Help - Is my computer dying?

A couple times today, I've walked over to my computer to find this message on the screen:

Reboot and Select proper Boot device
or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key

Reboot and Select proper Boot device
or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key

The first time, I rebooted and it just hung on the very top of the BIOS info splash. Like, only a couple lines appeared. Rebooted, same thing. Then I just left the computer off for a while and when I turned it on again, it was normal...

..for a while, until I came back to find that same message. This time I rebooted and it booted right up. But this is pretty alarming.

My boot disk is an SSD. Is it dying? Does anyone have any idea where to go with this? Thanks in advance!

More symptoms:

I've been on the computer a couple times now when it happened. It semi-froze; I could still move the mouse cursor around, but it wouldn't interact with anything. The shape of the cursor did change properly depending on what it hovered over, though. Had to hard reboot.

Later it was working fine, but when I told the computer to shut down, it told me that my Windows Media Player something or other (library file?) had been corrupted, but the media themselves were fine.

It also told me something about Windows errors or something and gave me the option to end that process. I did, and then nothing else happened. I eventually hard rebooted.

That sounds like your SSD is failing. Take a look in Event Viewer (right click Computer, choose Manage, go to Event Viewer/Windows Logs/System). Do you see red-iconed errors in there that seem related to the disk?

Failing memory can also cause corrupted data on disk, but it sounds like the SSD is failing badly enough that it's not always recognized at boot, which is very likely to mean the error is there, not in the main RAM.

I'd suggest backing up anything you care about, and don't overwrite any old backups you have; anything you pull from that drive could potentially be corrupt.

Fed, this almost exact same thing happened to a friend of mine and we pulled our hair out trying to fix it. While troubleshooting it I was poking around inside his case I noticed some capacitors on his motherboard were bulging and a few had even burst with crusty stuff on the top. Mobo was dying slowly and causing lockups/no boot device/general weird errors within windows

Like yours the symptoms looked like a dying hard drive with the lockups in Windows and the no boot devices, but then his started locking up during bios loading which has nothing to do with the hard drive.

Ill look at the Event Viewer tonight, thanks. And as far as backing up, the good news is that there is virtually nothing on the SSD except Windows and BF3.

And I'll keep the mobo in mind, as well.

Update:

In Event Viewer/Windows Logs/System, the only red-colored notes are just warnings that my computer shut down unexpectedly.

There are several yellow Warnings from the Source "Kernel-PnP" that say "The driver\Driver\WUDFRd failed to load for the device Root\SIDESHOW\0001."

Does that mean anything to anyone?

One more detail:

I did a CHKDSK on my C: (SSD) by going Properties/Tools/Error-checking. It needed me to reboot, so I did. It did the scan pre-Windows, and I stepped away. When I came back it was asking me to log in to Windows, with no sign of any disk check report or anything. I checked the Event Viewer again and didn't see anything.

Does this mean that it finds no errors with the disk? And do I need to start thinking it's the mobo, as with Gumbie's friend?

I'm lazy and don't want to pull the machine out and open it up, but if I have to, I have to.

Thanks again for the help thus far!

Fedaykin98 wrote:

One more detail:

I did a CHKDSK on my C: (SSD) by going Properties/Tools/Error-checking. It needed me to reboot, so I did. It did the scan pre-Windows, and I stepped away. When I came back it was asking me to log in to Windows, with no sign of any disk check report or anything. I checked the Event Viewer again and didn't see anything.

Does this mean that it finds no errors with the disk? And do I need to start thinking it's the mobo, as with Gumbie's friend?

I'm lazy and don't want to pull the machine out and open it up, but if I have to, I have to.

Thanks again for the help thus far!

The most telling thing I saw in your first list of symptoms was the lockups at your Bios splash screen. At that point the hard drive isn't even in play yet and really the only thing being accessed is motherboard/memory/cpu. Probably wouldn't hurt to burn a memtest iso boot it and test to rule out your memory.

Ooh, good catch, Gumbie, I didn't parse this sentence correctly:

The first time, I rebooted and it just hung on the very top of the BIOS info splash.

That still could be the drive, but with the lack of other visible errors, Gumbie's suggestion of memtest is a good one. Also try downloading and running CoreTemp -- make sure to get the non-adware version, which is an alternate download, and the Intel Burn Test. (CoreTemp is just a temp monitor, so you run it while you're doing other things.) See what your temps look like under load, and see if you can pass the IBT on Maximum, preferably set to enough repetitions to last at least a couple of hours.

