Windows Legacy OS forum


Constant rebooting in XP

by Kurashiki / February 26, 2012 2:27 PM PST


Having a XP related problem. My computer has constantly been rebooting itself. No blue screen of death, no error messages, no nothing. Just stops what ever it's doing and goes into reboot mode. Usually when this happens, it will keep keep doing over and over again. Sometimes I get to login,, sometimes I don't even get as far as the Windows XP menu. It varies.

I've tried Safe mode. Sometimes it works and I can login in, but other times it even reboots in safe mode.

Think it might be a drive issue. Happened before so I erased and reformatted the drive and reinstalled everything when something similar happened late last year.. Things worked fine again until a couple of days ago. Not sure what went wrong. Tried to open another window and then it just started again. Computer sometimes sounds like a engine that's reving.

Got on for a few hours yesterday and no problems but once again tried to run two programs at once at the computer went reboot whacky again. The first time it happened two days ago I went in to safe mode and did a scan disk check. No problems. Came back later things were fine. Tried the same trick yesterday but didn't work this time. XP says the disc is fine so nt sure.

Any ideas?

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All Answers

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Re: constant reboot
by Kees_B Forum moderator / February 26, 2012 4:59 PM PST

Could be a hardware issue. Anything noteworthy in Event log?


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by Kurashiki / February 26, 2012 8:39 PM PST
In reply to: Re: constant reboot

Thank you for the reply.

Not sure what an "event log" is. I google it and see what I can find.

BTW, I was able to login tonight. I think you may be right about it being a hardware issue. I have two HDDs installed and the combo my be causing the C drive to get too hot. I think I might remove my 3.5 floppy drive and move one of the drives up a slot so that there's some air between the two. Maybe that will help with the heat. Does that sound like a possible fix?

Thanks again.

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This does sound like
by Jimmy Greystone / February 26, 2012 10:59 PM PST

This does sound like a heat issue, but it's more likely your CPU that's overheating than the HDD. If the HDD overheated, the system would lock up and you wouldn't be able to use it anymore, but it wouldn't cause the system to reboot. An overheating CPU could cause that, as well as an overtaxed power supply.

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by Kurashiki / February 27, 2012 12:25 PM PST
In reply to: This does sound like

Thanks for the reply.

My computer is 7-8 years old so maybe you're right.

The usually seems to happen after I've been using the computer for awhile and I try to run multiple programs at once. Sounds like the computer is reving up (stuck mid-process on something) and then poof I get the reboots.

Had a similar issue last year but reformatted the C drive and re-installed almost everything. Things were fine until a few days ago I have been going coverless since the and it seem to have helped a bit with the heat. Think I'll go in and check/clean the fans, etc. this weekend.

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USB peripheral devices are culprit
by Bert37 / February 27, 2012 5:23 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks

The problem described is likely to happen, when peripheral USB devices have been changed. Often, it helps to check system control and perform any installation procedures if there are tagged devices. As a last resort, it helps to unplug all external USBs and reinstall them one by one.

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by Kurashiki / February 28, 2012 10:12 PM PST

Thanks for the reply.

Only running one printer and one external HDD. Not sure what system control is but I'll google it and see what I can find out.

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So You've Cleaned It Out by.....
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / February 28, 2012 12:45 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks

...... removing the case cover and using compressed air to blow the dust away from the processor, the heatsink, the power supply and all fans and vents..? Performing such a clean-out should be done about every 6 months or so.. If you haven't, do so now.

Hope this helps.


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by Kurashiki / February 28, 2012 10:10 PM PST

Thanks for the reply.

I've been running the PC without the case cover ever since I had the same problem late last year. Try to clean out the dust as much as possible, but will do a more thorough clean this weekend.

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Then You May Need To Replace The Thermal Paste....
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / February 29, 2012 3:52 AM PST
In reply to: Thanks

...which lies between the processor and the heat sink. The original thermal paste can become old, or cracked and doesn't transfer heat as it's designed for.. Removing the old and wiping a thin layer of new will help dramatically with heat transfer.

Hope this helps.


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I like this answer.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 29, 2012 3:58 AM PST

I've seen far too many machines at many years old and "cranky" start to work like new with a few dollars of fresh compound. One of the cheapest fixes (unless done at the shop?)

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Very cheap.
by Kurashiki / February 29, 2012 12:28 PM PST
In reply to: I like this answer.

