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Freezing on first action after startup

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Last response: in Windows 7
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January 21, 2012 2:43:31 AM

Windows is currently freezing up after startup. This started after receiving a blue screen during one startup. On the next startup, there was a small dialogue box; I opted not to restore the computer to a previous state.

Now, Windows loads normally, but generally the first action taken freezes the computer (mouse will move, but that's it). I have managed open a text file, and even updated Adobe Reader from the tray. I also opened Task Manager from right-click on the bottom bar. Trying to end a process, create a text file, or open Explorer, Firefox, or any other program I've tried causes a freeze up. Safe Mode seems to work fine.


Win 7 64 bit (I believe SP1)

i7 950
6 GB RAM
ATI HD5850

60 GB Agility2 SSD (hosts Windows)
and 500 GB Hitachi HDD


Please let me know what else I can provide, and help me troubleshoot. Thanks.






January 21, 2012 3:03:28 AM

Try to disable automatic restarts after system failure so that you can write down the blue screen info.

Start button --> Control Panel --> System and Security link --> System link --> Advanced system settings link --> Startup and Recovery section near the bottom of the window and click on the Settings button --> In the Startup and Recovery window, locate and uncheck the check box next to Automatically restart ---> OK

Edit: What PSU and mobo do you have? and how old is the system?
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January 21, 2012 12:12:03 PM

PSU: Corsair TW650
MoBo: Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3

Everything is 13 months old.

I only caught a flash of a blue screen the first time... it must have been during Windows loading, then the auto restart. Now that it will just hang, no blue screen.

I also ran System Restore, and the next restart caused "Boot Disk Failure", as did subsequent ctrl-alt-del's. Turning off, resting, and restarting gets me into Windows as usual, then it will freeze up on action.


Thanks.
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January 21, 2012 12:20:26 PM

To view the blue screen you need this app. http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/blue_screen_view.html Go here download run in safe mode. That should tell you what the blue screen is. I have a couple of suggestions. Could be a bad app in the startup is causing a driver issue. Go to msconfig, in cmd and disable all your start up items and then restart in normal mode. If it doesnt freeze you ll have to go through the start up list and weed out the culprit. Let us know if this works.
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a b $ Windows 7
January 21, 2012 12:29:56 PM

Well you won't be able to set anything in control panel if every time the first action you make after startup kills the machine.

Have you tried starting up in safe mode (F8) ?

Once that's done, try the steps suggested above regarding restarts and startup items.
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January 21, 2012 1:23:30 PM

Hi guys.

Yes... I can get into Safe Mode. I had just disabled everything under Startup and Services (except Microsoft things) in msconfig, to no avail.

I can also get the machine to hang in Safe Mode, but it takes more... for example I can get Chrome running, but Firefox will cause a hang. I was able to start a scan with Malwarebytes, but it hangs shortly in. Panda won't start.

After one restart, safe mode gave a popup about a video driver problem. I was able to download the latest display driver, but during installation, I get "failed to load detection driver".

I also ran memtest, and I think it all checked out.... but windows hung on restart before it showed the results.

Thanks.
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January 21, 2012 1:41:12 PM

Using blue_screen_view, I am able to see the Blue Screen I got yesterday that kicked this all off:


string: BAD_SYSTEM_CONFIG_INFO

code: 0x00000074

caused by: ataport.sys


I uploaded the memory dump to http://www.echuir.net/kevincs.dmp
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January 21, 2012 2:04:33 PM

Do you have anything plugged in to your computer. ataport.sys, would indicate one of your drives or storage systems (internal or external) is failing to respond causing your entire windows to be put on hold or eventually crashing, while waiting for it to respond. If you have no usb storage devices and only have one drive, your hard drive could also be failing by disconnecting. You OS continues to work from memory but the file system is no longer available for access.
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January 21, 2012 2:24:08 PM

The only connections are keyboard and usb mouse.

I have a SSD (c:)  and one HDD (d: and e:) . In Safe Mode, I can open files from each. In Regular Mode I can open a text file on the desktop (c:) , but trying to open explorer or start menu to try another drive will cause a hang.
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January 21, 2012 2:55:44 PM

kevincs said:
The only connections are keyboard and usb mouse.

I have a SSD (c:)  and one HDD (d: and e:) . In Safe Mode, I can open files from each. In Regular Mode I can open a text file on the desktop (c:) , but trying to open explorer or start menu to try another drive will cause a hang.
If you are certain all file access is normal in safe mode for both drives then this points to the controller driver. I would still recommend unplugging all drives (including CD/DVD ROM, that is also considered a drive by windows) and leave only your C: drive and test before you do anything else. If the problem persists then boot into safe mode and try and update your SATA controller driver with your motherboard provided disc. This is the ONLY driver that you can be certain is designed for the controller chipset that came with your board. Any other driver from the web or windows automatic updates can cause this issue. The controller driver is usually bundled in the (Chipset driver) for your motherboard. Installing that will install the default controllers.
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January 21, 2012 4:25:58 PM

I can load Windows with the CD drive unattached, but get BOOT DISK FAILURE if the hard disk is unattached. This is even though the SDD with Windows is the first boot option.

I can't get the chipset drivers to load in Safe Mode, possibly because the install program is having trouble running Javascript in Safe Mode.

I also made this observation: In Safe Mode, I can use Explorer to view my files, but if I try to go to C:\Program Files, It takes a long time, then hangs, and I even got a 2nd BSOD shortly after. This is the location Firefox must be, which trying to run causes hangs in Safe Mode, even though I am on CHrome just fine right now.

Unfortunately there is no dump from the last crash. I left the bottom of the screen on "preparing for memory dump..." for quite a while before I disconnected power.


