Windows XP automatic nightly reboots

Can somebody help this Mac user with a Windows problem? I’ve got a cheap eMachines Windows XP machine that don’t use much. I bought it last year when my old Mac G4 finally bit the dust, as an interim solution, so that I could still do e-mail/Internet while I figured out how I was going to replace the Mac.

Anyway, once I got a new Mac, I thought I’d use the PC for a distributed computing project (Folding@Home). But every time I’d check F@H’s progress, I’d discover the program had apparently crashed, so I eventually gave up on that. A couple days ago I decided to try out Dungeons & Dragons Online, which only runs on Windows. I downloaded the software overnight, planning to install it the next day, so I left IE open in the background (for the instructions on the Web page). Next morning, both IE and the DDO downloader/installer had apparently crashed.

I discovered the actual problem last night, only because I’d hooked up speakers and had left the monitor powered on (but “asleep”). A bit after 3:00AM I was awakened (my computers are in my bedroom) by the room suddenly lighting up, and then blown out of bed by Windows startup music.

Aha! Windows XP is, for whatever reason, rebooting itself in the middle of the night. Programs I’d left running weren’t crashing, they were simply shutting down for these reboots. So does anybody know why XP is doing this? And can I change a setting somewhere so that it will stop doing this?

I haven’t installed any 3rd-party utilities (virus scanners, etc). In fact, I’ve installed very little of anything on this PC.

If youre set to use automatic updates at a certain time, it will reboot at that time. Normally you’ll get a little icon in the corner telling you “This computer rebooted to install updates.” This is only once a month, not every night.

If it isnt updates then you may have a bad power supply which is cycling power randomly or anything causing it to blue screen (bad driver, bad hardware, etc). XP by default reboots when it gets a blue screen. If this is the case you should see some events in the event log regarding this. Usually windows will boot up warning you “A serious error has occured.”

My money is on the automatic updates. Turn them off or have it so it downloads them automatically but waits for your approval before installing them.

Took me a long time to figure that one out when I was having those same issues.

I’ll check that. I’ve really used this PC very little, so pretty much everything should still be set to the defaults.

ETA: Yup, I checked it and it was set for “Automatic Updates”, “Every day” at 3:00 AM.

Switched it to “Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them.”

Thanks :slight_smile:

Right, but if its rebooting everyday then thats not the issue. These updates come out once a month not everyday, and it will only reboot when they come out.

Also, a very, very big vulnerability was patched yesterday. I dont recommend shutting off the auto install feature. You may not have got it and you wont get the next one if you slack on updates.

Right, but the update is already on his computer. He just needs to click “install.”

I can think of one way it would keep trying to reboot for an update every night. A failed update. Every night it would try the same update again. i’ll even bet on it being Net Framework. That’s the one that eventually cocks up for me.

Yup, there was something waiting for me to install (why it didn’t install itself before it did the reboot, I don’t know - it was waiting there before I turned off the auto updates. It installed IE8 and some other stuff, including some security updates, I think.