PC Reboot Loop


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What to do When Your Computer Keeps Restarting! What is causing this?

Computer keeps restarting - is it hardware, Operating System, or infected with a virus?

Last week the wife's computer would not start the Operating System (OS), Windows XP.

What it was doing was a startup loop, it would get to the 'Starting Windows' splash screen then kept restarting.

It would not even start in 'Safe Mode' it would get so far then restart.

Let me explain:

This is a custom built computer -

  • Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz Processor
  • 2 Gig of memory
  • 80 Gig hard drive
  • And all the other goodies
  • Two people use this computer, my wife and my daughter-in-law so what ever was done to the computer in is anybody's guess. It is broke and I get to fix it.

Computer keeps restarting troubleshooting techniques:

The first thing I thought was a virus, so I get out my trusty ERD Commander boot disk and start the computer. Looks good, opps where is the C: drive?

Upon investigation the ERD (which is a Pre Installation Operating System based on the XP installer) could not see the C: partition. How ever it did show in the Drive Manager.

Doing a properties on the C: partition brought up a disk read error but doing the same thing on the D: partition didn't.

This tells me two things -

  • The drive is not failing
  • The C: partition has a problem
    • Is it a virus?
    • Is it corrupt?

You will find more computer keeps restarting over and over solutions and Troubleshooting techniques in the Self Computer Repair Unleashed! 2nd Edition Manual Self Computer Repair Unleashed! 2nd Edition E-Book..

Computer keeps restarting troubleshooting instructions:

The first step is to get the Operating System partition back to where an Anti Virus programs can access it.

So I open the command prompt (Start / Run) and then type in chkdsk c: /r

Nope, because ERD couldn't attach to the partition when it started it would not allow access to the partition.

So I shut the computer down and restart it with BartPE, this has the same type of OS as ERD Commander but more extensive. Troubleshooting the Computer keeps restarting by using a ERD (Emergency Repair Disk), also has a check disk batch file that is makes check disk more flexible than running the chkdsk program with the normal options.

Once the OS has started I look at the partition with a program called  NTEXPLORER.EXE (You can find this program on the web if you search for it).

Looking at the partition I see five invalid partition entries. This is NOT normal.

Next I run a program called chkdsk.cmd this is a batch file that Bart has made to run the chkdsk.com program with extra options.

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One of the options is to remove the bad partition entries and not write them to a file. This is a very good option because if you run the chkdsk.com program with out the necessary switches your hard drive will be filled up with unnecessary files that you will have to delete.

Once I had removed the corruption from the drive the next step was investigate why the drive became corrupted.

I restart the computer and see if it will start in 'Safe Mode'. It does start in Safe Mode.

Next I run Anti virus/trojan/spyware programs.

These programs report over 122 viruses/trojans/spyware. Any one of these programs could have caused the partition to become corrupt.

The computer is now clean and ready to be used again.

Two things about this little scenario -

Don't let anyone install junk from My Space, Face Book, etc on your computer.

Make sure the Anti virus/trojan/spyware is kept up to date.

If someone is using your computer check these periodically. The AVG had not updated in over two months. My fault for not looking at the logs...

Another cause for the computer restarting is a corrupt registry.

With this problem you have three options:

1) See if you can fix the registry by starting the computer with ERD Commander or BartPE, they have a registry fix program that will correct corrupt registry's.

Note: This is a sometimes type of situation, sometimes the registry files are so corrupt the program can not fix them, sometimes it does and you will lose some entries in the registry, software or hardware depending on which file (it is called a Hive) is corrupt.

2) You can reinstall the Operating System and then all your programs.

3) Replace the damaged partition and corrupt registry files with an image (best solution).


ERD Commander and BartPE Emergency Repair Disks can only do so much with the newer Operating Systems, and there is a very high probability that they will corrupt your hard drive or SSD. You need a newer ERD, if you want to make your own Custom Emergency Repair Disk see this tutorial.

Emergency Repair
isk (ERD) - Will Yours Work?

Repair Disk

Custom made for you...

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