Jump to content

Welcome to Geeks to Go - Register now for FREE

Geeks To Go is a helpful hub, where thousands of volunteer geeks quickly serve friendly answers and support. Check out the forums and get free advice from the experts. Register now to gain access to all of our features, it's FREE and only takes one minute. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more.

Create Account How it Works
Photo

System only runs in SAFE MODE: shuts off either before or after the wi


  • Please log in to reply

#1
Dynamite1969

Dynamite1969

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 62 posts
Need help with a bit of a mystery.

Not sure if I have a hardware, software, virus or malware so I'll start here.

A few days ago, my computer shut itself off during the night (the beginning of my issues). The next morning I booted up fine and went about my day. Later in the afternoon I fired up a game of Oblivion (while downloading Dragon Age from Amazon) and after about an hr into the game my computer shut itself off without warning again like somebody ripped the cord out of the wall).

I brushed it off and hit the power button and it fired back up, and I resumed my activities (and had to re-start my Dragon Age download).

The next morning, I went to check the status of my download and before I even got the chance to install it it died again with one major difference. IT WOULD NOT START BACK UP. TOTALLY DEAD. I went down to best buy after removing what I was sure was the problem and purchased a new Corsair GS700 power supply.

Installed the PSU, fired it up with a few typical "windows was shut down incorrectly errors" and everything seemed to be working again.

Installed my new game and played for several hours, no issues.

Ok, here is where things get very frustrating.

Next day, my wife goes to fire up the computer and it instantly shuts down as it reaches the log in screen (just after the windows logo). She tried several more times and it would not get past the log in screen. The computer sat for about 9 hrs until I got home from work, turned it on..same thing. Over and over again, a few times I made it past the log in but about 30sec on the desktop and boom, its off again. I even tried the memory check tool in windows recovery, windows repair tool, system restore for 3 different points, and re-setting my BIOS to default settings.

Finally, I tried booting in safe mode and then safe mode w/network which worked and I've been researching on the net for an answer for 4 hrs with no shut down.

I need help, I haven't found anything on the web that has helped. I've read things that sound like a PSU issue (which I just changed, and it works in safe mode). Is this a windows 7 issue? A virus/malware? Other hardware issue? Other software issue?

Sorry for the long winded story, but I wanted to describe exactly what happened since I noticed the problem.

Extremely frustrated and not sure what to do next.
  • 0

Advertisements


#2
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,999 posts
  • MVP
Sadly, you told us nothing about your computer - the hardware or operating system.

The fact it runs in Safe Mode typically indicates it is a driver or a hardware issue - possibly heat related. You need to make sure the interior is clean of heat trapping dust and all the fans spin properly. Be sure to observe necessary ESD precautions to prevent damage from static discharge. While in there, inspect the motherboard for leaky or bulging capacitors. While not as common on newer motherboards, it was a major problem on many older ones. These caps look like tall soda can shaped devices and if leaking, will have white to dark brown dried foam stuff leaking out the tops or bottoms. Bulging caps are about to start leaking. Motherboards can be "recapped" but generally it means it is time to replace the motherboard or upgrade to a new computer.

This could also be caused by RAM failure. Software based RAM diagnostic tools are good, but not conclusive. So you might try running with just a single RAM module to see if it fails. Repeat the process with remaining modules, hopefully identifying the bad stick through a process of elimination.

I would also suspect the graphics solution since Safe Mode uses standard VGA resolutions and graphics drivers while standard boot mode uses the card's drivers and higher resolutions.

That said, hard crashes like this can, and often does result in a corrupt hard drive, so I recommend you back up any data you don't want to lose immediately.
  • 0

#3
Dynamite1969

Dynamite1969

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 62 posts
Thanks for your reply.

If you click on my name, all my system info was in there (along the left side bar). I'll take a closer look at your suggestions for hardware issues. My processor temp through BIOS was 37C and that was after 4 hours of search the web in safemode.

Should I post this in the virus forum as well?

