XP Boot Freeze

  Emsie 15:47 03 Jul 2008

Please can someone help? When booting our 2 year old Evesham p.c. it came on and gave the single POST bleep, but then froze. At the bottom of the screen it said "Press Del to enter Setup or Esc to enter Boot Menu" but the p.c. was unresponsive.
I then rebooted using a homemade floppy rescue disc and managed to load Windows XP.
Bullguard and Spybot scans were clean.
I Restored to the previous day, when all was well, but needed the boot floppy to get started again from the opening black and white screen. Restore loaded ok.
In MSConfig, Boot.ini said Boot paths checked out fine. I tidied and defragged files. Finally I initiated the Scan Disc facility and ticked the two repair boxes.
When the p.c. had to restart itself, it froze again. Please can anyone shed any light on this problem? Many thanks!

  brundle 16:19 03 Jul 2008

Unplug any non-essential peripherals and see if it improves matters. Any recent changes to the system ? Cables swapped or computer moved at all? Any blue screens or lockups when XP has actually loaded OK?

  Emsie 17:24 03 Jul 2008

Thanks, brundle. I unplugged all peripherals and only reconnected the usb cordless mouse+keyboard (in a different usb socket) which was recognised as 'new'. No recent changes to system that I know of, unless a Windows Update changed something. Cables not swapped, and computer not moved. No blue screens or lockups.
Nervous of restarting, to test peripheral unplugging, until I hear what you say about the rest! - And thank you so much.

  brundle 17:32 03 Jul 2008

Just try it again with the other stuff unplugged. I was thinking the power supply was struggling but that would often be reflected in more random crashes. However, it is the most stressful moment for PSU, immediately you switch on.

Is it just twice that it's played up or is it a regular occurrence?

  Emsie 17:47 03 Jul 2008

It only started playing up yesterday. Once on, all was well. But it then did it every time the pc needed to restart automatically, i.e. after the Restore, and later Scan Disc, when it took several floppy boots to kick-start it. Otherwise it's been running smoothly, apart from one message recurring intermittently over the past week saying a usb device has not been recognised. Didn't know what to do about this. Before the unplugging, it said it again, but hasn't since re-attaching/relocating the mouse+keyboard. Do you think that could be the culprit?

  Pineman100 18:09 03 Jul 2008

This is an inexpert suggestion, but any chance that the CPU cooling fan is on the blink, and the CPU overheating?

If it started after a System Restore and a Scandisk, it could be getting hot.

  Emsie 18:14 03 Jul 2008

Well, the first time it did it was when we were just booting up as usual, after the pc had been off all night,i.e. cool. I can feel the air coming from the fan at the back of the pc.

  Pineman100 18:19 03 Jul 2008

Hmmm - if it did it when the computer was cold, then I'm almost certainly wrong.

Although the warm air that you can feel coming out of the casing may be the PSU fan.

  Emsie 18:38 03 Jul 2008

The whole case feels cool, so I hope that means both the CPU and PSU fans are working ok?

  Pineman100 18:49 03 Jul 2008

I don't think that's a reliable test, particularly for the CPU fan. If you want to be certain, just take the case off and have a quick look inside while the computer is running.

Depending on your machine, you may also have a graphics card fan.

But as I said, I'm not confident that my suggestion above was correct.

  brundle 19:19 03 Jul 2008

It does sound more like hardware - there are viruses that can affect the boot process but all the scans & checks you've done are in the Windows environment - your problem is occurring before the machine even starts to load Windows. System Restore is unlikely to have had any effect on it, for that reason.

More tests to try;

Memory test; click here Burn to CD or write to floppy and boot from that. Leave it running for an hour or two at least.

Hard-disk test, with a manufacturer's diagnostic - (to find out what make drive you have in the PC use this click here) ; click here

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