PC reboots during startup

Posted on 2004-10-09
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Hi Experts,

I have just built a new PC, the specification is as follows:

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ CPU (not the quickest CPU I know)
Gigabyte GA7N400-L Motherboard
1GB Crucial 266MHz PC2100 RAM
ATI Radeon 64MB ViVO Graphics Card
40GB Hard Drive

Anyway, all seems to boot ok and I get the correct information on the POST screen i.e. AMD 2200+ CPU and 1GB RAM.

I get half way through installing windows XP Pro, to the point when its configuring windows after the initial installation and I get a constant high pitch tone from my monitor (not PC) and then the monitor switches off and the PC reboots.  After the reboot, the PC boots up again but sometimes the monitor is still giving off this high pitch tone. I checked to see what would happen when connected to another monitor and the PC still reboots after a certain point but the monitor doesnt give off a high pitch tone.

I get no warning sounds from the actual PC!

I did check the CPU temperature after all this and all seemed ok, it was running at about 45oC.

I suspect it could be either the memory or graphics card (being over two years old. It is AGP x4 and the motherboard is supposed to support AGP x4).

Can anyone please advise!
Question by:colin_palmer
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 12267354
Try another O/S.

Make a Knoppix CD ( and see if you can boot into Knoppix OK. If so, the hardware is in all probability working and you have an XP - hardware conflict or bad driver for the vid card. The high-pitched noise makes me think of a card driving the monitor out of range or the card just folding because the driver is bad.


Author Comment

ID: 12267656

I have tried everything now. I did what you suggested and put Windows 2000 on it, I still got the high pitch tone but I could get into Windows and install applications, where with Windows XP I couldnt.

I installed my graphics drivers and the tone went away when I set the resolution to 1024 x 768, however when I rebooted the PC the tone comes back until windows have finished loading and on occasion the PC still reboots itself, either in Windows or during boot up.

I have tried different memory dimms, a different CPU (a 1.4 GHz AMD Athlon) and I installed the newest BIOS update and the simptoms are still there, so I know its not that.  However, I did try my new ATI Radeon 9600 PRO card, which is in my other PC and I still get the tone during boot up, however I can get into windows XP without problems and doesnt seem to crash, but I have not let it test for a long period yet.

So im pretty sure its graphic related.
LVL 31

Accepted Solution

rid earned 500 total points
ID: 12267744
The sound and the rebooting may be unrelated. Is there a useful picture on screen when the sound is heard? Can you try another monitor? Sound still there?

As for the rebooting - check all fans, run a memory test and a HD diagnostic. Does it reboot if left in safe mode?

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Author Comment

ID: 12272437

The sound is not there when using a different monitor, but it must be an indication that something is not right as with my other PCs there is no sound.

I have not tried leaving it in safe mode yet, I will try tomorrow.

What software would you recommend to run a diagnostic on the memory and HDD?

LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 12274302
For HDD's it is often simplest to find out the make and go to the maker's web site. I believe all of them have diagnostic tools available for download.. For RAM, I remember using something called memtester, but I have forgotten the link. I'll see if I can find something.

Author Comment

ID: 12279065

I tried running the PC in safe mode and was no better. It still froze or would not last long before restarting once in windows.

I will try and see if I can find any diagnostic testers. I got a reply from gigabyte, the manufacturers of the motherboard. They said to update the bios, which I already have done and the manufacturers of the memory said its either the graphics card or motherboard, which is what I suggested to them. lol

Author Comment

ID: 12281566
Hi Experts

I downloaded a few diagnostic tools.

1) The graphic tester passed OK
2) Hard drive:
                   Passed on:
                                  Read/Write Test
                                  Seek Test
                                  Head Select Test
                   Failed on:
                                  ECC Test (I dont know what this means)
                                  Surface Analysis - Error: Controller Diagnostic Failed, the controller may be bad.

I tried another hard drive and it failed on ECC but passed on the Surface Analysis and passed on everything else.

All the memory testers I have tried say something like 'Error: Extented Memory detected' or 'Memory Managment Software installed', so I have not been able to test the memory yet!

Any ideas?

Author Comment

ID: 12306245

you were correct in that the sound from the monitor was unrelated to the problem.  It was the graphics card afterall. I tried an AGP 8x Pro card and all seems to be ok. As for the monitor, when I change the scan rate from 60hz to say 75hz the buzzing stops, but sometimes you get it whilst booting up as the scan rate is 60hz. It is an oldish monitor.
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 12306681
I think the memtesters are supposed to run under "DOS", not in the GUI. You'll probably need to boot from a floppy.

ECC is related to error correction AFAIK.... Perhaps the controller actually is bad, in which case it may be an idea to get a PCI add-on IDE controller.

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