Safe Mode Crashes System



I recently installed WinXP Home Edition SP2, dual-booted with Win98.

When I boot into Safe Mode (XP) and do absolutely nothing, after a minute or
two the computer overheats and shuts down. This occurs consistently, and for
all types of Safe Mode booting. On one attempt, I launched Task
Manager/Performance, and it showed a CPU usage of zero. (of course, this
can't be entirely true; Task Manager itself consumes processor resources.)

After I select Safe Boot, I get a screen full of lines of the form
and a great deal of disk activity. I assume this is what's supposed to happen.

My cable modem USB driver gets loaded, and Safe Mode booting takes at least
as long as normal booting, maybe longer. (Oddly, Safe Mode with Networking
seems to boot noticably quicker.) It's not clear to me just what Safe Mode

I have no problem with normal booting (as far as I know). This is backwards!
What is wrong, and what can I do about it?


Leonard Grey

If "the computer overheats" you don't look for a software solution. You
test and replace the power supply and/or the cooling fans. If you're
lucky, all you may need to do is to clean out all the dust inside your case.


I wrote, "I have no problem with normal booting." If my computer overheats
this severely and this quickly under all circumstances, don't you think I
would have said so?

BTW, intensive processor activity is precisely what causes overheating.

Leonard Grey

Actually, intensive processor activity does not cause overheating.
Overheating is caused by inadequate ventillation, typically due to an
ineffective power supply and/or cooling fans or excessive dust inside
the case.


So why doesn't one of these possible situations ("ineffective power
supply and/or cooling fans or excessive dust inside the case") also lead
to overheating when OP boots normally, i.e., not in Safe Mode?

To OP, you are correct in being concerned, and this issue should be
addressed and resolved. But I wonder, since you have no issues with
normal booting, why are you booting in Safe Mode to begin with?

I will be following this thread also because a laptop I recently looked
at had an odd issue: normal booting was fine, but Safe Mode booting
resulted in excessive CPU activity. I have no idea if these two
situations are related, but my guess is that if they are, hardware
somehow is a factor.

But I agree with Leonard. It's easy to clean any dust that has
accumulated and to check that the fans are spinning. If you have a
multimeter, you can find out if your power supply system is 100% fine.
Or perhaps you can swap power supplies. Can't hurt to rule address those
issues; one of them *may* be a contributing factor. Still, I am curious
as to why this issue only presents itself in Safe Mode!

Finally, since you have a dual-boot setup, what happens when you boot
into Safe Mode using 98?


Thanks for taking an interest.

I'd be the first to admit that my cooling leaves something to be desired,
but that has nothing to do with this problem. Better cooling might delay the
shutting down, but it wouldn't stop it.

I have an ECS P4M800PRO-M MB with a Pentium 805 CPU and 512MB RAM. I have
the BIOS set to shut down at 60C; the maximum temperature for this CPU is 63C.

As for why I was trying to boot into Safe Mode, I noticed some quirky
behavior in XP that I came to think was likely a display glitch. There
appears to be no way to revert to the native drivers, short of uninstalling
the custom ones, so Safe Mode seemed like a quick-and-dirty way to test my
hypothesis. Some day I might really need to use Safe Mode; I'm glad I
discovered this problem now rather than then.

One obvious difference in Safe Mode is the display driver, but that seems an
implausible cause. Furthermore, I didn't appear to have any problems during
installation or (in Normal Mode) before I installed the MB drivers.

I have no problems with Win98 Safe Mode (or Win98 generally), but Win98 Safe
Mode has nothing to do with WinXP Safe Mode.

The system doesn't stay on long enough to see what processes are running, or
run any other diagnostics.

I hope we can get to the root of this problem, and solve it.

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