Thanks for the help.
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January 21, 2012 4:53:15 PM

Sounds like you have windows installed on one drive but the boot sector is on the other drive. This I have seen happen when you had windows previously installed in one drive and then installed a second drive as C: and reinstalled windows on that. Did you do something similar? However the fact you still have hangs when accessing C: drive files still points to the drive disconnecting. I have seen this before. Unfortunately since your boot sect may be on the second drive (Boot Disk Failure when D: disconnected), it complicates things.

One thing I forgot to suggest is checking the SATA cable of your drives. Those cables are badly designed in my opinion, and can get partially unplugged causing disconnects. Also try a different SATA port and new cable to rule out a bad cable or port. That is worth a try.
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January 21, 2012 5:25:28 PM

This rings bells... it's only been a year, but I think I did install Windows on the Hard Disk and then re-install on the SSD, even though they were put in at the same time.

Tried using a different SATA port for the SSD, no luck. I can access lots of files on the C: drive, and Windows is running from there. Could certain bits of the SSD have failed?
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January 21, 2012 9:59:37 PM

kevincs said:
This rings bells... it's only been a year, but I think I did install Windows on the Hard Disk and then re-install on the SSD, even though they were put in at the same time.

Tried using a different SATA port for the SSD, no luck. I can access lots of files on the C: drive, and Windows is running from there. Could certain bits of the SSD have failed?

That is possible some system files could be corrupt on the SSD, due to to many forced reboots or similar. You could try and initialize a full scandisk with repair on the C: drive and D: drives in safe mode. There is also a command line command to detect and fix corrupt system files. You can initialize this from safe mode by running a DOS prompt under accessories and run as administrator: Type sfc /scannow to initialize. The checkdisk will get scheduled on next reboot and run then.
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January 21, 2012 10:55:56 PM

I had tried chkdsk before, and it caused a hang. I just got to 17% of the first stage with the sfc /scannow, before it hung.

After the machine hangs (mouse movable, usually a spinning circle) for a while, it will BSOD. It initializes the disk for a dump, but never does.

My BIOS has twice given warnings about OC settings on restarts, but one of the first things I did was un-OC my CPU and RAM.


Would a repair install of Win7 be a good shot?
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January 22, 2012 1:18:44 AM

kevincs said:
I had tried chkdsk before, and it caused a hang. I just got to 17% of the first stage with the sfc /scannow, before it hung.

After the machine hangs (mouse movable, usually a spinning circle) for a while, it will BSOD. It initializes the disk for a dump, but never does.

My BIOS has twice given warnings about OC settings on restarts, but one of the first things I did was un-OC my CPU and RAM.


Would a repair install of Win7 be a good shot?
It still sounds like a hard disk is disconnecting. If your old drive the one with the original windows install is still intact meaning you haven't overwritten the OS, you could try disconnecting the SSD and booting straight from it. If it boots into your old windows and works fine that would at least narrow it down to your SSD.

Also, as long as the SSD is not the one failing, you could disconnect the D: drive and try a repair of the SSD drive from the CD. Windows may be smart enough to move the boot sector to the one drive and fix the issue. If you notice it runs for a while but then freezes when running all by itself the finger can be pointed at the SSD.

Rule of thumg, if the freezes occur only in Windows, then it is generally a software issue (drivers, file corruption), if it freezes in DOS mode, like during scans or checks, it is hardware because there is no second layer being used.
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January 22, 2012 1:47:34 PM

Ok:

When I originally installed Windows, I put it on the hard disk first, then re-installed it to the SSD. This was recommended to me by the internet. The original install on the hard disk is gone.

Now, looking at disk management, the SSD is listed as (c:, boot, page file, crash dump), and has the Windows folder. Yet the system won't boot without the hard disk attached, and when the Windows CD looks for previous installations, it will only find my Windows installation if the hard disk is attached -- even though it says this installation is on d:, with 55.9 GB, which is my SSD (when running from the Win7 CD, the SSD becomes d:, and the 'System Reserved' 100MB partition on the hard disk becomes c: drive).


Anyways, running chkdsk on any hard disk partitions from the command prompt turns out fine, but running chkdsk on the SSD crashes immediately. So it seems it is my problem, somehow.

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January 22, 2012 2:51:11 PM

I can get Windows to hang in Safe Mode, but it nearly always involves trying to access files on the SSD (chkdsk, virus scan, mousing over a large directory in windows explorer, trying to open Firefox). Nearly anything causes a hang in Regular Mode (mousing over the start menu, opening almost any program).

How can I move from Safe Mode to Regular Mode step-by-step, to see what causes the difference?


I can't do an upgrade install from the Win7 CD, the setup.exe causes a hang in Regular, and hangs in Safe Mode on the first step of an ugpgrade install, (ugh, I forget, I think it was) "Preparing..."

If I set aside a new partition on the hard disk, then put a new install there, can I use that to try to fix the first?


Thanks for all the replies.
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January 23, 2012 2:00:36 AM

Well, she started freezing up right before entering Safe Mode. So we had to format away a HDD partition and re-install the Windows.

Now, throughout this, whenever an automatic restart occured (say, after letting Windows hang on the spinning circle for a while), the BIOS would freeze up on trying to recognize the SSD. A hard restart after that would kick things back to normal. Perhaps this power off/on was necessary to 'reconnect' the SSD, after it somehow disconnected.

Anyways, since there are a couple automatic restarts in the installation process, the SSD had to be unplugged to get through it. (Actually, it didn't, but it made it slightly less of a hassle.)
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January 29, 2012 11:04:52 PM

Best answer selected by kevincs.
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a c 416 $ Windows 7
January 29, 2012 11:07:49 PM

This topic has been closed by Area51reopened
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