dump reported the problem was related to the video card.

    Another thing you could try is to move the slider in the troubleshooting section of display properties from full right (if that is where it is) to a middle position.

    Mind you, you should never discount the fact that the problem really is a bad driver or a corrupted update. Think back, if you can, to when the PC behaved normally and what has been installed/updated since then.
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  12. Member
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    I've had a couple of motherboards develop these problems. In both cases it was in an area close to the CPU
    which is responsible for the CPU voltage regulation. One box I no longer have, and the second I'm still using a year
    after I replaced the 6 caps in that area.
    badcaps.net is a site dedicated to the issue.
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  13. Originally Posted by jeanpave View Post
    Is it even possible to replace just a capacitor, or two?
    Yes. It's pretty easy if you have any experience with soldering.
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  14. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    Location: Toronto Canada
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    I had the exact same problem with an XP desktop, more or less exactly, as you described. It would reboot at random times when playing video, whether it's two minutes, or even a couple of hours (and maybe reboot with another different task or two, don't remember).

    I started using compressed air every week or so, and it did improve things, but the reboot problem still existed, albeit in longer intervals between.

    Advice I received said it's either the processor or motherboard for sure. It's overheating/defective/broken/etc.

    I decided to replace both. Problem solved. It's been about 7 years, and I still use this PC for random stand-alone tasks and it hasn't happened since.

    Unless I missed it somewhere - what kind of PC did you get?

    Did you buy one of these "packages" from some electronics chain (like I did - never again)? Those typically have lots of cheap parts under the hood, hence why they are "good deals", and hence why they are problematic later. (Even the burner bummed out after a couple of months - had to replace several items on that thing.)
    Been away for a while and busy with work the last few months so I had no time for forums. My apologies for any emails I couldn't get to in time - missed you all! :-)
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  15. Member johns0's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2002
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    It's not very easy to replace the capacitors since they are soldered into multilayered circuits,you have to have a very good soldering iron/station with solder wick and know how to pull the caps out and then replace them since the solder is had to remove due to the layered copper traces.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  16. Member Noahtuck's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jeanpave View Post
    ... I should eliminate K-Lite, you say? Nah, man, I can't! You know how many files wouldn't play without that codec pack? ...

    You can put lipstick on a pig......

    Obviously he does not have a clue or really care......
    Originally a member since 2001, LONG LIVE TARAN's!!!
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  17. Member netmask56's Avatar
    Join Date: Sep 2005
    Location: Sydney, Australia
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    You need to take it to a computer service person and have it checked out. Swollen caps are often the source of similar problems with PVR's especially after around 5 years+. Capacitors don't last forever and if it is was an inexpensive computer then the components are not going to be top of the line. Check for dust - it's amazing the number of computers that look like the contents of a vacuum cleaner bag when you open them up. I doubt if your problem has anything to do with what codecs or any other piece of software you have unless there is a very nasty bit of malware or virus on your computer, but I doubt it. It sounds power supply problem to me. Good luck
    TheVoiceIsAnotherPerson ~ BeyonWiz DP-P1 PVR + LiDiC ~ Popcorn C200 ~ Samsung ES8000 65" LED TV ~ Windows 7 ~ Yamaha RX-A1030
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  18. Member DB83's Avatar
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    My issue with the hardware path that the replies are going on is why this only happens for the OP when he plays videos. He says he is editing without issue and I would have thought that that process would use more resources - CPU etc. - and invoke similar problems but it does not.

    That is why I do believe he should take a step back and look at his software. He complains of not being able to play the majority of his vids without a codec pack. How many of us rely on a codec pack to play the majority of our videos ?
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  19. The hot fuse, bulging caps, complete re-boot all point to hardware, possible electrical issue in the building. He has also tested with VLC, which has in-built codecs.

    To the OP - instead of crapware like K-lite, you simply install the two or three codecs you really need. Also, look closely at Puzzler's post, noting the exact time values given. Those numbers, actual numbers, ELIMINATE overheating as a problem, or at least severe overheating. Your statements do not. "sometimes 2-3 minutes, sometimes 2 hours or more" conveys a TREMENDOUS additional amount of information and useful diagnostics, whereas your post is lacking severely in that regard. I did not ask just because I was curious.

    If you have severely bulging caps, the PC is going to die, and sooner rather than later. Unlikely anyone will be harmed, so just run it till it drops, unless reliability is critical. You will just need to live with whatever wacky behavior it exhibits. Repair is possible, but difficult and not really cost-effective. Caps are cheap but so are old, used mobo's.

    Which reminds me that you have not filled out your PC information, nor given any details in this post. I'll try polishing my crystal ball, but sometimes the guessing games get annoying.
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  20. Member PuzZLeR's Avatar
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    If my post seemed vague, it was unintentional. My objective was to point out that I didn't know what was wrong with the PC at all, just how I repaired it anyway.

    Originally Posted by Nelson37 View Post
    Caps are cheap but so are old, used mobo's.
    I bought my motherboard and processor new, with a good brand, and quite inexpensively actually. After the fact, I noticed even better deals on eBay, even brand new.

    This is still the case today. If you know the specs you want, it won't be expensive to replace these parts and have peace of mind. I still believe the O/P bought one of those "specials", which are a good deal, but have cheap and problematic OEM equipment inside.

    Although I don't think it the problem here, I too say avoid using codec packs. Use CCCP instead - it's actually a codec pack that attempts to not be a "codec pack".
    Been away for a while and busy with work the last few months so I had no time for forums. My apologies for any emails I couldn't get to in time - missed you all! :-)
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  21. Member
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by jeanpave View Post
    Is it even possible to replace just a capacitor, or two?
    Yes. It's pretty easy if you have any experience with soldering.
    The truth is that if you had the years of experience necessary to do this without worrying about bricking your PC, you wouldn't be asking if it is possible to do it because you would know how to do it.

    I don't find it helpful for jagabo and some others here in other threads to suggest that this kind of work is "easy" when it's not easy at all. Brain surgery is also "easy" for those who have specialized training in it, but I sure wouldn't suggest that some random dude who asks about that has about a 100% chance of doing it correctly the first time if he has held a soldering iron in his hand one time and used it. Sure, jeanpave can roll the dice and perhaps he can do it correctly, but I think johns0 has nailed it with his response. As someone with "any soldering experience" who has bricked a device by attempting a supposedly "easy" soldering job (not a capacitor replacement, but just a simple soldering job), I feel that this kind of thing is not as easy as suggested.
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  22. His computer will very shortly be bricked anyway. It already is, essentially.
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  23. Member
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    His computer will very shortly be bricked anyway. It already is, essentially.
    I agree, all bets are off in this situation, anything could happen at any time.
    Not much point discussing any "symptoms" until it's repaired. There are some places on the 'net
    that do it, send them the board, they'll fix it and send it back -
    or, if you have some soldering experience, could try DIY.
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