You're right.

A small tube only cost me a couple hundred yen (about $3).

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by Kurashiki / February 29, 2012 12:26 PM PST

I actually did this by accident last time I was having this problem.

I wasn't sure what was wrong so I took the dang thing apart figuring that if I ended up wrecking it that I could chalk it up as a learning experience. I took the fan and heat sink off the cpu and saw this gray goo. I didn't know what it was so I cleaned it off. I found out what its for because at the PC shop later that day I asked about it by chance.

Another thing to check out.

Thanks again.

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Update (sorta)
by Kurashiki / March 22, 2012 10:56 AM PDT

After I changed the thermal paste as you suggested, I was still getting the reboots but not as frequently as before. Usually it happened after the computer had been running for a bit and I tried to run multiple applications at the same time. When it did happen, I shut it down and let it sit for a few hours (overnight) before trying again. Seemed to be OK.

Took a week's vacation so didn't use the computer at all. Came back and it was working OK until last night. Had the computer off all day and started it up after I came home. Was only on for a few hours when I got the reboots. Tried quite a few times to start it up but it keep rebooting over and over, sometimes not even letting me get as far as the Windows login screen. Got a message that BIOS had failed so that memory settings had been reset to default and I needed to hit F4 to continue. Did all that but still got nowhere so I shut it down for the evening.

Woke up this morning and tried again but was still getting the reboots. Sometimes I could login sometimes I couldn't even get that far. Tried safe mode a few times and same thing happened. HDDs were pretty hot but CPU heat sink didn't seem too bad. Also, CPU fan pretty old (2005) but still appears to be working OK. Not sure why it keeps doing this.

I know that fans can sometimes go bad but can the same thing happen to heat sinks. Trying to figure out if it's worth it to change heat sink, fan or both. Think that might help?

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While this points to possible heat issues, remember
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 22, 2012 11:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Update (sorta)

Remember that parts can become heat sensitive over time. And power supplies lose capacity over time.

Another one of my CHEAP TECH TRICKS is to unplug the CD/DVD drives for a test run. Most folk don't need them and it can sniff out if the power supply or heat issue is in play.

Too bad no make, model of things is here. Just last month, another cranky Nvidia 8400 card.

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by Kurashiki / March 22, 2012 2:06 PM PDT

Thanks for another reply.

I'll try to add more specific details about my set up later on after I get home. For the time being, my PC is about a 6-7 year old running off a Pent 4 (think it's a 3.6). Intel Motherboard. Windows XP Pro. 512MB Cache. Believe power is 400 or 450. Two internal HDD (C is original 250 GB, D is a 300 DB I added about a year ago). One Video Card (replaced original about a year ago cause fan stopped working), 1 TV capture device, no independent sound card. A drive is 3.5 + SD card reader (don't use it anymore so I've been thinking about pulling it). Two DVD-RW drives as originally installed.

Question about unplugging CD/DVD drivers. If I unplugged the drivers and the rebooting stops then does that mean it's power supply/heat issue related?

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I wish you had written "drives"
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 23, 2012 12:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

I don't unplug the drivers but the actual DVDRW drives (both power and data cables) to sniff out heat and power issues.

It does not mean that it IS power and heat. It only adds to the probability it is power and/or heat.

The PSU appears to be 6-7 years old so it is no longer 400 to 450 Watts. It is not a sure thing but when faced with old cranky machines we have to balance repair costs with new machines. We can save an old machine like this with a new PSU and motherboard most of the time.

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by Kurashiki / March 23, 2012 2:27 PM PDT

Thanks again for another reply.

Didn't use the computer at all last night so it had been off for about 24 hours when I started it up earlier today.

Forgot to unplug the CD/DVD drives and got a few minutes of use before another reboot. Unplugged both drives and restarted it again and it has been running OK ever since (about6 hours)

Your comment about old parts is kind makes sense. Most of the stuff is as is when I first bought it. Will check online for hints on changing the power supply and see how much a new costs.

Thanks again.

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I see that you have been doing all ...
by Edward ODaniel / March 23, 2012 10:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Update (sorta)

that is suggested with mixed results.

You mention having replaced the thremal paste, the Video Card (for a failing fan on the original - does the replacement have a fan or just a heat sink?), disconnecting the optical drives, and having an external fan blowing into the open case.

