The symptoms you describe could be malware related or they could be due to hardware or overheating problems caused by a failed processor fan, bad memory (RAM), failing power supply, underpowered power supply, CPU overheating, motherboard, video card, faulty drivers, BIOS and firmware problems, dirty hardware, etc. If the computer is overheating, it usually begins to shutdown/restart on a more regular basis. If your not finding any malware then its sounds like one of the latter problems.
In Windows XP, the default setting is for the computer to reboot automatically
when a fatal error or crash occurs. You should be able to see the error by looking in the Event Log
. Read "How To Use the Event Viewer Applet
". You can then gather more information doing a search of the Event ID number.
Also see Memory Dumps in XP
, Overview of memory dump file options for Windows 2000/XP/2003
and How to read small memory dump files in Windows 200/XP/2003
An alternative is to turn off the automatic reboot
feature so you can actually see the error code/STOP Message when it happens - this is also known as the Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD).
To change the recovery settings and Disable Automatic Rebooting
, go to Start > Run and type: sysdm.cpl
Click Ok or just press WINKEY + Pause/Break
keys to bring up System Properties.
- Go to the Advanced tab and under "Startup and Recovery", click on the "Settings" button and go to "System failure".
- Make sure "Write an event to the system log" is checked and that "Automatically restart" is UNchecked.
- Click "OK" and reboot for the changes to take effect.
Doing this won't cure your problem but instead of crashing and restarting you will get a blue diagnostic screen with an error code
and other information that will allow you to better trace your problem. You can use Google to search the error code or post it back here along with any files/drivers listed so we can help you investigate the cause.
If your system keeps shutting down, follow these steps to stop the cycle:
- Click on Start > Run and type: cmd
- Press Enter.
- At the Command Prompt type: shutdown -a
- Press Enter.