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I have a problem with a desktop - it restarts occasionally (but without freezing). This behaviour is non deterministic - sometimes the machine works for hours while otherwise it restarts just after the windows starts up.

I tried reinstalling the system but without any help.

I was considering the power supply failure but the power supply was replaced recently with new one (unfortunately I can't recall whether it was before or after the problems occured).

Do you superusers have any ideas? I will appreciate any clues on how I can diagnose the problem (even, what can cause such problems).

Thanks in advance.

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You're probably on the right idea with the power supply, random failures are usually some form of hardware failure. Power and memory are the first things to suspect. I'd next try Memtest86+ to see if your RAM is ok.

After that I'd suspect the motherboard and CPU if your power supply is known good. It could also be a problem with a number of other things, so it may be worth trying a Linux live CD (for example Ubuntu) to help eliminate problems with XP.

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Thanks for your answer. I ordered multimeter to ensure power supply is ok. Will check ram, motherboard and cpu next. The live cd might be indeed a good idea but the problem is that I can't tell whether linux solved the problme or is this just the working period. Anyway I do the examination. – Simon Oct 10 '10 at 20:40
I like the RAM idea. I had an hp nx 7000 laptop a few years back that had that widespread RAM malfunction due to production problems. – Daniel Beck Oct 10 '10 at 23:40
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Ok, finally I found out what was the problem (probably).

It was software problem - when I turned off automatic restarts in system settings (system properties -> advanced -> startup & recovery - uncheck 'automatically restart') xp started showing bsod (blue screen). The stop code was 0xc4 which is translated as DRIVER_VERIFIER_DETECTED_VIOLATION. So it turned out it is problem with driver.

I think this might be caused by wireless network card after installing sp3. Sp3 altered one of the libraries used by the wlan card driver (wlanapi.dll). I downloaded newest drivers from producers site and so far the problem did not appear.

I used the word probably as the problem is non deterministic and I expect that it might be other driver. Although I am pretty sure it's one of the drivers.

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You've probably already checked this, but just in case - if your Windows Updates are set to automatically download/install, it may be rebooting legitimately.

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It does not seem as Win Update - it happens way too often for updates and windows is usually asking whether to restart or not, but thanks for your response – Simon Oct 11 '10 at 7:58
No problem, I noticed with Win7 that I seem to miss the question box more often than not, and have had a few surprise reboots, myself. ;) – Kara Marfia Oct 11 '10 at 12:49

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