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Work PC freezes while loading Windows

Black Panther

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#1
Nearly every morning when we switch on the main work pc, it freezes before loading Windows. Occasionally some mornings it doesn't do it. Other times, we have to power it on and off some 5 times before it decides to work properly! This has been going on for weeks now.

Usually it freezes on the password screen, either before or after inputting the password.

Once Windows loads, the computer works perfectly. It even crunches all the time at 100%.

I've tried several things now:

- memtest
- scanning for viruses (including with malwarebytes).
- repair using the Win 7 disk.
- sfc /scannow which found everything ok.
- ccleaner.
- the full version of Registry Mechanic.

(I wouldn't want to do a fresh Win 7 install because then we'd have to re-install the accounting software as well and it'll be expensive since for security reasons the seller doesn't distribute diskettes and passwords..:rolleyes:)

Here are its system specs:

Q9400
Asus P5KPL-AM SE
1 x 2048MB Supertalent DDR2
Onboard graphics
Win 7 x86 SP1

Suggestions?
 
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#2
I would suspect that the RAM is getting up there in age, have you ran memtest yet?
 

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#3
I would suspect that the RAM is getting up there in age, have you ran memtest yet?
Yes I did at the very start when this problem started.

Although the hardware isn't latest, the pc is relatively new approximately 2 years old.
 
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#4
Are you able to swap Power supply's ? Or will that void a warranty?
 
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#5
Sounds like maybe a driver issue? Have you tried a different keyboard and mouse? Also have you ran TDSSKiller just to see if there might be a rootkit nasty?
 

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#6
Sounds like maybe a driver issue? Have you tried a different keyboard and mouse? Also have you ran TDSSKiller just to see if there might be a rootkit nasty?
Thanks for the reply TMM, this issue is driving all of us crazy and I hope to find a solution asap (imagine opening shop in the morning and it takes an hour or so just to start up the pc!)

About the driver issue, I don't know where to start. This is a very basic pc, just mobo, processor, 1 stick of ram, hdd and psu, nothing overclocked. I had installed the motherboard drivers off the disk. Keyboard and mouse are both plug & play cheap stuff. I'll try some others but I doubt those are the problem...

I'll also be trying TDSSKiller for good measure. Any idea is welcome at this point :ohwell:. As I said, I use this pc only personally myself. Mostly using the accounts software, and having Chrome on TPU and GN (sshhhh!! ;) )
Once Windows loads then everything's perfect. It communicates with the other 3 pc's on the network, and it crunches at 100% cpu usage in the meantime. It never reboots or freezes.
I quit the crunching for some days just in case, but it wasn't the culprit either. After all the maximum temps while crunching is only ~52C.

______________________

What I forgot to mention was the optical drive. When my dad bought the pc (he insisted on a pre-built) I installed Win 7, mobo drivers etc and the ODD was working fine. Then I didn't use the ODD at all for more than a year because I never needed to. Then one day dad wanted to install a paint mixing program and the ODD didn't work. I went into Speccy and it said that there was no Optical Drive. This was confirmed when I tried other diagnostic programs.

I took the tower apart, blew it with compressed air and made sure all connections were fixed (they were). There was just a very fine layer of dust, not even one bunny to be seen. The ODD worked then.
But barely 4 days passed when I checked it and the drive wasn't visible any more. The LED lights up and the button works to open and close it, but that's it.
It still isn't working now.

I'm not looking for a solution to the ODD problem (that's the least of my priorities!), but just mentioned it just in case it might be relevant...:ohwell:

Are you able to swap Power supply's ? Or will that void a warranty?
That was the first thing I thought about after running memtest successfully. I just ran it today for over 5 hours once more, using 2 instances. The PSU probably is some no-name 350W crap or something...
The problem is that I don't have a spare PSU right now so I can't really check it.
 
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#7
while you try to work this out, you should try to avoid shutting it off... does the machine support S4? can you enable hibernation?

In the meantime you may think about finding some way to get the software that you need off of the PC... When one PC is so important and irreplaceable (or difficult to replace), you have a bit of a disaster waiting to happen.
 
