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Windows 98 constantly reboots

Posted on 2007-11-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
We have an older Dell computer, running Windows 98.  The machine has taken to rebooting on its own.  At first, I thought it might be Sasser, but my understanding is that Sasser cannot infect a W98 machine.  Short of reformatting, any ideas on how to fix this?
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Question by:DocPit
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willcomp earned 68 total points
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Could be motherboard or power supply instead of OS. Take a look at capacitors on motherboard and see if any are bulging or leaking. Swap power supplies if you have a spare.

What is model of PC?
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by:BillDL
BillDL earned 66 total points
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My first instinct would be as willcomp has suggested, ie. failing power supply.  The BIOS on most computers is set to reboot if there is a power failure from the supply.  In the case of a power cut to the house/office, then this setting would obviously only be seen once power was restored, but even minor power dips that aren't always evident on other electrical appliances can cause a computer to detect it as a power failure.

The easiest way to test if the reboots are being caused by this is to change the BIOS setting so that the computer stays off after a power failure.  To enter the BIOS settings (or more correctly the CMOS Setup Screen), you press and hold the correct key or combination of keys during the early stages of boot.  Common keys are F1, F2, and DEL, but usually you'll see this shown on screen very shortly after you power it on, such as "F2 - Setup".

Once in the CMOS Setup, you navigate using the Tab, Arrow, Enter and Esc keys, and these are usually shown somewhere on the same screens.  Find the Power-related settings and look for the setting that offers options for what the system should do following power failure.  Change it to "Stay Off", and then press the key that confirms the change and exits the CMOS Setup.  This is usually F10, but may differ.  The system will then reboot.

If you have never navigated around the CMOS Setup screens, then it is wise to read the motherboard manual, because if you change the wrong setting your computer may not boot without more drastic action to wipe out the existing settings and set them to failsafe ones that may not be best for that computer.

As willcomp has asked, what's the make and model of the PC?
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by:nobus
nobus earned 66 total points
ID: 20289709
it can be due to hard, or soft. to diagnose, run the pc from a live  cd :
ftp://ftp.uni-kl.de/pub/linux/knoppix/KNOPPIX_V5.1.0CD-2006-12-30-EN.iso      Knoppix      
www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/                                     BartPe

Hard :
-overheating :
    check the cpu temps in the bios, or with speedfan :  http://www.almico.com/speedfan.php
    check that all fans are running normally  (cpu - PS ..), and clean out all dust
-can the PS handle the load ?  check here :  http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp      
-remove devices for testing, or start with the minimum :
    mobo + cpu + 1 ram stick, PS, video card   --- any reboots ?  if Y it is one of the connected, swap components   1   by 1
if N  --> add devices 1 by 1
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by:Computer101
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Forced accept.

Computer101
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by:BillDL
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Thank you LeeTutor and Computer101
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