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Need help solving the mystery of the unfixable computer.


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#1 Scorpion451

Scorpion451

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 05:02 PM

Build is

formerly...

  • Factory install of Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Asus P8Z68-V LX Motherboard
  • 8GB Corsair XMS3  memory (2 x 4GB)
  • (Two week old) NVIDIA Geforce GTX-970
  •  1 TB HDD RAID Mode, but set as non-raid archtechture (data intact and fully accessable)
  • 32 GB SSD used as intel smart response RAID0 Cache
  • 1 high speed CD/DVDRW drive I can't remember the manufacturer of at the moment
  • 700W (some brand) PSU

 

Now...

  • Fresh Install of Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Gigabyte Z97-D3H Motherboard (new)
  • 8GB Corsair XMS3  memory (2 x 4GB)
  • (~ 1 month old) NVIDIA Geforce GTX-970
  • 1 TB Seagate 7200 HDD RAID Mode, but set as Non-RAID archtechture (data intact and fully accessable)
  • 1 TB Seagate 7200 HDD RAID Mode, but set as Non-RAID archtechture (new harddrive, only contains a fresh copy of windows and a couple fresh drivers)
  • 32 GB SSD used as intel smart response RAID0 Cache (currently disabled and unpartitioned)
  • 1 high speed CD/DVDRW drive I can't remember the manufacturer of at the moment
  • 850 W EVA PSU(new)

 

  • The memory tests as good.
  • The hard drives are apparently good.
  • Graphics card is new with about two weeks of successful breaking in by a hardcore gamer with no prior issues.
  • All cables, the motherboard, the processor and the PSU have been replaced.

 

And the problem is...complicated...and best explained from the beginning.

 

*Cue 1950's noir movie music...*

 

So a few weeks ago my brother comes into my studio with a sheepish "I think I broke my computer..."

Apparently, in seeking to minmax his gaming rig, he decided to start by switching the bios of his asus motherboard from "normal" mode to "turbo". His computer apparently disapproved of this, and thereafter refused to boot. Having fixed similar problems as part of the job hazards of a digital artist, I figured this would be a simple but tedious fix of undoing some inappropriate settings in the bios. But this was no ordinary bios hitch- I'm still not certain what happened when he clicked that button, but somehow it managed to create a tangle of hardware and software issues the likes of which I have never seen.

 

And so began the mystery of the unfixable.computer.

 

Some hours of tinkering with the bios later, we were able to progess to the point where the computer would run fine in safe mode... but as soon you attempt to start windows normally it hangs at the black-screen-with-no-cursor-and-a-windows-logo.

 

At this stage we spent several days...

  • reseting cmos several times, including jumper methods (yes we switched back to RAID each time)
  • reinstalling drivers.
  • repeatedly attempting to repair windows from a repair disk with results ranging from detection of boot errors and clean bills of health.
  • running several virus scans and registry error checks with only minor issues detected and resolved.
  • Trying to reinstall drivers again.

After a breakthrough involving a reinstall of the hard drive driver and a night with the computer unplugged, we were able to get a full boot for about twenty minutes. And then crashed to a BSOD which indicated hard drive problems. Thereafter it again refused to boot outside of safe mode, even repeating the same course of action.

 

So we replaced the hard drive.

 

And this is where things get really weird.

 

With the new hard drive we could not get the computer to boot far enough to install the fresh copy of windows 7, even with the old drives removed. So the hard drive itself (probably) wasn't the problem. (Or at least not all of the problem)

 

My brother, "devasted" by having an excuse to upgrade, decided to replace...or rather buy and have his nice brother, whom he knows has the knack and can't resist a good puzzle, replace:

  • all the sata cables,
  • the motherboard
  • the CPU
  • and the PSU.

As of this morning, that let us successfully install a fresh copy of windows onto the new hard disk, boot windows normally on the driverless install, and confirm that the data on the old drive was still accessible and intact. (So yay, he won't have to redownload his steam library on the family broadband!) Everything appeared to be working.

 

Until we reinstalled the drivers for the graphics card. Now once again we can't get past the windows logo except in safe mode.

 

So thats where we sit. Do we have a bad graphics card here, despite the fact that its had two weeks of successful use and displays fine in safe mode and bios? Do we need to invoke the dark magics of flash updating the bios to fix some rare incompatibility problem? Is there some setting in bios that's needed for the newest gen cards to run properly? Is there some known issue with the current nvidia drivers and this setup?

 

Really would appreciate any and all input. Quite frankly, I'm stumped at this point.

 

Edit: Update: might have solved the latest issue- apparently my brother and I both plugged in the monitor,  one with a vga cable and the other with an hdmi that I didn't know he had. Might finally have this bucket of bolts fixed after all...


Edited by Scorpion451, 11 June 2015 - 08:52 PM.


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#2 jcgriff2

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 09:45 PM

Is Windows 7 a full retail version?

 

Is it W7 SP1 (build 7601) or W7 SP0 (build 7600)?

 

 


Microsoft MVP 2009-2015




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