Microsoft windows xp pro keeps restarting itself

Posted on 2011-09-26
Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hi everyone,
i have a xp pro system with service pack 3 on it, i have been having trouble with it, it restarts itself after about 10 minutes and when it has booted back up (this will continue in a loop) windows says it has recovered from a serious error, i have replace the power supply and the ram in the system, also i have tried booting in to safe mode this will work and does not reset itself after 10 minutes but I cant run this system in safe mode all the time, the programs that are currently installed on this machine are office 2003 and CA antivirus all other information is handled by a file server, also running xp. no other system on the network has this problem.

Question by:beefstu123
LVL 88

Accepted Solution

rindi earned 125 total points
ID: 36707745
Clean out all dust, make sure the fans run smoothly. Remove the Heatsink from the CPU and clean both surfaces very thoroughly. Add a very small drop of fresh thermal transfer paste to the CPU surface and properly and firmly reattach the heatsink.

Also zip your last 3 *.dmp files (usually in the C:\Windows\Minidump folder) and attach the zip file in your next message.

Assisted Solution

eXpeLLeD_4RM_heLL earned 63 total points
ID: 36707762
you may be getting a BSOD.
Firstly disable the automatic restart in Windows XP by right-clicking MY Computer and choosing Properties. Click on the Advanced tab and then under Startup and Recovery, click on the Settings Button.
Under System Failure Where it says "Automatically Restrart" untick the box.
Now when it restarts, check to see if you getting a blue screen.
Also, check your Windows\Minidumps for anyfiles with the date and time related to each restart, if you like you can post the files here for us to look at

Author Comment

ID: 36707827
Thanks for your comments, but here's a little more info:

rindi: It is not a heat issue, it doesn't do this in safe mode at all, and it doesn't shut the computer down like it would if it were affected by high temperatures.  I initially thought it was a BSOD, but please continue reading and posting if you have fresh ideas.

eXpeLLeD_4RM_heLL: It doesn't seem to be a BSOD as it consistently does it after Windows runs for 7-8 minutes.. that is, when you logon it will run for 7-8 minutes and restart, then run for 7-8 minutes and restart and continue this cycle..  Every BSOD I have dealt with either does it randomly or as soon as Windows is starting.  I will run through your steps when I am next able to get onto that computer..

I will post the requested files as soon as possible.

Thanks again :)
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Assisted Solution

inaira earned 63 total points
ID: 36707839
Read the error log in Control Pane-Administrative Tools-Event Viewer.

Author Comment

ID: 36707845
There seemed to be no "errors" from what I can remember - just the normal warnings, etc.. I went there first to try and diagnose

Assisted Solution

by:Reece Dodds
Reece Dodds earned 63 total points
ID: 36707860
it's possible you have a faulty hard drive!

download and burn a UBCD (, then boot from this CD and choose a hard drive diagnostics test to suit your hard drive.
Do a full scan...

Assisted Solution

bright12 earned 62 total points
ID: 36707873
It can be a driver problem. You can also try to re-install Windows XP on the system.

If you don't know how to do this, you can read the following article.

Did you also check your hard disk for any errors? It can be that during the normal boot the system will load some drivers that are located on a 'bad' spot on the hard drive, and when running in save mode these will not be loaded.
LVL 88

Assisted Solution

rindi earned 125 total points
ID: 36707886
"It is not a heat issue, it doesn't do this in safe mode at all"

Actually that's a wrong assumption. In safe mode the system is almost idle as hardly any services and drivers and other background tasks are running. That means that a PC in safe mode will run at much lower temperatures than when it is running in standard mode. So in fact when a system runs in safe mode and crashes in normal mode that is a sign of overheating!

I'm not saying that is a sure sign of that, other issues can cause the same symptoms, like malware etc., but when it runs OK in safe mode overheating is a very common cause.
LVL 92

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 62 total points
ID: 36707916
another way to troubleshoot is the minimum setup, as described in my article; you can start from that -check if it happens, then add devices till it happens :      (Short-overview-of-how-to-troubleshoot-bad-hardware-when-a-pc-does-not-post)
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

Jim-R earned 62 total points
ID: 36709311
Instead of Safe Boot, do a clean boot which is done by running MSCONFIG and disabling everything on the start up tab and everything BUT Microsoft services on the services tab (Hide all MS services checkbox)  If this helps, you turn things back on one or two at a time rebooting in between until the culprit causes the issue again.

Also, in Safe Mode, you could run Prime95 to stress the system and see if you get a reboot from thermal issues after 10 minutes.

There is also malware / virus that will auto reboot a system after a preset amount of time.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 37027900
Thanks guys for all the help,
it seemed to be a antivirus software issue, as soon as i uninstalled the anti virus program it did't shut down any more.

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