Posted 17 September 2010 - 10:46 AM
Hello there, computer Gurus. My computer began to bite the dust early this week, let me try to break it down - To start, this is mainly a media center/gaming PC, I network it with my Vista machine to transfer files, hardly ever use the internet, have Windows update set to update important stuff, and have very few programs installed (VLC, Miro, Steam, Microsoft Security Essentials and some Software that came with my Blu-Ray drive is about it). The only other hardware attached is a 2TB WD Elements external drive and a Windows Gyration remote. I was watching an HD movie through VLC player and I noticed playback started stuttering, I tried a few different files - all the same. Ok, no biggie, I installed the newest version of VLC - same problem. I tried rebooting and the system began hanging at the Windows screen right before you get to the desktop. Previosly, when I tried to reboot when I first got the 2TB WD drive, it wouldn't allow me to boot with it connected, so I disconnected it before I would reboot and started attaching it after Windows 7 booted. That worked fine until now, now it seems Windows didn't want to boot unless it was connected. So I did that. I tried changing some of the boot priorities in BIOS to see if that made any difference, seemed there was no rhyme or reason to what would allow the system to boot properly. Now Windows started taking forever to boot, like over an hour. When I finally got back in I noticed my Display Driver from ATI wasn't starting and I couldn't get it to open. This is where everything just started going wrong, I'll try to list what came next:
1. Everything in Windows started crawling (folder taking minutes to open, task manager slow to open, programs, etc.)
2. I had to end up doing some cold reboots because shutting down would just hang (again reboots still taking forever)
3. Started googling solutions, but hard to pin down problem. Tried booting into Safe Mode (also extermely slow), tried to remove Catalyst Control Center and ATI drivers, but it said I couldn't in Safe Mode.
4. Booted back into regular mode and tried to remove CCC drivers, but it would just hang during the uninstall. Tried Revo unintaller, but wouldn't show CCC, I guess it doesn't recognize 64-bit apps.
5. Tried some basic stuff, like disk cleanup, sfc /scannow would just hang when running the command. All commands seem to hang.
6. Can't run anything like Chkdsk, Defrag everything seems to hang
7. Rebooted again, this time got a message from Windows and Microsoft Security Essentials that this copy of Windows (I bought from Best Buy, and has been validated since I built the system 5 months ago) may not be valid, you may a conterfeit victim. Revalidated.
8. Was able to remove Display Driver from Device Manager, but couldn't reinstall new version.
9. Tried Windows 7 Upgrade (which is supposed to be like a non-destructive recovery and reload Windows files). That would hang when downloading new files from internet.
It seems all I have left to do is a Custom Windows Install (which will wipe my system clean, but save all my files in a C: Windows folder, so I've been told). Install/Uninstall seem to not work, just hangs, so a registry cleaner or virus scanner probably won't work (Although I really doubt it's a virus, as I said I hardly ever use the internet, and I've never seen a system act like this after all the viruses I've dealt with).
It's just mind-bottling to me, I can't even begin to think where the problem originated from with all the different problems occuring. My guess is a bad driver, windows update, some problem the WD Elements drive created, or something else getting corrupted - though I don't know how. Any experts have any ideas or suggestions before I nuke it and start over? It really bothers me since this is such a new system install (5-months) and well maintained. What could've gone wrong? I'd like to avoid this happening again.