W7 has to crash to reboot....!!??!

Ashton

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This is annoying the hell out of me because of the lack of logic. I cant find anything explicitly wrong with my system, but every time I reboot, windows hangs on the "loading windows" screen (animation keeps playing but the system becomes unresponsive, Control-alt-delete fails, optical mouse stops powering up the sensor, even numberlock stops turning off and on). Literally I left it there overnight once and nothing happened, but if I wait untill it hangs completely, then power it off and back on, it loads up like normal in around 2 minutes...

Cant find any errors in configuration, hardware is all working fine as far as I can tell... zero problems with the system once it boots. Anyone have any clue what's going on?

(system is the desktop listed in my sig)
 

sinisterDei

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Did this just happen at some point? Like, the computer was fine for six months and them wham, this started happening out of the blue?
And when you say after it hangs and you power it off and back on, do you mean cold start (power literally off, then back on) or warm start (reset button)?

Also, and this is a bit of a refrain, but... just leave the damn thing powered on? I know it's not fixing the problem, but it's certainly avoiding it. Plus, then you don't have to wait for the damn thing to turn on.
 

Ashton

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Did this just happen at some point? Like, the computer was fine for six months and them wham, this started happening out of the blue?
And when you say after it hangs and you power it off and back on, do you mean cold start (power literally off, then back on) or warm start (reset button)?

Also, and this is a bit of a refrain, but... just leave the damn thing powered on? I know it's not fixing the problem, but it's certainly avoiding it. Plus, then you don't have to wait for the damn thing to turn on.
Yep, just one day out of the blue, worked fine before (same OS, same hardware, everything) I literally power it off and cold boot it to make sure memory is cleared out.

no kidding. I try hard to avoid rebooting, but so much software throws up "This program will not work until you reboot" or "you have a pending installation, this setup cannot continue until you reboot" etc. that I have to do it now and again. Was hoping someone else had seen this problem and could tell me what's going on...
 

Tom_S

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Check your Event Viewer log “Applications and Service Logs> Microsoft> Windows> Diagnostic-Performance/Operational” for Event IDs 200, 201, 202, 203… etc. to help you find the source of your shut down problem.

You can also use Process Explorer to help isolate the problem, available from Microsoft here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx
 

sinisterDei

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The other option is malware or a rootkit of some kind.
What I would try is to get a spare hard drive - borrow one if you have to- and plug it into your system instead of your current disks. Reinstall Windows to it.
This accomplishes a few things, first it lets you see if the problem persists through to a new installation of Windows. Secondly, you get to see if your PC refuses to boot or reboot at any point during the Windows installation itself.
If you manage to do a full Windows install and then reboot normally, you can feel pretty confident that your hardware is fine and it's just a software issue. From there, you can make the determination whether it's worth it to fight it or just live with it, given that you seem to have a pretty consistent workaround.
If it locks up or whatever during the installation process, you've got a pretty good idea that it's hardware (memory is where I'd start).
 

pxc

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There could be many variables, including drivers which have been updated and software installed which has a startup component/service, or possibly even a bug introduced in a BIOS/EFI firmware update.

That doesn't really help, but it could lead you start narrowing down the problem by disabling 3rd party startup items and services.
 

Ashton

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Thank you all. As of right now, it seems windows performed an update last night and rebooted my PC... now even crashing it during boot doesn't work, so later I'll be reinstalling windows... (will make sure to try using a different HDD, Sinister) --- memory wouldn't surprise me since this RAM has been used in at least 2 PCs... if I can't reinstall I'll be sure to try to test the memory (after I check and see if there's a bios update yet to make the system read the memory that I got for it... never trust a manufacturer when they say "this system supports 32gb of ram!")
 

sinisterDei

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I'm really thinking it's just software. In general, equipment with no moving parts (CPU, memory, etc) don't tend to go bad without some sort of precipitating "power event" like a surge or a bad PSU to cause it. Combined with the "consistent" nature of the crashing, rather than crashing at random points, it seems more like software to me. Good luck!
 

