My computer keeps restarting
April 24, 2004 3:31 PM   Subscribe

My computer keeps restarting. This is bad. Please help (more inside).

My computer's a Compaq Presario Athlon 2400+ that I got last August. I clean installed Windows XP Pro on it and added 512MB of RAM and a new soundcard. Everything's been fine till earlier this week when the monitor started flickering yellow. Either the whole screen would become tinted yellow for a few seconds or else bands of the same yellow tint would overlay on top of the display. I ignored this but maybe it was a sign.

Last night I completely shut down and turned off the computer, even turning the power strip off. Today I went to start it only to be faced with this:

The computer will seem to start for 3-4 seconds. It makes noises, the CPU's lights go on, the monitor flicks on, etc. Then the monitor goes into sleep/standby mode (indicated by it's power light going from green to orange). The CPU also seems to shut off/restart. All the lights and sounds end for a second before it starts back up again. Repeat at nauseam.

The few times anything's been displayed on the screen has been either the Compaq system screen (which can take me to the BIOS) or the flickering underscore thing (can you tell I'm not an expert?) I can load from the XP installation CD, but I'm weary of doing a clean install or repair in case this can be solved another way.

Could it be a virus? Never heard of anything like this, but I suppose it's possible. Is it more likely a hardware problem, maybe having to do with my monitor? Poking around on Google makes me think there could be a problem with the power supply or with overheating. Any help would be much appreciated.
posted by lychee to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Response by poster: Crap. Change "weary" to "wary." Also, I'm posting from work, not from the computer in question.
posted by lychee at 3:35 PM on April 24, 2004

Does it beep? A series of beeps? No beeps?

First, open your case. Unplug/unseat everything but the CPU. Put a sick of ram RAM and video card back in. Turn it on.

If it gives you a 'hard disk' or 'operating system' error, good. Turn it off, plug in the IDE cable(s), and turn it back on. Slowly keep adding parts until it stops working. What part kills it, and how many things are in the system at the time?

Keep us posted.
posted by Jairus at 3:45 PM on April 24, 2004

Considering that this is a pretty new, name brand computer, I'd probably give Compaq a call.
posted by zsazsa at 3:48 PM on April 24, 2004

Is the video coming from a separate card (installed into one of a series of AGP or PCI slots), or is it onboard (part of the motherboard)? If there are power, heat, or flawed motherboard issues, they may similarly affect onboard video.

If it's a dirty power problem (with your house's wiring or outlet, as opposed to your computer), it may have damaged both computer components and the monitor.

That said, follow Jairus' advice above and let us know where it stops.
posted by Danelope at 3:52 PM on April 24, 2004

I've had two Compaq Presario peices of shit. No answer to your question i just dont want people to spend any more money on them.
posted by Recockulous at 9:54 PM on April 24, 2004

However i really like their appearance and touchpads.
posted by Recockulous at 9:55 PM on April 24, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks all. I took out the added RAM and sound card to see if they were the problem (I also gave the insides a good dusting and checked all the wires to make sure they were plugged in properly). The sound card was not a problem, but leaving both sticks of RAM, the original factory one, 128MB, and the 512MB one would freeze the POST screen I managed to pull up. I took the 128 MB out, but the same restarting error kept happening. In frustration, I did a repair install of XP, and voila, here I am posting using my home computer. I'm slightly worried about shutting down again, but I'll hope for the best. Thanks all, you were a tremendous help.

And yes, my family needs to stop buying Presarios.
posted by lychee at 12:36 AM on April 25, 2004

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