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Desktop Boot Issue

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I have been running XP on my home desktop that I built a few years ago, and has been running perfectly until a couple days ago. When I turn on the power, the monitor immediately shows a series of characters in vertical colums (It looks like the Matrix...seriously). It shows this for a minute or so while XP loads, then the monitor loses the signal completely from the desktop. I initially suspected the monitor may be faulty, but I moved my tower into the living room and connected it to my HD TV and witnessed the same matrix when booting. I'm not sure where to even begin to diagnosis the problem. Does this sound like a video card issue? Processor? Hard drive?

Please help!!

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