Lightroom: spontaneously shuts down my computer (defective hardware)

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  • Problem
  • Updated 6 years ago
  • Not a Problem
  • (Edited)
Up until recently, my Lightroom 3 program has been working very well. However, for the past couple of weeks, especially when I am editing a picture in the Develop Module, the computer will spontaneously shut down and restart; I had one incident of this with Photoshop CS 5 Extended also. I have no idea how to fix it. I have deleted the program and reinstalled it, and even started a new catalog. If I had to pick one activity that causes it to do this, it would be using the mouse to adjust highlights or saturation. Any advice you can offer me will be greatly appreciated. I am operating Windows 7 and I have downloaded the latest version. I have more than enough RAM and I don't think my computer is hot. No other program I run does this.
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Francis Montone

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Posted 8 years ago

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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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Lightroom uses more or at least different capabilities of your computer than other programs, so I'd expect there is a hardware issue or perhaps an incompatible driver issue.

I would guess a bad memory chip or a loose connection, perhaps on the video card.

If you are not afraid to open your computer and pull memory out, then do that, half at a time, or 1/3 at a time, or 1/4 at a time, or whatever fraction of memory you can safely remove and have the computer still function depending on what sort of computer you have, and then swap the memory around, and pull another fraction, to see if that makes any difference in when LR has an effect, to narrow down if it is a particular memory chip. Also try pulling and re-inserting your video card.

It is possible that the power supply is having issues, too.

If you're not comfortable doing things inside your computer, ask someone else to do it.

There are utilities that can show you the CPU and video temperature if your system has the capability of reporting such, as well as if one or more of the fans is offline.
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Chris Cox

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Official Response
Software cannot cause a machine to spontaneously shutdown or restart. Only problems in the OS, low level drivers, and hardware can do that.

The most common cause: bad RAM.
Second most common cause: defective motherboards.
Third most common cause: bad power supply.
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Jim Wilde

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It's interesting that the PC automatically restarts after the shutdown. This, to me at least, implies an OS issue rather than a hardware one.....although I would also expect the BSOD in this situation. Is it possible that you have 'Automatically Restart' set as an option in the System Failure part of the Startup and Recovery properties? In this case the BSOD would only be visible for a few seconds.

Maybe uncheck that option so that on the next failure the system won't restart automatically (you'll have to press and hold the power button for a few seconds to get the PC to turn off, then press again to re-boot). But you'd certainly see any error messages on the screen if any are there and thus you can start chasing it down.

Speaking of error messages, have you checked the system log to see if anything has been recorded at the time of failure?

If the system is NOT restarting automatically then I would agree that it sounds like a hardware issue. You say that you don't think your PC is running hot, my question is: how do you know? Are you running any system monitors to check the CPU and MB temperatures?
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Chris Cox

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That's normal for a "power supply failure" (which can really be caused by many things). Some BIOS have a setting for shutdown or restart.

We've seen this many times before, and the causes I listed above are the most common by far.

Oh, and some BIOS will also display a message at restart about why it restarted (though many just say "regulator failure").
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Jim Wilde

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Thanks for the clarification, Chris...I hadn't realised that there may be an 'auto restart' BIOS setting as well as the OS setting. To be honest, though, it seems a bit curious as often the shutdown is to prevent system damage, e.g. overheating CPU or MB, so automatically restarting in those situations would seem counter-productive. Or is there more intelligence there than I realise?
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Chris Cox

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Yeah, it's a bit more complex. The system can reboot and retest the power supply - which is usually fine anyway. Since the problem is normally a transient event caused by heavy load (moving a lot of data), the system will test fine until it gets stressed again (like, maybe, running optimized image processing code).
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Francis Montone

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I want to thank all of you for your input. I got quite an education. I spent several hours with Dell's tech support people, and, hopefully, we have figured it out. It did appear to be a hardware problem, and, after running diagnostics, long story short, it appears to be a faulty hard drive. It will be replaced soon, so I'll see if it rectifies the problem.

Thanks again,
Francis Montone
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Stefan Eggers

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I have this issue too. I am using Lightroom 4.4 and Windows 8. I only have this problem while using Lightroom. There are no problems using other software.
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Chris Cox

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Please see the previous responses.
Your problem is with the OS, low level driver, or hardware.