The symptoms you describe could be due to hardware or overheating problems caused by a failed processor fan, bad memory (RAM), failing or underpowered power supply, CPU overheating, motherboard, video card, faulty drivers, CMOS battery going bad, BIOS and firmware problems, dirty hardware components, etc. If the computer is overheating, it usually begins to shutdown/restart on a more regular basis. If you're 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 may not see the error code because the computer reboots too fast. You should be able to see the error by looking in the Event Log
. However an easier 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. Write down the full error code and any files/drivers listed, then provide that information in your next reply so we can assist you with investigating the cause.
Some rootkits can also trigger BSODs, shutdowns and various stop error/shutdown messages so it would also be wise to perform a scan for this type of problem. Download and scan with Sophos Anti-rootkit
, Panda AntiRootkit
or AVG Anti-Rootkit
Before performing an ARK scan it is recommended to do the following to ensure more accurate results and avoid common issues that may cause false detections.
Note: Not all hidden components detected by ARKs are malicious. It is normal for a Firewall, some Anti-virus and Anti-malware software (ProcessGuard, Prevx1, AVG AS), sandboxes, virtual machines and Host based Intrusion Prevention Systems (HIPS) to hook into the OS kernal/SSDT in order to protect your system. You should not be alarmed if you see any hidden entries created by these software programs after performing a scan.
- Disconnect from the Internet or physically unplug you Internet cable connection.
- Close all open programs, scheduling/updating tasks and background processes that might activate during the scan including the screensaver.
- Temporarily disable your anti-virus and real-time anti-spyware protection.
- After starting the scan, do not use the computer until the scan has completed.
- When finished, re-enable your anti-virus/anti-malware (or reboot) and then you can reconnect to the Internet.