Random Shut down in Windows 10

Random Shut down in Windows 10 is nothing abnormal due to many causes. Most of them probably can be traced to software issues. With Windows 10, the OS takes the initiative to update itself without waiting for the end user to give the go ahead. It appears as if it is in a constant state of flux. When we faced random shut down in one of our computers, we assumed at first that it is a case of Windows’ exuberance.

One of our main computers is getting long in the tooth. It runs Intel Quad Core i5-760 Processor @ 3.33 GHz mated to Intel Tom Cove DH55TC Mother board. It runs quietly sitting in one corner and its OS is Windows 10 Pro version 1709.

After the system updated to the Fall Creators update, the system crashed at random. We know for sure, it was not due to any new found love for any virus or Malware as the system was locked down with multiple check points. It turned out that the CPU was inching dangerously close to the 90 degree C whenever a runaway Windows process forced itself to run.
Earlier it used to run Windows 7 and it never gave any complaint until it was updated to Windows 10.

Intel CPU cooler issues

Random Shut down in Windows 10

The Intel CPU cooler depended on the push pins to keep the cooler – the aluminum heatsink fitted with a fan, in close contact with the CPU. If you don’t over load the CPU and make conscious effort to keep the CPU usage to less than 50 %, you may not realize that something is amiss. It is possible that you may encounter an occasional shut down but then it is not anything unusual in Windows. Once Windows decided that it will install updates on its own, the occasional unexplained shut downs became frequent until it landed in my desk.

Intel CPU

We attended to the usual suspects – dust inside the tower case, checked the fans in and around the case and of course the CPU fan. The routing of the cables in the near vicinity of the CPU was reworked. All these produced zero results. The temperature continued to rise in direct proportion to the CPU usage. In normal computers, the temperature will reach its working temperature and maintain a range not exceeding 80 Degree C (176 degree F) even under severe load. In this case, it continued to edge past 90 degree C.

Intel CPU Cooler

It was earlier thought that the Heatsink compound between the CPU and the CPU cooler must have dried and rendered useless over a period of time. So we ordered Cooler Master MasterGel Pro high stability thermal compound. When the small package arrived, it is time to open the rig and get down to work.


Out came the CPU cooler. The copper mating surface was scrubbed, cleaned and allowed to dry. We used Isopropyl Alcohol for cleaning the Cooler. And then a liberal coat of MasterGel was applied and the cooler refitted. The trusty infra red thermometer was used to check the CPU Cooler assembly temperature. Baseline temperature was about 85.5 degree F (29.7 degree C). Within a couple of minutes of starting the Computer, the CPU cooler temperature rose to 181.4 degree F (83 degree C). The monitor showed almost 95% CPU usage. Apparently the cause of excessive heat was not resolved yet by the application of the MasterGel thermal compound.


CPU Heat Sink
CPU Heat Sink compound

On closer inspection, it turned out that the CPU cooler Push pins had failed to grasp. A new CPU cooler could rectify this issue albeit temporarily until the time came to clean the cooler by removing it. The original Push pins probably were not designed for multiple usage. They would appear as if they grasp well. But the constant fluctuation in the temperature may make them brittle and fail.

Intel CPU Cooler Push pins

We decided to remove the puny plastic CPU cooler Push Pins and replace it with something that will outlast the CPU. Finally we hit upon the idea of fixing the CPU cooler with 4 long stem screws and nuts.

Intel CPU Cooler fixing

Only problem is to dismantle the mother board to gain access to the back side. It is a small price to pay for the long time reliability and better cooling of the CPU. We completed the setup with a Cooler Master 12 V fan on the tower cabinet to throw extra air for a better overall lowered cabinet temperature.

Intel CPU Cooler fitted with Screws and nuts

Before closing the lid finally, the Infra red thermometer was used to check the result of our labor. Sure enough it showed 85.5 degree F for a long time. Inside sensors in the Motherboard seemed to agree with the external thermometer that at 100 % CPU usage, the core temperature didn’t rise beyond 60 degree C (140 degree F).

No more random shut down – ever now.

Browser Comparison 2017

Browsers are probably the single most often used application we use in our computers and hand held devices. Internet Explorer from Microsoft, Apples’ Safari, Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox have been the mainstay for a long time.
We reviewed browsers a long time ago here .

Then we reviewed the then new Edge Browser in 2016 here.

We have been using Firefox for most of our work despite its inherent limitations – its propensity to crash when multiple windows were opened and its outrageous use of memory. We found that in its portable avatar, it was easy to move the work from one machine to another without breaking into a sweat. When they introduced a completely revamped version – Firefox Quantum, a couple of days ago, we had to take the plunge.

Firefox Quantum has really come a long way from the earlier version – at the first glance. It loaded pages faster and gave a smaller memory footprint. Nearly 33 % of users have 4 GB in their computers, 22 % of users have 8 GB, according to the statistics culled from Mozilla’s hardware metrics here.

The above statistics confirmed our suspicion that the vast majority of users haven’t drastically upgraded their memory. This implies that browsers need to reduce the usage of memory for a better user experience. This is all the more important as many sites tend to open additional resources in a new tab/window – thus increasing the overall memory consumption.

Browsers Comparison : Safari Vs Chrome Vs Firefox Vs Internet Edge:

Anecdotal evidences are not enough to judge what makes a Browser fast or how much memory it occupied. We needed some sort of reliable benchmarking system to compare the browsers we want to test. So we used the browserbench.org to benchmark the browsers. We used Speedometer which measures the responsiveness of web applications.

