Continuous Rebooting in XP

By potentialenergy
Jul 24, 2007
  1. Hi all,

    New here and I had a question. I came back from vacation and for some reason my PC won't load up properly. I'm running XP on a machine I built, about 5 years old, first problem with it ever. It has an AMD chip, gig of RAM.

    The machine starts up fine, all the right noises, looks for CD drives etc...the first time it brought me all the way to the Windows loading screen, then there is a flash of a blue screen (very short, can't read anything) and it starts rebooting from the beginning again.

    Next few times I tried booting into safe mode, or last working config and the same thing happens, just a continuous booting loop after it gets through the Windows screen.

    I put the Windows disc in the CD drive and it's not loading the CD, although I might be missing something on that end.

    Any suggestions?
  2. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    Definitely sounds like hardware issue. Try your best to see if you can boot from a CD/DVD and let's take it from there first.
  3. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    BTW, while you were away on vacation, you didn't have some teenager watching your place with access to your computer?
  4. potentialenergy

    potentialenergy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ha ha, no...just my girlfriend. She never really touches the computer.
  5. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    Oh, you'd be SURPRISED!! :haha:

    I worked at a Dell call centre once. One the questions I always asked was "Do you have any teenage kids who use the computer?" Always helped narrow the scope of where to find the problem!
  6. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    so the machine is 5 years old, which means the CMOS battery is a bit tired. And you go away on holiday, so the motherboard settings are lost, perhaps?
    Did you find the clock and date OK when you restarted?
    Chances are that because the settings are lost/corrupted, Windows is confused and maybe thinks it has a major hardware change?
    Replace the battery, then use the BIOS settings to put things back where they were (optimum failsafe is good), set the boot sequence to start with the CD, restart. If no improvement, restart with the windows CD in the drive, boot from that and follow instructions. If you have data to save (you did a backup before you left, of course!) best bet is to take the drive out and fit it to another machine first to copy files across.
  7. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    You're close but a bit off the mark. If the BIOS can't read the CMOS, then it will use a set of defaults and that will almost always allow the boot process to complete (properly or not) but repeatedly rebooting would not be a symptom.

    OTOH, if the stored BIOS settings in CMOS were corrupted, then, yes, I could see a situation where there would be continuous resetting. If this is a problem with BIOS settings, then resetting to defaults would be the approach.
  8. potentialenergy

    potentialenergy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, so I booted from the Win installation disc, but there isn't an option to repair the current installed version of Windows.

    Actually now that I look at it, it lists the partitions (I have two 120g HDs) and the one disc says that all of the space on there is free. Is this because it is failed or because it has wiped itself clean somehow?

    Next thoughts?
  9. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    Delete C: partition under Windows Setup screen then format C: for NTFS, but don't use the quick method.
  10. potentialenergy

    potentialenergy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Will this wipe out the main drive and make me start over?

    Right now I'm formatting a new HD and installing WinXP on it to start over, hopefully I can get that running then hook up the old HD to pull data from it that way. I had most important things backed up from there, but there is definitely data that I want to try and recover.
  11. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    I use Wipe-IT CDs can get a opensource version just use google to search for that. What that does is completely wipes the HDD of info data bits/bytes. Takes a while so go have dinner when it's working.. You're correct...
  12. potentialenergy

    potentialenergy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok...might have something figured out. I formatted a new hard drive, installed WinXP and booted up, everything works, clean install.

    Then I rebooted with the old drive as the slave and chkdsk comes up in the boot process and says there are 4 unreadable sectors, deletes a couple things and apparently cleans up the sectors. Booting continues and I get into Windows (on the new drive) and I can see all of my old files, programs etc as files on the old drive, seems like there isn't any failure.

    Next step is to restart with the old drive now as the master. Everything boots up normally and I'm back to my old set-up, with seemingly no problems.

    So now I have a brand new drive with XP and nothing else on it, and my old drive with XP and all of my files, programs etc on it. Should I just assume that the old drive is going to have problems again and start migrating things?

    My thoughts at this point is to move EVERYTHING to the new drive. If I copy every folder and file (including all windows files) to the new drive, will I be able to run everything as normal (old settings) from the new drive? I haven't tried something like that before.

    Thanks to all who have helped out so far, it's GREATLY appreciated.
  13. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    If there's no repair option, then it can't find the current installation. What this probably means is your boot records are messed up. There are only two ways to correct this. First, go into Recovery Console and run "fixboot" and "fixmbr" commands. Then restart. If that fails, then you need to get a boot record editor and try ti figure out which fields are incorrect. I suggest PTEdit by PowerQuest. Now this is tricky and you really need to know what you're doing. If not, then you have no choice but to reformat & reinstall Windows.
  14. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    I should learn to read all the posts before replying!

    Congratulations! Yes, it was as I thought but I failed to think of switching the drives as a resolution. I'll remember that for next time.

    No, I think you can safely swap the drives back to the previous master/slave arrangement. Since the problem was in the boot record and filesystem (that's what chkdsk fixes) the problem is likely resolved.
  15. potentialenergy

    potentialenergy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I was wondering if I could take my entire old XP installation, along with all other programs, settings etc...and transfer that onto the new, empty HD. Cloning it I guess so I can run everything from the new (faster) HD.

    What are the options for this?
  16. almcneil

    almcneil TS Guru Posts: 1,277

    Oh, this can be easily done! Just use Acronis True Image, !! It ahs a 15 day free trial so you can do it immediately without cost!
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