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#8
Thanks for the reply TMM, this issue is driving all of us crazy and I hope to find a solution asap (imagine opening shop in the morning and it takes an hour or so just to start up the pc!)

About the driver issue, I don't know where to start. This is a very basic pc, just mobo, processor, 1 stick of ram, hdd and psu, nothing overclocked. I had installed the motherboard drivers off the disk. Keyboard and mouse are both plug & play cheap stuff. I'll try some others but I doubt those are the problem...

I'll also be trying TDSSKiller for good measure. Any idea is welcome at this point :ohwell:. As I said, I use this pc only personally myself. Mostly using the accounts software, and having Chrome on TPU and GN (sshhhh!! ;) )
Once Windows loads then everything's perfect. It communicates with the other 3 pc's on the network, and it crunches at 100% in the meantime. It never reboots or freezes.
I quit the crunching for some days just in case, but it wasn't the culprit either. After all the maximum temps while crunching is only ~52C.

______________________

What I forgot to mention was the optical drive. When my dad bought the pc (he insisted on a pre-built) I installed Win 7, mobo drivers etc and the ODD was working fine. Then I didn't use the ODD at all for more than a year because I never needed to. Then one day dad wanted to install a paint mixing program and the ODD didn't work. I went into Speccy and it said that there was no Optical Drive. This was confirmed when I tried other diagnostic programs.

I took the tower apart, blew it with compressed air and made sure all connections were fixed (they were). The ODD worked then.
But barely 4 days passed when I checked it and the drive wasn't visible any more. The LED lights up and the button works to open and close it, but that's it.
It still isn't working now.

I'm not looking for a solution to the ODD problem (that's the least of my priorities!), but just mentioned it just in case it might be relevant...:ohwell:
A bum optical drive could be the issue right there BP! Switch that bitch out or just yank it out for a few days and see if that fixes the issue. If no connected optical drive fixes the issue you will have your answer.
 
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#9
I have had the same issue, and after i disconnected the bum drive all was well.
 

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#10
while you try to work this out, you should try to avoid shutting it off... does the machine support S4? can you enable hibernation?

In the meantime you may think about finding some way to get the software that you need off of the PC... When one PC is so important and irreplaceable (or difficult to replace), you have a bit of a disaster waiting to happen.
I can enable hibernation but dad (aka boss) insists that the mains power gets switched off when we close (due to paint related stuff and flammability and whatnot). Weren't he to insist so I'd be leaving 4 pc's crunching 24/7 not just during working hours....:rolleyes:

The actual accounts are safe because I make backups every day on another drive. I wanted to avoid having to reinstall because the company from whom we purchased the software made a contract where we pay a yearly fee and they are in total control of installation. Which means I have to get them to reinstall if needed since I don't have any diskettes or passwords. And that'd easily climb up to some €300-500 and I was trying to avoid that. (Unless I get clever enough overnight to hack everything :))

A bum optical drive could be the issue right there BP! Switch that bitch out or just yank it out for a few days and see if that fixes the issue. If no connected optical drive fixes the issue you will have your answer.
I'll definitely try that out!!
 
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#11
Dying power supply.
 
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#12
sounds like you pissed off the IT gods. First your laptop then skyrim issues with your 5970, then your sons 5000BE, and now your work machine. Seems about time to sacrifice a virgin.

ddd should do nicely.
 

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#13
sounds like you pissed off the IT gods. First your laptop then skyrim The Sims 3 issues with your 5970, then your sons brother's 5000BE, and now your work machine. Seems about time to sacrifice a virgin.

ddd should do nicely.
What needed fixing got fixed, with regards to your post that is ;) :D
______________________

I'll remove the ODD for starters. Then if that doesn't fix it I'll try to find some PSU (even if it means swapping one from one of the other work pc's) to see if things work out.