Browser memory usage Comparison Chart

This is what Browserbench says about the speedometer : ‘
Speedometer measures simulated user interactions in web applications.
The current benchmark uses TodoMVC to simulate user actions for adding, completing, and removing to-do items. Speedometer repeats the same actions using DOM APIs — a core set of web platform APIs used extensively in web applications — as well as six popular JavaScript frameworks: Ember.js, Backbone.js, jQuery, AngularJS, React, and Flight. Many of these frameworks are used on the most popular websites in the world, such as Facebook and Twitter. The performance of these types of operations depends on the speed of the DOM APIs, the JavaScript engine, CSS style resolution, layout, and other technologies.’


When the tests were running, we also noted down their memory usage and prepared the charts as shown here.


Internet Edge Browser result
Chrome Browser result
Firefox Quantum Browser result
Safari Browser result
You will find that Edge browser has the edge over other browsers here when it comes to having the lowest memory foot print – it just took 15 MB. Chrome continues to impress us as it came next with 67 MB of memory and despite its low usage of memory, Chrome performed better in terms of speed, only second to Safari browser in this line up. The new Firefox Quantum slurped the highest in this line up – 124 MB – still a lot lower than the earlier version 55.0.3 which gulps down a massive 724 MB. Apple’s Safari browser which comes with the High Sierra performed the best in this lot – 88.


Browser Speed Comparison Chart
For actual real life usage, Safari outperformed every other browser. We find the FF Quantum and Chrome fast and stable with at least 10 windows open – something we couldn’t even try in the FF version 55.0. It is interesting to see that things haven’t much changed in terms of memory usage from the time we reviewed the browsers about 9 years ago.

High Sierra Features and Issues

Apple has launched the new MacOS High Sierra on 25th September 2017. We took the plunge of downloading and installing the OS with as much expectations as trepidation. If you are one of the first installers, you end up ironing out lots of bugs. We worried that some apps won’t be compatible with the new OS.

But our experiences till now turned out to be pleasant. Our Mini performed well without any sign of distress. We had to sort out a runaway process called as Photoanalysisd which tends to use up plenty of CPU resources and in the process slowing your computer to a crawl. You can read about how we resolved this issue later.

MacOS High Sierra

Installing High Sierra: It took us quite a bit of time to install the OS – about 45 minutes. It would have been more if it had installed APFS. Since we had a hard drive, the installer retained our HFS+ file system. The download was around 9 GB in all and once you agree to the usual T&C, it went on without any further inputs from us.

The first boot took a long time – not unusual for most OS. And then we took the system for a quick test. It turned out that Apple has made a significant change inside the OS. The graphics performance has increased perceptibly. Even the humble test we did using Novabench confirmed our perception. It gave a GPU score of 131 as against the earlier score of 43.


High Sierra Score

We show the old score for comparison.

High Sierra Score

APFS: (apple File System) is enabled only if you have a flash drive or SSD. If you have an old fashioned hard drive or a Fusion drive, the installation proceeds without installing the new APFS. You will not be able to capitalize on the features of APFS.

Features of APFS:

1. Comes with built-in encryption. The whole disk can be encrypted which enhances the security.
2. You can take snapshots at any point in time – highly useful if you want to roll back to a previous time.
3. It has a kind of dynamic space allocation : Apple calls it as Space-sharing which renders the operation of resizing the partition.
4. The replaced file system HFS+ was started in the year 1998. It is a bit long in the tooth and could manage only a certain storage capacity and number of files. The APFS now can manage upto a maximum of 9 quintillion files on a single volume.
5. It also tends to offer faster throughput compared against the outgoing HFS+. Copying of files is faster with APFS.

Metal 2 : Apple’s Graphics API useful for Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). According to Apple – ‘Now Metal 2 not only takes the visual experience to the next level, but also adds capabilities like machine learning, virtual reality, and external GPU support for entertainment and professional creative apps.

Built-in Support for newer media file formats: Apple introduced space saving and better compression in graphics and media with iOS 11. So as a corollary, it has provided native support to those file formats.
High Efficiency Video Encoding (HEVC) is a new format for video and High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) is the new format for images. In recent iPhones, Apple allows you to save your photographs in HEIF format rather than the JPEG format, thus saving quite a bit of space. But thoughtfully, Apple recodes the image files to the ‘normal’ JPEG format if you share them with others. Now with High Sierra, these HEIF and HEVC file formats are natively supported.

HEVC, also hitherto known as H.265, offers 40 % smaller file sizes compared with the previous standard video format, H.264.

Safari 11: Safari is what Netscape was many years ago – slow to change but stable. In all these years, personally we never replaced Safari in our Mac.

Safari 11 Browser


The new version Safari 11 is fast and stable. It has many features:

1. Option to turn off media auto play
2. Intelligent Tracking Prevention
3. Improved Performance.
4. Always-on Reader mode
5. Persistent page zoom
6. Notification controls

Photos: Apple always offered things – hardware as well as software which are intuitive to use. It is not complicated outwardly. But on the inside, under the hood, you have the finest technologies available. MacOS High Sierra’s Photos App appears simple enough. But click on the Edit button and it takes you to one of the most advanced image editors I have seen outside PhotoShop. You can adjust a whole gamut of options on the image.

Apple Photo App

But it has a serious flaw: If the photo app is not running, it spawns a process called as photoanalysisd which quickly takes up a lot of system resources. This can slow your computer very badly. It was designed to analyze your Photo collection and depending upon your collection of Photographs can run for days. We tried to kill the process many times all in vain. It respawned itself. But when we opened the Photo app, it went off. At the moment it is the only simple way to keep the process under control.



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