older winxp computer keeps restarting at windows screen


Senior member
Feb 7, 2004
A friend phoned saying his computer is restarting randomly. I thought another case of Sasser but this is interesting. The computer resets at the XP screen if not sooner and then goes into the choice mode where I can choose safe mode or previous configuration. It is an older p4 likely a celeron. Has a PCI ATI card as well, with a HD and CDROM.

When I opened the case and verified the CPU fan was working and no noticeable overheating or loose wires I heard a couple of clicks and the system rebooted. I thought it was coming out of the CDROM so I disconnected it and tried it again. Same results. No smell coming from the Power supply.

I booted from DOS disks (actually my Norton ghost disks - All I had). The system booted fine and I had a prompt. Couldn't read the main HD due to it being NTFS but it seemed to pick up a partition with backup information. My first guess was power related but why than can I boot into DOS stable? When I choose safe mode I sometimes get through the listing of processes and VXD's and get to the screen with the "safe modes" in the corner, but other times it reboots before this screen.

Does these symptoms sound familiar to anybody? Thanks in advance for the help


Platinum Member
Jun 18, 2001

It couldn't be that the clicks are coming from the HD? That may explain why it fails when loading Windows, but not booting to DOS. If you go to sysinternals you can download a utility to read NTFS partitions from DOS, this will allow your friend to backup the data.

Have you tried to run a HD diagnostic program from the manufacturer? It might tell you what's wrong. Each manufacturer has one available from their homepage.

Good luck,