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New HDD and clean Win7 install only stable in safe mode


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#1 AdamHartman

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:22 PM

Hi all.

I have a machine that's been flakey for about 2 months. It was fine, running Win7 64bit Home Premium just fine for 2 years. I upgraded the video card about 6 months ago and had no problems.

Then, about 2 months ago, it would randomly stop responding. Mouse movements still worked, but buttons clicked wouldn't do anything. I could be running a Microsoft Security Essentials scan and it would just not progress. No malware scanners run from DVD found anything. I did the Kaspersky Rescue disc, and the Windows Defender Offline disc. Nothing was found.

I assumed my HDD was dying, so I bought a new one (wanted to upgrade anyways). I took out the old HDD and put the new one in. I did a clean install of Win7 from a DVD I burned. The Win7 install goes perfectly. However, after the first login, I get the same problems after about 8-15 minutes. The machine just stops doing anything. The mouse still moves, status bars cycle but nothing completes. I can't open IE, can't kill anything from Task Manager, can't do anything with the mouse or keyboard that actually DOES anything, if that makes sense.

The weird thing is that the machine is perfectly stable in Safe Mode with Networking (other Safe Modes are also stable). It can run for a week straight in Safe Mode, connect to the internet, write word docs, etc. No errors, no warnings, no odd behavior. When I try to then reboot and login to Windows normally, same problems as above.

Do I have a strange hardware issue (video card, memory failing, power supply...???) or some BIOS virus that's survived the new HDD and clean install?

I'm at my wit's end, and my wife wants me to call Dell, which I don't want to do :) I'd rather fix this myself. I'm not afraid of formatting or wiping partitions because there's nothing on the HDD. Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Adam Hartman

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#2 Romeo29

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:28 PM

:welcome:
First of all welcome to Bleeping Computer :)

I suspect some 3rd party service or driver is messing things up in normal mode.

Read this : http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135 .
At first disable all 3rd party services and see if Windows still stops working. If it works fine, then enable each service 1 by 1 and isolate the culprit.

Edited by Romeo29, 04 September 2012 - 08:29 PM.


#3 AdamHartman

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 10:08 PM

Romeo,

I'll give this a try, but there are no 3rd party drivers, at least as I understand the term. I literally installed from the DVD onto a fresh, out of the box HDD. Got logged in the first time and lost functionality within 10 minutes.

I'll see if there's a culprit to be found, though.

Thanks for the advice.

-Adam

#4 AdamHartman

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 04:12 PM

:welcome:
First of all welcome to Bleeping Computer :)

I suspect some 3rd party service or driver is messing things up in normal mode.

Read this : http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135 .
At first disable all 3rd party services and see if Windows still stops working. If it works fine, then enable each service 1 by 1 and isolate the culprit.



Romeo,

When I tried these steps, I got stuck in a boot loop when I tried to boot in normal (non-safe) mode. And, as I suspected, when I hid the Windows services, there were no others listed in the boot configuration screen from msconfig.

I ran the Windows memory test utility from an Ultimate Boot CD, and got now errors on the RAM. I'm running MEMTEST 4.2 from that disc right now, but it looks fine as well.

Any other suggestions?

Thanks,
Adam

#5 Romeo29

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 02:30 AM

You have installed fresh Windows 7 and have not installed anything else.
In that case, Windows might have installed its own Microsoft driver for a device that works only in normal mode. So it may be a case of problematic hardware.

The process is same for isolating the faulty hardware. Remove all the add-on cards, PCIE cards, peripherals (except mouse and keyboard), your graphics card and then boot into normal mode to see if everything is okay. Then put them back 1 by 1.

You are already testing memory but if it works in safe mode, then it should be okay.

#6 AdamHartman

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 10:08 AM

Romeo,

I'll try that next. The memory tests ran perfectly with zero errors.

My next best guess is the video card. Is it possible to do some sort of diagnostic on it? I obviously can't take it out to test to see if it's the culprit...

