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Windows 7: Erratic startup success, fan spins but nothing on screen


01 Jul 2012   #1

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 
Erratic startup success, fan spins but nothing on screen

This is a problem that my desktop has been having off-and-on for the past couple of years. I've tried troubleshooting it several times, always with mixed success. I just had a great experience on these forums fixing a BSOD that cropped up a couple days ago and figured this is the place to go now to get some new ideas on the start-up issue.

On a normal boot, I hear the fans whirr into action loudly, then suddenly go much quieter as the boot-up process begins. Occasionally (so far I've not been able to identify a specific pattern of activity that triggers it), the fans will whirr, but not quiet down, which always signals that nothing further is going to happen. When this occurs, I have to manually power down by pressing and holding the power button (a single button push does nothing).

When this first happened a couple years back, I worked out that the fan that kept whirring was on the graphics card, and assumed that was the problem. I did some troubleshooting and found someone online talking about error lights that were supposed to show up on this particular card if there was an issue. Those lights were there, so I replaced it as it was still under warranty. The problem seemed to go away, but then came back again not long after.

I've tried all sorts of things, and everything I've tried seems to work sometimes and then other times not, leading me to believe that the actual cause and/or cure is something entirely different that I haven't identified yet. My attempts include: unplugging and replacing the graphics card; unplugging and replacing the connectors on the graphics card; unplugging the power supply for several minutes; simple repetition of manually powering down and powering up again until it works.

Something to note that may or may not be applicable: I recently attempted to flash the BIOS, as I realized I'd never updated it and wondered if that might be the problem. Not long after that was when my BSOD appeared, which I've just recently fixed (see link above). Not sure if the two issues are connected, as the solution to the BSOD was to uninstall Symantec.

Also of note is that when booting up (when it's successful), the Asus Express Gate installation no longer succeeds, and provides the following information: "EXPRESS GATE INSTALLATION IS INCOMPLETE. VERSION-POST CODE: (L11209 - 8C000002)". Unfortunately I don't remember if this had been happening before the BSOD or if it coincided with that. Also not sure how connected this may or may not be to the main issue.

I'm attaching a System Info file in case it helps. Please let me know what other information I can supply. At this point I have no idea what else to try and I'm willing to attempt anything. Thanks!



Attached Files
File Type: zip SystemInformation.zip (176.2 KB, 7 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

01 Jul 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

A couple of diagnostics you could try. These are primarily for software issues and won't necessarily show any hardware issues like a failing hard drive, a bad RAM module, etc. In the case of startup repair and system file checker scan, if either scan shows any problems run the scan 3 times rebooting in between each scan.

Startup Repair

SFC /SCANNOW Command - System File Checker

These turorials were prepared by one of our Forum experts and offer some addtional things to check.

Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Boot

Troubleshooting Steps for Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Jul 2012   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

I had a very similar issue on my old computer before its motherboard died, and it happened to be a bad stick of RAM. I would suggest running Memtest86+ for 4-5 passes or overnight to check if there are errors with the RAM.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


03 Jul 2012   #4

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Sbrideau, I hadn't tried checking the RAM yet! Last night as I was getting ready to start troubleshooting, I couldn't get the computer to boot after several attempts. Then I removed the two oldest sticks of RAM, and it started up just fine. I shut it down again, reinserted the old RAM, and managed to get it to come back on to run Memtest86+.

However, Memtest completed 4 passes during the night and came up with no errors at all. I'm guessing the startup success after removing the old RAM must have just been a coincidence. Is there any chance of a bad stick slipping through the test without registering an error?

marsmimar, I'm going to try Startup Repair and System File Checker this evening when I get home. I'll post results as soon as I can.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jul 2012   #5

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Memtest is usually very accurate. If it started without issues when you removed the old sticks, it could be that the contacts are dirty for some reason. If you try cleaning the old stick's contacts with isopropyl alcohol and lint-free swabs, we could see if that is the issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jul 2012   #6

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Just finished running Startup Repair and System File Checker. On the System File Checker, I had it run the "Verify Only" command rather than the auto-repair. Neither test found any problems. I also ran the Windows Memory Diagnostic while I was in that menu, just for the heck of it. No problems detected.

This morning after I checked the status of the Memtest86+ test, I shut everything down before I left for work. My wife reports that everything booted up just fine later in the day, no problems at all. If/when it acts up again, I'll check the memory sticks first and do a cleaning on them. I didn't notice any grime or dirt on the contacts yesterday when I was removing them, but then again I wasn't paying attention to the cleanliness of the sticks at the time, so I may have missed something.

Will start going through those two additional tutorials now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jul 2012   #7

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Okay, I want to post some of what I'm working on and get advice before I get too deep into it. Been working through the first few steps on the Troubleshooting Steps for Windows 7 tutorial you linked to.

