Hi - sometimes this sort of failure occurs when you have an AMD processor; you did not say what make you have. The cure would be to check if you video card is the latest. Try radarsync.com for a free check. Good luck - Amos.
A couple of days ago I got a system error message during XP's startup. It told me to proceed. I clicked yes, and it looked like it entered Safe Mode (4 bit, 640 x 480). There were no messages. I reset the color setting to normal and reboot. XP loaded but said Win XP encoutnered a serious error. But everything seemed normal except for my wallpaper that had patterns as if it were in "halftone." (The problem went away when I reapplied the wallpaper.) I ran the usual aps, checked for viruses and spyware, none found.
Today I was using IE, MSN Messenger and Windows Media Player when I heard a beep sound and everything froze for about a minute. Then the screen went black for a few second then went into Safe Mode with the low res colors. An error message said there had been a device failure and that I should save my work. I restarted the computer and it was fine.
I just replaced my monitor a few days before any of these happened. I also notice a loud sound and light coming from my floppy disk drive after it is used, as if the computer is still reading it.
Could it be a hard disk faailure? But shouldn't there be an error message about it? With Win98 I could tell when the HD was conking out because it always ran a scandisk at the start. Could it be the video card?
256 RAM, 64 vid card 20GB HD WIN XP PRO. p 1.4ghz