Windows XP: Fix Startup / Shutdown Problems

My PC constantly reboots 10 to 20 minutes after being switched on

Problem

I have a problem with my desktop PC (Windows XP, AMD Athlon 1700+, 256MB of RAM, 80GB hard disk drive, CD/DVD writer) and I hope that you can tell me why it reboots 10 to 20 minutes after it has been switched on. I’ve changed the RAM memory and reformatted the hard drive, but without success. Could this be a hardware issue? Please list all of the possible causes of this problem and all of the possible solutions.

Answer

You have changed the RAM, but it is important that any new RAM module(s) are fully compatible with both the motherboard and/or any other RAM module(s) already installed in the system (new RAM could also be bad). Your PC is elderly so note that there can be jumpers on older motherboards that need to be set for specific RAM configurations. Consult your motherboard’s manual (downloadable in the PDF format from its manufacture’s site for your PC’s make/model of motherboard), or the manufacturer’s website for specific instructions and compatibility requirements.

If you don’t know the make and model of the motherboard installed in your computer, here is a good free utility – Belarc Advisor – that creates an analysis of the hardware and software on a personal computer. Look under FREE DOWNLOAD at belarc.com. Another utility that also provides detailed information on the memory itself is CPU-Z from cpuid.com.

It is advisable to use a good memory-test program to check your new and old RAM. Here are two:

http://hcidesign.com/memtest/ and http://www.memtest86.com/

You can use the UK and US Crucial Memory Advisors, made available  from crucial.com, to determine the correct RAM and capacity for your specific make and model computer and/or motherboard.

The PC’s motherboard could have developed faults. For instance, malfunctioning capacitors on a motherboard can be responsible for a wide range of issues. It is possible for capacitors to fail due to a bad power source. If you see one or more capacitors (the cylindrical components that are soldered to and stick up from the motherboard) that are leaking substances, you have to replace the motherboard.

Some motherboard manufactures provide fault-testing software, so conduct a search of your PC’s motherboard manufacturer’s site for free software.

System Continually Reboots – http://www.5starsupport.com/xp-faq/1-92.htm – provides information on overheating (cleaning the PC internally) and what to do to find out if the PC’s power supply is bad.

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