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PC Shutdown by itself and now will not boot...

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July 31, 2012 3:21:10 PM

Hello folks,

I had an unsettling thing just happen to me this morning. I have a gaming rig that's about a year and a half old. I will simply describe the problem and see if anyone can nail down what happened:

PC was powered up normally, running Windows 7 Home Premium, and I was online. No apparent recent symptoms of any type of performance issue or hardware failure.

The PC, all by itself, closed out the internet, turned off all programs, logged off, shut itself down, then restarted. When it got to the restart point, there was a SINGLE beep, the motherboard VRAM LED light lights up momentarily in red. It gets the point where the system is about to detect Windows on my hard drive and load it so I can get to desktop, but that's where it stops.

A SINGLE beep, then a black screen and cursor, it will not load Windows, and I cannot make it to desktop.

The machine IS powered, and all the fans and LED lights are functioning normally, so the machine is getting power, apparently normally.

PLEASE tell me this is something simple like the BIOS need to be uptated, or the CMOS battery or something like that.

HELP!!!! Thanks in advance.

More about : shutdown boot

July 31, 2012 3:25:25 PM

...just wanted to add a bit more info. The only thing I did recently to the PC was a routine cleaning of the side case fan, that has a dust filter. That and an external filter from the front fan. That involved taking the side of the case off to get to that fan filter, but that was it. I'm always careful with static discharge, I try to take all precautions. I highly doubt that cleaning the fans has anything to do with this. I do NOT use a vacuum or anything inside the PC that could damage it, except cleaning the fan blades gently with computer wipes, and 3M Elec. Equip. solution, and gently blowing dust out.
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July 31, 2012 3:50:05 PM

Hmm, I guess I wouldn't think a virus would completely prevent the system from booting, but this sounds quite similar to an experience I had a couple months ago (in the middle of a giant school project no less!). I was doing the same activities as you were, except I had several word/visio documents open as well as a few browser windows when suddenly, the computer begins to shut itself down. I was thinking, okay well, at least it will give me the prompts to save my work but alas, no such luck, the prompts flashed up and before I could intervene had closed themselves down and the PC began shutting off. From that point, I restarted and was able to boot to windows desktop, however I found myself unable to open ANY installed internet browser, and was also unable to run any installed maintenance programs to assist me. I ended up tracking down the original OS cd that came with my laptop (vista, urghhh!) and was able to do a repair install off of that. Once back in windows, I downloaded and installed MalwareBytes and a few other progs and did end up tracking down a virus in my windows temp directory, although I do not recall what the virus was. After several pass throughs with several virus scanners I had it all cleaned up, and fortunately because I was able to do the repair install I did not lose any of my previous data (just a warning, repair install puts your data into a windows.old folder, hence the virus is likely to at least still be around, although in my case it did not prevent me from removing). I did lose my data that I hadn't saved, thankfully that was not quite catastrophic! Just my 2 cents, not sure if a virus is the case or not but as I said it was very similar to what happened to me. If you can get into safe mode try running a scan from there, otherwise track down your OS cd and try and boot off of that.
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July 31, 2012 3:53:23 PM

Do you know what kind of motherboard you are using? Single beep indicates DRAM failure, so what is your RAM setup right now?

Try taking all but one stick of RAM out and trying to boot.
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July 31, 2012 4:13:43 PM

dalmvern said:
Do you know what kind of motherboard you are using? Single beep indicates DRAM failure, so what is your RAM setup right now?

Try taking all but one stick of RAM out and trying to boot.


This is my motherboard:

ASUS P6X58D Premium Motherboard, powered by Intel X58 Express Chipset, supports Core i7 processors (Socket 1366), Triple Channel DDR3 2000 (O.C.), 3-Way SLI and Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technologies.

I am running 12GB of RAM, in (3) banks of 4 GB each. Kingston Hyper X.

Interestingly, I just upgraded my RAM last month to 12 GB from 4GB, so this RAM is brand new. It worked perfectly until now. Everything appears to be properly seated and connected. There are no apparent temperature issues present.

The strange thing about what you said about the single beep is, is that it makes that same short beep every single time the PC boots up. Isn't that single short beep usually the normal "POST" beep that a PC does when restarting? Perhaps the RAM error beep sounds exactly the same as the n normal startup POST beep?