Following Step 1, I installed Malwarebytes and ran a full scan. It found a few adware items, nothing extremely critical, but it at least cleaned them all out.

With regards to Step 2, my prior issue with the BSOD was resolved by uninstalling Symantec, which I replaced with AVG Free as my antivirus. I assume it's lightweight enough, though if I'm wrong please tell me and I'll replace it with something else.

Following Step 3, I used msconfig to remove all startup items except my antivirus, the sidebar, and an internet monitoring service that I prefer to keep on.

Step 4 is about studying the error log in the Event Viewer, and this is where I've come across a whole slew of things that I don't know how to start dealing with. I don't know how to determine what's critical, what's not, how to go about fixing them, etc. I googled the first couple ones on the list, but didn't really come across anything that was immediately helpful/comprehensible to me.

I've attached a file containing the first 100 events from a total list of 7,062. That seems like a lot to me, though this is the first time I've been made aware of the Event Viewer tool, so I really know nothing about this. I'm assuming this file will mean more to you than it does to me!

Thanks!


Attached Files
File Type: zip Administrative_Events.zip (8.3 KB, 3 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jul 2012   #8

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by robertheadrick View Post
Just finished running Startup Repair and System File Checker. On the System File Checker, I had it run the "Verify Only" command rather than the auto-repair. Neither test found any problems. I also ran the Windows Memory Diagnostic while I was in that menu, just for the heck of it. No problems detected.

This morning after I checked the status of the Memtest86+ test, I shut everything down before I left for work. My wife reports that everything booted up just fine later in the day, no problems at all. If/when it acts up again, I'll check the memory sticks first and do a cleaning on them. I didn't notice any grime or dirt on the contacts yesterday when I was removing them, but then again I wasn't paying attention to the cleanliness of the sticks at the time, so I may have missed something.

Will start going through those two additional tutorials now.
Are you still booting without issues? If you're not having issues anymore, maybe the RAM just needed to be reseated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2012   #9

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

I had to laugh when you said you replaced Norton with AVG.

Lad, you jumped from the frying pan to the fire!

Now, uninstall AVG.
Install MSE (link is in my signature).

After that, and ONLY after that, then carry out following:
HOW TO USE WINDOWS DEFENDER OFFLINE ON A USB STICK
Windows Defender Offline
· is a free standalone, bootable malware and virus remover from Microsoft.
· performs an offline scan of an infected PC to remove viruses, rootkits and other advanced malware.

Download Windows Defender Offline (about 764 kB)

You will have the choice of downloading the 32bit version (x86) or the 64 bit version (x64).
The link will help you determine whether you are running a 32 bit version or 64 bit version of Windows

NOTE!! You can download and prepare a 32 bit version using a 64 bit version of Windows
NOTE!! You can download and prepare a 64 bit version using a 32bit version of Windows.

You run the 32 bit version on a 32 bit version of Windows.
You run the 64 bit version on a 64 bit version of Windows.

The 32 bit download file name is: mssstool32.exe
The 64 bit download file name is: mssstool64.exe

For the curious, this program was originally name Microsoft Standalone System Sweeper.


INSTALLATION:
You will need an Internet Connection.
Insert 512 mB (Microsoft’s 256 mB is no longer accurate) or larger USB stick into a usb port.
Run the downloaded program--mssstool64.exe or mssstool32.exe
NEXT button
Choose the option On a USB flash drive that is not password protected
NEXT button
NEXT button
.
The install program will format the usb stick using the NTFS format.
The install program will download about 210 mB.
The install program will name the USB stick WDO_Media32 or WDO_Media64
The WDO_Media32 usb stick will have used space of 255 mB (268,140,544 bytes)
The WDO_Media64 usb stick will have used space of 282 mB (296,165,376 bytes)
You can expect the number of mB to increase as more malware appears.

UPDATE Windows Defender Offline USB stick:
· reinsert the usb stick
· run the installation program, mssstool64.exe or mssstool32.exe, again.
· the update will download about 66 mB (mssstool32.exe) and 68 mB (mssstool64.exe).

Since the malware database is sometimes updated several times in a day, always update before running.

PERFORM AN OFFLINE SCAN
Bootup your computer from the USB stick
Windows Defender Offline will automatically perform a quick scan.
After the quick scan finishes, Choose Full Scan
Select all of your drives

The initial, full scan can easily take several hours, but
Remember, your computer is being very thoroughly checked for all types of malware.


