Computer Restarts Continuously

By alienuser09 · 9 replies
Apr 16, 2009
  1. My computer has gone schizo on me and now I'm looking for ideas/opinions...

    The Problem: several days back, on startup the computer got as far as the Windows logo screen then suddenly restarted. On the second start attempt, I got an "overclocking failed" message with the option to go into the BIOS to change settings to default. My computer is not overclocked. All BIOS settings appeared normal. After exiting the BIOS without making changes, it again got as far as the Windows logo screen before restarting. THIS time, it went to the screen telling me that the last Windows startup had a problem and gave me the option to go to Safe Mode, use the last known good config, or start windows normally. I could get into Safe Mode ok, but didn't have time to troubleshoot, so I shut the computer down normally. A few days later, I tried to start the computer again thinking I could go back to Safe Mode and troubleshoot, run a virus scan, etc. This time,though, the computer began restarting continuously after it's initial power-on checks (where it shows the processor, RAM, etc. before it starts loading Windows). So, the Safe Mode option seems to be out for me now...

    The System: Built in 2004, Pentium 4 3.20 GHz, 3198 clock speed, 1 Gig RAM (2 512MB DIMMs), Windows XP Pro, ASUS P4C800-E motherboard, Radeon 9800XT video card, 420W power supply, Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS, 160 Gig Seagate hard drive.

    Prior to this problem, the anti-virus was up to date (full system scans run monthly / mini-scans run daily). Personally, I suspect the power supply or some other hardware failure, but thought I'd throw this one out there and see what other folks thought as I haven't yet had time to go any further with this.

    Thanks for any info/suggestions you might provide!
  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Yes, the first thing that came to mind is your PSU. You could test with a digital multimeter.

    Also, another thing it can be is corrupted memory. Run Memtest on your RAM. The good thing about this test is that it starts as soon as you boot up so you don't need to worry about Safe or Normal Mode.

    Read this link first:

    Here is what I tell people:

    1. It is free and perfectly safe.

    2. Burn ISO to a CD (follow link instructions).

    3. Place CD in your drive and reboot with CD in drive. (You might have to place your drive as first bootable in your BIOS) The test will take over.

    4. Let it run for a LONG time. The rule is a minimum of 7 Passes. There are 8 individual tests per Pass. Many people will start this test before going to bed and check it the next day.

    5. If you have errors you have corrupted memory and it needs to be replaced.

    6. Also, with errors you need to run this test per stick of RAM. Take out one and run the test. Then take that one out and put the other in and run the test. If you start getting errors before 7 Passes you know that stick is corrupted and you don’t need to run the test any further on that stick.
  3. alienuser09

    alienuser09 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Thanks for the info! After opening up the case, I heard a distinct crackle coming from the PSU, so I'm going to go ahead and replace it once I find one that meets/exceeds the specs and has all the right connectors. I'm going to go ahead and do a Memtest as well while I have the access to the RAM.
  4. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Are you going to use another psu? I wouldn't trust it if you say it was "crackling" because if it is indeed failing it could do irreparable damage to your system. What is it's make and model?
  5. alienuser09

    alienuser09 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Not sure of the manufacturer (Sirtech??)

    Model: HPC-420-302 DF

    Yep, I'm worried about what it may have already done to my system and need to get a replacement ASAP...

    I'm looking for a 450watt replacement, but am having trouble finding one with ALL the same connectors.
  6. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

  7. alienuser09

    alienuser09 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Gonna have to find out how many connectors are being used and "map" out where they ALL go since the new PSU's I've looked at have various connector configurations. Not sure if I'm using the 6 pin Aux Power connector or not - if so, it could pose a problem as I'm told not many new PSU's have it. Wish I could just get the same make/model, but that would be way too easy.

    The only spare PSU I have available is an old 250 watt, which probably won't help much.

    Current PSU Info:

    Model: HPC-420-302 DF
    ATX 12V
    Active PFC

    Input: 115V at 10A, 230V at 5A

    Outputs: +5V at 40A, +3.3V at 30A (+5V & +3.3V combined should not exceed 220W), +12V at 18A (should not exceed 216W), -5V at 0.3A (15W), -12V at 0.8A (6.9W), +5VSB at 2A (10W)

    Connectors: (1) 20 pin ATX main power
    (1) 4 pin ATX 12V power
    (9) Molex 4 pin peripheral
    (3) floppy drive power
    (1) 6 pin aux power
    (1) 3 pin fan speed monitor
  8. alienuser09

    alienuser09 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Finally got a new power supply. My system is back up and running. Thanks for your time and input Route44!
  9. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Hey, thanks for getting to us. This is important information that adds to the knowledge pool. So it was the PSU afterall, correct?
  10. alienuser09

    alienuser09 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Yes - the power supply was bad. The RAM checked ok. Thanks again for your input.
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