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(Solved) - Win7 apear to start normally, but then nothing moves

(23 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by Ulisse33
  • Latest reply from warlock
  • Topic Viewed 888 times

Ulisse33
Posts: 8

I recently installed Win7 Ultimate in my desktop. In the majority of cases everything works normally. But quite often, approximately two out of ten times, while startup appears to proceed and complete normally with all desktop icons in place, in reality nothing works, except for the mouse pointer. This means that everything is dead: I can not start any program, and I can not switch the computer off. I have to use my reset button for a new startup, which generally completes successfully, and from then on I can use the computer normally. My impression is that, although the startup process appears to proceed regularly, in reality it never really completes, producing the effect I just described.
I wonder if anyone has ever experienced anything similar, or has an idea of why this happens, or if a method can be suggested to further investigate the problem.
I will be grateful for any suggestions.

Posted 1 year ago
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warlock
warlock
Posts: 4100

Where did you get the Windows Ultimate from? Is it a full install or an upgrade?

Posted 1 year ago
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GuiltySpark
GuiltySpark
Posts: 4024

Hi Ulisse33 ,

Welcome to HTG ,

Does this happen in Safe mode too ?

How many start up programs are you running ? - Hold Winkey+R and type msconfig in the Run box, select start up tab.

Have you done any 'tweaking' ?

Have you installed any new software recently and how long has it been going on ?

Posted 1 year ago
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Ulisse33
Posts: 8

Thank you warlok and GuiltySpark for your questions.
To warlok: the Ultimate version I use it is a standard regularly purchased version, and it is a full install (I totally formatted and re-partitioned my hdd before installation).
To GuiltySpark: I entered safe mode two or three times, when I first noticed the problem, in an attempt to mend the startup process from there. But nothing changed. Apparently the problem does not show up in safe mode. As for the startup processes, I got rid of most of them, exactly in the hope that the problem would disappear. I now have very few of them, two or three installed by my antivirus program(AVG). In addition to this I have Adobe Reader, a file manager (PowerDesk, which I have used for years), a search program (Everything) and a reminder (Kana Reminder).
I do not know what you really mean by “tweaking”. The only intervention which in my opinion might fall in this category was done by a friend of mine, when he offered to eliminate the initial password request by Win7, which I considered an annoyance. I cannot reconstruct exactly what he did to obtain that. And, thinking about it, it may just be that my present problem came up after this “tweak”.
I am not sure if the above gives you any hints. I certainly hope so.
Thank you again.

Posted 1 year ago
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Ulisse33
Posts: 8

No answers, no further questions. Are geeks too busy elsewhere? In the meantime I found at least some hints here:
http://pcsupport.about.com/od/.....tartup.htm

Posted 1 year ago
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GuiltySpark
GuiltySpark
Posts: 4024

Sorry Ulisse33 have been busy and missed your last post.

If the problem doesn't arise in Safe mode then there is definitely a problem with one of the background items.

Is the AVG a paid program or Free version ?

Posted 1 year ago
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warlock
warlock
Posts: 4100

Just to add to GS post, you may want to try with add on's disabled.

Posted 1 year ago
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nosparks
Posts: 148

Ulisse33, I'm curious to know how long you actually sit in front of your computer waiting before deciding nothing works? At times a couple of minutes can seem like an eternity.

It was sort of a similar thing that led me to this forum about a year ago and I still don't really know what the problem was, only that it hasn't returned.

http://www.howtogeek.com/forum.....ome-screen

Posted 1 year ago
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Ulisse33
Posts: 8

Welcome back Geeks, and thank you. I myself took some time answering your latest posts because, during the last couple of days I tried to get help from the web. To my surprise I found lots of it: if you google "win7 freezing on startup" you get great amounts of interesting material to read. I found however an important difference between my case an those generally reported: the majority of my startups are successful, whereas almost the totality of those reported are "frozen" cases. This of course makes my case more difficult to diagnose, since I can only investigate the few failures I may encounter. Because of this I have decided that, from today, I will take note of all my startups, so that I should end up with statistics that will give me a measure for my problem. This morning I made ten startups, of which six were normal and four in safe mode. All of them were successful, i.e. no "freezing". Thus the problem does not show up, and until it does again there is little I - and possibly you - can do.
When - and if -the problem arises again, I understand I should first investigate safe booting. And in case the problem does not show up, I will have to turn back to normal booting, trying to disable the majority of startup programs and then try enabling them one at a time. It will be, I fear, a long and tedious process.
Please let me know if you agree to the above and if you can suggest additional procedures.
Now to the questions in your post. As to safe booting GuiltySpark and warlock have the answer in the above. GuiltySpark asks if my AVG is the paid or free version. It is the latter. But I like to ask why he asks this question. Is there perhaps, in the paid version, some special program that might be useful to suggest a solution to my problem?
Finally, nosparks reports on a case that might have been similar to mine, which suddenly appeared and then soon disappeared. This may well be the case again: the latest happenings, as reported above, might point in this direction. I want to point out however that when I first stumbled on my problem I did wait fairly long to see if the "freeze" would go by itself. How long? Possibly several minutes, and at least in one case more than 15, since I recall being interrupted by a long telephone call. At the end of the call everything was still "frozen".
Thank you for any help you can give me.