If it was driver errors, I would think I would seen something before. Also, my hard drives weren't doing anything strange while in safe mode. I don't have an external drive yet, but I'll try to back up critical stuff to DVD (hoping I can do this in safe mode)

The computer was built less than 2 years ago and I don't push it that hard (no over clocking)

Operating System:
Windows 7 Pro
System Specs:
Gibabyte X58A-UD3R motherboard
i-7 Quad core chipset
12GB Ram (6 sticks)
ATI HD5770 1GB Graphic Card
Solid State 60GB hard drive for operating system
1.5TB drive for data/programs
(new) Corsair GS700 (700W) PSU
Realtek onboard sound


One more thing,

After I sent my message last night, I re-booted a few more times while looking in the case. I heard some strange electronic "clicking" sounds that appeared to be coming from the processor area of the motherboard and/or the input/output area near the back of the computer. Could be normal, but it seems to click several times just before it would shut down. Verified it several more times, same thing.

Another observation, I logged into my daughters account which has many things disabled and as a restricted user and it didn't power off. Could have been a one time thing, but worth noting. It did however crash in my sons account (few more rights ) right after it said it failed to launch some program. Shut off to fast for me to see what it was.
  • 0

#4
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,999 posts
  • MVP

If you click on my name, all my system info was in there (along the left side bar).

Thanks. Please note we can never assume that information is for the computer in question. Many folks have more than one computer, or often post questions about problems with a friend's or relative's computer.

Should I post this in the virus forum as well?

If you are concerned this might be a malware problem, you can post over there but we will suspend further action here until done. This is to ensure we don't make any changes here that may affect the scans they will ask you to perform, thus preventing any confusion.

If it was driver errors, I would think I would seen something before.

Typically that is true, but some drivers are updated via Windows Update or other means. Or a setting could be changed.

If me, since that is a triple channel board, I would try running with just 3 sticks of RAM at a time.
  • 0

#5
Dynamite1969

Dynamite1969

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 62 posts
Ok, I did post in the other virus forum and RKinner asked me to run a few scans because of a message generated by OTL

Error - 11/30/2011 1:26:54 AM | Computer Name = User-PC | Source = Ntfs | ID = 262199
Description = The file system structure on the disk is corrupt and unusable. Please
run the chkdsk utility on the volume Operating System.

I started to check the RAM as you suggested but got side-tracked on how to check it with triple channel and didn't get back to it. I did find how to install it on my motherboard correctly but just ran out of time.

Regarding your other suggestions, I didn't see anything wrong with the capacitors, checked all the connections to equipment and blew all the dust out of my case. Temp was still 37 degrees through BIOS.

Hoping I can narrow this down to driver error, hardware or virus soon and determine where best to discuss this in the forums. I'll keep this post up to date with what we are doing in the other forum. The not knowing where to begin is the most frustrating part.
  • 0

#6
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,999 posts
  • MVP

The not knowing where to begin is the most frustrating part.

It always is. If the cause of a problem is obvious, it is easy to know where to start. But when the cause and even the symptoms are difficult to pin down, all you can do is try to eliminate things until you have nothing left but the cause.
  • 0

#7
Dynamite1969

Dynamite1969

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 62 posts
Here is an UPDATE:

I think I'm starting to rule out the following:

Malware - after running a gambit of scans, we aren't finding much that indicates malware

RAM - I've run memtest86+ through several cycles with no failures. I've also run the computer with different configurations of ram pulling each unit out with no change to performance (still crashes)

Software/Drivers: I did a full clean install of Windows 7 to start over, the only drivers I installed were for my video card (catalyst control center), my motherboard gibabyte drivers for SATA3 and USB3 (these were installed AFTER system crashes because it was giving me error messages). The video drivers have been disabled using the startup/services but it had no effect.

Last night I ran SeaTools for DOS to scan my hard drives. I did get a "bad sector found" failure on my SSD drive during the 1st long scan. I re-ran the scan 4 more times and it passed with no errors.

**Primary SSD - I'm downloading Intel SSD Toolbox to see if I can get anything from the SMART scans (currently disabled on this drive).