If everything fails.... then there's ddd :ohwell:;)
 
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#14
I can enable hibernation but dad (aka boss) insists that the mains power gets switched off when we close (due to paint related stuff and flammability and whatnot). Weren't he to insist so I'd be leaving 4 pc's crunching 24/7 not just during working hours....:rolleyes:

The actual accounts are safe because I make backups every day on another drive. I wanted to avoid having to reinstall because the company from whom we purchased the software made a contract where we pay a yearly fee and they are in total control of installation. Which means I have to get them to reinstall if needed since I don't have any diskettes or passwords. And that'd easily climb up to some €300-500 and I was trying to avoid that. (Unless I get clever enough overnight to hack everything :))



I'll definitely try that out!!
You know how you can get around that? P2V the server... just image the drive and then set up a virtual machine to run that server. You will never have to reinstall anything ever again, and you can automatically have entire images of the VM backed up - no more having to back the accounts up manually.

https://www.virtualbox.org/

and if the machine that the VM is on dies, you can just boot the VM on any other computer.

https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Migrate_Windows

^ that may help
 
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#15
So did it work BP? Disconnecting the optical drive?
 

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#16
So did it work BP? Disconnecting the optical drive?
Today was a national holiday, and tomorrow I'm off too (loooong weekend ftw!! :rockout:). So I won't be able to try till Monday.
 
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#17
Today was a national holiday, and tomorrow I'm off too (loooong weekend ftw!! :rockout:). So I won't be able to try till Monday.
I would also open up the case and look real good at the Caps....I have a feeling you will find some bulging.
 
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#18
Today was a national holiday, and tomorrow I'm off too (loooong weekend ftw!! :rockout:). So I won't be able to try till Monday.
Ahhhh! The Maltese Spring!
 

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#19
So did it work BP? Disconnecting the optical drive?
A whole week passed, and never once did the work pc freeze while loading Windows.
I haven't yet done anything to it. :ohwell:
 

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#20
UPDATE:

So nearly 6 months passed now. The pc kept causing us problems, but it always started up at least by the 5th attempt...
Being busy, we never got time to really look into it (we have to suspend sales and deliveries if we stop this computer).


So did it work BP? Disconnecting the optical drive?
Made no difference.

I would also open up the case and look real good at the Caps....I have a feeling you will find some bulging.
Motherboard looks fine. No bulging caps.

________________________________________


But.

Yesterday when dad switched it on the monitor started showing corrupted graphics. Windows hadn't loaded yet.

It was the same kind of corrupted graphics (dots and squiggly colored lines) I see when a graphics card is dead (and I have experience with dead graphic cards :laugh:). Only this pc has graphics integrated in the motherboard.

What's weird is that if I open up the case and blow a type of compressed air on it (it's not conventional compressed air, it's a product where you hold the can upside down and very cold spray comes out of it) the pc starts up as if it had just been built with a clean install of windows. And it stays that way until it is switched off.

What I'm wondering is whether:

a) This is a problem which needs motherboard changing
b) Whether I could bypass this problem by installing some old pci-e graphics card to use it instead of the mobo's integrated graphics.

I have a couple of old cards which I have to check whether they work, and I could use those.
I'm not being stingy on buying a new motherboard for work. If I need to do that, then I'd do it.

It's just that to install the accounting software once again would probably cost like 10 times that of a new motherboard... :ohwell:
 

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#21
Bad on board GPU = bad Northbridge = require new mobo. Probably overheat damage, since mobo makers rarely cool the Northbridges adequately.

You may not have to re-install anything, I've swapped mobo's with win7 without much trouble. You will however have to call MS to re-activate the license by telling them you had to replace the board.
 
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#22
Get a replacement mobo, I've changed mobos in machine before with success almost every time. only with XP machine have I had to re-activate using their call in phone service.
 

de.das.dude

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#23
is it a hard drive?
 

Black Panther

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#24
Which motherboard would you suggest for a Q9400?
 
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#25
In most probability, it is not the motherboard. These guys are way off base recommending a new motherboard at this point. You may have to re install windows unfortunately. See if you can get a another drive with windows installed and see if that is the culprit. always start with the easiest and work down the ladder.