System rebooting spasmodically

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Hardware
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PC has been fine, suddenly on bootup it recycles continuously - checks DMA then reboots, over and over. No POST codes, no apparent clues. We built this computer last Spring, MSI motherboard, AMD Athlon 64 Processor, 1 GB Corsair RAM. Nothing has been changed recently, no clear suspect in this mystery. At work I maintain dozens of workstations. I'm hoping those of you who maintain hundreds of them may have some wisdom or diagnostic suggestions to share! This PC was acting up, 'when in doubt, reboot' so I rebooted, resulting in this continual reboot cycle. Next day, the reboot cycle was replaced by a POST code (repeated single long beep, not described in the MB docs). Checking cables, cleaning out accumulated dust, didn't resolve it. We tore most everything out, MB started fine. Added RAM, started fine. Added video card, started fine. Connected drives, still quiet. Connected monitor, Windows (XP Pro) reports an error (windowssystemconfigsystem file missing or corrupt if I recall). Verified all cables/cards/etc properly seated and firmly in place. Now, again, perpetual rebooting! ARGHH! If I enter CMOS Setup immediately on power up, I can casually peruse the settings, disable unused functions, but on 'save and exit' it goes back to perpetual reboot mode. This is a symptom I've never run into. Any of you have any ideas? Almost all components were new last Spring, our power is fairly stable and the PC is on a UPS. Dust build-up was somewhat heavy, but fans were all spinning and it's been fairly cool for the last month and the room is air-conditioned when it's hot. I look forward to your suggestions! -Bob

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Hi,

You can try to replace the RAM and the Graphics Card if it’s not built into the motherboard…

If it is built into the board you may need a new board.