Even stranger, is that it's making the POST beep exactly when it's supposed to, as if it was about to boot up. Then it just doesn't boot.

I get the ASUS colored logo on screen for my motherboard, and then it displays the info on screen for my hard drive, and then it goes to black screen and cursor.
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July 31, 2012 4:14:39 PM

dalmvern said:
Do you know what kind of motherboard you are using? Single beep indicates DRAM failure, so what is your RAM setup right now?

Try taking all but one stick of RAM out and trying to boot.

Begging your pardon, but every motherboard I have experienced over many, many years gives a single short beep on healthy completion of POST and is the point at which you can enter BIOS or continue to OS

Single continuous tone on the other hand......

If that is a phoenix BIOS then try reseating the CPU

Now to the black screen and cursor, is there a folder or are you in the root (i.e. C:\>_). Is there even that much?

My thoughts are your boot loader (NTLDR) is corrupted or some other MasterBootRecord error. Try getting into the BIOS and checking the existence of the hard drive. Try booting from a windows installation CD and repairing from that.

Q
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July 31, 2012 4:22:33 PM

Flying-Q said:
Begging your pardon, but every motherboard I have experienced over many, many years gives a single short beep on healthy completion of POST and is the point at which you can enter BIOS or continue to OS

Single continuous tone on the other hand......

If that is a phoenix BIOS then try reseating the CPU

Now to the black screen and cursor, is there a folder or are you in the root (i.e. C:\>_). Is there even that much?

My thoughts are your boot loader (NTLDR) is corrupted or some other MasterBootRecord error. Try getting into the BIOS and checking the existence of the hard drive. Try booting from a windows installation CD and repairing from that.

Q


Exactly, that's what I was saying too. The beep I am getting IS the normal healthy POST beep that you get whenever the PC is starting up, it is NOT an error code, it can't be. It's not a continuous, long drawn out beep, it's the same exact short length and occurs at the same time the POST beep usually occurs, it has to be the POST beep.

What I am getting on screen is, is that there is momentary black, and in white text the computer shows the info for the primary hard drive and its specs. Just BEFORE that the ASUS logo and full screen color show for a few seconds.

The very last thing that happens is, just after I see the black screen and the white text showing the drive specs, it goes to black screen and white cursor in the upper left hand corner......and that's where it stays. Nothing but black screen and a cursor prompt, and that's it. The PC USUALLY does that on every startup any way, that cursor and blank screen show for a second(it's part of the regular startup), but then immediately the Windows 7 Logo appears, telling you that Windows is starting up, and then it loads to desktop and everything is fine.

Black screen and white cursor prompt.

HELP! LOL
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July 31, 2012 4:27:03 PM

Flying-Q said:
Begging your pardon, but every motherboard I have experienced over many, many years gives a single short beep on healthy completion of POST and is the point at which you can enter BIOS or continue to OS


No you are absolutely right, I just assumed he meant that the single beep was an error beep, so I just misunderstood.
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July 31, 2012 4:30:30 PM

Is there any way you can boot from safe mode and run a scan? This sounds eerily like a problem i had recently whenever i update avast! on my laptop. After restart, I get nothing but a black screen and cursor. Have you installed any windows updates lately? Or updated any software?
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July 31, 2012 4:39:01 PM

If it were memory issues, the operating system will not be polite and power down, it will abruptly come to a crashing halt. bsod, all kinds of evil things.

Need to think, what would tell the operating system to start closing things and power down. Either it is a virus or something else on a timer like sleep mode that isn’t functioning properly. Check out your power options maybe and turn them all off/never.
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July 31, 2012 4:41:05 PM

Totally agree, that is why I suspect a virus of some sort. I like the way you put it lol, a hardware failure truly will not result in windows politely shutting down lol!!!
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July 31, 2012 4:59:06 PM

Dapake said:
Is there any way you can boot from safe mode and run a scan? This sounds eerily like a problem i had recently whenever i update avast! on my laptop. After restart, I get nothing but a black screen and cursor. Have you installed any windows updates lately? Or updated any software?


Thanks Dapake, and everybody else for your fast and great responses, much appreciated!

