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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Interesting boot system/Windows problem

    Ok, here's the story. First the short version. Often my computer doesn't boot. It hangs while the Windows logo displays. Only a hard reboot via on/off restarts it. If I boot again the same thing happens, however if I enter the BIOS and save it (without having made changes) the system boots fine, every time (so far).

    How I discovered this trick is too long a story to go into. What is going on here?

    The system does boot normally at times by the way, and I think reboots work all the time, although I'm not sure of that.

    It's an Asus pc 4GB W7 64bit. However I had the same problem while running Vista and Win Server. It freezes completely, no warning beep or sign, no hard drive activity, no response to key presses or mouse. I've waited for 10 or more minutes just to see... nothing. Only a long press on the on/off button shuts it down. This has been going on for at least 6 months.

    I'm pretty computer savvy (I do pc consulting), so I did a lot of testing, playing with device manager and attached devices. Several times I thought I'd found the culprit, a miscreant USB device or whatever, but not so, as the problem resurfaced eventually.

    By the way, Windows does notice there was a problem booting as it suggests strongly that I run that useless fix it after a failed boot utility. That thing has never done anything but take huge amounts of time to end up saying "dunno, can't fix it." And so it did in this instance.

    So, has anyone run across a similar problem or have ideas? I've tried searching on this, but it's pretty difficult to figure out how to hone a boot problem search down to this issue, so I've not been successful.

    Chris

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Any chance this could be a hardware issue, or perhaps a bios issue. It might be worth checking for bios updates. It also might be worth getting a voltage and temp monitoring app to keep an eye on things. I would also immedaitedly make a complete system Image in case a hard failure is around the corner. (run complete scans with your fav AV and AM apps just to rule that out prior to creating your image. I would also clean out ALL, or as many as you can find, temp files, including internet files, then defrag prior to creating your image.)
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  3. #3
    2 Star Lounger
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    I had the same type of problems with a Gateway laptop for several months. Turned out my hard drive was slowly failing.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Are you getting any error messages?
    Does the operating system function without issue or error when it does boot up and run?

    Check through the event viewer. Also check in the bios for an event type log.
    Some bios's have them and there's a good chance Asus does. Consult your specific BIOS/motherboard documentation.

    You could re-flash the same bios version, do a full bios restoration, or do an upgrade flash to the latest version to rule the bios out as a potential cause.


    By the way, Windows does notice there was a problem booting as it suggests strongly that I run that useless fix it after a failed boot utility. That thing has never done anything but take huge amounts of time to end up saying "dunno, can't fix it." And so it did in this instance.
    Please clarify the above quote
    What specific tool/utility are you refering to?
    What os are you running?
    Are/do you have a dual boot setup?

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Hi all,

    This is a general response. I've pretty much done all the things suggested in your messages--updated the BIOS and everything else, checked the hd, the system was nearly new when this issue first occurred. As I mentioned I'm using Win7. I do have a dual boot setup with Vista. I've reinstalled both etc. etc. The utility is whatever Windows runs automatically when one has a boot problem.

    Have any of you, or has anyone ever had this problem and then been able to boot normally after accessing the BIOS without changing anything in the BIOS? The real question is, what is changing by my accessing the BIOS without making changes in it? Obviously something is, but what? Whatever it is, it is allowing me to boot. And by the way, the boot is quick and easy at that point.

    Chris

  6. #6
    Silver Lounger Banyarola's Avatar
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    I have had a similar problem with ASUS and what I did, after shutting down, was pull the BIOS battery out of the motherboard. Then Unplug the PC and wait a few minutes and then put the battery back in and boot up. This sets the bios to it's defaults.

    After the computer booted normally I re-booted and then set my bios setting to what they were before clearing the bios.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Chris,

    I'd check the BIOS Battery, if not just replace it. Sounds to me like you're loosing BIOS settings and they may be rescanned upon entering the BIOS thus solving your boot problem until the next time. YMMV.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Hi, Thanks guys, but there's no problem with the BIOS battery. As mentioned I even flashed it and it does hold its settings. The system was almost new when this problem first started occurring. Besides Windows starts to load, it reads the drive for a while and then just stops dead. So I think it's some kind of driver/hardware issue. Maybe an old driver and it just doesn't know what to do with it and hangs. Still I can't figure why rebooting and entering the BIOS but not doing anything there should get it running. But its done so faultlessly for 6 months at least. And just for yucks, it does work the first time occasionally.

    I'd just love to hear from someone who's had this exact problem and work around, and even better yet a good explanation for it. Meanwhile my computer works and I have others so it's no big problem, just a bit of an annoyance but a much bigger curiosity.

    Chris

  9. #9
    3 Star Lounger
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    Another possibility of the cause: switching power supply circuit.

    In laptop, I don't mean the AC adapter or the battery. It is the on-board switching power circuit problem: marginal capability caused by the aging of components, specifically electrolytic capacitors.

    When the switching supply power capability becomes marginal over time, it may not provide enough 'juice' to run the system. And you have a silent shutdown, as if some one 'pulling the plug'.

    A desktop PC maybe easier to explain. So let me use desktop PC as an example. A desktop PC has a switching power supply box (it rarely fails). It transforms 110Vac to various DC voltages to power the PC. (It rarely fails because the reserved power is quite high, as compared to nominal power.)

