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Magic Dell desktop switches off by text

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Application security programs and practises

A big thank you to Register reader Chris who sent us an interesting email conversation between a systems administrator and Dell technical support.

It concerned problems with Dell's GX520 desktop machines which were powering down unexpectedly. An exchange of emails with Dell's technical support failed to shed any light on what was causing the shutdowns which seemed to happen entirely at random.

But then the administrator - Ben - discovered what was causing the computers to switch off. Not only that but he found a blog where someone was hosting a video of exactly the same problem.

If you put a mobile phone near the hard disk and that phone receives a text message or phone call then the computer will go into suspended animation.

Blogger Rickard Liljeberg found this so weird that he took, and posted, a video of the shutdown on his blog.

We got a response from Dell which reads as follows: "Communication devices do sometimes cause interference with other communication devices. The level of interference created may depend in part on the model and condition of the phone.

"Dell systems are designed to operate in line with industry standards for power and electro-magnetic shielding. We recommend to customers who are experiencing interference to avoid using mobile phones within one foot of the system. We encourage customers to contact Dell directly if they have other concerns."

Any other Reg readers who've had problems with mobile interference let us know at the usual address.®

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