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Windows 7: Windows 7 doesn't boot normally after latest Win Update and Restore

11 Apr 2017   #1
Cheesewren

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
 
 
Windows 7 doesn't boot normally after latest Win Update and Restore

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit, Asus N56VZ

There were no problems and no Trojans/viruses on the system before I installed the latest drivers offered by Windows Update last week (as far as I know).

Before all this happened I made a manual Restore Point.

Backstory: I got Nvidia and Realtek drivers + Intel driver for something. Damn me for not checking. If there was anything else, I can't tell right now and can't access Windows Update. On top of that I updated Avast antivirus to the latest version and uninstalled a few telemetry updates.

After the update finished I noticed severe slowdowns when working and yesterday, after I installed another few KBs, Windows took around 30 minutes to boot and froze on desktop after (with mouse working). Not thinking much about it, I went to safe mode (works fine for a while, however hangs up after a random amount of time) and restored my backup from the last week.

Problem improved after restore, but did not disappear completely. Normal mode boots, mouse works, but then it freezes again. Uninstalling Nvidia drivers completely with utility solved the issue for safe mode. Could the backup/Win Update corrupt the drivers?


Current situation or TL;DR:

It's impossible to run or uninstall Avast in safe mode or in normal, it refuses to run and freezes the system on uninstall with their uninstall utility.

Normal boot with no Nvidia drivers takes normal times but it still has random freezes, but while the system is frozen, I can open the task manager and see that nothing is happening.

Driver check utility causes a BSOD blaming HIDCLASS.SYS (haven't tried running it with no mouse plugged in yet).

SFC /scannow reports an unrelated problem that I solved (group policy files missing).

Hard drive is fine, no problems found.

Event manager blamed audio drivers for long load. Uninstalled Realtek drivers.

Didn't get to memtest yet (laptop run perfectly before the updates).


So, should I try replacing all drivers on my laptop? Any other thoughts?
I would welcome any help at this point, I need this laptop for work.

Edit: Malwarbytes seemingly didn't find anything of notice. Ad-carrying trojan is pretty bad, but not system freeze bad.

Malwarebytes_report.txt


Edit 2: Killing off Realtek and Nvidia drivers and cleaning up some files let me boot normally, but, I think trying to use a USB slot causes a freeze (I got one, but it passed after 10 minutes-- Could be something else).

I still need to find a solution for my AVAST antivirus (it's protecting itself... But it's completely dead, unsure how it happened)

And now that I got a boot log, I'll post it here. I cannot read it well, but I do seem to have some additional problems with drivers. I'm trying to locate which Intel driver the update corrupt. And then I'll go see what's the deal with HIDCLASS.sys is. They should be related.

ntbtlog.txt
ntbtlog2.txt

Edit 3:
Found the potential culprit:
Intel System 8/19/2016 12:00:00 AM 10.1.2.80
From Windows Update. A highly suspect update that breaks things.

Will check the other's out too.

Edit 4: I have not been able to locate that Intel update. Reinstalled Nvidia, Intel and Realtek drivers, froze after boot again.

I have no idea what to do next. Please help. Uninstall HID drivers?




My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
11 Apr 2017   #2
GSystems

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Well...

Seeing as you have no responses to this issue and I have been away from the forums for quite a while, I figure I would throw a few ideas your way and see what happens.

First, you should probably purchase a license for your preferred anti-virus solution. Really, if you do a bit of shopping, you can normally find a solution that will give you a license for something else (such as I encountered some time last year with EaseUS' Partition Manager which bundled EmsiSoft's Internet Security with it. I don't believe that is the case anymore, but with all of the software you likely have on your machine, it wouldn't hurt to purchase something with a license.

It's amazing how much more smoothe your machine runs when "Free" is not particularly associated with ll of your software.

Second, I believe that you have underlying issues with your set up that you might want to assess and reduce. Consider upgrading to Windows 8.1 Pro. Always get the Professional Version of Windows Software as the introduction of Virtualization alone (via Hyper-V) will open up the opportunity to Virtualize a Windows installation for testing and save you from the threat of having to reinstall your Main operating system for the sake of testing or curiosity.

Unfortunately, the only thing I could conclude from your provided logs is that you have installed a lot of free software and may have been compromised in some way. You might want to swing over to the Avast(or Avira) forums to see what you can do about your unavailable installation. Consider reinstalling Avira and uninstall it with a third-party Uninstaller like RevoUninstaller. I purchased the Pro version a while ago and am now working on incorporating it into my Home Windows 8.1 Pro Image which I'll be deploying to all of my home machines.