Tai

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  • JPLamontre
    some years ago, a virus side effect was perpetual reboot. check for virus, spyware, ... you may find something
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  • Technogeekster
    Hi, your problem could very well be a corrupted boot sect. Try replacing the hard drive with another XP pro built on similiar hardware. Also, try memory dump in BIOS if avail. Hope this helps
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  • Ladrick
    Or just use your xp install disc run repair and create a new boot sector and master boot record fixboot fixmbr also try bootcfg
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  • Alrtech
    hi First, my apologies for my bad english So you do a bad shutdown to your home machine.... and now when the system boots it appear that beautiful blue screen with the OS msg that the system is corrupt... That appears for several reasons.... heat, fluctuation of power.... a windows quirk :-)... first: make a good cleaning of all of dust, in mobo, fans, etc. verify your cables... look for loose cables... verify your power... see if power is giving the correct tensions 12v, 3.3v, 5v.. (5% of tolerance, use a multimeter in DC Volt class) if you are using a 300 W power box... it can be burn..(use an > 400 W with PFC and better protections?) 2? - find a copy of memtest 86 and do a complete check... go to the site of your disk manufacture and download the verification disk program ... do a complete test... (this are DOS programs... or auto install in a 3'' 1/2 disk) 3? (if no errors found) lets recover your system. use your cd and do a recover chkdsk /F or /r (see in your documentation) get the full BSOD msg and google or do a search in the microsoft site... I don't have enough information to say for sure if it?s a hd problem or a registry problem.. good luck
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  • Raines
    I have dealt with this many times. Find your capacitors on your motherboard around your processor. See if any are leaking or buldging out. If so this will mean that you need a new motherboard. This always fixes my computers.
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  • Bouncybrit
    From the sounds of things you are having this problem right up until connect the monitor. Have you tried plugging in a different monitor. If you can boot into safe mode you could simply remove all the drivers and reboot, let windows try and reinstall them. I saw other suggestions working along the bad boot sector idea. If this is a concern and there is great need to save the hard drive, you could try spinright from steve gibson research, I have used that many times to bring totally dead hard drives back to life. it is inexpensive and works really well.
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  • Poppaman2
    I agree with raines. Check the capacitors - this issue has been reported with IBM NetVistas, Dell GX270's and HP Vectra 410MT's. I have seen it in the IBM's and the HP's personally, exactly the same behaviour you are describing. While it could indeed be because of other issues, if nothing else resolves the issue, do consider the capacitors/motherboard...
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  • Prazworld
    I would recomend a new RAM. The reason being that most of my Workstaions have encounterd almost similar situations and I normally boot the P.C in safe mode and check if its a RAM problem. Now if you boot your P.C in safe mode it takes in extra memory from the RAM to boot up and also tests the RAM before loading the basic drivers. If the RAM is faulty then the safe mode will not work and you will not abe able to boot the machine. So try replacing RAM after testing the safe mode technique.
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  • VietBob
    Thanks for the many very helpful responses! When the Windows error appeared, I planned to boot the CD in recovery mode, but then the 'perpetual reboot' returned. I will take a closer look at the components on the MB (the reboot appears to be happening during POST rather than after the HDD comes into play). I'll also try booting with a new hard drive, in case the problem is malware or a corrupt MBR. If anyone has any other suggestions, please share them! Meanwhile I'll spend some time with these and then let you know how it goes. Thanks again for the help! -Bob
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  • petkoa
    Hi, To me, the symptoms look like you have an "underpowered" PC (as alrtech suggested) - everything goes fine until reaching the "criticall mass" of working devices, no matter whether the "last drop" is video or cd drive. A friend of mine told me some time ago about a similar problem caused by faulty system fan, which finally escalated to severe overload and burn-out of the power unit :o((( And another suggestion - until recently, MSI motherboards shipped with a "POST monitoring bracket" - four dual-color diodes which circled between red and green during the POST and according to the pattern you can determine the step where the POST fails; during the last year MSI discontinued shipping of these brackets with the low-end motherboards, but I beleive the "socket" is still there, and you can make use of it. BR Petko
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  • VietBob
    Thanks for the reminder, petkoa, yes I have the D-Bracket, if I read it correctly it was addressing the video card when it froze with the beep code. I didn't think to see how far it gets when the rebooting happens. One more potential clue! The Power Supply was purchased last spring with most of the other components, a highly-praised 500W supply (Ultra Products ULT31564). Since a couple of you have suggested power issues can cause this, I guess I'll see how booting with another PS affects this. There are many places to post for help with tech problems. I consistently find the responses here to be the most helpful. I will continue to keep you informed! Thanks again, -Bob
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  • KDXTech
    I'm pretty new to this forum but here is my 2 cents: Reboot the pc using the WinXP Pro or Home disk. (Which ever version is on the system to be repaired) Reinstall XP over the old installation (Don't use the "R" repair, actually let XP find the old install and it will prompt you to "repair" the installation or install a fresh copy. Take the "repair" install.) XP will run in a setup configuration as it reinstalls the system. This also should keep all programs intact and all data intact. (You should always backup, just in case) Important Note: You must use the same version of WinXP that is on the system to be repaired (Professional or Home). I hope I understood your problem correctly. This would be my low cost first move. Good Luck... Tony E.
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  • Alrtech
    Hi again After reading all the other answers... I'm almost sure that is a hardware problem... I didn't talk about the capacitors because... i had to be sure that the other points are checked... well the life of PS depends in a lot of things (and is independent of how many W it has..)... time of use, quality of the home power, quality of the other components in your machine... room temp, etc... how clean it is... cigarrete smoke... etc.. (first try to verify the things in my first post..) so if you have the knowledge, please, check your board... video board, etc... (Sometimes a burn capacitor isn't very easy to 'see' without the proper tools) power supply, etc... as far I understand, I think that the machine is under warranty... verify that first, before doing something radical? :-) if it is, try to talk to the vendor.. regards
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  • VietBob
    This is a built system, and since everything worked for six months, I anticipate for components still under warranty I'd get a 'normal wear and tear/caused by another component' type response to a warranty claim at this point. I haven't worked on this system since the original post (or I would have posted on my progress!) Hopefully I will get back to it this long holiday weekend (Thanksgiving in the US)and will work through your suggestions. Thanks again for all the feedback! -Bob
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  • Amigus
    My guess would be a faulty hard-drive cable.
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