Hard drive boot failure - Win XP SP3

February 14, 2010 at 10:28:53
Specs: Windows XP - SP3
Hi to all. I am really frustrated by a issue that arised when I performed a drive restore from backup files I had on a partition from the same drive.

My PC, for some reason, began a restart loop (when the computer tries to boot up and just restarts never endlessly). This same drive was taken from a PC that had the same problem of restarting for ever. I formatted the drive and used it successfully as my OS drive for a few weeks. Now it started doing the same thing over again. I always have a backup of my entire OS and settings just in case, well I did a restore with Norton Ghost 15 on the same drive and it never ever booted correctly, it just did the restart loop thing.

I have a barely used drive that I used as an external backup, I decided to do a restore of my system on THIS drive, this is when it really gets strange, the drive never had any problems, as soon as I restored my system on the barely used drive....the SAME thing is happening with this drive, restarting neverendlessly!!

I have a spare system for testing that I used BOTH HDD's on and the SAME thing is happening. I have given up on restoring ANYTHING and decided to do clean installs of XP...after a while they worked but after a few restarts or EVEN one complete shutdown, any of both drive would just go back to restarting forever OR giving me a BSOD after trying to start windows.

The last thing I tried to do was do a clean install of XP on a 3rd small drive I had. Well guess what, halfway throught the install I get a BSOD.

I don't know what to do guys. Any help will be much appreciated.

PS: Sorry if I am being TOO ambigiuos, I will give out more details if asked.

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February 14, 2010 at 10:48:48
You should get NO ERRORS AT ALL when reading files from the CD or DVD during Setup. If clicking on Retry or similar does not help...
If you DO / DID get errors, something was not right !
See Response 7 in in this,
starting at
"Errors reading from the CD can be caused by....."

Lots of things can cause a re-booting loop of Windows of a particular Windows installation, but if another Windows installation done with the drive connected to the same mboard does the same thing, you have a hardware problem !

If the Windows installation was installed on a drive when it was connected to a different mboard, and you installed the drive on this mboard with that same Windows installation on that drive, if the mboard hardware (main chipset, I/O chip. etc.) of the mboard you now have it connected to is more than a little different, it is common that Windows will not load all the way, however, that usually does not cause a re-booting loop. What you typically see is the first bit of Windows graphics, then a black screen, blinking cursor top left, and nothing further happens. IF AND ONLY IF nothing is wrong with the computer or it's components otherwise, you can fix that situation by running a Repair installation of Windows from the XP CD, without losing the personal setttings and the data you have added to the partition Windows was installed on.

In addition to the possible optical drive or ram or data cable connection problems mentioned in the above referenced link.....

Unplug the case/power supply, or switch off the AC power to it otherwise.
Power off your monitor.
Open up the case by removing the left panel as seen when you're looking at the front of the case.
Check all the connections of the wiring to make sure they are all the way onto their pins and into their sockets, especially the main connector from the power supply. The wires close to the mboard going into the main power connector/socket should be more or less perpendicular to the mboard surface rather than at an angle. Make sure all cards in slots are all the way down in their slots.

Failing power supplies are common and can cause your symptoms.
Check your PS.
They often partially work, fans and hard drives may spin, leds may come on, yet you may get no video and the mboard will not boot all the way.
See response 4 in this:

If it is failing, you can usually replace it with any decent standard sized standard ATX PS with the same capacity or greater.

Standard (PS/2) power supply size - 86mm high, 150mm wide, 140mm deep, or 3 3/8" h x 5 7/8" w x 5 1/2" d , or very close to that, though the depth can be more or less for some PSs.

Don't buy an el-cheapo PS.
See response 3 in this:

This is unlikely, but it certainly CAN be ....

Examine the mboard to see if you have bad capacitors, and/or other findable signs of mboard damage .

This was the original bad capacitor problem - has some example pictures.
History of why the exploding capacitors and which mboard makers were affected:

What to look for, mboard symptoms, example pictures:
Home page that site
- what the problem is caused by
- he says there are STILL bad capacitors on more recent mboards.

Pictures of blown capacitors, other components, power supplies, Athlon cpu's, etc.:

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