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PC keeps rebooting itself - please help!

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by j_to_da_t, 3 Aug 2006.

  1. j_to_da_t

    Associate

    Joined: 24 Dec 2005

    Posts: 77

    I built a PC for my mum months ago, but it hasn't been used for a couple of months. It was working fine before but after I connected it all up again yesterday it kept resetting itself during the boot process. It would normally get to the 'Windows XP' screen with the scrolling bar at the bottom, indicating that windows was booting, but then reset itself. It even got to the WinXP desktop with everything loaded before again rebooting.
    I was just wondering what the most common cause for this constant rebooting would be; maybe faulty memory?
     
  2. manveruppd

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 24 Feb 2004

    Posts: 1,086

    Location: Leeds/Cyprus

    Has it been connected to the internet? To be honest I'm thinking far more likely to be a virus than a hardware fault. Unless of course your mum's been overclocking it :p
    Try booting into Safe mode. Once you're in there go into Control Panel>System>Advanced>Startup and Recovery and uncheck the "Reboot Automatically" box so you can at least get a BSOD and find out what's making it crash.
    If it won't boot into Safe Mode boot into Command Line mode and run CHKDSK. If you think it's faulty memory run Memtest86 from a bootable floppy, but my money's on a software fault.
     
  3. j_to_da_t

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    Joined: 24 Dec 2005

    Posts: 77

    Thanks for the advice; I'll check all that out when I get home. I was thinking of running Unix from a live cd as that would tell me whether it was a fault with the software or the hardware, correct?
     
  4. BookWorm

    Associate

    Joined: 31 Jul 2006

    Posts: 11

    I had a simular problem with my computer the registery got corrupted i think.

    I had to re-install Windows in the end to fix the problem.
     
    Last edited: 3 Aug 2006
  5. manveruppd

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 24 Feb 2004

    Posts: 1,086

    Location: Leeds/Cyprus

    Yeah if you have a disc-bootable copy of another OS, and it manages to boot ok, then things would point towards the software. But unless she's had it stored in a damp basement or next to a big magnet for the past 2 months, the software would be the prime suspect anyway!:p
     
  6. j_to_da_t

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    Joined: 24 Dec 2005

    Posts: 77

    Ah, I knew I shouldn't have leant it against that large, slightly damp magnet in the basement! :D

     
  7. j_to_da_t

    Associate

    Joined: 24 Dec 2005

    Posts: 77

    Tried the Unix Live CD and it ran for about 5 mins before rebooting itself. Before I start formatting the HD and reinstalling an OS, is there any way I can get a backup of the contacts and emails in Outlook, without being able to be in the program itself?
     
  8. manveruppd

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 24 Feb 2004

    Posts: 1,086

    Location: Leeds/Cyprus

    If it's rebooting in Unix as well then it's probably not software related, so why reinstall? Go into the PC Health menu in your BIOS setup and check your CPU temps, it might be simply that your heatsink isn't seated properly and it's overheating? Other than that download Memtest86 (the bootable floppy version) and run it to check your RAM... apart from that I'm stumped I'm afraid, you just need to keep replacing bits till you find what's wrong! :confused:
     
  9. j_to_da_t

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    Joined: 24 Dec 2005

    Posts: 77

    How can I tell if the CPU's overheating, what temp should I be seeing? It's a P3 933Mhz btw.

     
  10. Gusev

    Associate

    Joined: 5 Aug 2006

    Posts: 49

    Location: Cambridge

    If you want to back up the data then the best bet is to take the HDD out of the machine that is randomly rebooting and putting it into another machine. The only downside would be is if the Hard Drive is up the creek and that is what is causing the machine to reboot. Another thing to try is if you have SP2 on the machine then you can click F8 and choose "Disable Automatic Restart" and see if there is a blue screen error message.
     
  11. kitten

    Gangster

    Joined: 5 Aug 2006

    Posts: 234

    Location: in a well

    Temperature may or may not be shown on one of the BIOS pages.. depends on mobo BIOS. Should be no more than 35/40Deg c when idle.

    And manveruppd is right, if it falls over in Linux too then it is a hardware problem. There are quite a few freeware DOS based diagnostic programs available... http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ freeware boot CD and diagnostics.

    :)

    good luck
     
    Last edited: 6 Aug 2006
  12. [email protected]

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 29 Oct 2005

    Posts: 2,450

    Location: Newcastle upon Toon

    That should be the location of your .pst (personal folder files) for outlook on the disk.

    C:\Documents and Settings\Mark\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst

    Obviously replace 'Mark' with the required username. Outlook.pst is the default one, but if you have one than one email account configured (i run my hotmail through mine) then you will have other .pst files - one for each account i believe.

    M
     
  13. j_to_da_t

    Associate

    Joined: 24 Dec 2005

    Posts: 77

    So after much trial and error; trying to pin point which component was erroneous, I still have the re-booting problem. I have, however, noticed that the computer always resets itself when it is trying to boot an OS. It stayed on when I was using DOS utilities, but when trying to boot a Unix live cd and, after going through the whole WinXP format and install process, it then reset itself only when getting to the XP boot splash screen.

    Does this indicate any specific problem that I have overlooked?
     
  14. kitten

    Gangster

    Joined: 5 Aug 2006

    Posts: 234

    Location: in a well

    The CPU is used in real mode when in DOS, I don't remember the technicalities but it is used differently under DOS than under a multitasking OS like Linux/Windoze. Also not all memory is accessed under DOS either, only the first 1Mb unless EMM is used to setup some extended memory. DOS may also not be initialising hardware that is detected and initialised by Linux and Windoze.

    It does look like a memory issue though. If you haven't done so yet, run memtest over night in a DOS session. Or quicker still, if you have some spare RAM swap it out.

    Have you tried running windows without add on cards, other drives and USB devices. ie just CPU, RAM, Boot HD and Vid card? If board has integrated graphics try booting without any vid card and use the on board graphics.
     
  15. [email protected]

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 29 Oct 2005

    Posts: 2,450

    Location: Newcastle upon Toon

    Try booting into the various Safe Modes.

    It sound like once windows has loaded a driver it is having a problem running a device.

    See if it runs ok then.

    If not, try removing all unnecessary devices like floppy, HDD, (use onboard GFx if it has them)- then boot from a Linux CD like UBUNTU.

    If it still crashes its pretty much sure to be a limited selection of hardware thats the issue.

    M