You mention in one post that you do not use your floppy and were thinking about moving one of the hard drives into its location - that would allow better air circulation around the hard drive so it might be worth the time.

One thing I don't see mentioned is whether you have checked your RAM. RAM can go bad and can cause sudden shut downs. Try downloading and using the memtest utility here - (I would suggest the iso file at this link AFTER you have read up on memtest and looked at the screenshots of what you will see )

You didn't mention whether you had actually looked into your system and application logs with your Event Log Viewer. This link explains how to use it and how to interpret events -

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by Kurashiki / March 23, 2012 3:00 PM PDT

Thanks for all the links.

Fan on original video card (NVIDIA) started making noise and screen was jumping all over the place some somebody suggested that it had probably gone bad. Bought new one (PALIT 8400 GS 256MB) that guy at the shop said was roughly the same as original. New card has a fan but not sure about heat sink (old one did have one). There is, however, a pretty big heat sink (at least it looks like a heat sink) attached to motherboard above video card slot. Sort of below the CPU heat sink. Maybe this is for the video card.

Been looking for a small external fan but haven't found a good one yet. Currenty running with both side covers off. Want to try and find a clip fan to attach to case but so far haven't.

Gonna try to go in and remove floppy drive when I get the chance and move one of the HDD'S up a slot.

Really not very PC savvy so never even thought about RAM. Have 512 RAM in cache. Will check out those links. Same for event log.

Bought PC at local computer store. Sort of a store generic brand but guts but case says manufactured by DAEWOO

Motherboard is Intel PROset (I think) D915GAV/D915PGN
(looks like this
Power Supply is DEMPSEY DEM-B450CA (RPS 450)
CPU is Pentium(R) 4 3.6GHz
RAM is 512 MB
C drive is Maxtor6L250S0
D drive is Max 061120 300.1GB 720

C drive is SATA (original drive)
D drive is ATA (added myself use adaptor to connect to Mboard)

BTW, not sure if it maters, but I live in Japan and am running Japanese XP Pro. Pretty sure those downloads you suggest should run OK.

Thanks again

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Event Log
by Kurashiki / March 24, 2012 5:53 PM PDT

Finally figured out how to check my event log. Not sure what i'm looking for though but under applications I notice there's lots of errors for something called crypt32 and a few for something called mclogevent.

Under system I notice there's quite a few errors for something called DCOM and Service Control Manager. Also a few warnings for something called mfehidk.

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Let's take that first event.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 25, 2012 2:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Event Log

That points to McAfee. I wonder if this is one of those old antivirus and other app conflicts.

But as I read all the above, not a complete list of what's running is found.

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More info
by Kurashiki / March 25, 2012 10:36 AM PDT

Thanks again for another reply.

Yes I am using McAfee. I've been using it as long as I have had my PC. I've thought about switching to something else a few times because it some times can be a pain in the rear and uses lots of resources, but always forget to do so until it's too late and my subscription automatically renews for another year. Anyway, the McAfee I'm using is McAfee PC Security (anti-virus, firewall, etc.).

Had another reboot session last night and then again early this morning. Tried to restart a few times last night but gave up after awhile and shut it down for the evening. Tried to get on again this morning, but more reboots. Took me two attempts at safe mode before I could get it to login.

Checked the even log for this morning's reboots and this is what I found. Not sure exactly what I should be looking for so I made a note of the basics. Listed as Time of Error, Source of Error, and Description of Error.

5:36:40 DCOM Service event system
5:36:45 DCOM netman

The following errors all had something to do with a device connected to the system not functioning

5:37:15 Service Control Manager (SCM) NetBIOS Tcpip
5:37:15 SCM DNS Client TCP/IP Protocol Driver
5:37:15 SCM Apple Mobile Device TCP/IP Protocol Driver
5:37:15 SCM Bonjour Service TCP/IP Protocol Driver
5:37:15 SCM McAfee Validation Trust Protection Service (VTPS) mfehidk

The following errors all had something to do with an existing service or group not being able to be started.

