Sudden PC Problems (Won't finish booting)

Crux
Crux
edited April 2016 in Hardware / Software Hell
Hey folks,

Hoping someone here can help me out. I've had an extremely shitty 48 hours, and fixing this would go a long way to improving my mood. My home pc is set up with an SSD as my primary drive, a large regular had drive for storage, and two more ssds for game installations. I leave to drop my son off at school yesterday morning, come back and my monitors are both blank, with the classic blinking light to show they aren't getting input from the pc. Odd, I thought... so I rebooted my PC. Or tried to.

Bios shows up, then it acts like it's about to go onto the next stage but instead... nothing. PC is on, monitors stop showing input from the pc. I reboot, go into the bios and check a few things. Drives are all still registering, temperatures all seem fine. So I reboot. This time I get a windows symbol past bios, and it tells me windows didn't shut down properly. I tried to do a startup repair, but that failed. What the heck, I rebooted. Now I'm back to square one. I go back to bios again, reboot again and get windows again. This time I elect to reinstall Windows 10. Set that to going, once it reaches about 8% I leave the room for a little while. I come back, screen is a dark grey/black. I have a mouse cursor I can move around, nothing else. Patience is a virtue so I leave it alone for an hour, come back and nothing has changed. Reboot time.

Now when I reboot, I get the windows symbol after the bios, but then it seems to just be frozen. No more options to repair, etc etc. A short while ago I threw in my old WIndows 7 DVD, and I'm installing Windows 7 from that. So far so good, I'm 75% into expanding windows files.

Power supply is fine obviously. If it were ram I would think I'd be getting blue screens, or making it into windows at least some of the time. CPU seems to be working fine. Graphics card is there or I wouldn't have anything on the screen. The only thing I can think of is my ssd is failing or failed in some fashion. I've had no experience with that though so was hoping someone here might have an idea. I'd really like to get this up and running again ASAP for both work and personal reasons. THanks in advance for any help.

UPDATE: I got Windows 7 successfully installed, but it didn't detect my network adapter. I tried to reboot, and it tells me that it needs to check one of the disks for consistency (one of my gaming ssds). It then freezes and nothing actually happens.

Comments

  • Autistic Angel
    Autistic Angel
    GT Member
    I recommend narrowing down the potential failure points by disconnecting all you HDDs and SSDs except one and attempting a clean Windows 10 installlation. Start with the drive you've previously used as your boot drive, and if that fails, replace it with any other drive and try again.

    If one of your drives reliably fails its Windows install but another one is successful, you've probably isolated the culprit.

    If two different drives fail to install Windows properly, the odds are very good you're facing a memory or CPU failure. There are a few other possibilities like a bad SATA cable or a motherboard problem, but my experience has been that those are less common.

    -Autistic Angel
  • Crux
    Crux
    GT Member
    Good thinking. I ordered a clean SSD to be arriving today, so I'll try a clean install on that. Of course, my current install came from an upgrade, so I'm having trouble getting a Windows 10 install going now. Windows 7 key doesn't work (which supposedly some do), and it is supposed to recognize the pc from the hardware but that isn't happening.
  • Punisher
    Punisher
    GT Member
    Not sure if you've tried this, but discharging your Pc can fix a lot of these problems. Unplug PC power, hit power button, plug power back in and turn in.
    This is different from restarting the PC or even unplugging and plugging back in. hitting the power button forces the power to be discharged. If you have the case open, you can sometimes see the fan kick in for a bit.
  • TheAtomicKid
    TheAtomicKid
    GT Member
    I haven't chimed in on one of these in a while, so thankfully, this shouldn't sound like I'm flogging the dead horse.

    Before condemning ANY drive as being suspect.... get yourself a fresh clean unused sata cable. Seriously.

    The connectors are theoretically supposed to last for 50+ insertions per spec... and no doubt the zero force ones with the latching mechanism should last even longer.

    That said, I've had more than one go bad on me over the years. In fact, I had an extended period of tearing out of the hair, due to me NOT suspecting the cables, and thinking I had everything from bad motherboard, to bad drives, to bad memory.

