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System freezes on startup, then reboots, etc


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#1
hotjava

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My Desktop PC cannot boot properly. I am sending this desperately from my notebook.

During cold booting, a message says "NTLDR Missing, Press Ctrl-Alt-Del". I did that and it boots OK, the desktop screen with my program icons appear normally, after the Windows XP splash logo. Then things go bad. Sometimes, the screen freezes. Then it may start to reboot by itself and the cycle repeats or loops through endlessly. At other times, the screen just freezes with no reboot.

As I have unchecked the Automatic Restart box (under Control Panel, System, Startup & Recovery), I expected to see a Blue Screen of Death with diagnostic info. but no, it just reboots by itself (or freezes)

I have booted into Safe Mode, ran anti-virus software: SmitFraudFix, SDFix, RegFix, XSoft, SpyBot, AdAware 2008, AVG 2008. I think I am clear of malware, virus, trojans.

I have a fan blowing at the PC to prevent overheating, and I am in an airconditioned room.

I am on a Win XP SP2 system, with CPU AMD Athlon 6400, 2gb RAM, two hard drives - one partitioned as C: and F:, the other one as G:, CD Drive (D:), DVD drive (E:), Floppy Drive (B:). BIOS is MSI. I have dual monitors - Samsung 19" and 17".
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#2
Neil Jones

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Defective hard drive is most likely the cause of an NTLDR error. The fact the system boots normally after a warm boot again suggests hard drive issue as it doesn't have to spin up again on a warm boot. Your other symptoms are also hard drive related.
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#3
hotjava

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But in Safe Mode, everything works perfectly. No freezes, no reboots. Only hitch is I c'ant logon to my 2Wire Wireless router to get on the net. So I suspect it is not hardware, but maybe the Windows system files.
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#4
Tyger

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Did you take the hard drive out of one machine and put it in another, or change the motherboard? Windows won't handle a change of hardware like that.

Also, bad memory can cause a system to reboot, it's very easy to put memtest86 on a floppy and run it for an hour or two to test the memory.
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#5
hotjava

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Did you take the hard drive out of one machine and put it in another, or change the motherboard? Windows won't handle a change of hardware like that.

Also, bad memory can cause a system to reboot, it's very easy to put memtest86 on a floppy and run it for an hour or two to test the memory.


No, I did not swap any hard drives, nor Mobo. I did not open the box so far.

I think Memtest86 is for x86 architecture computers. I have an AMD Athlon Dual Core 6400 CPU which is not x86 compatible. Right?

Everything works fine in Safe Mode. Doesn't sound like RAM failure

I'm thinking of upgrading to Win SP 3 to see if it cures the problem. If not, I will buy a Apple MAC which has much much less problems than Windows
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#6
The Skeptic

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The problem looks like system software failure. NTLDR is a common problem, usually originating by corrupt NTLDR windows file.

Please try the following, checking after each step:

1: Boot to safe mode and try to run "last good configuration".
2: Place XP CD in the drive and click Exit when windows shows up. Click Start > Run. In the command line type sfc /scannow (note the space before /c) press Enter and let windows find and replace corrupt or missing files. If not successful in normal mode try in safe mode.
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#7
hotjava

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The problem looks like system software failure. NTLDR is a common problem, usually originating by corrupt NTLDR windows file.

Please try the following, checking after each step:

1: Boot to safe mode and try to run "last good configuration".
2: Place XP CD in the drive and click Exit when windows shows up. Click Start > Run. In the command line type sfc /scannow (note the space before /c) press Enter and let windows find and replace corrupt or missing files. If not successful in normal mode try in safe mode.


Alas..I wish I could I try what you suggested. I lost the XP CD when I moved house recently. Probably cheaper to send PC to a repair shop than to buy a new Win XP CD.
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#8
The Skeptic

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Could you borrow a disk of the same version from anyone? It's perfectly legal.
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#9
hotjava

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Could you borrow a disk of the same version from anyone? It's perfectly legal.


Unfortunately, none of my friends have a suitable Win XP CD ROM. They either have a Win XP CD for HP, Acer, DELL or Fujitsu PCs, which doesn't work my MSI mobo.

I've just run a test on my RAM chips using Windows Memory Diagnostic. Everything normal there.

Given the increasingly hopeless situation, I am rapidly being driven towards the option of going out to buy Windows Vista, reformat my hard drive C and start life afresh, with Vista, which I understand is more robust than XP. I guess I better check if the drivers of my AMI BIOS need upgrading to handle Vista
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#10
The Skeptic

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Regarding buying Visa: Please check, before you spend the money, if MSI and other manufacturer's of your hardware (printers, camera etc.) have drivers made for Vista. I have an MSI motherboard working perfectly for about 4 years. When I installed Vista I couldn't find a suitable Audio driver. MSI didn't bother to create one, so I had to revert to XP.
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#11
FadeToBright

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1. This is the first thing to look at. Is your system trying to boot from a CD or floppy disk that is non-bootable? Remove the CD or floppy and try again.
2. Have you added a new hard disk with another copy of Windows installed on the new disk? Have you confirmed that the drives are set properly as Master and Slave?
3. If steps 1 and 2 do not apply,then it is time to pull out the big guns. Follow steps 4 through 10.
4. Insert the Windows XP bootable CD into the computer.
5. When prompted to press any key to boot from the CD, press any key.
6. Once in the Windows XP setup menu, press the “R” key to repair Windows.
7. Log into your Windows installation by pressing the “1″ key and pressing enter.
8. You will then be prompted for your administrator password; enter that password.
9. Copy the below two files to the root directory of the primary hard disk. In the below example we are copying these files from the CD-ROM drive letter “E.” This letter may be different on your computer.
copy e:\i386\ntldr c:\
copy e:\i386\ntdetect.com c:\
10. Once both of these files have been successfully copied, remove the CD from the computer and reboot.
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#12
hotjava

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The problem has worsened now. The PC would hanged during the bootup. Cant even boot to Safe Mode.

I've swapped a new Power Supply, new Power On switch, installed additional fan to cool the processor. It boots up for a while, but then quickly hangs again. Does it mean things are beyond repair at reasonable cost?
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