Incidentally, I only have two machines left without 8.1 (one with 10 Home and one with 1o Pro), but I am willing to redo all of five of them for the sake of them all being the exact same installation...reserving two other machines for Windows 7 Ultimate so that they can host other virtual workstations and servers. Why so many machines? Well, they're all my toys ... and it's better than manipulating some young lady to date me so that I can skin her under the moonlight and eat portions of her body on the third Wednesday of every full full moon. In other words, it's something to do...I like the challenge of maintenance and learning the methods of automation and enhancement.

What I don't like: Unsolvable problems.

Windows Updates are a pain and they are known to break things. I do believe, however, that the experience you've had is simply indicative of a need to change the way in which you're administering your machines.

As a last thought to you (at the moment), you could always do an inplace upgrade of your Windows Installation and repair your present installation without losing anything. Create a Windows Installation Medium using the "Windows 7 USB Installer" or some other name -- by Microsoft. If you're unfamiliar, I can give you a link. If you're unaware of this process, just let me know and I'll spend more time ensuring you're informed.

In the case of no reply (or no need of a reply from me): Happy Computing!

Live well,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Apr 2017   #3
Cheesewren

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
 
 

Thank you so much for your suggestions! I'll head over to Avast forums next as soon as I can load my machine without freezing. Can't believe I didn't think of it myself!

I do understand the need to upgrade to a more recent Windows versions, but the only other time this particular laptop broke was when Windows introduced the infamous KB which accidentally removed the login screen and made it impossible to login through normal means. I hope you can understand my reluctance.

I do believe I can be wrong, of course, but right now I'd like to focus on one thing at a time. Can you advise me on the Windows 7 USB installer repair? Because when I tried it, Asus told me I would definitely have to wipe all my data on Asus repair screen and Windows told me it was the wrong version of Windows on their (it wasn't, it was identical). What did I do wrong?

And lastly, can you help me with reinstalling USB drivers? I have seemingly a million USB controllers and I don't understand which are safe to uninstall. All of them? That's my main issue right now, I'll try your repair option right after!

Please don't abandon this thread, you are my only hope.

Edit: I wasn't trying to appear ungrateful! I am going to consider switching to paid versions of everything, especially my antivirus as soon as I can boot without freezing! Absolutely.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

12 Apr 2017   #4
Cheesewren

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
 
 

Update:

Talked to an Asus representative. When I asked which USB drivers are safe to remove and in which order, he offered me to reinstall the system. Uh, thanks, I guess. Then he told me the information anyway, so the Intel drivers are back in order (supposedly).

Talked to the people on Avast forums. Avast is dead, manually deleted the folder, Avast Uninstall Utility then launched and killed everything else. Finally. I am going to uninstall any software that was potentially corrupted by the botched Restore.


Launching back into normal, I found another copy of broken Nvidia drivers, uninstalled those too. Haven't tried normal boot with Nvidia installed back yet. Realtek drivers were useless, uninstalling them did not impact the sound in any way. I think it became louder, actually (why?).

Found USBDeview, which lists all USB and HID drivers currently installed. A lot of stuff I would never need and which was safe to uninstall, did that. Half the HID devices listed are actually my 1 Logitech mouse. Going to reinstall the mouse drivers.

Anything here that I can't just remove and then reinstall? Except for normal keyboard. I guess Apple Keyboard is safe to uninstall?

I am going to run Verifier again and try to get some info from that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Apr 2017   #5
Cheesewren

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
 
 

Update 2:

Removed some more HID ghost devices.

Run Verifier, no BSODs so far.

Installed an older version of Nvidia drivers. Normal mode boots normally. I am a bit frightened to try the newest Nvidia drivers. They could've been potentially the reason I got into this mess in the beginning.

I need to reinstall Avast.

Is it problem solved? I don't know. I'll continue going through all of my software. On the bright side, my laptop now loads about x2 faster, since I got rid of most of the startup items I didn't really need and one of which took about 20 seconds to load (uninstalled).

If there are any other suggestions on what I can potentially check for corruption, please tell me (registry, system files, drivers were checked over, though only once. I'll do it again). Really, really hope it's the end of my problems.

Edit: sleep mode causes freezes, potentially because the chipset and video drivers are out of date. Damn.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Apr 2017   #6
GSystems

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Hey, Cheese!

Great work so far! Sorry for my absence. I have far too many things on my plate suddenly, but I assure you that I'll get back to you tonight.

To alleviate a bit of your driver concern...always remember that since you're running older hardware that it's ok that you have slightly older drivers. If they're the best your hardware has, then they're the best.

As an example, I have an old AMD video card (HD7750) which does not agree with any of the later AMD drivers. Shucks, I don't agree with the latest AMD drivers -- they, in a word, suck. lol Regardless, it's ok that your drivers aren't the most recent as long as the hardware works and there are no security issues.

Great, great work!

I assure you that I will respond later in the day. I have a meeting (that I will likely postpone until next week) with my Property Manager and my Studio room is almost done. My Windows Server 2012R2 play has really pushed my other things into a pile for me to clean up over the course of this day. Thanks for your patience.

