I've been trying to resolve some issues with a desktop machine, causing it to operate slowly from POST to everything else, even CMOS loads and operates slowly. At the time I believed it was hit by a virus that caused initial errors and trouble (including some registry errors and some drivers appeared to be messed up), and *hopefully* purged it with a combination of AVG (plus the PC Tune-Up and Disc Doctor 1 day trial) and Malware Bytes, but it may have just taken corrupted files and tried to identify them as viruses or errors. I cleared CMOS once and it ran smoothly when I started the computer again, but upon restarting to try to enable Crossfire for Dual Graphics, POST was slow again and it appears more things may have been corrupted.
I should qualify what I mean by a slow POST and boot-up. Upon starting up the machine, it hangs for a few seconds before getting to the Gigabyte motherboard screen. If I open the BIOS, it takes a while (a few minutes) to acknowledge this and open it, all the while hanging on the Mobo screen. When it finally opens, everything is being listed or updated one object at a time. I can literally watch it drawing and redrawing every move and selection I make. If I let the computer get to the rest of the POST process, it runs slowly enough that every bit of text is listed on the screen one at a time, and I have more than enough time to read it all (rather than it just flashing and going to the next part of the boot-up process very rapidly). Where it normally takes 30 seconds or so to get to Windows from POST, this doesn't even start loading Windows for at least a minute, and takes a while (5 to 10 minutes) to actually get to the login screen.
Before I go any further, I should list my hardware profile:
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-A75M-UD2H (with a successfully updated BIOS to F6)
CPU: AMD A8-3850
GPU: Asus 6670 HD
Memory: 16GB dual channel (4x4 modules) 1600 MHZ (some runs as 1333 though, never been a problem)
HDD: WD Black 500GB
PSU: Enermax (Can't recall wattage or model, its sufficient though)
Using properly grounded electrical lines as well as a surge protector strip.
Running on Windows 7 Ultimate
So here is the order of operations I've attempted so far:
1 - Observe slow boot from POST after being notified of an issue. Still able to slowly get into Windows
2 - Attempts to clear corrupted files and suspected virus with AVG programs and Malware Bytes. A few things were allegedly fixed, or detected and removed, but the problem persists. Still able to slowly load Windows.
3 - Certain that it isn't the hard drive slowing up the POST, I suspect CMOS or BIOS. Reinstall BIOS with the much-feared @BIOS, no errors or mishaps. No progress, but I did have to switch the video cable from the Mobo (where it goes during Dual Graphics) to the GPU to get video on-screen again. Restarting is just as slow as before. Still able to load Windows.
4 - Seeing no progress, got into CMOS and set everything to fail-safe defaults. This caused my USB keyboard and mouse to stop being recognized, or even be powered by USB ports (the mouse would flash for a moment upon plugging it in). Defaults did nothing to improve the situation. Still able to load Windows.
5 - Out of options, I opened it up and cleared CMOS with the jumper pins. After this, the computer booted once perfectly, with everything running smoothly and to proper specifications. The owner was able to play Final Fantasy XIV beta with no hiccup or issue, aside from not running Dual Graphics or offering an option to "Enable Crossfire" in the AMD Vision control center.
6 - Wanting to re-enable Crossfire for Dual Graphics mode, I restart the computer for the first time since it appears operational again. The slow POST and slow operation is back.
7 - Computer is now off.
Clearing CMOS appeared to resolve the problem, and I'm hoping that this is all being caused by the CMOS battery going out. Below are my main questions:
1 - Does it seem like this was caused by CMOS corruption, due to either the battery or possibly the electrical line having issues?
2 - Does it seem like a virus may have caused this, and is continuing to cause trouble? (Despite the issues going away immediately after clearing CMOS.)
3 - If it is simply the battery, should a new battery resolve all the issues?
4 - If the slow POST and boot-up is being caused by a virus, how can I track it down to eliminate it beyond the programs I've already used?
5 - Is there something I'm missing that should be investigated and reported to aid the community in helping me with this issue?
I would start with a new CMOS battery.
does it work?
try enabling cross fire.
does it work? if not try one card at a time.
I think it's a bad video card or PSU.
do you have a known working PSU you can swap in?
It worked yesterday when I cleared CMOS, and I bet it would happen again. I want to minimize the number of times I have to turn it on without the problems being resolved. I'm going to try a new battery first, before getting to the more expensive hardware.
I've been able to enable crossfire in the past. The card has only been in the system for 2 months, and I don't believe it is the cause of these problems. I have not yet run a bare system to see if these issues happen without the graphics card, but since the delays occur from the moment power is turned on, I'm guessing they happen before the GPU is even engaged.
The motherboard and PSU are a few years old, so I'm guessing either of them could be the culprit. Once again, I'll try the battery first.