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Occasional Start Up problems - should I be worried?


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#1
rogerbid

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Hi everyone,

For a few weeks I have encountered occasional problems when booting my PC. The symptoms vary so it is difficult to be specific about the sequence of events but I hope that what I tell you will be understood by those who understand these things.

I should make it quite clear however that on no occasion has my desktop failed to power up and once running I get no evidence that there is anything wrong at all.

I usually turn my computer off by going from the Start orb to Shutdown and hear the fans etc power off. When I later press the power button I get the usual single beep and generally the startup sequence progresses as normal. However there have been some occasions when nothing happens and I am left with a blank black screen with no cursor flashing anywhere. If I then press the Reset button on the computer tower this will generally result in a normal start up. Sometimes I need to repress the power button.

I occasionally have the same problem when bringing the computer back from Sleep mode.

Occasionally I have been met with a black screen saying start up has encountered difficulties and asking me to press F1 or F2 (I think) to continue but I do not recall the exact wording. I will note the full text next time I see it and write again.

I wonder if it could be a weak CMOS battery and will replace this soon, but would welcome any comments. I do not want to ignore this behaviour if it could be a sign of major problems, maybe the fact that the PC always starts eventually is leading to a false sense of security?

Should I be worried?

Thanks for any advice, best regards,

Roger
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#2
happyrock

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what is the make and model...
lets check the hard drive first then the ram if fixing the hard drive doesn't help...

HOW TO RUN CHKDSK /R ON WINDOWS 7 here...

put a check in both boxes
automatically fix file system errors
scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors
then click on start...


you will receive a message asking if you wish to schedule a scan.
Accepting this will perform the scan next time you restart your PC

click on y and press enter then reboot
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#3
rogerbid

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Hi Happyrock,

Thanks very much for your response to my post.

Firstly, the computer is not one bought under a brand name, but one I put together several years ago with an ASUS P5Q SE Mboard, Intel Core 2 Duo E7400, 4Gb DDR2 Memory, and NVIDIA GeForce 8400GS graphics. I hope this helps you.

I followed the instructions to run CHDSK but wasn't sure if I was to do anything about the /R extension? I ticked both boxes as you said and rebooted. Before the Win 7 Welcome screen I had a black & white screen saying 'Checking File System .... File is clean' but no report saying if any errors had been fixed. Maybe this is all you would have expected?

If this seems OK to you, I guess you will write again on how to check the RAM? Or do you want me to leave it at that for the time being and see if the glitch occurs again?

Thanks once again for your help, best wishes,

Roger
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#4
happyrock

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we need to see the CHKDSK Log
Go to Start and type in eventvwr.msc...press Enter
Expand the Windows logs heading, then select the Application log file entry.
Double click on the Source column header.
Scroll down the list until you find the Chkdsk entry (wininit for Win7) (winlogon for XP).
Copy/paste the results into your next post.

try using the computer for a couple of days or until you have the booting issue again
are you overclocking anything...
if that cmos battery is getting weak the first signs are the computer won't keep time correctly...
but with that said it will not hurt to replace the battery as they are cheap
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#5
rogerbid

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Hi again,

I now realise that yesterdays attempt to run CHKDSK was a failure and I have tonight successfully run the program and below is the Log as requested. I will be interested to know what this tells you!

I am not overclocking at all, I wouldn't know how to :)

I shall let things run for a day or two and see if the problem shows up again and write soon with an update. In the meantime I will replace the CMOS battery although the clock appears to keep good time.

I mam gratreful for your interest and advice, so till next time,

Best wishes,

Roger


Checking file system on C:
The type of the file system is NTFS.
Volume label is Windows 7.

A disk check has been scheduled.
Windows will now check the disk.

CHKDSK is verifying files (stage 1 of 5)...
209152 file records processed. File verification completed.
660 large file records processed. 0 bad file records processed. 0 EA records processed. 60 reparse records processed. CHKDSK is verifying indexes (stage 2 of 5)...
256886 index entries processed. Index verification completed.
0 unindexed files scanned. 0 unindexed files recovered. CHKDSK is verifying security descriptors (stage 3 of 5)...
209152 file SDs/SIDs processed. Cleaning up 1689 unused index entries from index $SII of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 1689 unused index entries from index $SDH of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 1689 unused security descriptors.
Security descriptor verification completed.
23868 data files processed. CHKDSK is verifying Usn Journal...
36821592 USN bytes processed. Usn Journal verification completed.
CHKDSK is verifying file data (stage 4 of 5)...
209136 files processed. File data verification completed.
CHKDSK is verifying free space (stage 5 of 5)...
188168143 free clusters processed. Free space verification is complete.
CHKDSK discovered free space marked as allocated in the
master file table (MFT) bitmap.
CHKDSK discovered free space marked as allocated in the volume bitmap.
Windows has made corrections to the file system.

