So? You have few years old hardware & opted to upgrade to Windows 10, when it was offered free? don’t worry, you made a wise choice. Although the OS is not perfect, it is better than Windows 8.x, definitely feature richer than predecessors…until your box starts rebooting once in few minutes or few times per day.
Your event logs for system will plainly say “kernel-power” and about an unclean restart, which is a critical event.
There could be a number of reasons, starting from the OS’s new power management “features” conflicting with your legacy hardware, components like additional audio or video cards behaving strangely after being there for last many years etc. This post is not a single stop solution for all your “kernel-power” issues, instead, few guidelines those may help you to narrow down the issues and resolve them in a timely manner.
My semi-server type desktop machine is 6+ years old. I never bought myself a branded desktop machine as I always needed powerful (please read affordable to my budgets) boxes for database development & virtual machines. I opted to go with the free Windows 10 upgrade when it was offered and never had many issues with the box or OS until last month. My kids (who are using the desktop mostly now days for their entertainment) started complaining about the machine rebooting quite often & I suspected the poor wall point (which truly required a replacement along with the extension board) & immediately changed it. Things were better for a while and then came the October update build 1809. The unexpected reboots were sporadic, sometimes once in just few minutes time! I scavenged through the event logs and found multiple “kernel-power” event entries. So I started going through many articles those were patiently explaining what are the factors those could cause “kernel-power” events
- Bad power supply units
- Conflicting Audio components
- Old base boards (motherboards)
- Bad power sockets
- and Windows power management
I was sure that my XFX 850W PSU cannot be wrong ;), so without wasting much time, I moved on to audio. My motherboard has RealTek audio built-in and I have extended my box with a Creative Sound Blaster Zx card almost year back when my Audigy gave up. So I removed the Creative sound card and the box started behaving properly for approximately one and half days before giving up to random reboots.
Slowly I started building up a pattern for the reboots. I noticed that the machine only rebooted when I was streaming youtube videos and ONLY while I played videos the box rebooted. My box had a nvidia GT 520 card to play the only one game ever owned “Swat 4”!
I opened up the box again and removed the PCIE2.0x16 card out to realize that the card was totally packed with dust. Without giving it another chance booted the box with on-board display to insure that the issues were related to the GPU (This was the wild guess part)
Well, for me, all the kernel-power events stopped ever since I removed the nvidia card from the box. Not a single reboot after hours of streaming or playing downloaded video clips.
So, is my nvidia display card really faulty? I don’t know for sure. Nvidia didn’t push new drivers for this card from last many months & the issues could be from conflicting software components between the OS and the card driver (could be!). I’ve to find some time very soon to be sure!
In the same scenarios, you can try the following in case if you also own an extended desktop that experiences “kernel-power” events once after upgrading to recent builds of Windows 10
- Remove all additional cards from the box
- Remove all software related to the cards those you have removed from the box
- Make sure to dust off your box from inside (Use a powerful blower, and from a safe distance to dust off)
- Insure all the cables are tightened securely in places
- Keep playing videos for extended periods of time (To insure there are no reboots)
In addition to above few, a computer could start acting weird when any of the component used within starts having hardware or software issues. If none of the above tests resolves your issues, may be it is the time to start thinking about a new box (unfortunately)
I hope few out there find the above useful!