When you've got computer problems, the first big split is 'hardware or software', and because it's failing on early boot, it's hardware. The next big split is "CPU or GPU". A boot failure is probably not the GPU. If it's something on the CPU side, it'll usually be high temperatures, bad RAM, a bad motherboard, or an inadequate/failing power supply. It can also be a bad drive, loading bad data.

CoreTemp will let you monitor CPU temps, and IBT will put the processor and memory through a pretty good wringer to let you know whether you're getting consistent, good results from very high-CPU jobs. If that passes on Maximum mode for several hours, then your CPU/mboard/RAM/cooling are almost certainly good, and we'll have to keep digging.

Running memtest86 now, no errors so far.

I have CoreTemp and Intel Burn Test; I can try those next. I doubt the computer will stay stable for several hours, but we'll see.

Man, what fun it will be if I get to replace the mobo. Its like building the entire computer all over again! And since I already changed cases once, this will be the third time I build it.

In any case, thanks for the help so far!

Any physical damage on the mobo like the capacitor issues mentioned above?

Cayne wrote:

Any physical damage on the mobo like the capacitor issues mentioned above?

Haven't pulled the computer out from beside the desk and opened it up yet. Kind of a pain. That will be the next step after the Intel Burn Test, I reckon.

UPDATE: Memtest completed with no errors. I was tired, so I left the computer on overnight finishing the test. It was still running fine (in Memtest, off a bootable CD, so pre-SSD) this morning.

Then I rebooted to get out of Memtest and into Windows, and the computer once again hung after only two lines of BIOS splash. Those lines reference the version of American Megatrends, and then the Intel ME firmware version and backup version. Also, there's an "A2" in the bottom right of the screen. After waiting a minute, I turned the computer off and went to work.

I am now running Intel Burn Test on maximum. The highest temp seen is 76 C on one core, and it's hanging around at 75 as I write this.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

UPDATE: Memtest completed with no errors. I was tired, so I left the computer on overnight finishing the test. It was still running fine (in Memtest, off a bootable CD, so pre-SSD) this morning.

Then I rebooted to get out of Memtest and into Windows, and the computer once again hung after only two lines of BIOS splash. Those lines reference the version of American Megatrends, and then the Intel ME firmware version and backup version. Also, there's an "A2" in the bottom right of the screen. After waiting a minute, I turned the computer off and went to work.

I am now running Intel Burn Test on maximum. The highest temp seen is 76 C on one core, and it's hanging around at 75 as I write this.

That mobo is dying homie.

Could be his video card, too. If IBT passes, try Furmark, and watch for weirdness.

Another possibility is that a card isn't seated quite correctly; try pushing down on any expansion cards fairly firmly, and double-check that the RAM is tight. On this motherboard, I was having real seating issues with the 5870; the motherboard just wouldn't start reliably, failing during the PCI scan. I tried several gentle reseatings, almost sure that's where the problem was, but finally got annoyed and pushed the card in HARD. That straightened it out.

It wasn't getting as far as yours; it was locking up before any video showed. The board has a little LED display to show codes for progress as it boots, so that's how I knew that the PCI scan wasn't completing.

If you have one of those, check that too.

Seems unlikely that it's the video card to me - when it "locks" while in use, I can still move the mouse around the screen, and it sometimes turns into a circular "waiting" icon. Stays that way forever, but if I move back to another window, it changes back to an arrow. Won't actually interact with anything, tho.

Got my daughter to bed, came back to PC, it had rebooted into the first two lines of the BIOS thing described above: "the computer once again hung after only two lines of BIOS splash. Those lines reference the version of American Megatrends, and then the Intel ME firmware version and backup version. Also, there's an "A2" in the bottom right of the screen."

May or may not have anything to do with running that test; I believe we were more than 50% of the way through the test with no issues when I started the bedtime routine. Also, the computer has definitely done this kind of thing when idling or during normal web use without any stressful usage.

I'm sick, so I'm going to bed super early. Will check out this Furmark program tomorrow if I'm feeling up to it, and whenever I'm really feeling ambitious, open up the case and look at capacitors, check the seating of things.

Again, thanks for the help so far!

