This weekend I have been fighting a horrible scenario where TWO of my computers (XP with AVG) went into an endless Restart-loop. Both of them could not load Fail-safe mode. Both could not boot from CD for a clean Windows install (even though BIOS was set to "CD boot" as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd option). The final solution was to connect the hard-disks of both machines to my third machine (Windows 7, no antivirus) through a USB external casing, and formatting them. Once formatted, I could put them back into their machines, and only then I could get the machines to boot from CD for a clean XP install! Last night I heard a friend having a very similar problem: (XP with AVG) went into a endless Restart-loop, had to reinstall XP.

So: Has anyone heard of such problem/virus? How can I protect myself from this in the future?


Cause of problem found. I can reproduce it now. No Virus.

The cause: Installation of MSSQL Server 2005 Express

What I did to reproduce:

Installed three hard disks

Drive 1: XP SP2 Pro Drive 2: XP SP2 Pro - for emergency. Drive 3: Atempt to install MSSQL Server 2005 Express.

a. Boot from drive 1. b. Try to install MSSQL Server 2005 Express. All requisites OK. Begin installation. c. Blue Screen of death.

Any further attempt to reboot XP on drive 1: Blue Screen of death.

Savior: Boot from drive 2. Format drive 1. Reinstall XP.

Retrospectively, that is indeed what I was trying to do before original disaster (install MSSQL ) only I was doing other things also so could not isolate problem. Now it's reproduceable.

Why does this happen? I don't know and don't care. I guess I'll try MYSQL...

And Officially...

SQL Server 2005 SP3 Horrible Setup Experience Results in BSOD

When installing SQL 2005 SP3 the setup just blows chunks and reboots the computer via blue screen of death! Worse, the machine goes into an infinite reboot because the installation is an incomplete state and everytime the SQL services try to start the machine BSODS again....

more at


  • 1
    A boot sector virus would not affect booting from CD
    – gbn
    Commented Dec 13, 2009 at 19:32
  • Would you mind posting the machines specs? (both of them)
    – Moshe
    Commented Dec 13, 2009 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


The boot sector is on the Hard Drive. The BIOS would be booting the CD before reading the boot sector on the hard drive, based on those BIOS settings. While your problem is interesting, I doubt that it is a virus.

In terms of preventing the problem... I would run some diagnostics on your hardware and check your manufacturer's website for BIOS updates.

  • "The BIOS would be booting the CD before reading the boot sector on the hard drive" Exactly, exactly. This is why I am baffled. But it's TWO machines, where the "boot from cd" line on the startup sequence appeared only after I formatted the hard drive. I am NOT sure this is a virus - and this is the reason I am asking this question (before I connect them to the net). Thanks for your answer. Regards, Ari Commented Dec 13, 2009 at 20:00
  • 1
    Hi Moshe, Sure no problem: Machine 1: AMD Processor, 2.11 GHz, 896 ram. SATA harddrive. Machine 2: AMD Processor, 2.5 GHz, 1 GB ram. IDE hardrive. Both XP SP2 with AVG. Regards and Happy Hannuka! Ari Commented Dec 13, 2009 at 20:49
  • **what are the manufacturers?**(Chag Sameach I was going to write that before! Gotta catch mincha now!)
    – Moshe
    Commented Dec 13, 2009 at 21:20
  • Hi Moshe: Manufacturer of machine "2": Medion (amazing machine, highly recommended!). Manufacurer of machine "1": Back alley Chinese shop here in Richmond BC. If you ask about the motherboard manufacturers, I don't have the info at "easy access". Regards, Ari Commented Dec 13, 2009 at 21:45
  • Never heard of either. If you open the PCs to remove the HDDs, take a quick peak at the mobo or download a program Like CPUZ or Speccy. BTW, did you contact the back alley shop?
    – Moshe
    Commented Dec 13, 2009 at 21:47

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