I sent my PC back to Shuttle because I was sure that what was happening was a hardware problem. The computer used to randomly reboot every day or two. This went on for almost a year, but I never wanted to send the system in or anything, so I kept running it. I always ran Linux and didn’t like Windows enough to keep it running for days at a time to see the symptoms. I tried Debian, I tried RedHat, I even tried Mandrake, and all of them had this behavior. Eventually something terrible happened (not sure what, could have just been random) and my hard drive crashed, and I lost all my data. Well, a lot of work on Adam Batkin’s part helped me to recover most everything, and I got a replacement from Western Digital, which I put into my box. Got a nice clean Debian install on it, and it ran fine for a few days, very nice, and then bang! Started rebooting every 5 minutes. Couldn’t do anything about it. I (thought I) tested it with Knoppix, which is a bootable Linux CD, and it also crashed, although now I’m not sure. Anyway, I sent the whole SB51G back to Shuttle for repairs. For those who may Google for this problem later (after I resolve it), I’ve got a 180GB hard drive (I thought it could have had something to do with the large hard drive, but nope), a NVidia GeForce4 Ti video card (not a problem either, I don’t think, at this point), and 512MB of Kingston ValuRam.
It looks like the problem does relate to my Linux install after all, and not the processor or RAM as I had finally settled on. I’m able now to boot from Knoppix (and that’s how I’m writing this) with the hard drive plugged in and mounted, and it only does the strange 5 minutes in crashes when running from my Debian install on the HD. It gets all the way through into Gnome and calms down, and then crashes. Very odd. Knoppix 3.3, which is a Debian-based distro, does not crash. Could one of my upgrades given me a bad kernel, one that Knoppix doesn’t have? Maybe. Will fixing that fix the problem of crashes every day or two? Who knows? I’ll post here as I work this one through. And to think, after all that, it wasn’t hardware at all. How strange!