Secondary hard drive - I've run the computer with this drive disconnected and it still crashes so I think I can rule that out.

** I leaning to this being a possible hard drive failure on my SSD drive but I'm not sure what else to try for results. As stated before I'm getting the Intel toolbox but that has limited function on my Kingston SNV425 DDSNOW V-series drive.

I've considered setting up a new partition of my secondary drive to install the operating system onto. But that seems like a lot of work if this isn't the issue.

Also, when it "crashes" it isn't a BSOD but a dead stop like a breaker was tripped. Since I haven't used SSD drives maybe a voltage spike is causing this. QUESTION: why wouldn't it do it in safe mode. I can run for hours on end in safe mode.

Any tips?
  • 0

#8
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,999 posts
  • MVP
At this point, it is all guesses. If me, I would try a 3rd PSU. I would also try swapping in a different graphics card (uninstalling old drivers first. I would blast a desk fan into the open side.

If it still does it after that, then it looks like the motherboard.

As for not doing it is Safe Mode, understand that Safe Mode loads a minimum of drivers and at default settings.
  • 0

#9
Dynamite1969

Dynamite1969

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 62 posts
I'm starting to suspect the motherboard as well. On my last attempt, I am hearing a bunch of strange electronic clicks and whines on the rear part of the board just before it powers off (along the input/output edge but its hard to pin point). Almost sounds like it is being strangled to death electronically (best way to describe it). I thought it was the hard drive making noises but now it seems to be the motherboard and that would explain the "safe mode" working at least a little.

Is there any way to test the motherboard? Any tools to run it through some torture tests on startup to see if I can get it to die without windows. I'd like to check driver/software off the list of possible issues.

I'll try to dig up an old graphics card from my computer bone yard, but from what I have seen the graphics card doesn't seem to be the issue.
  • 0

#10
Dynamite1969

Dynamite1969

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 62 posts
I did a few things and it has been running crash free (normal mode) for 2+ hours now.

1) Jiggled the connections all on the hardware and wires to my motherboard
2) Dumped a bunch of stuff from my primary drive to free up 6GB of space (it was nearly full with windows.old junk)
3) Reset the CMOS using the button on the motherboard
4) Currently running with "base video" enabled
5) I also changed one of the power connections EPS/APX12V (to motherboard) that was a 4 pin connection on my old PSU and 8 with the new one. I changed it back to a 4 pin configuration.

So far I have been finding things to do to try and make it crash and it hasn't. I even installed my audio drivers with no issues so far.

*finger's crossed*
  • 0

#11
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,999 posts
  • MVP

*finger's crossed*

Good luck!
  • 0

#12
Dynamite1969

Dynamite1969

    Member

  • Topic Starter
  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 62 posts
Its been a couple of weeks since I last posted and I'm happy to report that my computer seems to be very stable now. I never did pinpoint what the exact issue was but I'll try to summarize some things I checked for those reading this with similar issues.

Here are some things I did to get it working, one of them or a combo of them got me up and running again.

1) check for and remove any malware
2) check power supply (I had just changed mine, it had a 4 pin connection that I went to the 8, and back to 4)
3) check all connections to the motherboard AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN, it doesn't take much to cause a loose connection
4) run chkdsk several times in short and long modes on both harddrives, use seatools to also scan before windows starts
5) I finally had to re-install windows and start from scratch
6) Also check your temperatures (mine all checked out good)

Thanks Digerati for all your support. You kept me from throwing this thing onto the freeway during rush hour.
  • 0

#13
Digerati

Digerati

    Grumpy Ol' MSgt (Ret.)

  • Retired Staff
  • 3,999 posts
  • MVP

Thanks Digerati for all your support. You kept me from throwing this thing onto the freeway during rush hour.

Yeah, while that might have given you some pleasure, that tends to upset other drivers - they forget what they were jabbering on the phone about! :blink:
  • 0






Similar Topics

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

As Featured On:

Microsoft Yahoo BBC MSN PC Magazine Washington Post HP