Restarting when not in use

The problem I am about to outline happens on win98 and win2000 installations. Even after formatting and reinstalling each of these O/S's once I still encounter my problem described below.

The PC runs fine in dos, when formatting, installing the O/S, booting off a CD / disk, etc.. but as soon as the installation process loads windows I start to encounter problems with the system rebooting. The 98 installation went fine the longest. Once in windows I was just starting to install drivers. I switched to my other pc, downloaded a driver to a floppy and went back to the troubled pc, put the disk in, and clicked 'next'. Instantly the machine reboots. When it came back I was able to install the driver, but after pausing to download another one and then returning to click the mouse, again the pc reboots. The same problems are encountered in the windows 2000 installation process if I take long pauses before using the machine again. (ex in the setup process I click 'next' on one screen, return 5 min later to type in CD key, click 'next' and machine reboots) This is very strange. I've encountered various problems with rebooting on some of my pc's in the past, but never anything like this. I tried another video card to no avail as well. The CPU fan is still good and the HD has been formatted before each installation. This machine was running 98se flawlessly for months and last week the machine began to reboot every 5 minutes or so, after a network print job was sent to it. The machine seems to misbehave in windows only, when there are long periods of no activity followed by any sort of activity. I am baffled, anyone have any suggestions?
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rite_ehAsked:
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shanedsouzaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
i also highly suspect your display card!
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CrazyOneCommented:
You got a hardware problem start with this

Test the RAM

If you can swap out the RAM with known good modules for testing first if you can't do that then test the machine with one RAM module at a time until you tested every module. Other wise run the the following RAM testers.
--------------------------------------------

NOTE IF THIS DOESN'T FIND ANYTHING WRONG WITH THE RAM THIS DOESN'T MEAN THE RAM IS GOOD you would need to swap out the RAM with known good modules for testing. However if it does find something wrong then chances are the RAM is bad.

DocMemory PC RAM
Diagnostic Software
http://www.simmtester.com/PAGE/products/doc/docinfo.asp

or

http://www.memtest86.com/ 

or

GoldMemory
http://www.goldmemory.cz/
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CrazyOneCommented:
And then do this to see if some other device is the cause

strip the machine down to just a mouse, keyboard, video adapter, floppy drive, one hard drive and/or disable all on board devices not needed to install the OS.
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rite_ehAuthor Commented:
Thanks, I'll give all those suggestions a go and let you know what happens :)
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CrazyOneCommented:
Don't rule out the power supply it may not be suppling enough power. And don't rule out over heating even if the fans appear to be working they may not be working at full capacity. Could be a faulty CPU
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rite_ehAuthor Commented:
Ok thanks, I have tried an alternate power supply though.
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CrazyOneCommented:
>>>I have tried an alternate power supply though

Well then it is probably safe to say that this isn't the cause of the problem. :)
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Rob StoneCommented:
Is all the hardware supported in the Windows 2000 HCL or have drivers for it?

Maybe check the BIOS revisions depending on the age of the motherboard, you may need to upgrade.

When you tried another PSU was it a more powerful one?

Reseat the CPU as well if you already haven't done so.

Can you load Fail Safe BIOS settings to see if that makes it more stable? Try slowing down the RAM FSB.

What Motherboard/CPU/RAM are you using?
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shanedsouzaCommented:
Extensive diagnostic tools from a bootable-CD. Get it at http://www.ultimatebootcd.com.
Use this to diagnose the cause of the problem, or eliminate certain hardware from the suspect list!
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rite_ehAuthor Commented:
thank you sir, though this question is old the link you provided will be useful in diagnosing a few other pcs i have with similar problems.
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