    There is one more switching power supply. It is built into the motherboard. It supplies the massive DC power to the microprocessor quickly (micro-seconds), to satisfy transient loads by the processor. The on-board power circuit has a lot of electrolytic capacitors (mostly 10 of them: those stand-up cylindrical things very close to the the processor.

    It is those electrolytic capacitors that are slowly failing. In turn, it cuts down the efficiency of the switching circuit. Simply put, power capability is losing over time. When the power circuit 'overloads', it shuts down.

    In today's ever increasing pressure on pricing, the design-in capability maybe too marginal to begin with.

    If you used to plug in a lot of USB and other devices, try unplug them. Also dim the back light of the LCD screen as much as possible. This saves some power. Maybe it helps and you'll be lucky to boot up with no problem ... for a while.

    Time to backup and get a new laptop or desktop PC. There is no repair, or cheap repair approach.

    Additional note:
    Recently (5-7 years ago), there is a batch of 'bad' quality electrolytic capacitors (for switching power supply circuit) in the world market. It has been more than 7 years and it is believed the supply are used up: into final products. (Sad). The slowly failing capacitors are already causing some failures of some products (TV, PC, etc.) Either they are repaired or counted as reaching its useful life. Some 1st generation plasma TVs are in this category; some PC and laptops as well.

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    Two Suggestions

    If you suspect a slowly failing hard drive, buy a copy of SpinRite and test your drives periodically. It is a fantastic program and a great investment.

    Run msconfig.exe, go to the "Boot" tab and enable "OS boot information". This will display drivers as they are loaded. If you are having a device or driver problem it will be indicated by a long(ish) pause or a freeze when the driver is loaded. It may not help you but I much prefer more information than less during boot.

  11. #11
    3 Star Lounger WildcatRay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tedshemyers View Post
    Any chance this could be a hardware issue, or perhaps a bios issue. It might be worth checking for bios updates. It also might be worth getting a voltage and temp monitoring app to keep an eye on things. I would also immedaitedly make a complete system Image in case a hard failure is around the corner. (run complete scans with your fav AV and AM apps just to rule that out prior to creating your image. I would also clean out ALL, or as many as you can find, temp files, including internet files, then defrag prior to creating your image.)
    I can vouch for this type of issue. I had both a cd-rom and dvd drive my system. I started having "long" bootups and, when the computer was up and running, "frequent" appearances of the mouse pointer showing a cd image indicating the system was "busy" accessing a drive. Under normal conditions, this would not happen as access is typically quite quick.

    For whatever reason, I decided to disconnect the dvd drive. After telling the BIOS not to expect to find the dvd drive, the system returned to "normal" bootup times and the cd image stopped appearing when trying to access any drive.

    Along with checking for BIOS updates, try reflashing the BIOS as well as replacing the MB's battery in case it is going dead.

  12. #12
    New Lounger
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    I have a PC running Windows 7 that just dies at varying times. Its extremely annoying. If I could fix this issue I would be really happy.

    Another similar Windows 7 PC has boot problems occasionally. It does not detect the various hard drives. If I open the case and push the IDE cables and SATA cable the PC usually boots again. Really ridiculous. It will run well for a few weeks and then not boot.

    If you solve your problem please let us know how.

    Best of luck with it.

  13. #13
    New Lounger
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    Hi Guys, I'm replying to the most recent replies here. You guys aren't paying attention to what I've written. 1. The computer was almost NEW when this issue first occurred and is still less than a year old and I have no OTHER or INTERMITTENT PROBLEMS (So it's very unlikely that parts are failing due to age but if they were failing for some reason I would have INTERMITTENT or UNPREDICTABLE problems). Once I access the BIOS the computer boots very quickly (15 seconds in Win 7) and I have absolutely no problems, anomalies, anything once booted and I run a couple of heavy processing programs at times. It never dies, always accesses all attached and internal peripherals. It's perfect and I'm very happy with it other than the boot issue. In fact at times I don't shut it down for weeks, just put it to sleep to avoid having to reboot, never any problems. Also, I'm rarely online with that system so no Virus etc issues.

    I'm not worried about it failing as I have several computers, and myriad backups. But I don't see it failing, as I said I'm just curious and a bit annoyed. So don't take offense and feel free to comment, but please pay attention to what I've written.

    Chris

  14. #14
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by AudioPC View Post
    I have a PC running Windows 7 that just dies at varying times. Its extremely annoying. If I could fix this issue I would be really happy.

    Another similar Windows 7 PC has boot problems occasionally. It does not detect the various hard drives. If I open the case and push the IDE cables and SATA cable the PC usually boots again. Really ridiculous. It will run well for a few weeks and then not boot.
    Hey AudioPC

    It sounds like you might have a bad cable, and moving it causes the break to make contact and of course internal vibrations of the computer could cause it to lose contact. I'd try to isolate the problem. It's probably the cable to the boot drive, but I'd try to isolate the cable. Disconnect the other drives etc. The cable also may not be seated solidly, or the connector is loose.

    Are you into Audio? I am. In fact the pc I'm having the boot problem with, I use mainly for audio.

    Chris

  15. #15
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by scaisson View Post
    Another possibility of the cause: switching power supply circuit.

    In laptop, I don't mean the AC adapter or the battery. It is the on-board switching power circuit problem: marginal capability caused by the aging of components, specifically electrolytic capacitors.
    Hi Scaisson,

    Thanks for your thoughts and explanation. I don't think they apply to my situation, but it's interesting info, and may actually apply to an old LCD tv I have that failed prematurely.

    Chris

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