My setup is thus, I have two desktops on a network (Linksys, wireless - one connected through ethernet, the other a wireless modem), one is an HP system, the other Cyberpower PC, both XP service pack 2. About three weeks ago my computer began to prematurely shut down and restart any time a higher function happened (rendering, scanning, copying a lot of files, etc. more than just being idle). My first thought was either a virus/malware or a software issue. Did a complete up-to-date virus scan of the system with Norton, then then same with Spybot Search and Destroy, no viruses and just a few tracking cookies which I then follow up with Sysinternals' Root Kit Revealer, nothing. After asking around, it was suggested that it may be a hardware problem, and the computer was automatically shutting off as a protective measure against something like overheating. Well, upon a cursory visual inspection of my box everything seems fine, I have no less that 5 fans on the case (all working, clean an uncluttered of dust bunnies) and the CPU fan is humming away brilliantly. Just about that time, my computer starts acting fine, but my wife's computer (mine is the ethernet, her's is wireless) gets hit with the same problems. My thinking, must be a software issue, because that's the only thing that can affect the two systems (and the possibility that both have a similar hardware failure a the same time is remote). So I go through the same process on her's, Norton, then Spybot, with no results. Here though, I dowload Avast! antivirus and Microsoft's Antispyware program and run them as a backup, nothing. Next I consult my IT neighbor. He comes over and runs Macaffee from DOS, no viruses. Suddenly her computer starts acting normal and my computer becomes maligned again. Well, throwing my hands up in disgust, I disconnect my computer from the network (trapped you little bugger!) and copy off all relevant data, and reinstall windows from the factory CD. Still does it. Fine! So I do a complete reformatting and repartitioning of the hard drive, and a brand spanking new install of XP. Still does it. Now I'm not even connected to the internet, but if I do something like change the display settings, BAM, crash and reboot.
This is where I am now. MY wife's computer is working ok (for now) mine is still crashing. Makes me think this really is a hardware issue on mine (what could still be on my computer?). If it is hardware, how do I go about diagnosing the problem? What else could it be? Ideas?
As a side note, I will mention another problem that may or may not be related, with my laptop. The laptop has not been linked to the network until yesterday, and it was acting weird. It would run and the CPU usage would spike up to 80% for a second, then drop of for about 2 seconds, then spike again. Really annoying because the pointer stops moving during this "processing" and everything seems to freeze, programs, anything. Last night Avast! found a trojan horse, couldn't isolate it and I deleted it, but it still does this and I don't see anything in the task manager that tells me what is doing thist. It started doing this about a week ago at a hotel I was at a on an insecure wireless internet connection, and just did it a little at first, but has gotten gradually worse. Anyway, don't worry about this problem in this post unless you think it may be related to the problem above.
Thanks for any help.