I have a desktop XP machine that in the last 2 weeks started shutting down randomly and rebooting. It does it now continuously even when trying to start in safe mode... it won't even get that far. I can get into the bios, but it doesn't seem to get me anywhere with this issue. Any ideas?

It seems that, it is A Ram or SMPS issue, if it is not an operating system issue.

If you can swap these two components very easily then try it first otherwise repair or reinstall XP first.

is there a way to check one over the other since I can't even get into windows with safe mode?

I had the same problem ,in my situation was a computer virus. Before checking the hardware problems (can be a RAM or motherboard problem), check system with a reliable antivirus program like avast to detect issues.

When you turn it on for the first time in a day does it shut down after a while then shut down and keep shutting down sooner and sooner every time.
Anyway my point is it could be your CPU thermal past has either worn off or frozen and I would check that, also I would recommend Eset anti virus or eset smart security 4.0 to check if you have any viruses.

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