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Unstable Win7 system- Thoughts?

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#1 Netghost56


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Posted 19 May 2014 - 05:24 PM

I'll jump straight to my query- Could a faulty PSU cause a system to hang at the splash screen?


Here's the details:


I've been testing this system for the better part of the week. To say it's unstable is an understatement. Originally the issue was a failure to boot to the desktop. It's a Cyberpower PC with Win7, 320 Gb HDD, 4Gb DDR3, Athlon II X2 255, and a Geforce GT 640 videocard. More on the videocard in a moment...


POST takes a long time to load. I count approx. 6 seconds before you get a beep, then the POST screen takes about twice that before it goes to boot.


As I mentioned, the system would hang on the splash screen. Booting to safe mode would hang on a black screen. Attempts to boot with a CD or USB would fail- it would not recognize either. Startup Repair initially would boot to a black screen, later it would crash/reboot.


I removed the video card and got the system to boot to Safe mode, while still hanging in Normal mode. There was a lot of malware infecting the system, so I removed the hard drive and loaded it into a testing PC and ran MBAM and Adwcleaner.


Reinstalled the hard drive and it booted to Normal mode without any issues. Did some more cleanup (removed Regback Registry Cleaner, CCleaner, Linksicle adware), ran Startup Repair, ran chkdsk from command prompt 3 times (fixed errors). Still worked fine.


I reinstalled the video card and on the second test boot the PC hung on the splash screen again. Now, the videocard was installed long after the initial purchase (PC was purchased in 2010, videocard in 2012) so I suspected the videocard, but could not find any issue with it.


We had just received a shipment of new PSUs so I tried one on the PC. With the new PSU, the boot was so fast that the first thing I see (when the CRT monitor gets going) is the splash screen. In all the boot time is 1/3 of what it was with the old PSU.

To further test, I reattached the old PSU and it booted fine several times. Then I did a hard reset (flipped the switch on the PSU) and it started hanging on the splash screen again. Reinstalled the new PSU and it started working fine.


So the question remains- Is the PSU causing the issue? May be a stupid question, but it seems like every time I think it's fixed, it throws me another wrench.

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#2 dicke



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Posted 19 May 2014 - 08:12 PM


I'll vote for the PSU being a problem but I won't vote for 'that's the only problem'. PSU problems can be caused by failures of other components and well as causing failures in order components.

Start with the new PSU and check everything hard and soft carefully. See what, if anything indicates that it's not happy. Then work on that problem.

Keep us posted

Stay well and surf safe [stay protected]

Dick E

#3 zingo156


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Posted 20 May 2014 - 10:03 AM

Any bad piece of hardware could cause long post times. The most common one I see causing long posts is failing hard drives.


While you have the case open look for blown or bulging capacitors on the motherboard/video card etc as these can cause issues.


I can not argue with consistent results. If you never have slow post with a new psu, it would seem there could be an issue with the old psu.


I always recommend running a hardware test on RAM and the Hard drive. In the retail world, these are the first things we did on a computer that was checked in. If the computer powered on, the first test was memtest86 for 3 passes, then on to MHDD or another hard drive test depending on chipset support.


I would make it a habit to run hardware diagnostics on every machine that comes in if you do not already. A lot of the time BSOD can be caused by bad RAM or a failing hard drive with bad blocks. I realize they do take a while to run but it catches the obvious issues up front so you aren't playing around with the O.S. for hours when it is a simple RAM related issue.


A slow post is always a hardware level issue: it could mean a problem with the motherboard or a hang on bad hardware when the motherboard is looking for devices that are connected. With the old psu hooked up, you could disconnect non essentail hardware and see if it posts faster with them disconnected. Example: unplug the hard drive and re-test post. Unplug pci cards then re-test post and so on. As a side note: the first time a computer posts after a bios reset can take longer than the following posts. If you have a dead cmos battery, everytime the computer is unplugged from the wall, the bios resets then the first post may take a while.


If you get down to the essential items: cpu, ram, motherboard, and psu and still have a slow post: replace the psu and retest.

Edited by zingo156, 20 May 2014 - 10:07 AM.

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#4 Netghost56

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 10:22 AM

Yes, I generally follow the same process as zingo. However this system would not allow me to boot from the CDROM, despite selecting the CD drive(s) from the menu. I tried both the SATA CDROM and the IDE DVDROM that was installed. The Legacy Boot option was even enabled to no effect.


There wasn't any hardware diagnostic option in BIOS or the POST menu for the system, but having run the chkdsk (in both /f and /r parameters) there were errors found and corrected. The third and fourth run found no errors.


Ultimately the only thing I wasn't able to run was Memtest (though I tried). Removing the RAM did nothing but give me a configuration change warning. I did a visual inspection of both the card and motherboard and found no signs of cap damage.


I continued to try and get the system to fail with the new PSU and it never did, so I felt confident to call it fixed. Had I more time I would have tested the video card independently, but I didn't have another PCI-E system available to test it.


Thanks for the responses! :thumbup2:

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