On the last entry, I mentioned screwing up a brand new computer such that it automatically reboots every two minutes. Well, the good news I'm referring to is the fact that that problem is now fixed. It's still unclear to me what the problem was or how I solved it but everything seems to be working just fine now.
The trick was to "Hibernate" the PC before it had a chance to reboot. I wanted to find out if there was something wrong with the OS or the hardware. So I wanted to measure the time it took from the moment the machine started up to when it rebooted itself. That way I could see if I had enough time for a successful hibernation.
As you may know already, Windows XP comes with an option to save the exact state of the software currently running on the machine to the hard drive before powering off. That makes it easy for you come back to the exact state your desktop was when you last hibernated it. How does this fit in with my story?
Well, I decided to use that bit of info and try a little experiment. The startup to reboot time was about a minute, thirty seconds. If there was something wrong with the hardware, if I brought the computer back up from hibernation, I thought it should take the same time to from startup to reboot. Or if this rebooting was caused by the software (and there was some kind of timer program keeping track of the clock), the state of the software would be saved by hibernation and the machine would reboot sooner than before hibernation.
Great idea, eh? To my surprise, when I brought the PC back up from hibernation, it stayed on. And that's how I was able to post here. Sweet! Just hope it doesn't screw up again when I reboot (intentionally, mind you).