976657404 KB total disk space.
223539876 KB in 142559 files.
99156 KB in 23869 indexes.
0 KB in bad sectors.
345796 KB in use by the system.
65536 KB occupied by the log file.
752672576 KB available on disk.

4096 bytes in each allocation unit.
244164351 total allocation units on disk.
188168144 allocation units available on disk.

Internal Info:
00 31 03 00 27 8a 02 00 b7 af 04 00 00 00 00 00 .1..'...........
22 60 00 00 3c 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 "`..<...........
08 94 37 00 50 01 36 00 30 1e 36 00 00 00 36 00 ..7.P.6.0.6...6.

Windows has finished checking your disk.
Please wait while your computer restarts.
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#6
happyrock

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chkdsk found and fixed some errors...
when you replace the cmos battery you will have to reset the date and time in the bios...use your cell phone for the correct time...if the date or time is off you won't be able to get windows updates...
let us know how things are going in three days...if all's well I will close this topic after you report back... :thumbsup:
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#7
rogerbid

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Hi again,

Thanks for your reply, and I will do as you suggest and watch how things go for 3 days. I will certainly write again within this time frame and hopefully the start up gremlins will not return. When I booted up a moment ago (first time since my previous post) there were no hiccups so we'll see.

Thanks again,

Roger
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#8
happyrock

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I'll be here... :thumbsup:
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#9
rogerbid

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Hi again,

After faultless start ups over the last couple of days, I turned the computer on this morning to write a follow up to you with the good news. On that occasion the problem recurred, but since then I have twice booted the computer without difficulty.

This morning, when the start up process stalled the fans were running and the screen showed some degree of illumination, hard to describe but it was not a blank screen (like a monitor that is 'off') but not displaying anything - no cursor, or text of any kind. I regret that I did not really pay attention and do not recall whether the customary single beep occured. Once it became apparent that the PC was not going to start, I pressed the power button to turn off the fans etc, & the power light on the tower went out. I then pressed the power button again and the computer booted normally.

If you have any suggestions I shall be very interested, but otherwise how about I write again when it occurs again? Now I know it is likely to happen again, I shall be more diligent in listening for any beeps and record exactly what happens. Maybe this will help you.

(Incidentllay, I have not yet changed the battery as the clock has never failed to keep good time.)

Thanks for your help, best wishes,

Roger
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#10
happyrock

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Once it became apparent that the PC was not going to start, I pressed the power button to turn off the fans etc

use that only as a last resort after all else fails...
always try the reset button first several times
also any time you are forced to do that run chkdsk /r afterward...

it can't hurt to replace the cmos battery...unplug from the wall and for laptops remove the battery and take ESD precautions that way we can eliminate it as a possible cause...

random issues like your experiencing are difficult to diagnose but if checkdsk keeps finding problems to fix you have to be aware the hard drive could be about to fail so be diligent in your backup routine and if the drive is over 3 years old consider cloning it to a new larger hard drive...
it can save you a few days worth of reinstalling the OS and all your programs and data
it also is a good idea to put the old drive in a safe place away from where you are so if there is a disaster like fire flood or anything or the new drive gets thrashed for any reason you can use the old drive to clone the drive again and /or have access to your data
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#11
rogerbid

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Hello and thanks again for the quick reply.

Firstly, I did not realise hitting the power button was such a bad thing to do. I don't know what made me do it this time, and reassure you that I do usually use the reset button. Having used the power button yesterday I will follow your earlier instructions and run CHDSK again.

I will replace the battery also and see if that helps.

I will act on your instructions about being sure to keep on top of the backups and will look around for a new hard disk too just in case. I will need to look for a How To guide to cloning the disk though :confused:

I will write when I have run CHKDSK again and after that, should we check the RAM as you sugested in your first reply?

