Computer problem

I have windows XP, and my browser is Firefox.

I have already run the following programs: Spybot, AdAware, Spyblaster, Anti-virus scans, and Hijack this.

My computer is re-booting itself fairly frequently. Sometimes I can have it up and running for an hour before this happens–other times it only lasts about 5 minutes or so.

I got a popup message last night that said I have a few corrupt files that cannot be read. One was AOLdial.exe, and another was something in mozilla. I didn’t have time to write them down, as the computer then crashed again.

None of the programs I have run have shown anything abnormal.

Usually on restart it goes to the check disk utility, which seems to run way slower than normal, and keeps finding the same 2 results, both of which are connected to Mozilla somehow.

Twice on reboot it has gone to a plain black screen and not loaded at all.


Download CCleaner and update it after installation (if it needs it).

Download the latest version of Firefox and save to your drive somewhere.

Uninstall Firefox (save any bookmarks and such first).


Open a Command Prompt (type CMD in the Run line).

  • Type: CD\
  • Type: CHKDSK /f /r
  • Hit ENTER and go make some coffee and read the paper

Once done defrag your PC (START>ACCESSORIES>SYSTEM TOOLS>Disk Defragmenter)…go watch a movie

Run CCleaner. I forget exactly but there are two scans available. One cleans up like Disk Cleanup but more thoroughly. Run that and have it clear everything (will clear saved passwords from the browser and such). Then run the one that scans your Registry and have it cleanup what it finds. Run this scan multiple times till it stops finding things to fix.

Re-install Firefox. DO NOT restore any bookmarks just yet. See how it works for awhile. If all is good then restore whatever stuff you saved from your previous version.

Let us know how it goes.

My first thought is a heat problem.

After the computer has been running for a bit, quickly reboot it and go into the BIOS setup. Exactly how you get into the BIOS setup varies from computer to computer, but usually there are some on screen prompts while the thing is booting. Look for some sort of temperature monitor. It might be buried on some auxiliary setup screen, but there is usually one in there somewhere.

The CPU temp should be under 45 deg C. If it’s above 55 then you’ve got a problem.

There might be info about your fans in the BIOS screen as well. You might be able to tell from the screen if the CPU fan is not spinning.

Some motherboards have utilities that run under windows so you can see this info without rebooting and going into the BIOS.

If it’s not a heat problem, my next suspect would be the power supply.

I would try running in Safe Mode first. (Hit F8 during bootup, after the brand’s splash screen comes up, assuming it’s a branded PC. Otherwise just hit it before the XP splash screen.)

If it stays running in Safe Mode than you can assume it’s a problem with an added piece of software (not Windows itself) or attached hardware (USB connection, etc.)

Definitely worth checking. There are a plethora of temperature-monitoring utilities, but start by opening the case and having a visual inspection.

What do you tend to be doing when the computer reboots? Playing games or videos would tend to indicate a problem with the graphics card.

As for CHKDSK /R, be aware that this can take a very long time indeed - ordinarily I’d set it going overnight.

Thanks for all of the advice. I won’t be home to try these solutions until around 4 or so, then I’ll get back to the thread.

I should have stated that I have run the normal disc cleanup and defrag–and I do that regularly.

The heat problem is a possibility. I haven’t run my home air conditioning yet this year. It’s been seasonably mild here–but perhaps still too warm for the computer.

The computer normally reboots when I’m online–but I’m usually just browsing sites–no games or videos.

If you are comfortable poking around inside the computer, check to make sure all of the fans are running. You may also want to reseat the CPU and RAM. I’ve had RAM work loose on me in the past just from the vibration of people walking by (it was a tower case on the floor). Popping the RAM out and back in again fixed the problem.

The black screen on reboot is what is making me think it is hardware and not software.

Other possibilities are a failing hard drive or bad RAM.

Look for errors in the Event Log under **Application **and System.

Turn off automatic restart on crash by right-clicking **My Computer **and selecting Properties. On the **Advanced **tab click **Settings **under Startup and Recovery. Under System Failure, clear the **Automatically Restart **checkbox.

If it now gives you a blue-screen instead of restarting, there will be a line that has error codes in it, like 0x0000007E. Post the full text of that line.

I was thinking the same thing. I got very similar behavior on a laptop I was looking at for my brother. I initially thought is was a RAM issue, but it turned about to be a dead fan.

My first impression is a failing hard drive, the second is RAM. You don’t mention specifically what make and model you have, but if it’s not something custom, the manufacturer should have a diagnostic utility you can run on it.

I used to work for a small company that assembled computers. Most computers we sold had the same motherboard/CPU combo, both made by Intel (D845 motherboard with socket 478 P4 2.8GHz CPU). When the computer was ready we would run a stress test (with Sisoft Sandra) and monitor the CPU temp.

Well, you won’t believe the variation in temperatures we saw. Some CPUs wouldn’t rise above 50 C for the entire stress test, while others would be at 60 C while idling and reach 65-68 during the stress test. I still remember a specific CPU that no matter what we did, it ran so hot it would turn off after 10-15 minutes. Just for the heck of it we removed the factory heatsink and installed the biggest aftermarket one we had available. It was stable after that, but running at some ridiculously high temperature.

Same here. My computer stopped doing this after I blew out the insides with compressed air.

Symptoms - fans going very hard for a long time. A good test is to start a virus scan and see if it crashes - that generates a lot of activity.

That’s really odd. I’m involved with CPU design, and I’m having a hard time thinking of a reason for such a big variation, except maybe a fault in the clock control logic used for power management, or a big leakage issue. I’d have guessed a heatsink problem, but your experience seems to rule that out.

If you were still there, I’d ask about if the hot ones pulled more power and ran faster. I can imagine getting yield at higher speed bins by pushing leaker chips into the bin. (That’s current leakage, btw.)

I worked there for 6 months only. I left about 2 months after the first P4 for LGA 775 were introduced. Maybe the problem was with this specific generation of CPUs only?

This coud be indicative of either hard drive issues or virus/corrup add ins to your browser.

Try malwarebytes anti malware, damn good cleaner.

This again leads me toward hard drive issues

:eek: No video is the kiss of death, and its teasing you right now. IF you have a separate video card it could be that. The combination of the black screen boots without other error messages and constant checkdisks make me wonder if you have some kind of transient motherboard problem possibly involving drive controllers.

If this was in my shop:

try different RAM

I would try imaging the hard drive to a another drive to see if it behaves with a tester drive and to make sure your drive does not die on the bench on me.

Load up drive sitter or similar hdd diagnostic package If it is hard drive related, drive sitter will eventually build a failure forecast

Scan for viruses

Test w/ different power supply

Checked the fans in BIOS and the temp. was at 60 degrees and one fan was showing no speed.

Cleaning out the inside of the tower now. Then I’ll re-check. If the fan is dead, how do I proceed at that point?

Replace the fan.

I was on top of that part of decision, but I guess I was looking for more specifics. I’m not that computer savvy obviously, so I just want to make sure I don’t screw anything up. I’m guessing this is a simple procedure?

A speed of zero may mean there is no fan on that connector.

Bad case fans are easy to replace and usually require a phillips screwdriver. Replacing a heat sink fan is harder. I don’t think your heatsink fan is bad if the CPU temp was 60C.