Win ME restarts itself

  • rjmthezonenet
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Is your CPU overheating?
  • jfvb1225
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Post 3+ Months Ago

From reading all five pages, Id plug the power supply into a tester first, eliminate that, then test and/or replace the memory. Generally (but not always) constant restarts lead to a hardware failure, especially with older machines.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Well... you all were probably wondering what I did with this sick PC. Very interesting, where this trip has taken me, but ! I replaced the RAM today... I was totally convinced it was failing RAM, as I had downloaded a very nice ram checker from mem66.com and upon running those tests... it did show a bad address. Replacing the RAM did nothing... still failing. So... I'm now wondering if it is, in fact, the power supply. ? ? ?
  • jfvb1225
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Post 3+ Months Ago

you said you got this machine from someone? was it running when they last used it?
  • jeannepo
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It came to be broke. It's lived a hard life, with novice users, who for much of the PC's life, hit the power button, to shut down Windows... seriously. When I started looking at it, it had ME installed, and I was convinced (as you can read throughout my post on the subject) it was software related. NOT. I formatted and installed 98SE... and it displays the same exact problem, with a fresh known-good installation of 98SE. It will boot into Safe Mode (which it wouldn't in ME), but as it tries to come up into normal mode... it restarts itself before it places any icons on the desktop.
  • jfvb1225
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Id say your problem is most certainly hardware related then, and again my two primary suspects are the power supply, and second ram memory. A failing power supply will most definately make the machine continuously restart as it is overtaxed by the harddrive and cd-rom spinning up, as well as the motherboards demands. I believe you said you tested the hard drive, there are utilities available to boot the machine from a cd-rom and diagnose the hard drive's condition.....I doubt it is the hard drive though, as it took your data when you re-installed the o/s. You could also have a failed video card or chip, modem, sound card or possibly the motherboard itself. If there is a small fan over the processor to cool it, make sure it is running. You have to have some kind of video obviously, but you could try eliminating all unnecessary hardware.
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Well... I just tried removing the modem, and unplugging the CD and even the floppy (for what that's worth), and it still restarted. I put a known-good video card in it, and disabled the onboard, and that didn't help anything. Yes, I have pretty much banged away on the hard drive, and the processor, for that matter, and I'm convinced it's now the PS, or ghosts.
  • jfvb1225
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Post 3+ Months Ago

dont forget gremlins. :D

search on http://www.newegg.com for a power supply tester if you plan on working on computers, either this machine or in the future, theyre a handy inexpensive device that puts a load on the power supply to see if it withstands it, rather than just using a voltmeter to check dc voltage from the leads.
  • grinch2171
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I will have to agree that this is a power supply problem or over heating. Could you switch out the power supply with a know good if you don't have a PS tester? Maybe even a bigger heatsink and fan for the proc?
  • ModernDestroyer
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Post 3+ Months Ago

it maybe the power supply, but I have a PC running in a dryer up on a hillside just on the edge of the mojave desert and it hasn't shut down in the middle of the summer yet (hottest time of the year here). If the power supply goes bad my experience has been, they will not power up at all. I still think it is software related, and everybody is diving to deep to answer the problem. I have had PC's do what you are saying, and it always seems to be software related. Just format the hard drive and start over again with win98, or format and load linux on it :twisted:
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A reformat has already been done on this puter. So software is ruled out. Has to be hardware.
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A couple weeks ago, I got 6 new Dells for the company and went to prep them for the network. Instead of using the monitors I got with the computer, I already had an old one near by and just hooked 'em up to that. I went through three of the computers and all three had the same problem. Everytime Windows would go to load, the monitor would click and go black. I thought the computer was shutting down, but actually I had to physically reboot it. Turned out that the older monitor I was using was a plain old VGA and couldn't handle the graphics accelerator. Once I put a modern monitor on them, they were fine.

