That’s the lesson I’ve learned over the past several weeks. This is my story.

Last month, my computer starts going nuts on me by randomly restarting every couple days for some unknown reason. At first I suspect there might be something wrong with the OS or drivers, but then the restarts begin occurring even during bootup, so that throws the OS out of the picture and leaves me with the job of finding which piece of hardware is causing the problem.

Natural instinct tells me it’s my CPU overheating, so I take off the heat sink, clean it with some isopropyl alcohol, reapply thermal paste, and stick it back on the CPU. The temps read around 40 C, which is good. However, after a few hours of uptime, the restart problem comes back, even though the temps hadn’t go up at all.

So, I begin systematically taking out components and testing the uptime with various configurations. At first, the network card becomes the prime suspect, because my computer appears stable when I take it out– but that turns out to just be coincidence. Then one of my memory sticks appears to be the problem, but again it’s just coincidence. I unplug various HDDs and, with my still-suspicious network card and memory stick still out of the picture, my computer appears stable– until one morning I wake up to find my computer in a continuous reboot cycle. Oh the pain!

Eventually, the problem becomes so bad that the video doesn’t even come on during bootup. At this point I can only imagine that the problem must be a faulty power supply with unstable voltages. So, I replace my 430 Watt Antec TruePower (true power my ass) with an Enermax 600 Watt NoiseTaker, and now my computer has been up and running for the past 3 days with EVERYTHING plugged in. And, surprisingly enough, everything still works, despite all the restart cycles that occurred. I can finally let out a sigh of relief and sing hallelujah.