RESULTS OF THE SCAN
The results will be in 4 log files on your computer's disk in:
\Windows\Microsoft Antimalware\Support
==============================================
==============================================
Now so that we can see what wonders have been wrought:

Script:
# ************************************************************
# Zips up your log files from Windows Defender Offline
#  and extended info about the log files
# Places WDOlogs.ZIP on your Desktop
#
# **********************INSTRUCTIONS**************************
# STEP 1 *****************************************************
# RUN PowerShell as administrator
# START ORB | type POWERSHELL | CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER key combo | ALT+Y keycombo
# ************************************************************
# STEP 2 *****************************************************
# COPY, using CTRL+C, every line down thru both EXIT statements 
# PASTE into Powershell == Right-Click at the PowerShell Prompt
#  (Ctrl+V does not work)
# Start copying with first line without a # at start of the line
# Note: Actually, you can paste the entire file if you rather
#       Lines starting with a # are ignored by PowerShell
# ************************************************************
#functions

function New-Zip {
    
param([Parameter(Mandatory=$truePosition=0ValueFromPipeline=$true)]
    [
String$Path, [Switch] $PassThru, [Switch] $Force )
    
Process { if (Test-Path $path) {if (-not $Force) { return } }
    
Set-Content $path ("PK" + [char]+ [char]+ ("$([char]0)" 18))
    
$item Get-Item $path$item.IsReadOnly $false;if ($passThru) { $item } } }
function 
Copy-ToZip {param(
  [
Parameter(Mandatory=$true,Position=0,ValueFromPipelineByPropertyName=$true)] [Alias('FullName')] 
  [
String]$File, [Parameter(Mandatory=$true,Position=1)] [String]$ZipFile,[Switch]$HideProgress,[Switch]$Force )
  
Begin {$ShellApplication = New-Object -ComObject Shell.Application
  
if (-not (Test-Path $ZipFile)) {New-Zip $ZipFile};$Path Resolve-Path $ZipFile
  $ZipPackage 
=$ShellApplication.Namespace("$Path")}
  
Process {$RealFile Get-Item $File; if (-not $RealFile) { return }        
  if (-
not $hideProgress) {$perc +=5; if ($perc -gt 100) { $perc 
    
Write-Progress "Copying to $ZipFile$RealFile.FullName -PercentComplete $perc}
  
$Flags 0; if ($force) {$flags 16 -bor 1024 -bor 64 -bor 512};Write-Verbose $realFile.Fullname
   $ZipPackage
.CopyHere($realFile.Fullname$flags);Start-Sleep -Milliseconds 500}}

$fileinfo join-path $env:TEMP \wdofileinfo.txt
IF (test-path $fileinfo) {del $fileinfo -ea:silentlycontinue -force:$true}
$dir $env:windir '\Microsoft Antimalware\Support'
$a dir $dir  -rec -force -ea:silentlycontinue sort-object -property lastwritetime 
$b 
$a where {$_.extension -eq '.log'} |Select  modefullnamenamecreationtimelastwritetime,  lastaccesstimelengthextension
$b 
out-file -append $fileinfo
$b 
| foreach ($_.fullname) {get-content -path $_.fullname} | out-file -append $fileinfo 
$ziploc 
$env:userprofile '\desktop\WDOlogs.ZIP'
new-zip $ziploc -verbose:$false -ea:silentlycontinue -force:$true
copy
-tozip  $fileinfo $ziploc -verbose:$false -hideprogress:$true
del $fileinfo

EXIT
EXIT

# ***************** NOTE - POWERSHELL VERSION*****************
# if you receive this error msg:
#  Get-WinEvent: The system can not find the path specified
# you need to update your PowerShell
# you must be using Powershell 2.0 or later.
#
# To determine your Powershell version:
#   Run PowerShell
#   enter $host.version
#   you should see at least:
# Major  Minor  Build  Revision
# -----  -----  -----  --------
# 2      0      -1     -1
#
# If you do not see the above, update your Vista/Win 7.
# ************************************************************
# *************** NOTE - EXECUTION POLICY*********************
# If you haven't set the execution policy, you may need to:
#   Run PowerShell
#   enter Set-ExecutionPolicy -executionpolicy remotesigned
#
# ************************************************************ 
==================================
===================================

After and only after receiving the WDOlogs.ZIP file will I be able to continue.

karl
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2012   #10

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Thanks for the anti-AVG tip! It was recommended to me a long time ago by someone, so it was the first alternative I thought of when I was uninstalling Symantec/Norton. Just out of curiosity, what is it that makes AVG such a bad idea and what makes MSE a better choice?

In the meantime, I just finished setting up Windows Defender Online on a USB. Will get the full scan running in a few minutes and let it do it's thing while I'm off to 4th of July festivities. I'll post the logs as soon as I get a chance.

Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Erratic startup success, fan spins but nothing on screen




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