I doubt that your problem is the same, but it might be worth looking at.
  • jeannepo
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I have formatted the drive 3 times now, and reloaded 98SE three times. It will go into Safe Mode, but not normal. I've tried all the different combinations of startup I can imagine, and nothing has helped. I'm fairly confident, at this point, that this isn't software related. Also, this computer has done this with two different monitor's, so I don't think it's monitor related, either. If it is a bad pS, it's totally freaky, cuz the dang thang runs likea champ, otherwise.. in DOS, and I ran a mem test on the RAM for 71 hours continuously, and it never hiccupped. I ran a 3 hour surface scan, and there again... nothing... but, I'm wondering ... something is causing it to restart when it feels the load of 98SE in normal mode ? ? ? I don't think the problem is heat related... the cover's off and I'm working in a basement, and I live in Colorado, which is NOT the Mojave Desert :wink: I, actually, have not done anything to test the PS, at this point. I'm at wits end, and offer beers or soda to anyone who gives me the winning answer :P
  • rjmthezonenet
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Post 3+ Months Ago

rjmthezonenet wrote:
Two operating systems railed to run normally on this computer. Suspecting a hardware fault is a reasonable assumption. However, you have not provided any information to support your suspicions that the hard drive, surface mount chips, or CPU. In fact, it appears you're just guessing.

Remove all unnecesary components, set your BIOS to standard settings and restart. If the computer operates normally, start adding pieces until the problem returns. Without specific error messages, you can only resort to the process of elimination; removing hardware is almost the number one step.


This may be a PITA, but it is an efficient way to rule out may hardware components (but not your CPU, motherboard, or power supply). If you are using a graphics accelerator, try using the on-board device.

If this does work, you would have saved yourself seven days, 34 unnecessary posts, and at least two reinstallations and a format or two.
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This PC was using the onboard video... I installed a known good video card, and disabled the onboard. Nada. I purchased new RAM, Nada. I removed the modem (for what that's worth), Nada. I unplugged the CD and floppy (there again... for what that's worth), Nada. I'd think, by now, the only thing left I haven't tried are PS, MB or processor. Because the thing works, all expect for normal mode... I'm having a hard time thinking it's the MB or processor.
  • jfvb1225
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'll stick by my offering, without having the benefit of looking at the machine personally. I'll also put a couple of beer mugs in the freezer, one for me and one for ModernDestroyer in case he gets overheated out there in the desert. :wink:
  • rjmthezonenet
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Ok, lets review.

You've removed or substitued all the major components except the motherboard, CPU, hard disk and power supply. The hard disk has been formatted at least once and they symptoms are the same for two different operating systems.

Have you reset the BIOS to factory settings?
What happens if you boot to a DOS prompt and start Windows with 'win /d:fsvx'?

The only big differece between normal and safe mode is the display resolution/depth, and networking support. You did mention switching video cards, but it on-board card may still be probed if you BIOS doesn't disable it.

What happens if you boot in safe mode, set your display and resolution to 640x480x16 and reboot in normal mode?
  • jeannepo
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Okay, I just restored the BIOS to default, nada... still restarted. I went into safe mode, and the display was set at 640x480x16, so I could make no changes there, I booted from a floppy and started on win /d: fsvx and ! (I hope this gives you something to go off of) I got a blue screen of death wtih the error "VFAT DEVICE INITIALIZATION FAILED" A device or resource required by VFAT is not present or is unavail. VFAT cannot continue loading - system halted. I don't know if this has anything to do with that, or not... but since I reloaded 98SE, I have not got this pig to start in normal mode, so as it "tries" it's continually trying to detect my monitor, and load the drivers for that... it never get's beyond that, no desktop icons, task bar, etc. just a very clean RESTART.
  • grinch2171
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Post 3+ Months Ago

So the only thing left is PS, mobo and proc? Do you have any idea the mobo manufacturer, proc speed, type of proc, BIOS version or any other system info that we can research?
  • jeannepo
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Post 3+ Months Ago

http://www5.pc.ibm.com/us/products.nsf/$wwwPartNumLookup/_2254G04

Without tearing it apart, I cannot answer all your questions regarding exact type of mobo, etc. This link to the IBM site, is pretty informative, but does not give the BIOS info, either. I'm SURE the BIOS is old. It's got that very generic type of BIOS.

