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    Exclamation Quite the computer problem

    Here's my computer problem. I was a computer major in college, and I've got plenty of experience, yet this just boggles my mind. My desktop computer that is running Windows 98 SE(I know, I know, but hey, I like to play old DOS games, and at least it isn't ME. ) resets one day. No blue screen, nothing of that nature, just make a clicking sound of sudden loss of power to the fans and the rest of the machine, then resets. I figured, I'll just let that go for now since my virus software which is up to date on it's definitions hadn't found anything, and I didn't have time to examine it.

    Well, about a week or two later, it starts reseting over and over again in the middle of the night, so I wake up from the sonud, get frustrated, turn it off, and figure I'll deal with it in the morning. Morning rolls around, I turn it on, it sits for about anywhere between a minutes to three minutes with a blank screen, flickers some red across the screen, then goes to POST (Power On Self Test), starts loading Windows, then once it gets to when it should actually start going into Windows, it reboots itself again.

    The next time it starts up, it gives me the choices of Safe Mode, etc. So I boot it into Safe Mode, to check to see if it's the something in the startup, my Win.INI file, anything. I'm looking through my files, when after about five minutes it resets again. No blue screen or anything, just the click and reboots. After it gets through the Windows loading screen it reboots just like before.

    So, I this time instead from the menu boot, I boot it into command prompt mode. I figure I'll just back up what I need, and wipe out the rest, reinstall the OS, and I'll be fine. Well I've got pretty much all I need backed up, and I'm deleting a rather large chunk of games of my hard drive, so it's taking a while. I figure, I don't care, I'll go do somethings, when I come back, it should be done. Upon returning, it's just a blank screen, and the busy light is just lit up on the front of my machine.

    So, I press Ctrl + Alt + Del, nothing happens, I hit the power button, nothing happens, I hold in the power button (like when Windows is running), nothing happens, I hit the reset button, nothing happens, so I ended up having to flick the switch on my power supply. I start it back up again, and let it sit, this time I doesn't even go to POST (For those of you who missed it before, and have no idea what I'm talking about, the Power On Self Test - the part where it counts up your RAM, beeps a lot, checks for all your drives, runs things from your BIOS, checks everything, etc), it just stays as a blank screen. I reset it again via the power supply, since it's the only thing that works, and yet again, that's all it does. It sits with a blank screen, the busy light lit up, the lights on the front of two of my CD-ROM drives sit lit up, and that's all that happens. No beeping, nothing.

    Normally, I would just toss this to mother board being toasted, and go about my day, but my brother walks into my room and tells me that he has the same problem as my first problem. Whenever his computer boots up, it resets itself as soon as it finishes the loading screen. He's running either Windows 2000 Professional or Windows 2000 Server, I can't remember which anymore.

    This leads me to believe that it is instead a virus, since both his computer and my desktop computer were both affected. The only thing about that, which leads me to disagree is that on the very same network that both those computers are on, I have my laptop (Windows 2000) and my other brother's computer (Windows 98 SE), yet neither of them are affected by this at all.

    If anyone has an ideas what this is, any solutions, any help what-so-ever, it would be greatly appreciated. Otherwise, I'm going to go out and buy a new motherboard if I can't find one sitting around the house, and see if it'll work with a different motherboard instead. Thanks for the time of reading all this, and any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Well, it might be a virus or it might be some sort of software/driver conflict or outright hardware failure.

    Have you installed anything recently (notably, a game?) If so, how long after the install did you notice the trouble? If you completely uninstall it (my require regedit) does this help?

    I say this because I used a Games on Demand version of Mafia and this behavior is similar to what I experienced. All I had to do to make the problem go away was not ever play the game again. The game itself worked fine, but if I quit the game and did other things I'd get an occassional reboot. Task Manager revealed the application stayed bouncing around in memory as a process.

    My system is quite stable, but sometimes a game will crash it. That's all that ever crashes it. Games. You mention games. Do a checklist. Maybe your brother also installed the game?
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    Did you run AdAware, SpyBot and HijackThis? Maybe they will find something. I had wacky lock ups and eventually I blamed the Mobo but whether it was a hardware failure or a virus, I don't know.

    Good luck.

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