Fed, is this by chance an MSI motherboard? If so what model?

Fed, are you using a Logitech G15? Or a G110?

I've heard of both of those keyboards, or rather their drivers, causing your exact issue. Try uninstalling the Logitech software for your keyboard and see if it goes away.

*Found a link with one possible solution in it. Try this first if you are indeed using one of those keyboards.

I'm using a

Gumbie wrote:

Fed, is this by chance an MSI motherboard? If so what model?

I'm using an ASRock mobo.

Thin_J wrote:

Fed, are you using a Logitech G15? Or a G110?

I've heard of both of those keyboards, or rather their drivers, causing your exact issue. Try uninstalling the Logitech software for your keyboard and see if it goes away.

*Found a link with one possible solution in it. Try this first if you are indeed using one of those keyboards.

I am using a Logitech G510, I believe. I'm in bed but I'm pretty sure that's it. Will go check out your link now, thanks!

EDIT: Interesting! That's my only error in Event Manager; will try this tomorrow!

Disabling those two things in the Device Manager seems to have cleared up my Event Manager's Windows Sideshow errors; I guess we'll see if it fixes the big problem. Seems kind of unlikely to me, since the system is sometimes hanging well before getting to Windows.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

Disabling those two things in the Device Manager seems to have cleared up my Event Manager's Windows Sideshow errors; I guess we'll see if it fixes the big problem. Seems kind of unlikely to me, since the system is sometimes hanging well before getting to Windows.

Ah, I admit I didn't read everything in the thread, I just knew I'd seen that same driver error described elsewhere before. I'd agree it's not likely to fix the pre-windows hangs, as it's a direct incompatibility between whatever driver runs the little display on the keyboard and Windows 7/8.

So one issue solved but the main problem... maybe but probably not.

Opened her up today. No obvious anything, other than the intake fans' filters badly needing a cleaning, which they got. I kind of felt around and made sure connections seemed tight.

We'll see if I'm suddenly stable. I'm downloading Furmark, to see if that turns anything up. Assuming that's normal, anyone have any suggestions on next step or steps? Am I at the point where I just start replacing hardware to see if that works? And if so, should I try getting a new boot drive first, or a new mobo?

Thanks for all the help thus far!

Update: Still borked.

OK, so, at this point, have you found any way to reliably force a failure? Did it crash after Intel Burn Test? Did you ever get results from that? I see the temps up there, but not a final result, except maybe "it crashed again".

Where would I get the results?

If I leave it idling for a couple hours, it crashes. No known way to make it immediately crash.

Well, run IBT on Maximum mode, and set it to a bunch of repetitions (like, a hundred or something). Run Coretemp as well. Check on it every half-hour or so for a few hours, to see what your max temps are (they sounded okay before, but just in case), and that all the test runs are coming up with the same answer. The actual answer is irrelevant, it just needs to match for all the runs.

Oh, and disable all power-saving functions as well... you don't want the screensaver to start, and you don't want the machine to put itself into an idle state of any kind.

You can also sit there and jiggle the mouse every few minutes or something, but that really sucks.

So you don't have to figure it out, to change your power settings: go to Control Panel/Power, set it to the High Performance plan, and then click on Change Plan Settings. Set 'turn off the display' and 'put the computer to sleep' to Never in both cases, and OK your way out of everything.

Then pop into Control Panel/Display, click the teeny Personalization topic at the lower left, click Screen Saver at the lower right, and make sure it's set to None. OK to everything again to get yourself back to the desktop.

For my two cents, at this point i would start trying to tunnel down to the source of the problem (if you think it's still hardware related) by changing out one piece of hardware at a time as well and resume testing. Remove a stick of memory, unplug extra drives, swap video cards all one at a time till the crashing stops then you've found your guilty party.

Update: Gave up working on this for the holidays, and just used my old laptop instead.

I feel like there's nothing to do at this point except try replacing different hardware.

I thought maybe I'd try replacing the data cable (and perhaps power?) for my SSD just to make sure that it's not something that easy, and then replace the motherboard. It definitely seems like a hardware problem, since the computer sometimes fails to boot and tells me it's not finding a boot device. Seems like that indicates the problem is with the boot device, the motherboard, or the connection between the two.

Sadly, swapping mobos is a giant pain, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Is this the right course? Thanks in advance!