Win xp crashed - backup drive won't boot either

I have been researching for five hours now, so I'll feel stupid if I missed something.

I have WinXP Pro.  In the past few weeks it has been spontaneoulsy rebooting for no apparent reason.  I downloaded RAM and HDD testing software (from research right here, thank you!) and they seem fine.

Now it will boot to the command promp,safe mode but it takes like 15 minutes.

Weird thing is that I put in the cloned as sole master, identical HDD from about 3 weeks ago and it gives me the error "Boot error:  0-00,  select partition to boot, 0-3".  I tried "0" since that should be the boot partition and the screen goes black and never boots up.  I can't get any farther and this is the clone drive that I clone and then unplug totally for emergencies like this.

The old primary drive that crashed won't even let me finish loading WinXP pro from the CD to get to a recovery console.  It crashes BSOD about 3 min into copying over files.

I'm lost for now.  Any ideas?

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no CPU over heating does not result in what you described, if the cpu over heated the system will simply shut down cold.
suggestion, take those HDDs, goto a friend's house and try it out.

if they both work fine then maybe you should check for other faults on the computer.. as you said both HDD failing at the same time is.. rather slim.

also, plug it into a friend's computer as slave and run a virus scan on the disks, enable boot sector scan as well.
Terry581Author Commented:
I can do that tomorrow.  I tried switching out RAM, too, because I can get it booted to safe mode/command promp now but it takes about 20 minutes to get there.  
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I would recommend trying to reset your CMOS
Terry581Author Commented:
I'm not sure what I did but it came up and is running stable (for the moment).  I removed all the cards and put them back in one at a time till it booted.  I also traded out ram and put the old stuff back in (don't think that was the problem), replaced the ribbon cable (but it still wouldn't boot).  I'm down to wondering if the CPU is crashing.  I have a larger, copper cooler on it so it is well cooled but it is a 5 year old unit.  

next steps:  try to reboot to save and do a thorough virus check (always have current Norton on this one so I'm thinking it's gonna be ok), look up the CMOS jumpers to try that angle.

I don't know how it could have been so crashed all day..and even the cloned drive wouldn't boot up but now it just booted stable.  I thought I had tried everything..that's why I'm wondering if the CPU (its not overclocked) is overheating/failing or something like that.

>>    I removed all the cards and put them back in one at a time till it booted.  <<  that is your problem : a bad contact in one of the slots. Inspect them all, or blow them out.
it can also be you touched the cpu? inpect that also then.
>>   I'm down to wondering if the CPU is crashing.  I have a larger, copper cooler on it so it is well cooled but it is a 5 year old unit.   <<   if it  is well cooled, there is no reason why it would crash; in fact it is rather seldom they do, if they are NOT overheating.

and what about your backup drive? does it boot now ? time to check it out.  :-)
Terry581Author Commented:
Thank you Lee.  I got it running but I don't know why.  It almost seems like starting and rebooting so many times finally fixed whatever.  After getting it running, I cleaned the registry and other housekeeping things and it has been running very stable.  The clone works fine, too.  I don't know why the clone didn't work earlier...that leads me to believe hardware problem (bios?) but for now, it is stable, consistent and cloned again.  Most likely, 2007 will be the replacement year.  This unit is 7 years old as far as motherboard/CPU; the rest has been upgraded throughout the years.

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