5:37:15 SCM IPSEC service, IPSEC driver
5:37:15 SCM McAfee McShield, McAfee VTPS
5:37:15 SCM McAfee Firewall Core Service (FCS), McAfee VTPS
5:37:15???????? SCM McAfee Personal Firewall Service, McAfee FCS
5:37:15 SCM McAfee Network Agent, McAfee FCS
5:37:15 SCM McAfee Proxy Service, McAfee FCS

The following error was something about "can't read the following boot drivers or system drivers"

5:37:15 SCM can't read the following boot drivers/system drivers AFD, Fips, intelppm, IPSEC, mfehidk, mfetdi2k, MRxSmb, NetBIOS, NetBT, RasAcd, Rdbss, Tcpip

Lots of errors (Service Control Manager) happened at 5:37:15 so perhaps that's where the solution to my problem can be found. Is it possible that all of this is being caused by my McAfee stuff? Or is the McAfee problems just being caused by another more serious error? Also, have had DVD/CD of floppy drives connected since yesterday and still am getting the reboots? Does that indicate something other than a power related issue?

Will try to restart again this evening.

Thanks again for all your help so far.

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Since we could remove McAfee for a test run.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 26, 2012 12:45 AM PDT
In reply to: More info

I wonder why we wouldn't do that first? We could be hunting an old machine issue. At this age it's never a sure thing which is why we'll install the OS fresh so we're sure it's not the OS all dinged up or McAfee.

Since the events all list McAfee, how many McAfee mentions must there be?

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Another update
by Kurashiki / March 26, 2012 7:33 AM PDT

Got home last night, logged in and was able to do stuff for about 3 hours without any reboots. Shut down before I went to bed and left the computer off all night.

However, when I tried to run it this morning, I get hit with another reboot cycle. The computer was off all night so it shouldn't be too hot, right?

Tried a few times to login but kept getting reboots . Tried safe mode so I could check event log. Noticed there were a few mfehidk warnings recorded last night but no errors. Also noticed lots of the same errors as I posted in my last comment (see yesterday's post) before I got hit with another reboot (this time while in safe mode).

Tried to login again, got on for a few minutes to notice some SVCHOST and McNaiAnn errors as well as many of the same DCOM and Service Control Manager errors from the other day.

Lots of errors seem to be McAfee related but I'm not sure why that is happening.

Does this seem like a problem with the McAfee software itself? Should I be looking for a "patch" of some kind? Should I remove McAfee completely? If I do that will it damage my computer in some way?


Does this seem like a problem of my machine just being too old and worn down? Is the McAfee stuff just a symptom of a more serious problem? Will I probably have similar issues even if I install different anti-virus software, etc.?

Sorry for all the questions at once. Using phone to type this and would like to get as much feedback as possible before I try the PC again tonight.

One last thing. What would be a good and similar PC security software to use to replace McAfee if it is the problem?

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by Kurashiki / March 26, 2012 10:34 AM PDT

Another thing that I find interesting (annoying) is that these reboots are not happening all of the time. I am able to use my PC sometimes for a few hours without any problems. But, when I try to login later on I get hit with the reboots.

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"However, when I tried to run it this morning, I get hit wit
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 26, 2012 4:15 PM PDT

"However, when I tried to run it this morning, I get hit with another reboot cycle. The computer was off all night so it shouldn't be too hot, right?"

Right. But you just described the symptom of an old PC when the capacitors get old. They need time to warm up.

You can find more about this symptom if you google BAD CAPS. It's the same issue and all this points to old dry or bad caps.

Since most folk can't change caps, we replace the PSU and motherboard.

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by Kurashiki / March 26, 2012 5:06 PM PDT

Thanks again.

Will google that.

Does this mean you believe my problem is not really McAfee related?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 26, 2012 6:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

I can't tell if it is or not. Let's say a good PC is fine but an older one fails and always coughs on McAfee. It's not that McAfee is bad, it just reveals the issue first. I hope you see why we can't rule it is or is not.

But the caps do not have to be swollen, leaking or blown out bottoms to be bad. They could just be old. These are about 5 year designs. Electrolytic Caps are well known for this effect.


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Caps seem to be OK
by Kurashiki / March 27, 2012 10:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Iffy.

Thanks again for another reply.

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 28, 2012 1:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Caps seem to be OK

That the machine may be just old and any STRAIN will push it over the edge. McAfee is noted to be rather heavy and NOD32 rather light.

If you want to try the cheapest possible fix, I would find a new power supply and double the Watts to take up the slack for the aged capacitors on the motherboard. That should help but to cure it, we need to change the caps on the motherboard.

The entire story is clear now and here's the site that sells kits for the caps.

And unplugging drives and cards are a well known trick to get another year from old gear.

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