Just to confirm - besides resetting the date/time you advise i get a new cmos battery ? If so are these a standard type or do i need to be looking for anything in particular with a battery ?
Yes, you should replace the battery. It shouldn't run more than ~$4. To find out what kind of battery to buy, just pull it out and read the part number on it. It should be readily available at any computer type store.
Also -If this does solve the no post & crashing can you tell me please what might have caused this ...just the cmos battery dying ?
It all depends. Because I'm not there to see the machine myself, I can only go by what you tell me. What you describe as "no post & crashing" could be anything related to the computer and your description may only be what "you" think it really is and not necessarily what "I" might think it is. This is what makes forum troubleshooting difficult.
One last thing in relation to your previous reply - i just tried the system again to recheck and besides the exact same startup sequence (and restart) there is no beep at all in the startup process -that's not normal right ?
What does that signify ?
The bios having the wrong date may preclude completing the post, so you may not get the "single" beep that comes normally as when the bios actually completes normally.
As for the restart, I'm beginning to think other things. Having a dead bios battery shouldn't cause Windows to crash and restart. When you use the words "restart and crash", are you referring to Windows restarting and crashing? If so, then buying a new battery may not completely solve your problems. For troubleshooting the restart/crash, I would minimize components to the following...
Use only one ram stick (if you have more than one) (then swap out the ram on a second attempt if the first attempt at booting fails)
PS2 mouse (no usb/wireless)
PS2 keyboard (no usb/wireless)
Pull all other cards out of the computer... modem, sound, etc, and disconnect cables from any floppy drive, cdroms, and any other hard drives (if you have a slave installed too). If there is any dust on any part, you need to clean it out with compressed air to eliminate heat related problems. If you use air, go slow and don't blast the air... go slow and gentle so you don't generate huge amounts of static electricity.
Restart the computer, set the date/time, and see if you can boot to the Safe mode menu. However, don't let the computer actually boot to Windows. If the computer will stay on without crashing for an extended amount of time while in the Safe mode menu, then it's possibly a ram problem as this is the first thing Windows will try to use... besides the harddrive and vid card, of course.