Windows XP Pro SP2 constantly reboots

By KiwiStudent ·
I have just recently encountered this problem on my home computer. Windows XP constantly reboots or shuts down during bootup (during the splash screen, twice its reached the login screen then rebooted).
I have restarted in Last Good Configuration as well as Safe Mode, but bootup only completes to Safe Mode. I don't think this is a hardware problem as there has been no hardware changes in the past 5 months. I have used the Recovery Console to restore kernel32.dll (as Microsoft suggests) but to no avail.
The problem started a day after I had uninstalled Norton Scan, as ESET Smart Security is already installed on the machine. There is no BSOD (I have turned off automatic restart on error) and the boot log shows that everything is normal. Is there any way I can find out what the problem is (via built-in or safe mode friendly diagnostic tools), or will I have to reinstall XP?

The machine specs are
Windows XP SP2 (updates current til last week)
Intel Pentium 4 (Northwood @ 2.8Ghz)
GeForce FX 5200 (81.98 Forceware)
Eset Smart Security 3.x

Thanks for any help.
(By the way, sorry for posting this in the Discussions area previously)

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All Answers

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try CHKDSK /R at recovery console...

by Dedlbug In reply to Windows XP Pro SP2 consta ...

If you are sure you have disabled automatic restart, try to run CHKDSK /R from the Windows Recovery Console. (If you have the operating system Cd, boot from it and press R to enter the recovery console. You will have to select the drive with your operiting system and enter an Administrator password if necessary.) Once at the prompt, type: CHKDSK /R and hit enter. It will try to fix errors in the file system. It may take a while, but let it finish. Hopefully things will boot fine afterwards.

Refer to this article for Recovery Console support:

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by Charvell In reply to Windows XP Pro SP2 consta ...

Have you tried booting to Safe Mode with Networking and Enable VGA mode?

Is there a consistent point that the system restarts at? If you let the machine sit off for an hour, will it get farther into the boot sequence than if you have tried to boot it several times in a row? Have you made sure all your cooling fans are clean? How old is the machine?

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Answers to Questions

by KiwiStudent In reply to Questions

Hmm I'll try booting into Safe Mode (Networking) and VGA Mode. The system restarts I think just after the Windows XP splash screen disappears and just before the login screen appears. I've left the machine alone (and unplugged from the wall socket) overnight and rebooted it but to no avail. And I also cleaned out all the fans yesterday and replaced the system and back panel fans, as well as putting in a known working PSU. The machine is about 3 years old, but this is the first non-hardware problem I've got to deal with.
Also, I'm now convinced that it's a software and most possibly a corrupt driver problem.

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Well it all depends on what you have got here

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Windows XP Pro SP2 consta ...

If you have a M$ Branded Install Disc as apposed to a System Makers Recovery Disc you can do a In Place/Upgrade Install by following the directions here

But you should check the Hardware first. The Ultimate Boot CD is a good tool to use and as it is a Live CD it will allow you to boot the system without involving Windows in any way shape or form and if it still restarts you know you have a Hardware Issue as apposed to a corrupt or damaged File/s in Windows. You can download the Ultimate Boot CD from here

You should check the RAM and CPU by running the various Tests. If the unit still restarts try a Known Good Power Supply in it and see if the problem persists. PS's can go bad any time as they lead a hard life and are subject to all of the Spikes and other Events that the mains suffer.

One or a combination of the above should cure the problem but do not attempt a Repair Install with a System Makers CD as this isn't a supported Option and they do Format the HDD destroying your existing Data and software.


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by KiwiStudent In reply to Well it all depends on wh ...

Well I've started to download Ultimate Boot CD and I'll see how it goes from there. I usually use a LiveCD distribution of Knoppix to test out any hardware problems, but all tests show no hardware problems.

If all else fails, I'll just backup everyone's documents and reformat the hard drive. (Oh and I have a M$ branded install disc, as well as an Install Disc I created with SP2 and updates til September slipstreamed)

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You'll need to use the M$ Install Disc

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Well...

If you want to do a In Place Install as that option isn't available on any Slipstreamed Disc that I've ever run across.

But if you plan on doing a format and reload I would be looking at using the Slipstreamed Disc as it will save you a few megs in downloads from M$ once you get it running again.


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by willcomp In reply to Windows XP Pro SP2 consta ...

Since you can boot into Safe Mode, odds are that reboot is caused by a faulty or corrupt driver.

As already suggested, try booting into VGA only mode (in F8 boot options menu).

If problem is a driver which is not included in Windows (likely), a repair install will not help.

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