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mkramer777Flag for United States of America

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windows xp pro boots up and when I get to the desktop screen it reboots after about 1 minute

I have an old Win XP Pro computer I found in the basement and I tried to fire it up to see what was on it.  It boots up and gets to the desktop and then reboots.  There was a noise in the power supply like the fan was going out so I replaced it with a spare I had lying around but the problem persists.  What should I try first?  I know you want to say junk it, good Lord man it's 2020!, but I'm curious to see what files are on it.
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If you want to see what files are on it, it may make more sense to get an external USB case for the drive and connect it to a different computer.

Have you tried booting in Safe Mode (F8)?  That may work if it is a software issue.  If it is a hardware issue (quite possible), then this won't help and you'll want to go the external route.
Since it's a XP machine it's highly likely it's using a IDE drive (though sata is possible)

A IDE / SATA to USB drive adapter could prove useful

Pull the drive and connect it to the adapter and plug it into your PC/Laptops USB port

Works great in a pinch

If it happens to be a SATA drive (doubt it, but anything's possible) you can always connect it to your PC as a secondary drive
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Dr. Klahn

Does it reboot at precisely the same time on every try?

If not, and it does this trick sooner and sooner after it has been turned on, pull the CPU heatsink, clean the top of the CPU, regrease the CPU, clean the heat sink, and reinstall the heat sink.  This should take care of any CPU thermal issues.

In the early XP era came the dread Capacitor Plague which caused all sorts of problems.  Not all motherboards were re-capped and it's possible you are seeing old, tired, defective caps giving up on doing their job.
There was a noise in the power supply like the fan was going out so I replaced it with a spare I had lying around but the problem persists.

Are you sure it's not the CPU or case fan making the noise?
Sometimes it's hard to pinpoint exactly where the noise is coming from
#1 agree pull hard drive, as everyone else posts.
#2 check voltage on motherboard battery.  Only mentioning it because this was my exact problem on a cpu last week.  You may be able to cheat and pull the battery then reseat it.
i suggest to run the temperature control software to check the temps      
you may need to replace the cpu heatpaste, as well as the video chip's
what system is this?  it may also benefit from a general cleaning : remove dust from PWR supply, fans and components
we simply need more info to help you correct

and chances are also you have bad capacitors on such a model
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☠ MASQ ☠

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The computer stays on when in BIOS.  The computer also stays on if I do not login.
So this is software/operating system now try Safe Mode as described by CompProbSolv in their initial response. (Hit F8 after boot but before XP starts)

NB at this point we're really just troubleshooting getting XP to boot, if you want to examine what's on the drive you have other solutions already provided.
"The computer also stays on if I do not login."

You either have a problem with something (Windows or elsewhere) that loads after login or there is a hardware problem with the drive that is being hit after login.

In any case, you have several good options already listed (external drive case, Linux boot disk, I'll add using a Windows boot disk, add drive to a different computer...).

If your goal really is to look at files, I'd give up on trying to get XP to boot reliably and focus on methods that will let you look at the files.
To add on to my bios battery comment.  I had the same issue, I could stay in bios all day long/all commands worked without issue but- couldn't boot to windows (bluescreen), cd, usb, or onboard diagnostics.  Once the battery was reset, got into all with out a hitch.