This is my first post here, but this seems to be an extremely knowledgable and amiable community with some individuals who are incredibly capable and eager to help and after this, I'll certainly be back.
I've been having a recurring problem with my home PC - roughly 20% of the time on booting everything progresses normally and perfectly innocuously right up until the "starting windows xp" portion, with the blue bar progressing repeatedly to the right.
Immediately following this stage, instead of my cursor appearing against a black background that then quickly populates with my icons and desktop, etc, I'm met with a dead black screen and my monitors standard "no signal" alert.
When this problem does occur, resetting will only result in me viewing it again... and again... and again for anywhere up to half an hour at a time.
Eventually, after numerous reboots and trips into safemode to attempt to restart gracefuly (safe mode works fine, thoug a graceful restart doesn't seem to make any difference) my computer will simply decide it's time to boot normally and will simply load windows then sit there smiling at me smugly as if I haven't spent the last hour tearing clumps of my hair out.
This problem is accompanied by another that seems to be related - any time I'm playing a game full screen, be it doom 3 or the very first quake, there is a tendency to randomly freeze, with the audio looping.
After anywhere from 5 to 60 seconds, the audio will loop over a section of about a quarter of a second at the most in length for a few moments and then unlock and continue as if nothing has happened.
Often times though, it simply refuses to unfreeze though, forcing me to reset.
When this occurs, the problem mentioned above will occur 99% of the time - these freezes are occuring roughly every ten - twenty minutes at least.
I'm not entirely sure what could be causing the problem - given that the two problems seem to be linked, I'm highly suspicious of my graphics card, but I would like to put this up for group discussion and hopefuly get some advice on it (which seems to be of very high quality around here) before I go ahead and pay for a new one.
Windows xp Home, SP2.
AMD Athlon 2400+ (running at 2.1ghz, no overclocking)
512mb ram (I'm quite sure at 400mhz)
Geforce 5200fx graphics card, with 128mb of ram.
80gb hard drive.
As I'm at work, I am currently unsure of my motherboard's technical name or any other such information, but if anyone here feels that it is required, I'll happily track it down and edit it into this post when I'm next at home.
Thanks everyone for reading through all of that, I feel like I've been kind of long-winded, but accuracy pays.