Ashton

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I'm really thinking it's just software. In general, equipment with no moving parts (CPU, memory, etc) don't tend to go bad without some sort of precipitating "power event" like a surge or a bad PSU to cause it. Combined with the "consistent" nature of the crashing, rather than crashing at random points, it seems more like software to me. Good luck!
Yeah, I popped in my Mint Linux CD so I could backup my files and it booted without a hitch in about 30 seconds... (one of my favorite tech quotes "Isn't it funny how we're always using Linux to fix Windows?") So I think it's mostly software... though my HDDs are getting long in the tooth not to mention they came from Tiger so there were.... concerns... about how they were shipped, so I'm not counting out bad sectors (no clicking or other tell-tale signs of failure though)

*sigh* really wish developers would stop treating windows as the best thing since sliced bread... honestly, it's the LEAST stable and most vulnerable of the 3 major platforms... I can't wait for the day platform-dependant software is a thing of the past...
 

sinisterDei

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Haha. Well, in Windows defense if you don't plug it into the internet, it'll likely run till the wheels fall off the hardware. It's all that pesky internet nonsense that dorks it up. :)
 

Ashton

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Haha. Well, in Windows defense if you don't plug it into the internet, it'll likely run till the wheels fall off the hardware. It's all that pesky internet nonsense that dorks it up. :)
This is true. I have a 2002 (?) laptop (original Pentium 4!) that I still use for cellphone programming (no internet access at all), and despite the laptop hardware slowly dieting (video chip is wearing out, giving all kinds of "fun" graphical glitches and hdd has been replaced once already) windows XP is still plugging away like a champ!

(though for real-world internet usage, I have FAR less trouble with OSX or Linux --- only reason I had to go back after a year of Ubuntu was more "windows only" software...)

Oh hey, I bet if you don't ever turn it on, the PC will _never_ wear out, right? :D
 

Ashton

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I'm starting to suspect there may be more to this than I thought...

I've spent the most of the day trying to get my PC up and running again, and I've hit more than a few problems...

my windows partition was dead, I couldn't get it to boot at all, so I installed linux using my Mint Linux x64 DVD. I repartitioned it and treated the dead windows partition asif it was working, and everything went off without a hitch.

But, after burning a windows 7 ISO to DVD (legit not pirated) inside Linux, I kept getting errors about windows setup could not continue... it finally worked and installed fine, though.

Next I booted up my Linux CD and tried to install it... It's been around 5 times and it's still not worked...

I had one complete crash (no idea what went wrong, the whole system just froze), I had one where it told me I had bad packages and when it asked me if I wanted to keep them, install from internet, etc, nothing I chose worked and my only way out was to open terminal and "sudo shutdown -h now" my next-to-last attempt claimed everything went fine, but did not install GRUB so upon reboot windows loaded without a boot menu popping up, and just now I rebooted with the live mint DVD in the drive and the system has hung on the "choose boot option" screen (load mint linux, memory test ... boot from first HDD) again with no way to see what the error is. (and considering this is a DVD and it's worked more than once I think I can rule out file corruption)

Thoughts?
 

Ashton

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SATA controller failing??
I honestly have no clue...

After many, many tries, I got it to boot the live linux and I sudo'd grub onto the drive, and now that the CD is out of the mix, it's all working fine (well, so far - not done much with it yet) I am now wondering though if the DVD drive is failing, since the HDDs seem to work fine, but anytime a disc is introduced things go sideways...
 

Tom_S

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DVD drives are cheap, but you could take this opportunity to put your iso's on a USB drive and ditch the DVD drive.
 

Meeho

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1. You should have run Memtest long ago and checked SMART reports.

2. So much for Windows bashing...
 

x509

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I'm really thinking it's just software. In general, equipment with no moving parts (CPU, memory, etc) don't tend to go bad without some sort of precipitating "power event" like a surge or a bad PSU to cause it. Combined with the "consistent" nature of the crashing, rather than crashing at random points, it seems more like software to me. Good luck!
Not necessarily. My wife's Win 7 Pro 64 PC started throwing off BSODs, some 1A code, but also a bunch of other. Also lots of FireFox failures. I spent lots of time tracking down all the BSOD codes and playing aroudn with browser plug-ins, and then, "just to prove them wrong," I ran Memtest+. Within seconds, Memtest detected bad RAM.

End result. Her system is now running 2 x 2 GB RAM sticks, instead of 4 x 2 GB. These RAM sticks were about 3 years old. It happens.
 
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