I'm not sure I've given you enough to go on... sorry. :cry: [/url]
  • rjmthezonenet
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BIOS... scratch. Ok. Some progress... more to go. :-)

Display... these gotta be a way to reduce your resolution such that the next boot into Normal Mode is in 640x480x16. I thought that was it (bear with me, the last time I used Windows 98 was probably in '98. haha!).

Boot to a DOS prompt and use F8 to select Command Prompt Only Mode. (What you did technically works... this is just easier.) This time use 'win /d:fsx'. (Based on your mention of the monitor probing, I'm leaning away from this test... but, what the heck, do it just to rule it out. What's one more reboot on a rebooting computer eh?

Ah, so it is attempting to detect your monitor in Normal Mode. That's another difference between Normal and Safe - hardware scanning. Did I miss this (big thread)? Do you have a different monitor to test?

The problem as I know understand it: a boot loop following an unsuccessful probe of your monitor. Correct?

Just for giggles... start the machine in normal mode. As soon as the Starting Windows 98..." 320x480 image displays, disconnect the monitor and wait long enough to be certain Windows is loaded. Re-connect and what do you have???
  • jeannepo
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I loved your suggestion to start the computer up, and unplug the monitor, while it's starting windows... cool idea... I tried it, but... NADA. :(

I believe this computer IS starting in normal mode in the 640x480x16... that's what comes up in safe mode... I'm not trying to change that.

Did you see my post about what happened when I started it with win /d: fsvx ? I got a nasty VFAT blue screen of death message.

This computer has had this problem with TWO different monitor's, one at least I know is good.
  • rjmthezonenet
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> ...suggestion to start the computer up, and unplug the monitor...
Dam! I had my fingers crossed. An old rule of thumb with diagnosing computers: try the simple things first, even if they are very unlikely.

> ...640x480x16... that's what comes up in safe mode...
Safe mode is restricted to 640...

Normal mode may be (is likely to be) different. When it boots in Normal Mode, is the wallpaper (you have no icons at this point) at the same resolution and colour depth? If not, can somebody please post how to use Safe Mode to Change screen settings in Normal Mode. Thanks!

> ...started it with win /d: fsvx ? I got a nasty VFAT blue...
Yes, I did. Boot with win /d:fsx (no "v").

> ...with TWO different monitor's
...and with two different video cards.
...and with two different operating systems.
This problem is as weird as it gets.

Do you have another computer? lol, it may be easier to start subbing parts into a working machine. ha (kidding)

The motherboard, power supply, CPU, hard drive and Normal Mode are the only common denominators to this problem. Can you substitute any of these parts? Maybe yanking a working motherboard (with CPU and RAM) from another computer for a quick test.

Hey, just for hoots. Try booting a Knoppic CD. That's a full graphical environment with lots of hardware probing on boot. Just curious (give it a go if you have the bandwidth, time and burner).
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I have the exact same problem. I even installed Win2k, but I can't get to Safe Mode as I did when I installed Win98 in this box. My computer is an IBM Netvista A21i, 64MB RAM, 20 GB, 850Mhz PIII (I think)

I found this other forum with a similar issue, looks like a motherboard problem. My capacitors look exactly like the ones in the picture.

http://forums.techguy.org/t182983/s57fa ... 80784.html
  • smarm
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I am having the same problem too... or very similar. The system is a NetVista- not exactly sure what model (I'm not near it right now, I can get more info on it tomorrow). It is running Windows Me. I don't know when the problem started, because I haven't used the computer for months. I'm not sure if anyone else has (it is at my business, but it is rarely used). But I just found out about the problem today. Anyway, the system restarts before it gets anywhere in a normal boot (just when the Windows Me splash screen comes up). In a safe boot, it will ocassionally reach the desktop, load the system tray, and start to load help... at this point it will restart. Sometimes it restarts sooner than this, sometimes it doesn't even get past the Windows Me splash screen in safe mode.