    IT WAS THE CABLES :D

    I had multiple cables that were giving sporadic disconnects in the machine.... three, iirc. One on the optical, and two more on two of the drives, including the boot... and lemme tell ya, windows gets really unhappy when the system drive disappears from the drive chain :/

    Once you're certain of the cables, you can begin passing judgement on the drives.

    Atomic
  • MonkeyFinger
    MonkeyFinger
    GT Member
    <raises hand> Amen, brother. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
  • Crux
    Crux
    GT Member
    Ok so I bought a new ssd, and tried to get a fresh install if windows 10 going. I unplugged all other drives, so only the one was there (brand new one). Booted from a flash drive, installed Windows 10, fresh install. Install goes just fine. Get into Windows. Reboot once, and immediately having problems again. Bios would pop up, then the initial windows loading screen for a brief moment, then I get a black screen with a mouse cursor that I can actually move around... but nothing else. Odd I think, so I connect the hard drive to a difference set of cables just in case.

    Now, my bios flash doesn't even show up... it's trying to go straight into W10, but I'm ending up with a black screen, no cursor. Can't even get into bios any more.

    At this point I'm happy enough just to identify what hardware needs replacing and replace it ASAP. But I can't put my finger on what it likely is.

    RAM problems should have me actually crashing. Surely can't be my brand new SSD having similar problems to my old SSD. I'm thinking likely motherboard? Any ideas?
  • Punisher
    Punisher
    GT Member
    unplug the drive and see if you can go into bios. if so look for UEFI Firmware Settings and change them around a bit to test.
  • Autistic Angel
    Autistic Angel
    GT Member
    My motherboard BIOS has a settings for "Win 8 / 10 Secure Boot" and "Fast Boot." If I turn them on with my old PS/2 keyboard attached, the computer flips out in ways that sound very much like what you're describing.

    As Punisher says, you should be able to access the BIOS by unplugging your SDD. I recommend verifying the drive itself is set to "ACHI" and any other special boot options are Disabled. That does not include fast POSTing options -- you don't need a full RAM check on every single power-up, for example -- but don't allow the BIOS to skip the detection of USB peripherals or anything. This adds about five seconds to my computer's boot time but has kept it working perfectly.

    -Autistic Angel
  • Crux
    Crux
    GT Member
    Well, the problem is solved now, and I feel like somewhat of an idiot. It all turned out to be due to a either a bad monitor cable, or a bad connection on the monitor itself.

    My PC has two monitors attached. Monitor 1 (M1) is a cheaper model I bought as a second monitor for when I was working from home. Monitor 2 is my nice, gaming monitor. Due to some weird cabling issues, M1 is attached in the first slot on my video card, and M2 in the second slot. In windows itself I have it set up right now to make M2 my sole monitor - so M1 is connected but not in use. Of course, when bios is loading, it doesn't know this, and M2 is always a little slow to 'reconnect' to the pc after a reboot - so mostly the bios will show on M1, and by the time M2 picks up the feed from the pc it's gone and windows is loading.

    So enter Wednesday morning... what I thought was windows failing to load was actually M2 not getting a feed from the PC. So I'm replacing drives, etc etc and the whole time the problem was the monitor. I ended up noticing it for some reason and tested it, and the monitor works fine when plugged in using the old vga output, but not the higher definition one.

    Of course, it took me a full day to get my pc working again right - when I added the new hd I was having I/O problems, and it was a bear getting everything plugged in and happy. Thankfully I figured it all out and got it working *Before* I pulled the trigger on the $450 in replacement parts I had put in my amazon shopping cart to just avoid dealing with the whole mess anymore :D

    So anyways, thanks for the help folks.
  • TheAtomicKid
    TheAtomicKid
    GT Member
    Glad you got it fixed, and without spending substantial monies.

    Wouldn't have suspected the monitor from the info, tbh.

    Interesting symptoms for a monitor connection.

    Atomic
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