Well, I've tried everything I can think of so it looks like I need help. I have a computer that was running WinXP Pro. It started acting flaky. First it lost the BIOS settings, so I replaced the CMOS battery and re-set the BIOS settings. Within a day, it started smelling hot. I opened it up and almost burned my hand on the power supply. So I replaced the PSU with a new one. Two unrelated problems as far as I can tell. The PSU had not seemed to overload or fry anything - I believe I caught it in time, but who knows. After that, the computer worked for a day.
The next day, upon booting up it went as far as the Microsoft Windows XP Screen where the little blue bubble scoots along from left to right in the status bar. After it went from left to right about three times, the blue bubble stopped. I stopped hearing noise from the hard drive and the computer locked up. I waited up to half an hour just to make sure it was locked, and it was.
Since then, I have done the following:
1. It had two sticks of RAM in it. I removed one and booted - same problem. Did the same with just the other stick - same problem.
2. Did WinXP recovery, upgrade in place, and even a full re-installation, etc. Same problems each time, except at this point none of that matters because I yanked out the old hard drive and installed a brand new hard drive and freshly installed WinXP. It installed okay, but even with the brand new HDD, the same problem happened when I booted it up!
3. I CAN boot into safe mode and all files appear to be there. I checked Device Manager. The only conflict was the sound card, probably because no drivers had been installed. But just to make sure, I yanked the card out and rebooted. Same problem.
4. The CPU does not seem hot, the fan is running normally, and the BIOS reports that it is running around 34 degrees C (which should be more than cool for the AMD Athlon processor in it).
This is not a "modern" system, but it is adequate and has been running stably for a couple of years up until now. It has an AMD Athlon XP 1700+ processor. Currently only has 512MB of RAM (had more at one point) and even though I realize that is low for running WinXP, like I said, it has run stably for most of the last couple of years that way.
I have been searching Google for days now and finding tips for troubleshooting similar but not the same problem. I have tried most of the suggestions anyhow.
I'm just not sure where to go next, except here with hopes that someone has seen this before or can find the magic solution.
Thanks in advance for any help!