Flickering screen, then reset loop by computer.

My computer has been doing this for a couple of months now and it’s driving me nuts. Hopefully one of you SD techies has an inkling as to what’s going on.

The first sign that my computer is about to start on it’s little resetting loop is the screen starting to flicker. There seems to be no connection to what I’m running at the time or where I’m browsing on the net. Then, no error screen, it just simply resets and continues going till I usually have to hold down the power button. Occasionally it will stop resetting on it’s own and say “Your computer has just recovered from a serious error.”

When I click on “more info” on the “serious error” box it says “these files will be included in the report: C: Docume~1[computer name\Locals~1\Temp\WER69ac.dir00\mini022506.01.dmp” and " C: Docume~1[computer name\Locals~1\Temp\WER69ac.dir00\sysdata.xml". Always some variation of that file name will be included in the error report.

I’ve taken it to two different computer guys who have both said that the hardware and fans seem fine, have run stress tests, scanned for viruses and have come up with only a shrug. The only thing I’ve been able to do is erase that file from my temp folder which let’s it run fine for a few hours or until the next time I restart.

Okay, I think that’s all the info I have to offer at this point. Any guesses/help?

Hard to say from this just what it is but there are some things you can do to narrow it down or even fix the problem.

From what you wrote I am thinking the problem is likely in your video card or monitor or power or a heat related issue.

[li] Update your video drivers. It is possible something got corrupted in the video drivers and an update should sort that problem out (if it is a problem).[/li]
[li] Plug in a different monitor.[/li]
[li] Make sure there is nothing else on the same power circuit (in particular space heaters, fans, refrigerators, hair dryers [saw that one once], etc.).[/li]
[li] Run a virus scan (doubt it is a virus but might be and always a good idea to do occasionally anyway…be sure your virus definition files are up to date).[/li]
[li] Pay attention for any commonality when a crash occurs. Not just what the PC is doing but time of day, temperature in the room and so on. Obviously the time itself is not a problem but it can be something not obvious like the building super cranking the ehat at 5p and the computer near the radiator heats up too much (and yes saw this too…old GF had this happen).[/li]

It could be an overheating problem, although the flickering screen may indicate a problem with the power supply or the electrical outlet.

It may be that the electrical flow is fluctuating and when it drops too low, the computer reboots. Try plugging the machine into a different outlet. If you live in an old apartment building, problems with electricity could very well be the problem. Get a surge protector if you are not using one, or replace the one you are using.

If it is an overheating problem, then you will usually be able to use the computer for a while before it overheats, unless the room itself is hot or the CPU is close to a heating vent.

Searced for your error and found this http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_20700515.html but you have to be a subscriber to view the answer, and I’m not.

Here is another site http://www.jolttheweb.com/winxp/windows.php

I started to fall asleep on the second paragraph, but since it’s your problem, you will probably be able to wade through it.

By the way, I used the search term .dir00 sysdata.xml to find this info. There are plenty of other sites that discuss it.

Good luck!

I’d go with a flaky power supply, motherboard, CPU or video card if it came down to hardware. First though I’d check the event viewer (Start->Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Event Viewer) and check the System and Application logs to see if I could spot any errors or warnings caused by unusual suspects like video drivers or something similar. (Note that there may be things in these logs you aren’t even aware of on a general level, so check for events time- and date-stamped around the same time as your flickers/crashes/reboots occurred)

If there’s nothing unusual in the logs during these periods that isn’t there when the system is otherwise running fine, and that isn’t an error caused by power loss/improper shutdown, then I’d start to look at the hardware, starting with the video card. One of the more common causes of video card failure (assuming you have a relatively modern one) is siezure of the fan, which causes heat buildup, which can introduce progressively worse errors in video processing (especially 3D) and spontaneous reboots – sometimes even POST failures if it gets bad enough. This can be caused either by the GPU slowly dying, or the video card’s RAM becoming flaky (often seen as graphic artifacts and errors; where they appear depends on what RAM chips are damaged, and how severe it is depends on the severity of the damage)

Flaky power supplies can also wreak several flavours of havoc. Spontaneous reboots are probably foremost among them. When PSUs start to go they often become incapable of supplying enough consistent, clean voltage to the system to allow it to run properly at all times. While power fluctuations may often be within system tollerances, it can occasionally fall far enough outside those tollerances for periods of time that the system cannot properly complete or sustain the boot process. Oftentimes leaving the system off for a period of time to allow the PSU to cool off and the capacitors to fully discharge will temporarily solve the problem.

As far as the motherboard goes, this can also be a problem of heat buildup slowly cooking one or more of the components. If there is insufficient airflow to properly exhaust heat then this could be considered a possible suspect. Alternatively, check the board’s capacitors. If there’s any leakage you can safely assume there’s a problem that’s going to require you to either replace the capacitor (if you’re handy with a soldering iron and know something about capacitors) or the entire motherboard.

The CPU – check its fan to make sure it’s still working properly, and make sure the heat sink is properly seated and making full and complete contact with the core (if you’re using a CPU with an exposed core) or the whole chip. Improperly seated heat sinks can create pockets where air becomes trapped – in worst cases, that air can become superheated and fry the CPU. This is also true of poor applications of thermal grease – one missed spot can become an enclosed pocket when the heat sink is applied. Both the poorly seated HSF and poor grease applications almost always produce a completely dead CPU though so are unlikely in this case.

It also helps to dust your case fairly regularly. Dust buildup makes a very good insulator – exactly what you don’t want in a computer case.

The flickering monitor then error message makes it sound like an intermittent video card / video chip issue that’s heat stress related.

Thanks for the responses guys, I’ll try some of these things out.

I tried the joltttheweb website you suggested Cillasi as well as the solution it offered but it actually only ended up making the problems worse it seems.

In the meantime I’ve lowered the hardware acceleration on my graphics card to “none” in the advanced display settings and it seems okay…so far. But I’ve had my hopes up before only to have it start it’s reset dance the next day.