Looks like it's just me and you, bud. I'm with it. :-)

Again, don't worry too much about your nvidia drivers unless there is an obvious security issue (announced by nVidia)... At the moment, the only thing that comes to mind is to continue unwinding your software. Revo Uninstaller is still a strong suggestion -- especially if you're running a 32-Bit Windows 7 install over there.

Will return later.

Always: Happy COmputing!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Apr 2017   #7
GSystems

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Another thing:

Although I'm sure you're comfortable with Avast, I would actually recommend -- Alert: I will likely get flamed for this suggestion by other IT guys, but I've gone to the mat in real life with my IT brethren over this before, so hmph -- for the meantime, that you install Microsoft Security Essentials and let that be until you get everything else stable again.

The reason for this is because it is a very low impact AV solution which, at the least, will remove most of the interference that is inherent in a more robust AV solution (such as, well, anything other than MSE) without completely leaving you vulnerable as you search the net for solutions to your present issues. Shucks, I'm almost tempted to recommend you do a sysprep to clear out all of your drivers, but I'm not sure if we've made it there yet...and this is a good experience for you so that you can more appreciate your work...and, above all: learn more about your machine.

Note: Microsoft Security Essentials is the least favored AV solution in the IT world, even though MS keeps offering it with their OS...for free... Personally, I believe it is shunned on purpose so that MS can be relieved of legal threats, but that's another conversation. What I can offer is my experience with it, and, in the end, it is the only solution I've used that has actually caught and removed something while leaving no traces behind. You may choose to keep it in the end, but if you do, I would suggest learning a bit more about WIndows Firewall and how it works. Regardless, I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Again, I would uninstall Avast completely, install Microsoft Security Essentials (presuming you have a license for your Windows...if you don't then forget this idea), and continue troubleshooting with the full relief of not having your AV in the way, while knowing you're at least partly protected as you surf around.

I can't forget about your previous scans that you posted...so I will give you some solutions to help protect you as you surf the interwebs and find the difference between "sites I should try" and "sites I laughably avoid"... Always remember: PC Security begins and ends with the User.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Apr 2017   #8
Cheesewren

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
 
 

Thank you so very much for replying! Your help is greatly appreciated!

The scan showed that i didn't actually have anything malicious on my PC? I'm pretty throughout with my security, I block questionable sites through adblocker, my host files and Avast + I run Malwarebytes when I can. The only malicious file was from a work colleague, and it was in the bin as I deleted it without opening. The only thing I didn't do to it was emptying my bin. My fault, yeah. It was harmless adware, though.

I'll get the Microsoft Security Essentials in the meantime, sure, as I don't have Avast running right now.

I run legitimate software if I can, so I do have genuine Win7 64bit running. I also have Revo to clean up uninstalled software, yes! I went thru half my software already, checking if it's working fine.

I got my Nvidia drivers to a stable version from Dec 2016 which I used before.

My laptop is running fine right now as far as I can tell, however the sleep mode still causes problems!

It takes laptop 1.5 minutes to go to sleep and I can tell it doesn't go to sleep mode properly (indicator should be blinking). Then, after turning it on it starts instantly, in 1-2 seconds, but hangs for about 5 minutes before going back to sleep mode again. After turning it on again it turns on instantly again, then hangs for a minute and just starts working properly, like nothing happened. Weird.

I switched to hybernate for now! Hybernate takes 10 seconds to turn off and 30 to turn on.

What could be the issue with the sleep mode? Chipset drivers? BIOS version? Video card failing?

I turned off all problematic sleep mode options already (hard drive + hybrid sleep).

EDIT: event manager lists the Intel(R) 7 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller
as the culprit, I thought my drive was failing but checking it over it shows no errors. I'll run a more comprehensive scan with Seatools later today. The other potentiality here (as the \Device\Ide\iaStor Event only shows itself when the laptop goes to sleep mode, not on normal boot) is that the old driver is causing the conflict/issue.

I backed up all my data by this point, so I am not afraid to lose it. Going to investigate the issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Apr 2017   #9
Cheesewren

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit
 
 

chkdsk found nothing.

However, Seatools (native to this hard drive) found 8 errors, which it fixed. Running additional scans showed no more errors. Apparently, my hard drive is failing. This is pretty sad, but not catastrophic.

I am still tempted to update my BIOS, but don't want to brick this laptop.

Situation now:

Laptop goes in and out of sleep mode in 3 seconds. Normal boot time ~40 seconds. No conflicts and no corrupted files that I can see.

Haven't reinstalled Avast yet, as my Malwarebytes trial is still going for another few days.

With all my sensitive data backed up, I'll continue using the drive until it fails, then replace it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows 7 doesn't boot normally after latest Win Update and Restore




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