I have a Dell Dimension 8300 with an Intel Pentium 4 Processor. This morning, I noticed that the power had briefly gone out in my area since the clocks in my house were blinking. My computer is plugged into a high-grade surge protector so I wasn't too concerned. When I went to turn on my computer, the Windows XP loading screen came up as normal before going to the user login screen. I noticed that as soon as it got to this screen, the screen began to flash to dark whenever I moved the mouse rapidly. I attempted to login to my username as normal and the computer began to move very slowly. The initial login chime sounded broken up and slow. At this point the monitor blacked out completely and the system stopped responding. To turn the computer off, I had to depress my power button for 3 seconds.
I tried restarting the computer several times and encountered almost the same problem each time I attempted to login. The initial XP loading screen always came up as normal. Sometimes the computer monitor would black out before even reaching the login screen.
I then started up the computer in safe mode with networking. In this case, the screen did not flash to dark screens whatsoever and everything ran fine. My computer could logon to the internet and I had no problems accessing files on my hard-drive. I then restarted the machine to try the normal non-safe mode login and the problem continued to occur as before.
I continued by bringing up the computer again in safe mode with networking but this time I used system restore. I selected a restore point that was a few days old restarted my machine. The problems continued and each time the situation ended with a dark screen and a non-responsive machine.
Does anyone know what might have caused this problem and how I can fix it? Do you suspect that this is just a software problem with Windows or a hardware problem? This has been a very frustrating situation to pin down. I also ran an extensive scan using scandisk but the problem remained after the scan.