I'm at another location atm, but I'm going home in a bit, and I'll to try going into BIOS to see what's up there, and I'll also try to boot up from the Windows installation disc.

There were some Windows Updates that were installed, perhaps a few days ago. And I'm running Norton, which updates itself on a regular basis. The only other recent software change was an addon for World of Warcraft, but that went smoothly and everthing was running fine. As of this morning, Norton was showing a clean and protected system, no alerts of any kind of virus or trojans, nothing at all.

Based on the feedback I've gotten from all of you, I am feeling in my gut that this is something to do with a startup error, in the BIOS, or some kind of startup or sleep mode is somehow kicking in. I had my system set to NEVER go to sleep, only my monitor shuts itself off.

I do know that for quite a while my system had that glitch where it would restart itself when you told it to completely shut down. After a few tries the problem would go away. I do get that problem still occasionaly. People have said that that is caused because of BIOS as well, but it's not lethal to the system, just an annoyance. This is almost suspiciously close to that. Except this time I can't boot up.

But with the PC getting power, hearing the normal POST beep, and the fact that the PC shut itself down properly and tried to restart itself....leads me to believe that this isn't a hardware issue. As was stated by several others, if you had a RAM or motherboard failure, the system wouldn't politely cooperate and shut itself down. It would just abruptly stop working, right?

This really feels like a BIOS or drive startup issue of some kind, I have a hunch. Feels right.

But then again, it felt right when I married my wife too, but then.....oops. lol
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July 31, 2012 5:53:30 PM

Dapake said:
Is there any way you can boot from safe mode and run a scan? This sounds eerily like a problem i had recently whenever i update avast! on my laptop. After restart, I get nothing but a black screen and cursor. Have you installed any windows updates lately? Or updated any software?



Dapake,

Here's what I found out. My ASUS motherboard has a backup system called ASUS Express Gate, which you can use in the event of a Windows 7 or hard drive failure, bypassing the regular OS. I am able to go into Express Gate, use the internet, etc. Basically I'm running my system and using the internet DIRECTLY off my motherboard, so apparently my motherboad is working correctly.

I looked at my F8 system and BIOS settings. Everything looks the same, I have the boot priority set to my primary hard drive.

I can't get to my Windows desktop using my Windows 7 installation disc because it's an upgrade disc only, it's asking me to install a new copy of Windows 7 over what I have.

At this point, it looks like the system simply isn't even recognizing my hard drive. No response at all. I've got it set to boot from that same hard drive, and nothing.

Now here's the thing. If my hard drive DID fail, would the system be able to shut itself down properly and try to reboot like it did? Wouldn't it have just froze and stopped working immediately? It's almost as if the system was prompted by some unkown source, shut itself down, and not is not reading the hard drive. But it didn't act as if the hard drive itself had failed. It just acted like someone had hit the "restart" button.

This couldn't be a cable or connector failure of any kind, because that wouldn't cause the system to restart itself would it?

This is driving me nuts. It's like my system is working fine, except it's acting as if my hard drive doesn't exist!
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July 31, 2012 6:10:29 PM

Basically, I think what we posted before still applies, hardware failures are not likely to nicely shut down your computer, however, a virus can definitely "nicely" turn off your PC and muck up enough stuff in the process that windows won't boot. I believe the things you have been able do indicate that your hardware is fine, the BIOS shows your hard drive and you tried booting into safe mode correct?
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July 31, 2012 6:14:04 PM

..one other piece of info. My hard drive LED Indicator is blinking steadily every two seconds or so. Don't know if that means activity, or if it's some kind of error code.
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July 31, 2012 6:46:43 PM

chugot9218 said:
Basically, I think what we posted before still applies, hardware failures are not likely to nicely shut down your computer, however, a virus can definitely "nicely" turn off your PC and muck up enough stuff in the process that windows won't boot. I believe the things you have been able do indicate that your hardware is fine, the BIOS shows your hard drive and you tried booting into safe mode correct?


Well, all of my hardware appears to be fine EXCEPT the hard drive, which doesn't look good. It's just sitting there like a rock.

The BIOS DOES show my hard drive, and the boot priority is set correctly, but I could not boot in safe mode. The Windows 7 disc I have is for Upgrade only, I can't actually boot to desktop from it, as far as I could tell when I tried it in my CD ROM drive.