Thanks,

Roger
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#12
happyrock

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are you using vista or 7...if its 7 go here for the lowdown...
NOTE... use the Extended test
or just get the Microsoft Windows Memory Diagnostic description here..

how to clone hard drive guide here
the short version is create a bootable iso cd from hdclone...boot from the cd tell hdclone what the source drive is (the old drive) and where its going to...(the new drive)...you will be able to tell which is which by how big the drive's are...
the free version only clones drives to a larger drive

down load the free version here

ron created a good guide here for using memtest86 to test your ram...
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#13
rogerbid

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Hi again,

I have just finished running CHKDSK again and am pleased that "Windows has checked the file system and found no problems." Just in case there is something in the report that you need to see I shall post it at the ned of this reply.

Thanks for your latest post with the links re memory testing and cloning. The Memtest thing looks horrendous but I will go 1 step at a time and see how I get on :) I have 2 RAM sticks so will test one at a time. I notice in one post it is stated the testing can take some time (overnight), and with rather a lot going on at the moment I am not sure when I will be able to conduct the test. In the meantime, can we keep this thread open, perhaps for as long as a week? That would be very helpful, and I will write again as soon as I have something to report.

Best wishes and thanks again,

Roger

Checking file system on C:
The type of the file system is NTFS.
Volume label is Windows 7.

A disk check has been scheduled.
Windows will now check the disk.

CHKDSK is verifying files (stage 1 of 5)...
209152 file records processed.
File verification completed.
715 large file records processed.
0 bad file records processed.
0 EA records processed.
60 reparse records processed.

CHKDSK is verifying indexes (stage 2 of 5)...
256888 index entries processed.
Index verification completed.
0 unindexed files scanned.
0 unindexed files recovered.

CHKDSK is verifying security descriptors (stage 3 of 5)...
209152 file SDs/SIDs processed.
Cleaning up 29 unused index entries from index $SII of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 29 unused index entries from index $SDH of file 0x9.
Cleaning up 29 unused security descriptors.
Security descriptor verification completed.
23869 data files processed.

CHKDSK is verifying Usn Journal...
35232656 USN bytes processed.
Usn Journal verification completed.

CHKDSK is verifying file data (stage 4 of 5)...
209136 files processed.
File data verification completed.

CHKDSK is verifying free space (stage 5 of 5)...
186747145 free clusters processed.
Free space verification is complete.

Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.

976657404 KB total disk space.
229225444 KB in 142576 files.
99184 KB in 23870 indexes.
0 KB in bad sectors.
344196 KB in use by the system.
65536 KB occupied by the log file.
746988580 KB available on disk.

4096 bytes in each allocation unit.
244164351 total allocation units on disk.
186747145 allocation units available on disk.

Internal Info:
00 31 03 00 39 8a 02 00 b9 af 04 00 00 00 00 00 .1..9...........
2e 60 00 00 3c 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 .`..<...........
08 94 09 00 50 01 08 00 30 1e 08 00 00 00 08 00 ....P...0.......

Windows has finished checking your disk.

Please wait while your computer restarts.

Edited by rogerbid, 18 June 2012 - 06:27 PM.

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#14
happyrock

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here's a tip...test the ram with all your ram in and only test 1 stick at a time if memtest finds errors...you also only need to run it for about 2 hours if it doesn't find any error...you just press escape key to end the tests...its the same tests over and over and over...if this was a mission critical computer then by all means run it for 10 or 12 hours but its not necessary on normal machines...back when I built custom CAD systems I ran memtest for several days as well as stress testing the entire system for 2 days to make sure there weren't any borderline components...
that kind of testing is overkill on the average system...
memtest really isn't that hard...just go step by step and as a added attraction save the memtest disk and it will last for years and years
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#15
rogerbid

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Hi Happyrock,

I have run Memtest (free) for 2 1/2 hrs and in that time it showed 2250 passes with 0 errors. However, I could not see anywhere to select an Extended test so maybe you can explain this for me? After the 2 1/2 hrs the top right hand box was still showing test #1 [Address test, own address] so maybe it did not actually finish the 1st run? Should I leave it until this changes to at least test #3 to ensure it has all been tested twice?

I had to terminate the test because I am about to leave for a weekend away and will check for a reply on my return next week, when I will be able to leave an Extended test to run for longer.

If you believe the fault lies with the Hard Disk, I might just take the easy route and replace it next week. Is it possible that it could be unrelated to the hard disk though, assuming the RAM tests continue to show no errors?

Thanks for your continued assistance, regards,

Roger
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