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Computer won't boot past "Starting Windows"

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 13, 2012 2:39:42 AM

Hey, I'm new to the forums and in desperate need of help. My computer decided to finally give up after nearly 4 years of constant usage right at the beginning of finals week, and I need to find out why it refuses to boot even after supposedly fixing it.

First, without knowing at the time, my motherboard went and died on me. It was some EVGA X58 motherboard from 2009, but that's not important. I was playing FarCry 3 when my screen froze, the computer beeped once at me, and when I went to shut it off, I thought I smelled that distinctly burnt technology smell.

After attempting to turn everything back on, the debug LED on the motherboard kept cycling through codes EA, 01, 68, and 02. After reading through dozens of forum posts describing similar situations leading to the exact same codes, I found one that said removing the CMOS battery for a while and putting it back in might help. Doing this didn't help, and the codes instead started cycling through F3, F6, and eventually ending on 68 where the system would automatically reboot and begin the cycle again. In both instances of the codes cycling, the computer wouldn't even make it to POST.

So my first real idea was to try replacing the PSU since those are easy and quick to come by, and because other people with similar problems had fixed them by replacing the PSU. I replaced my Corsair 650 watt PSU with a Corsair GS800 from Best Buy. This didn't fix my problem.

Next, I ordered a refurbished MSI X58 Pro-E from TigerDirect because I didn't want to spend over $500 getting both a new CPU and a new motherboard. This new motherboard is what fixed my computer.

After hooking everything up and turning the computer on, I of course had to get all my drivers updated again. This is where my current problem comes in. When I updated my EVGA Nvidia 460 GTX's drivers and rebooted, my computer refused to boot. It made it through POST and everything just fine this time, but after reaching the "Starting Windows" screen, the video card would stop responding or something and my monitor would say "NO SIGNAL" and go into standby mode like the computer had been turned off. Going into safe mode works 100% of the time, and in safe mode, I removed the drivers. I can now boot up to the login screen no problem 100% of the time. I have tried reinstalling the same drivers several times, I have talked to EVGA tech support and tried disabling any possible conflicts in the Device Manager, I have tried installing a new beta driver just to see if it was specifically that driver, and none of these things have worked.

So basically, I need help fixing the issue I've just described. I have a feeling that this is a hardware issue, where perhaps the video card was damaged and can't handle the driver updates correctly. I would be interested in buying a new video card at this point anyway, but if it's not a hardware issue with the card, then replacing it obviously wouldn't help. My current system specs are below.

Intel i7-920 quad core CPU (old)
MSI X58 Pro-E refurbished motherboard (new)
EVGA Nvidia 460 GTX video card (old)
3x2GB OCZ Gold RAM (old)
Corsair GS800 PSU (new)
December 13, 2012 5:37:56 PM

I ended up doing a couple of tests last night with both my video card and my roommate's video card.

His video card works both in his computer and in mine. But again, after installing the same drivers (because they're similar cards, his being a 450 GTS), the computer would get through POST only for the video card to seemingly fail. The same thing would happen as with my video card, where the monitor would say "NO SIGNAL" and go into standby mode again. But unlike with my video card, his pushed through it. The monitor came back on within 2-5 seconds and dropped me at the login screen. I tried removing and reinstalling the drivers several times and rebooted several times with and without them to make sure it wasn't a one-time thing, and every time, I could make it to the login screen with only the minor hiccup described occurring.

As for my video card, it barely works in my computer without drivers and freezes after a couple hours of use. It still rarely but almost never works with drivers installed and usually can't reach the login screen. However, when I placed my video card in my roommate's computer, it would get all the way up to where the login screen was supposed to be but it would keep repeating "Please wait..." instead of displaying the user accounts. I've basically written it off as dead at this point because my roommate's computer began working fine again the second I put his video card back in.

Basically, I'll probably be buying a new video card at Best Buy at the end of the day to see if it takes care of all my problems.
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