Right now I'm stuck at startup. My hard drive LED is blinking every couple seconds. When I try to do a normal boot from the C Drive, it's as if it's not there. The system just can't find it, or can't see it. The LED I guess proves that there's power getting to the hard drive, but doesn't prove that it's working correctly.

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July 31, 2012 8:22:29 PM

Hmm.....is therea spare working harddrive with windows installed that you have lying around to maybe test to see if that works? However, according to the information im skeptical of it being some sort of hardware failure but then again I'm not extremely experienced in such things. Is there any way you can do a system restore/recovery?
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August 1, 2012 8:21:44 AM

Oinkusboinkus said:
..one other piece of info. My hard drive LED Indicator is blinking steadily every two seconds or so. Don't know if that means activity, or if it's some kind of error code.

I have had this occur after a black screen STOP under XP. Nothing on the screen (monitor sleeps after a short while). Trouble was traced to a failing hard drive, but that was a very early SATA drive about 7 years ago. The LED flash every couple of seconds is the BIOS trying to re-establish contact with the drive/time-outs etc.

Dapake said:
Hmm.....is therea spare working harddrive with windows installed that you have lying around to maybe test to see if that works? However, according to the information im skeptical of it being some sort of hardware failure but then again I'm not extremely experienced in such things. Is there any way you can do a system restore/recovery?

Although your Win7 disc is an upgrade version it still contains the full OS and recovery console, the difference from a normal disc is that the setup checks for an installed valid OS before proceeding. If you exit from the install you should be able to get to the recovery console (command line) alternatively select repair my computer if you get the install dialogue.

Here's some info

and here

hope some of this helps

Q
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August 1, 2012 12:43:30 PM

Flying-Q said:
I have had this occur after a black screen STOP under XP. Nothing on the screen (monitor sleeps after a short while). Trouble was traced to a failing hard drive, but that was a very early SATA drive about 7 years ago. The LED flash every couple of seconds is the BIOS trying to re-establish contact with the drive/time-outs etc.


Although your Win7 disc is an upgrade version it still contains the full OS and recovery console, the difference from a normal disc is that the setup checks for an installed valid OS before proceeding. If you exit from the install you should be able to get to the recovery console (command line) alternatively select repair my computer if you get the install dialogue.

Here's some info

and here

hope some of this helps


Q


Thanks so much Q for your response and info! I did not know that about the Windows 7 Upgrade. That could save me some trouble and money, as I won't have to buy a new full copy of 7. And after you said that, I realized that when I had my gaming PC built for me in 2010, the guy that did it used that same Upgrade Disc to freshly install full Windows 7 on my PC, so you're absolutely right.

This is interesting because the shop told me that you could NOT use a Windows 7 Upgrade Disc to insall Windows 7 unless I already had a PC with Windows Vista on it. They claim I would need to buy a brand new copy of Windows 7 retail if I was doing a fresh new install on a brand new hard drive. I think this shop is trying to sell me something I don't need lol. I'm going to call them today and kindly as them how it is that the guy who built my PC was able do it...hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Unfortunately, I finally lost patience yesterday and took it to a shop. Pretty sure it's going to need a new drive any way. Every so often the drive would make this faint pop/click, and also what I would describe as a "slotted noise", like someone was gently fitting a metal part into a slot. I thought they were normal hard drive noises because they were so quiet. Apparently not lol.

Thanks again Q.




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August 1, 2012 12:58:35 PM

Dapake said:
Hmm.....is therea spare working harddrive with windows installed that you have lying around to maybe test to see if that works? However, according to the information im skeptical of it being some sort of hardware failure but then again I'm not extremely experienced in such things. Is there any way you can do a system restore/recovery?


Thanks for the advice Dapake. Unfortunately no, I don't have a spare drive to as test with.

See, my problem is that i'm tech savvy more with fixing PC program and actual interface issues, more IT stuff. When it comes to actual hardware, moving things in the case, and physical testing of components, I've got two left hands. I'm good at replacing simple components like memory or a fan when everything is working CORRECTLY. lol But the moment I have a problem like this, and have to troubleshoot and diagnose? Nope, beyond my scope of ability to have a case open swapping out and testing components.

