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Computer reboots once then starts working normally

I am going haywire with my PC. Recently it started rebooting by itself and giving me blue screens in XP. So I installed windows 2000 which had never given me problems. Unfortunately, the same thing happens. After about 5 minutes after boot, my pc reboots itself. Sometimes it just goes all black and the disk light keeps flashing.

I've formated my PC twice, reinstalled everything, got the latest graphics card drivers (since I've found out LOTS of people are having problems with XP, and NVidia cards.) I even swapped my two memory chips to see if it could be that. No change.

I haven't added new hardware recently, but it all started when I started getting blue screens and errors from infinite loops in the graphics driver. Now it seems the driver doesn't blue screen anymore but just reboots.

Has anybody had any similar problems ? I am suspecting graphics drivers, but am scared of a hardware problem. And on every reboot it is almost certain that some or other windows file gets messed up and I have to repair. Strangest thing is it only seems to happen when I'm in windows. My computer never reboots when I'm playing a game or anything like that.

It's driving me crazy... Any help or ideas would be appreciated.

My configuration is :
P3 - 1GHz
Motherboard with Via chipset
Geforce256 32Mb - Drivers 11 June 2002
640Mb Ram
Windows 2000 - SR2

2 Solutions
Here's some ideas...this is certainly a distressing problem:

Have you checked for heat problems? If your computer is overheating, it will cause BSOD errors and screen freezes. If your motherboard supports heat monitoring, either the BIOS or a free third-party utility should help you check on the heat.

Also, is your power supply sufficient to handle the load placed on it? I would recommend at least a 300-watt PSU, and be sure to get a good one. If you haven't installed any new hardware and have been using that PSU for a while, it's not likely that it's having problems all of a sudden.

Also, make sure you don't have a virus. If you have a virus scanner, get the latest updates and scan your drives. If not, (and assuming I remember correctly), InnoculateIT is a good, free virus scanner. Norton AntiVirus is also a decent choice.

Finally, have you tried booting with only one stick of RAM in there? I don't see how that would be a problem, but since I've never seen a PIII with that much RAM before it might be an issue.

I hope some of this rambling helps ;)
Set AGP mode at 2x (this is more stable setting) and increase graphic aperture size to 128MB (you have a lot of RAM).
If the computer has been working OK and just recently started acting up, the problem is probably cause by something that has changed. This could be new software or hardware, or a virus, or hardware deterioration. Heat has been suggested and I think that is a good theory.

Check all fans for correct operation (spinning quietly and not dust-clogged) and that all heatsinks are properly attached to their chips. On graphics processor too...

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Try rebooting with another keyboard (I assumed that metallic particles connect the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys when you press one of these keys. If this does not clear the fault, then take it to an expert because as hardware scare you, you can cause more damage than good if you attempt to replace boards or remove dust from inside the computer.
The one thing that has not been mentioned here is the reboot on Error checkbox.  I am not really experienced in Win2k but believe it is in Start-Settings-Control Panel-System.  It tells Windows when it hits a Stop Error to reboot.
Good thinking, slink9--Press the Windows key + pause or go to Start > Settings > Control Panel and double-click system. In the advanced tab at the bottom is a frame labeled Startup and Recovery. Click the button. Then at the bottom is a check box that says "Reboot system." This, when checked, will reboot Win2k on system failure. However, if you are getting system failures, that is indicative of something being wrong. Frankly, I suspect either heat or a virus to be the culprit. Take rid's good suggestions of making sure all fans are working properly.
I had that problem with an NT4 system in my prior job.  Every few days I would come in and the server had rebooted itself.  I unchecked that option and didn't have any more unexpected reboots although I did have occasional (not every few days - more like once per month) system lockups.
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:
Split pts between slink9 and RogueAce
Please leave any comments here within the next seven days.


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