Crashing within a few seconds of booting up and logging in.

Another one of my rigs is crashing within a few seconds of booting up and logging in.

First the system specs:
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 Northwood @ 2.8GHz (Stock Clock) with Stock Heatsink & Fan
Mobo: BIOSTAR P4M900M4
RAM: PNY Optima 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 667
Video Card: ATi Radeon HD 3650 512MB
Sound Card: Intergrated - Realtek Audio ALC861VD
TV Tuner: Leadtek Tuner Card TV2000XP
Hard Drives: Western Digital Caviar 320GB 7200rpm SATA
PSU: MSI TurboStream 500W
OS: Windows XP Home SP2 32-bit

Now the problem: upon booting the system and logging in, it will crash usually within a few seconds of logging in. Though, sometimes it crashes after being logged in for a few minutes and sometimes it doesn’t even get to the login screen but crashes right after POST. Most of the time it crashes and there is what seems to be a 5 second long BIOS beep code. There isn’t a BIOS beep code all the time, sometimes it would just freeze and lock up. Sometimes it would even crash in safe mode. System restore works temporarily, as in, I do a system restore and it will work for 1 or 2 days then the problem would start again.

At first I ignored the beep code and assumed it was Windows, so I created a new partition on my hard drive and installed another instance of Win XP. I didn’t want to reformat because I still need time to backup my data. At first it seemed like it worked but soon, the problem started again, so I realized it wasn’t Windows or software related but probably hardware.

I then decided to open the case and clean the inside since I figured it might be an overheating issue. It wasn’t very dirty inside as I had just cleaned it a few months ago. I cleaned it yesterday with a can of compressed air and I also checked the connections and RAM and it seemed okay. So far it hasn’t been crashing, but I ain’t holding my breath.

Also using a program called Hardware Monitor I’ve been monitoring the temperatures and volts. The temperatures seem to be okay. As for the volts, I don’t know what to look for so I’ll post what it says:
ITE IT87 hardware monitor
Voltage sensor 0 1.52 Volts [0x5F] (CPU VCORE)
Voltage sensor 1 1.63 Volts [0x66] (VIN1)
Voltage sensor 2 3.26 Volts [0xCC] (+3.3V)
Voltage sensor 3 5.05 Volts [0xBC] (+5V)
Voltage sensor 4 12.10 Volts [0xBD] (+12V)
Voltage sensor 5 -7.68 Volts [0x78] (-12V)
Voltage sensor 6 -0.45 Volts [0x7] (-5V)
Voltage sensor 7 4.68 Volts [0xAE] (+5V VCCH)
Voltage sensor 8 3.30 Volts [0xCE] (VBAT)
Temperature sensor 2 26°C (78°F) [0x1A] (TMPIN2)
Fan sensor 0 5357 RPM [0x7E] (FANIN0)

Also just now I decided to look up the BIOS beeps and it seems it has something to do with the CPU or a process error. In the mobo manual it says it’s a CPU overheating issue. It says to remove the power cord from the PSU and wait a few seconds then plug it back and in a reboot or clear CMOS and then boot up. There are instructions in the manual how to clear CMOS but I’ve never done that before and I’m a bit nervous that it might cause other problems.

Also it should be noted that this CPU is pretty old, it’s from a Gateway system back in 2003. That computer’s mobo failed so I decided to reuse the CPU and bought this cheap Biostar mobo and put this rig together last summer. It’s been working fine until now. The CPU has never been OC’ed and I’ve always used the stock HSF. If more info is needed on the CPU I could post info from CPU-Z or something. As for airflow in the case, it’s not very good. I do have a 80mm front intake fan but there are no “grills” or openings in the front of the case to actually intake air. There is no rear exhaust fan. However the PSU has 2 80mm fans on it, the standard one facing the rear and one facing the CPU.

After typing all this I guess the problem maybe the CPU overheating but I’m sort of looking for a second opinion if I’m wrong. If it is indeed the CPU overheating I’m looking for advice on what to do, besides cleaning out the fan/heat sink and reapplying thermal paste. I’m not really sure if I should buy a new HSF for the CPU as this is a secondary rig and I’d rather save my money spending more on an old Pen 4 CPU. Also does anyone have any advice on improving airflow in the rig?
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about crashing seconds booting logging
  1. If you can still get into safe mode with networking, download speedfan and memtest. Speedfan will monitor your temps, and memtest will test your RAM to see if they are faulty. The beep code makes me suspicious of your RAM.

    If you have multiple sticks of RAM, you could pull 1 at a time and see if that stops the problem.
  2. yeah i can get into safe mode. ill try those 2 programs. btw i only have ONE 2GB RAM stick.
  3. Best answer
    Ok, so you can't test by using one stick at a time, but memtest can test it for you still.

    Let us know how it goes.
  4. sorry i didnt reply sooner, but all seems to be well now. i ran the memtest and the RAM was fine. '

    seems it was just overheating due to dust. i cleaned it out as best i could with a can of air compressor and i also added some new thermal paste (AC MX5) to the CPU. i also but in a new front intake fan. Temps are better now and system has been stable.

    thanks for trying to help me out.
  5. Happy to help, glad u got it figured out.
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