I created a emergency boot disk from a laptop running Windows 98... and the Netvista has the same problem when started from this disk. It won't even boot into Safe Mode using this disk, although I can get it to boot if I try command prompt only safe mode (however, normal command prompt only does not work). I have also had success doing a step-by-step boot from the Windows 98 emergency boot floppy... if I say yes to every step, it will drop me at the command line, but I have tried running both scandisk and scanreg from here and both end up causing the system to either reboot or freeze. So basically, I can get to the command line, but can't run anything useful. When I reach the command line through command prompt only safe mode, I can't run anything useful because himem.sys isn't loaded.

I have tried going in to the IBM diagnostic tools (pressing F11). This will load, and present a menu with options to either to reformat the hard drive and relaod the operating system from the restore CD (or something like that, I am trying to recall from memory) or to display a list of utilities. If I select to show the utilities, it will show another menu with three options- show system information, show diagnostic utilities, or create a floppy disk to restore access to the diagnostic utilities. Most of the time, selecting to show the diagnostic utilities (2nd option) will cause a reboot. Other times I have been able to access the utilities and run them... alhtough haven't run all of them. I can also access the command line from these utilities, when I am able to load them. Tried running scandisk from here- if I run the scan disk on the C: drive (the IBM service partition) everything is fine. If I run it on the D: drive (the IBM_Preinstalled partition, which would be the C: drive on a normal boot and contains the Win Me install), the system reboots after scandisk runs for a few seconds. If I run scanreg /fix from the D: drive (the one that has Win Me installed) it will say that it couldn't repair the registry and that I should try deleting some files to free up space on the disk. If I run scanreg /restore, it says there is nothing to restore from.

Anyway, it seems exactly what is described in this threat, although I obviously haven't gotten as far as reformatting, swapping ram, or testing other hardware components. I also haven't had a chance to look at the capicitors around the processor as suggested on the thread linked to in the last post, but I honestly can't tell from that picture what I'm supposed to be looking for. I was surprised when I looked at the dates on this thread becasue they are just in the last week or so- and this happened to me today. The capacitor thread isn't that old either... and they're all Netvistas. Wonder if it's an issue with the Netvista motherboard. Anway, any help would be much appreciated and I will be following this thread with much interest. Thanks!
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AH HA !!! With the last two posts... I *think* we might be getting somewhere !! I hit the link ocanas included in their post... and there is a photo someone has included of a MB with leaky caps ! Well, guess what :?: :!: I looked closely at the mb in my pc... LEAKY CAPS around the processor !! I understand leaky caps don't guarantee failure... BUT... I'm a bettin' girl, and whatdaya wanna bet this is my problemo :?: :!: Unfortunately... I think this PC is out of warrantee.

This is an AWESOME forum... TONS of great info has come my way. Tx :!:
  • grinch2171
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Post 3+ Months Ago

A mobo shouldn't be very expensive to replace. i remember reading about IBM's and their mobos having this problem. Wish I would have remembered sooner.
  • jeannepo
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I just had to post, one last time, to this thread to update everyone on my Netvista problem. Because of the prior two posts, that took me to IBM, regarding the problem with this machine, and SURE ENOUGH... there has been a ECA issued on the motherboard in this exact machine type/model. IBM is sending a tech to my house to replace the mobo n/c !! This machine is out of warrantee, but they are standing behind the defective caps on the mobo... they were fully aware of the problem.

However, you can bet, the first time I see this machine start up Windows... I'll be holding my breath :wink:

Thanks for the great posts, this forum is awesome.

~jp
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jeannepo, thanks so much for the final post! I was hoping you would let us know what the final outcome was. Maybe I missed this in the thread, but exactly which machine type/model do you have? Since I'm having the same problem (I opened up my case today and sure enough, leaky caps!!), I'm hoping my out-of-warranty system will be covered as well- hopefully it's a model where they are already aware of the issue, like yours. The model mentioned on the other thread with the picture is not the same as mine, so I hope they are aware that this problem spans several NetVista models. Anyway, any info you could provide would be helpful when I call IBM later today. Thanks again!
  • jeannepo
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hey Swarm!

No problemo... here's everything I can give you:

IBM: 1-800-426-7378
Netvista
type: 2254
model: G04

They'll tell you there has been an ECA issued on this machine... hopefully your type/model uses the same mobo! They'll also want your serial number, too.

GOOD LUCK !!

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