I probably could have done a system recovery, or gotten to my desktop with the Upgrade disc, but it's already in the shop. Figured just better and easier to let them put it in and install Windows, it's worth $50 to me to save all the hassle.
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August 1, 2012 2:20:38 PM

Fair enough lol. Let us know what happens after it gets out of the shop!
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Best solution

August 2, 2012 8:27:25 AM

Oinkusboinkus said:
Thanks so much Q for your response and info! I did not know that about the Windows 7 Upgrade. That could save me some trouble and money, as I won't have to buy a new full copy of 7. And after you said that, I realized that when I had my gaming PC built for me in 2010, the guy that did it used that same Upgrade Disc to freshly install full Windows 7 on my PC, so you're absolutely right.

Scenario:

1. builder has genuine Vista disc and installs it onto a machine just built.
2. builder buys cheap upgrade disc (Vista -> 7) and installs it over Vista.
3. builder sells machine with upgrade disc only and keeps Vista disc.
4. new owner has genuine 7 upgrade license not knowing that an upgrade requires BOTH discs and codes to be fully valid.

I hope this isn't your situation.

Oinkusboinkus said:
This is interesting because the shop told me that you could NOT use a Windows 7 Upgrade Disc to insall Windows 7 unless I already had a PC with Windows Vista on it. They claim I would need to buy a brand new copy of Windows 7 retail if I was doing a fresh new install on a brand new hard drive. I think this shop is trying to sell me something I don't need lol. I'm going to call them today and kindly as them how it is that the guy who built my PC was able do it...hmmmmmmmmmmm.

It is true that you cannot use an upgrade disc to do a clean install on a blank HDD as the install/setup .exe will not progress if no valid OS is already present on the drive, even though this previous OS install gets completely over-written. In the days of Win9x and XP upgrades, you could do a clean install with an upgrade disc by putting the prevouius version disc in the drive when asked, purely for the setup .exe to satisfy ownership.

Another scenario would be for a builder making many identical machines. Only one install is required and then the HDD is cloned for the other machines. That's how the likes of Dell etc. do it.

Oinkusboinkus said:
Unfortunately, I finally lost patience yesterday and took it to a shop. Pretty sure it's going to need a new drive any way. Every so often the drive would make this faint pop/click, and also what I would describe as a "slotted noise", like someone was gently fitting a metal part into a slot. I thought they were normal hard drive noises because they were so quiet. Apparently not lol.

Thanks again Q.

+1 to Dapake's request for an update, and be kind enough to select one of us for 'best answer'

Cheers,

Q

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August 2, 2012 1:08:19 PM

if you can post you can get into bios. check bios to see if hdd is showing, if it is, possible there is a bios or your bootmgr file has corrupted.

if not your hdd has probably failed.

either way if you install a small linux distro on a usb pen drive and boot from that it should boot all the way (dont select persistant memory, if its a virus that should prevent linux getting pwned also) - should be able to see your hdd in there.
or create a knoppix disk.
good luck
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August 2, 2012 6:02:49 PM

Best answer selected by oinkusboinkus.
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August 7, 2012 7:27:29 PM

Thanks everyone for all your thoughtful and thorough responses. Much appreciated.

Just a quick update. Turns out my PC caught a virus. One that prevents Windows from booting. I'm having it taken out professionally. However I am also considering just putting in a new hard drive and calling it a day, and just install everything fresh. That would guarantee no more problems from the virus.

This also goes back to the inherent risk we all face of being online in general, and of gaming online. Even with Norton AV running and being updated constantly, my PC caught something that Norton never even flagged or warned me about. Not a hint that it even knew about it.

You gotta be careful, there's no guarantees.
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April 22, 2014 11:27:33 PM

Oinkusboinkus said:
...just wanted to add a bit more info. The only thing I did recently to the PC was a routine cleaning of the side case fan, that has a dust filter. That and an external filter from the front fan. That involved taking the side of the case off to get to that fan filter, but that was it. I'm always careful with static discharge, I try to take all precautions. I highly doubt that cleaning the fans has anything to do with this. I do NOT use a vacuum or anything inside the PC that could damage it, except cleaning the fan blades gently with computer wipes, and 3M Elec. Equip. solution, and gently blowing dust out.


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