PC deteriorating, first random freezes that kept increasing in frequency, then all types of BSOD's, and now not bootable. Help me pinpoint the culprit

sram

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
1,468
Okay so this is an older build of mine. About 10 years old I think. It is this build actually:

https://hardforum.com/threads/okay-here-is-my-new-build-please-critique-it.1671000/

https://hardforum.com/threads/my-new-i7-2700k-build-log-excited.1680769/

It is an 2700K CPU based build in an Asus maximus iv extreme mobo. It is running windows 8 Pro. So like I said in the title the machine first started freezing (locks up) and you had to restart to get it back. I didn't think much of it because it was occasional (like one time in 3 months or something like that). It then started giving me BSOD every few days. A BSOD with a different error each time so it wasn't consistent. Sometimes after you reboot it after a BSOD, it refuses to boot to windows and the recovery wizard often tried to fix disk error and try automatic repair. Taking out the disk and putting it back helped sometimes. Shutting down the whole PC for few minutes also helped. That's why I thought It is a disk problem at the beginning and I imaged the OS drive and saved the image copy in a different disk. All disks I'm using are ssd's. When BSOD's started to increase in frequency I loaded the image into a different new drive and installed this new drive as my new OS drive hoping that the issue will go away. Well, it didn't it. I used WhoCrashed to help analyze the BSOD's. Like I said it was a different error each time so whocrashed didn't give a really helpful answer. I don't have access to its logs now but I remember it was saying that it could be malware causing this or memory corruption or disk errors. I tested the memory (32GB) with memtest64 and no errors came up. I stress tested the system with intel burn test (Maximum RAM) and it passed 2 loops. Now the pc won't boot to windows, it will stop at the windows logo or in automatic repair screen. I tried connecting the OS drive to different SATA ports but it didn't help. I lastly decided to try to run a fresh installation of windows. I made 2 bootable USB drives, one with windows 8 pro and another with windows 10 pro. Guess what ? The machine will boot the USB drive and I will get to the initial windows setup screen, but after you select the language and location and hit next, it just starts saying starting setup and stays there forever. This is with both USB drives. I changed the USB port but it didn't help. Okay I think I mentioned everything. I can boot into BIOS and navigate it freely and see all my drives and hardware there.

Now I'm thinking that it can't be anything but the motherboard. My little story leads to it. I really hate it when this happens and you end up having to buy a new mobo and install everything again. It served me well but it is 10 years. I think it is time for it to bite the dust!!! What do you think?
 

Axman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Messages
12,882
Have you tried swapping out the boot drive? Remove all the drives, pop in a known-good drive, and see if you can install/boot from that one.
 

sram

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
1,468
Have you tried swapping out the boot drive? Remove all the drives, pop in a known-good drive, and see if you can install/boot from that one.
Yes. I already tried a new drive. But I didn't disconnect others. Will try it alone and see.
 

Axman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Messages
12,882
Also, even if the memory tested good, there could be motherboard or CPU issues running with more than one stick. Try one stick at a time, each time in a different slot, and see if that runs stably.
 

sram

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
1,468
Also, even if the memory tested good, there could be motherboard or CPU issues running with more than one stick. Try one stick at a time, each time in a different slot, and see if that runs stably.
That's tricky. I hates when something tests okay but it is actually faulty. I can do what you suggested, but it takes time to do that and I don't have that time luxury. I will see.
 

Axman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Messages
12,882
I hates when something tests okay but it is actually faulty.

I know that sinking feeling. Also, just as a reminder, this could be CPU-related. I've had multiple CPUs die on me, overclocked and stock, and the one thing they all had in common was throwing errors that made me think something else was at fault.

Which sucks to hear, but at least replacing a CPU is way, way easier than replacing a motherboard.
 

sram

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
1,468
I know that sinking feeling. Also, just as a reminder, this could be CPU-related. I've had multiple CPUs die on me, overclocked and stock, and the one thing they all had in common was throwing errors that made me think something else was at fault.

Which sucks to hear, but at least replacing a CPU is way, way easier than replacing a motherboard.
That's scary. Yes replacing a cpu is much easier but how should I know it is the cpu before I change anything? It doesn't seems like it is the cpu. This cpu was overclocked to 5 GHz but I had to take it back to stock because it became unstable after like ~6 Years of overclocking. Maybe this is an indicator !? But I thought when cpus die they will just NOT work at all. Not like what I'm seeing. What happened when your cpus died?
 

Axman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Messages
12,882
What happened when your cpus died?

Most of them threw errors that had me swapping out other parts. Never have I ever had a CPU that just went lights off all at once, it was always a progression of increasing errors.

The only time I had a CPU that malfunctioned so badly that it was immediately unusable was when a bunch of PCI lanes stopped working. As a CPU, it was fine (another reason onboard graphics are a very good idea) but none of the expansion slots would work.

Even then, I assumed it was the motherboard, so I bought a new one, only to figure out it was the CPU, since it presented with the same issues on the new motherboard.

I have also burned out CPUs with prolonged overclocking without adequate cooling. Those would still work, just at lower clock settings. No other errors or problems.
 

sram

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
1,468
I made a bootable USB drive with ultimate boot CD(UBCD) and was to boot into it. I ran memtest86 with it to test my RAM again and it passed. I was also able to boot into a live linux distribution (Parrot OS). I'll see if I can install linux in the OS drive. I'm still unable to load windows. I tried several USB drives. It just stops at setup is starting screen.
 

