Windows XP: Fix Startup / Shutdown Problems

My Windows XP Professional PC reboots whenever I try to go into Standby

Problem

My Dell Dimension 8400 desktop PC has suddenly developed a fault. It reboots when I click on the Standby icon that presents itself in a window with the Turn Off and Restart icons when I click Start => Turn Off Computer. I have no idea how to fix it or even if it can be fixed.

Answer

Standby and Resume problems are not as common as they used to be. They are most commonly caused by device driver or firmware issues and by incompatible hardware. Each device, internal or external, cannot work without a software device driver that is installed by Windows. Some devices, such as an external router, and internal devices such as an optical DVD drive have what is known as firmware, which is software that is installed into a chip in the device that makes it function. Both drivers and firmware can be updated if updates are available.

You should therefore visit Dell’s site and download the latest drivers. To do that, visit dell.com. If you live in the US, the dell.com site will come up, but it will relocate to the EU site if you live in the UK. Enter Dimension 8400 in the search box. You should find a drivers link that will go to a page listing all of the devices in the 8400 that have drivers. If you have a no-brand-name PC, you can go there to get an idea of the drivers to update and then use the free Belarc Advisor from belarc.com to identify the makes of the devices in your PC. You can then visit the manufacturers’ sites, which you can find by making use of a web search engine.

The following action might result in pinpointing which drivers to update. Click the Start button, right-click My Computer, click Properties in the menu that comes up, and click the Hardware tab. Open the Device Manager and click on the + beside Computer. There should be an entry for Automatic Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI). If it is not there or Automatic Power Management (APM) is, the correct drivers for the PC’s motherboard probably have not been installed. You should be able to obtain them from the website of the motherboard’s or its chipset’s manufacturer. You should also make sure that the latest drivers for the PC’s graphics card are installed, because they are a common cause of standby problems. You may have to install the latest version of DirectX from http://support.microsoft.com/ before you install the latest drivers.

If updating the drivers doesn’t fix the problem, click the Start button, right-click My Computer, click Properties in the menu that comes up, click the Advanced tab and click the Startup and Recovery Settings button. If the box beside Automatically restart is ticked remove the tick with your mouse. Doing that will prevent Windows from restarting before you can see the error message that should come up whenever you click on the Standby icon. That error message should tell you the name of the source (file/module) of the problem. If you know the source, you can conduct a search for information on the problem on the web or on http://support.microsoft.com/.

The Event Viewer’s log may be able to supply some diagnostic information. Enter eventvwr in the Start => Run box and look in System for a warning from TCP/IP that the network adapter has disconnected and reconnected.

If the problem still exists, try disconnecting all of the nonessential devices/peripherals (router, printers, external drives, etc.) one at a time to find out if it is the cause. Removing an incompatible device will fix the problem. You can then find out if that device has a driver update that might allow you to reconnect it without causing the problem.

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