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Final Year Uni Student needing urgent help with XP startup!

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hi guys,
i am a final year computer animation uni student and my computer has decided to play up. As you can imagine this is amazingly bad timing as i am a COMPUTER animator! ok i will try to tell you as much as possible - any help quickly would be so great.

Absolutly no problems before 5pm today (im writing this in safe mode with networking), shut down windows - started it up 2ish hours later and it suddenly took 2+ minutes to finish displaying boot up info where it tells you the motherboard name (GA-K8N Pro SLI F4) and then now nothing will happen for about 2 mins, then the clock CPU freq will come up (200MHz), and finally it will detect the IDE drives. This now takes 2+ mins and would normally happen in about 4 seconds before it started going strange.

Then a new screen with alot of info will come up quickly - as normal - in which i can configure RAID with F10 and boot up from CD etc. It then loads windows appearing normal with the blue bar scrolling. Next it will go blank for a long-ish time (20secs) and the desktop will finally be displayed. Now it will reset itself within 30 seconds of displaying the desktop. this is the loop i am stuck in. Safe mode seems fine.

I have tried a system restore to '2 days ago' but nothing changed. I have tried the 'last known good configuration' from the F8 safe mode menu - no changes. I have tried puting XP disc in boot-up - following a post on this website (http://www.geekstogo...ws-XP-t138.html)- and after i accept the EULA it goes on to a diff screen than shown on the guide - about partitioning and i do not know what to do here - it talks about formatting and erasing everything which i dont want!!

This is pretty much everything i can tell you - hope its not too much info! :)

My system is:

Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2 (build 2600)
AMD X2 Dual core 4400+
GA-K8N Pro SLI F4 motherboard
2Gig RAM
Nvidia Geforce 6800 GPU
400GB HDD (in RAID i think)
i am running 2 monitors

i did not install any new programs or hardware recently (that i can remember!) Is it definatly an XP issue as the problem starts before windows is activated - a friend said it could be a BIOS issue??

As i say any help would be massivly appreciated - i need to get on with my final year work!

Thanks Alot

Edited by Danstar10, 18 February 2008 - 08:53 PM.

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This sounds like a hardware problem. Defiantly not XP since, as you say, XP is not even loaded at this point. You could try going into BIOS Setup and loading the default settings but I don't think that will make any difference.

You're going to have to try to eliminate things to see if you can determine what is failing. Could me memory (RAM), video card, hard drive, mother board, add-on PCI cards, CPU, even PSU.

If you have two sticks of RAM, remove one and see what happens. If the same, put it back and remove the other and repeat test.

If still no good, disconnect everything from the computer except mouse, keyboard, video and hard drive. Leave all RAM in as you've already verified that is not the problem. Remove any PCI cards (modem, network, USB). Unplug CD/DVD drives (IDE or SATA cables and power connectors).

Now try it and see if it's better. If yes then put things back one at a time till you find the culprit.

Post back with results please.
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The problem has strangly resoved itself with no tampering atall. After tryin all i said above, the next day it... just worked. Very strange.
Thanks alot for the advice anyhow
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first thing you should do is BACKUP YOUR DATA...
Windows XP is set by default to reboot your computer when it hits a critical error. For most users I suppose this is a good thing, as no one likes to see the BSOD (blue screen of death). But in this case, we actually WANT to see the BSOD because it contains some useful information in diagnosing the problem. In order to force your computer to show you the BSOD, need to tell it to stop auto restarting on critical errors.

Right-click...My Computer... and then click ...Properties...
Click the ..Advanced tab...
Under Startup and Recovery.. click ..Settings... to open the Startup and Recovery dialog box....
Clear the ..Automatically restart.. check box, and click OK the necessary number of times...

Restart your computer for the settings to take effect....
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