How to Fix a Windows XP Reboot Loop

By Tricia Goss

Updated September 15, 2017

There you are, logging into your Windows XP computer and preparing to get to work, check your email or surf the Web. Your desktop appears and the icons on the desktop and in the system tray begin to load when, for no apparent reason, the computer shuts down. It restarts on its own, causing you to think it might have been a fluke. However, as soon as the desktop starts to load, the reboot recurs, repeatedly. You can stop this frustrating cycle once and for all.

Watch carefully as the computer starts up after a reboot. Select "Recovery Console" from the "Startup Options" list.

Install the Windows XP disk into the drive if "Recovery Console" is not listed in "Startup Options." Restart the computer. Follow the prompts and select "Repair" or "Recover."

Type the administrator password for the computer.

Type "cd system32" without quotes when the command prompt appears. Press "Enter," type "ren kernel32.dll kernel32.old" and press "Enter" again. Type "map" and press "Enter."

Type "expand d:\i386\kernel32.dl_" and press "Enter." If the Windows XP CD is inserted into a drive other than "D:" replace "D:" with the proper drive letter.

Type "exit" and press the "Enter" key. The computer will shut down and reboot again. Remove the Windows XP disk. The reboot loop should now be resolved.


The Windows XP CD should have been included with the computer when it was originally purchased.