I tried to go to AMD's site for the Radeon drivers for the card (can't find the disc), but after I'd downloaded them (in safe mode) I couldn't install because, I assume, safe mode doesn't include the services to do so. I may have an old card lying around unused, but if not, I'll need to figure out some way to check the card. Does UBCD or some other tool have a way to test the card?

Also, I read about the option to disable automatic restart on boot failure, so I can actually get the BSOD and error details. I'll try that tonight as well.

-Adam

#7 Artrooks

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 02:50 PM

Does UBCD or some other tool have a way to test the card?

  • Boot UBCD and select Peripherals.
  • Click Video Memory Stress Test V 1.7.
  • I have played with this test running it on my nVidia GeForce 9800 GT card for 20 minutes without errors but can not give you specifics; however, the software can be downloaded from here (above first image).
  • Unzip and look for a readme text, vmtce.en.txt, inside of the VMTCE folder for specifics.

Good luck.

Regards,
Brooks



 


#8 AdamHartman

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 03:04 PM

Does UBCD or some other tool have a way to test the card?

  • Boot UBCD and select Peripherals.
  • Click Video Memory Stress Test V 1.7.
  • I have played with this test running it on my nVidia GeForce 9800 GT card for 20 minutes without errors but can not give you specifics; however, the software can be downloaded from here (above first image).
  • Unzip and look for a readme text, vmtce.en.txt, inside of the VMTCE folder for specifics.

Good luck.


Artooks,

I found the video stress test on my UBCD disc last night and used that. No problems and the test ran over night.

I did, however, run the HDD test and got results (which I didn't understand) and a note that some of the values were below the thresholds. Then, when I rebooted I got an error Stop: 0X000000ED UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME. That clearly points a finger at the HDD, and it's confirmed because when I use Dell's BIOS diagnostics, it gives me error 2000-0146, which googling also says is a bad HDD.

I don't know what to think about that, because the HDD is brand new from WD. It runs perfectly stable in safe mode. And the system is showing all the same signs as the previous HDD (stock for the system from Dell 2-3 yrs ago) did, which is why I bought the new HDD in the first place.

Is there some chance that the controller on the mobo is bad or failing? Or, is my installation getting corrupted and then causing the HDD to throw this error? I read on sevenforums.com that sometimes you may need to do the Windows Startup Repair 3-4 times consecutively to actually let it fix problems. If I format the HDD and boot straight from UBCD, I wonder what the HDD diagnostics would say...

I'm so frustrated at this point! Bleeping computer is RIGHT.

-Adam

#9 Artrooks

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 04:12 PM

Hello,

STOP 0x000000ED: UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME
Usual causes: Hard drive problem, File system problem, Improper boot parameters
http://www.carrona.org/bsodindx.html#0x000000ED


Here is a link to Dell Pre-Boot System Assessment (PSA) Diagnostics and Error Codes.
  • Arrow down to PSA+ 2000-0146 and click on link to fix.
  • Basically they advise removing the hard drive cable, or removing the hard drive if a laptop, and then re-inserting, reattaching cables and re-testing with Dell Diagnostics.


Is there some chance that the controller on the mobo is bad or failing?


If available, try plugging the hard drive into a different SATA port on the motherboard.


I did, however, run the HDD test and got results (which I didn't understand) and a note that some of the values were below the thresholds.


I assume that you are referring to the Western Digital Diagnostics from the UBCD. Both Quick and Extended tests should pass. If either tests fails then the hard drive can't be trusted. If the drive is under warranty, Western digital will want any error codes or results for an RMA.

If I format the HDD and boot straight from UBCD, I wonder what the HDD diagnostics would say...


If critical SMART values are bad or if mechanical problems exist with the drive, it should fail. Might be worth a try, especially if you can send it to Western Digital under warranty.

Regards,
Brooks



 


#10 Romeo29

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 01:44 AM

Have you tried to use the "Load Failsafe settings" in BIOS? Maybe the IDE controller is not configured correctly in the BIOS.
Also trying switching the SATA ports used by your hard disk.




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