HoraceC

n00b
Joined
May 6, 2022
Messages
2
Sounds like the motherboard.

How long did you leave the memory diagnostic running?

I have found that Windows Memory Diagnostic in Extended mode to be very useful with intermittent faults. The only issue is leaving the system testing for so long (over 24 hours).
 

sram

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
1,468
Sounds like the motherboard.

How long did you leave the memory diagnostic running?

I have found that Windows Memory Diagnostic in Extended mode to be very useful with intermittent faults. The only issue is leaving the system testing for so long (over 24 hours).
Overnight. So that's not over 24 hours. Maybe I'll do it again then. I didn't use windows memory diagnostics.
 

sram

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
1,468
replace the cmos battery/clear cmos and sata cables.
Worth a shot. I didn't think of replacing the cmos battey but I will try it. Clearing cmos is an option but I'll have to reconfigure it. I was suspecting the sata cables and sata ports. I will see.
I made a bootable USB drive with ultimate boot CD(UBCD) and was to boot into it. I ran memtest86 with it to test my RAM again and it passed. I was also able to boot into a live linux distribution (Parrot OS). I'll see if I can install linux in the OS drive. I'm still unable to load windows. I tried several USB drives. It just stops at setup is starting screen.
I couldn't install linux locally to the disk. It gave me an error: detecting and loading files from CDROM drive failed . I don't know how that's an error but I think it is not able to load files from the USB drive. I booted into Parrot OS live mode and tried to install it to disk from there. It also failed but in the partitioning disk step.
From all this, I can tell that my ssd is NOT accessible correctly due to a motherboard failure.
 

sram

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
1,468
I was about to take the system apart but decided to do one more thing before that. I downloaded linux mint and load it into a bootable USB drive. I booted the system with it and started installing linux mint to the local ssd disk. Guess what? It installed perfectly with no problems whatsoever and linux mint is now up and running. What was amusing to me is that linux mint detected all hardware present in the system. Everything had a driver. I knew linux mint was windows like but didn't know it would be this seamless.

Guess what also? This pc is actually being used by my wife and she is liking it. She started using it (browsing and youtube) and now I can't continue my troubleshooting.

I don't know if it will misbehave soon . I will see.

Of course I still need to fix the issue and will do that when the computer is not in use. I'll keep you updated.
 
Last edited:

SamirD

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 22, 2015
Messages
5,419
Definitely a weird issue if mint installed fine. It does sound like it could be a cpu issue. There was a Intel cpu tester in the lga1366 days, but I don't know if it worked on the 2700k. But I guess the other problem is that was a windows program, so no way to get it work in the current state.

If the wife likes mint, just run with it. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: sram
like this

sram

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
1,468
Definitely a weird issue if mint installed fine. It does sound like it could be a cpu issue. There was a Intel cpu tester in the lga1366 days, but I don't know if it worked on the 2700k. But I guess the other problem is that was a windows program, so no way to get it work in the current state.

If the wife likes mint, just run with it. :)
I thought stress testing will almost tell you if your CPU and RAM are okay. When I was able to boot to windows, I did that and the machine passed two loops of inter burn test with maximum memory.

Anyway, it is a puzzle. Will see if I can find the culprit.I"ll keep you updated.
 

GoldenTiger

Fully [H]
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
Messages
24,902

SamirD

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 22, 2015
Messages
5,419
This might still not clear the PSU.
Yes, but the idea is to clear the cpu. Obviously if it doesn't work right, it's still something else and pretty much everything is still suspect including the psu.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sram
like this

travm

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
1,830
Yes, but the idea is to clear the cpu. Obviously if it doesn't work right, it's still something else and pretty much everything is still suspect including the psu.
It might work fine, but still be the PSU. Lower power requirements from a cheap cpu might not cause the problem, making you think the CPU is the culprit, when it is not
 

SamirD

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 22, 2015
Messages
5,419
It might work fine, but still be the PSU. Lower power requirements from a cheap cpu might not cause the problem, making you think the CPU is the culprit, when it is not
Yep, that could be the case as well, but then that psu was going out maybe when that 5ghz overclock got unstable.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sram
like this

sram

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
1,468
Here is an update guys. Someone suggested that I update the BIOS. Although I didn't like the idea because it is little risky, I have done it anyways. The bios file in my mobo was too old. I tried booting using the boorable windows usb drive and it booted successfully and got passed the setup screen. Seeing this, I immediately hooked up the original windows 8 ssd to see if it will boot and it booted fine ! So apparently something was wrong with the motherboard and the bios update fixed it.

That's still not the end of the story though. I kept the machine running overnight but it crashed after few hours giving me the same error in whocrashed (critical process died or something). So something is still wrong . Maybe it is the disk. What I will do now is load fresh windows into another ssd and see if it crashes again. If it doesn't then it is the disk or corrupted windows installation.

Maybe I will dual boot windows and mint in this system. At least mint will be there if winodws acts up.
 

SamirD

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 22, 2015
Messages
5,419
Could still be some other components like cpu/psu/etc so don't rule that out. But this is definitely positive news. :) Happy 4th!
 

sram

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
1,468
Could still be some other components like cpu/psu/etc so don't rule that out. But this is definitely positive news. :) Happy 4th!
That's what is bad about it. I will do more tests and report back.
 
Top