Having a strange issue with Vista Ultimate with SP1. Whenever I reboot and logon successfully, after about 5 seconds vista will reboot. No error messages, nothing in Event Viewer, etc.

However, if I logon quick enough ie as soon as the logon screen appears, Vista will run smoothly. Until I reboot of course.

This is on a laptop so I've tried unplugging all peripherals with no luck. Thought it was a Windows Update causing the problem originally but I don't have restore points that go back far enough to check.

Update: Well have had an interesting morning. Seems the issue sorted itself out, being inquisitive i tried turning the machine off while shutting down. Issue returned. At least I know the source of the problem now.

Tried various things:

  • Safe Mode - startup hung at crcdisk.sys
  • System Restore (from disk) - couldn't restore ("The Disk(c:) has errors"), chkdisk failed to correct errors. System restore then locked up :(
  • "Last Known Good Configuratoin" - seems to get me back in still same reboot issue though
  • Diagnostic Startup in msconfig - disables pretty much all services, (including windows logon service..arghh!!) so couldn't logon. Machine rebooted while i was trying to logon so startup services/programs don't seem to be the issue.

At this point I'm tempted to live with it, heck it evens seems like an added "Security Feature" :)

Seems I might move to Win7 earlier than expected.


I had an issue with reboots before. I believe it is possible that if you shutdown your computer before it finishes the shutdown computer sequence there is a possibility of corrupting a file. When I had this issue, I had to run a repair of Windows Vista.

Best of luck on this one!!

  • @Sakamoto Seems this was the cause of the problem. Tried to repair but no luck. System restore has even stopped working. – Neil Aug 19 '09 at 11:46

Have you done a full system scan for viruses recently?

I had this same problem with a laptop a while back and it turned out to be a trojan.

  • @mngdih Running Nod32, have done full virus and malware scans. No issues there. – Neil Aug 19 '09 at 9:42

It's possible that a blue screen is causing this. To find out, press F8 before the Windows logo screen comes up, and pick the "Disable automatic reboot on system error" (or whatever it's called; I don't have a Vista machine I'm willing to reboot just to find out the correct menu label :-P).

Good luck!

  • @Chris, Good suggestion but no luck. It doesn't seem to BSOD though, as the screen "fades out" as if its being shutdown properly. – Neil Aug 19 '09 at 10:06

Have you installed anything recently that could account for it? Not too long ago we had an XP machine that would reboot after logging in due to the Cisco VPN client being installed. It was a pain to track it down, but removing the VPN software finally fixed the issue.

  • @palehorse, I've installed/uninstalled lots of software lately but I can't pinpoint if this caused the problem. I went to my earliest available restore point without luck – Neil Aug 18 '09 at 15:06

Download a live CD version of any linux distro you like. Run it from boot, boot into live version and see if the computer still runs. If it dies on you the same way Vista does. It can be hardware! ;)

If not: Do an upgrade install of Vista through the bootable cd.

  • @Sniek NL, it's not hardware. As i mentioned Vista runs smoothly if I logon quick enough – Neil Aug 18 '09 at 15:04

You can try to disable all startup items using msconfig, and you should also try to disable and enable services one by one. I think this should reveal what the problem is.

Also: Try to open in safe mode. Does the same thing happen? And:

Do you have heat problems in your computer? It may reboot itseft due to overheating, even on login if the cooler fans are very dirty.


I had a similar issue before! Vista logoff directly after a login, I tried some solutions mentionned here http://www.ntcompatible.com/thread31505-1.html but always the same problem.

check if you have this key in the registry

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon"

Value: Userinit

Data: %system32%\wsaupdater.exe

is so change "wsaupdater.exe" to "userinit.exe," , I think it's a kind of a worm or something

[That doesn't work for me] I created a new account (using the safe mode to login) and now I can login normally.

  • @martani_net, that key doesn't exist in the registry on this machine. – Neil Aug 19 '09 at 9:48
  • then try to add the "userinit.exe," key, don't forget the comma at the end. what about login in safe mode? does it work? – user3864 Aug 19 '09 at 9:57

I'm willing to blame hardware, and I'm putting money towards memory. Download Memtest86 and run it for a few hours, and see what sort of results you get. I'll be very surprised if your RAM turns out 100% fine.

The problem with RAM is that it only takes a single portion to go bad, and as soon as Windows tries to load something into it - WHAMMY! Crash time.

  • @EvilChookie, ran MemTest with no problems. As I've mentioned this laptop runs great as soon as it gets past the logon issue. And i tend to push it pretty hard memory wise, 2-3 VMWare Images running along with 2-3 instances of Visual Studio, etc. – Neil Aug 19 '09 at 9:46
  • Interesting. I'll have a think about it and edit my answer. – EvilChookie Aug 19 '09 at 14:54

I had this same issue yesterday after installing a wireless usb network adapter. The driver was fine and functioned correctly but vista was still annoyed by it. I just booted to Last Known Configuration and everything worked fine.

  • @Will, I haven't added any new hardware of late or updated any drivers that I know of – Neil Aug 19 '09 at 9:43

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