Posted 1 year ago
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GuiltySpark
GuiltySpark
Posts: 4024

Hi Ulisse33 ,

The reason I asked about the type of AVG program you have is because if you have the free version (which you do), I would advise removing it and trying another free AV. AVG is very bloated.

However, you are going about this in a very intricate way which is good, if not time consuming, but as you say it is hard to diagnose as it is a very intermittent problem.

If you would like to remove AVG and try a less bloated AV then please come back and ask for the remover tool(s).

Hope you can figure out the culprit either way :)

Posted 1 year ago
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warlock
warlock
Posts: 4100

@Ulisse33, You can try as GS suggests but I have been using the free AVG for years on this W7 machine without problems. Also did you try to run with add on's disabled?

Posted 1 year ago
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MrCmonkeeDo
Posts: 8

A friend's desktop was having similar issues. Much of what you are describing is similar to the way her's had been behaving, but by the time she brought it to me it would only boot to log-in then freeze. I fiddled with it for several hours in Safe Mode thinking it was a software issue, but the more i tried the worse it got. Sometimes it would boot to SM sometimes it couldn't. Totally perplexed, I set it aside for a couple days and just thought about it. About all i could do at that point was clean the insides and reseat everything (it's amazing how often that works.) Still no appreciable difference, though there was a little. That got me to thinking it might be a hardware issue. So i stripped it down to just the essentials, i.e. duel-core processor, RAM, monitor, keyboard, mouse; and it still wouldn't finish a boot.
So i checked the factory power supply. To my surprise it was rated at only 200 watts (didn't think they even made those anymore.) So i plugged in a 300 watt PS and walla! she booted right up. Convinced I'd found the problem I plugged everything back in and again it booted-up successfully. Then I got on line and streamed a video and everything was fine. So i shut it down one more time and rebooted and BAM! almost the same problem appeared. Drat!

Now, because i am the curious sort, I did what you are NEVER supposed to do. I opened the original power supply. Without touching anything I blew the accumulated dust off and looked at the small electrolytic capacitors (there was a row of 5 or 6) under my magnifying lamp. Just as I'd suspected at least 3 were puffed up. One had actually oozed it's innards. From previous searches i knew that nothing really degrades in a switchmode power supply except possibly the electrolytic capacitors. In fact, electrolytic capacitors are probably the hardest working components in a computer, even on a mother board. So after varifying the 300 w PS was still good I pulled the mother board and found--you probably guessed it--a puffy capacitor and another that looked very suspicious. So i took a chance and ordered 5 replacements for a couple of bucks from ebay. Took another chance and fired-up my solder station, removed the two offenders and replaced them. I'd never soldered before on such a tiny scale (though i have done a lot of soldering on my pinball machines) so I wasn't that optimistic. But what do you know, I actually repaired that mother. And it's working to this day.

My theory is that the PS went first and caused the failings on the MB, but I don't know. What i do know is that it took only a few minutes to unhook all the non-essential hardware to see if it would boot, but i spent many hrs looking for a software issue that didn't exist. Also, off the shelf computers usually contain power supplies with just the bare minimum of wattage needed to keep them going. And so they work harder and therfore fail sooner.

Take from this what you will; I may be full of DO.

Posted 1 year ago
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germ-x
germ-x
Posts: 5310

@MrCmonkeeDo, Your reply is very informative. Since the OP never listed the make or model of his /her system it's hard to tell if something like that is the problem. If it is a home build and the PSU was not of correct size for all other componments then I can see a possible strained PSU.
@Ulisse33, The more I read through this post I wonder if the video isn't the problem.
The freeze never happens in SM and that's when windows is running standard vga. When the system is booted normal is when whatever video is installed comes into play. First we need a little more info on your system.
Laptop > Desktop > factory build or self build > Integrated video on the MB or external video card?
Have you updated all your drivers when you installed Windows7?

Posted 1 year ago
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MrCmonkeeDo
Posts: 8

I should clarify that removing the cover of any switchmode power supply is unwise. Even unplugged the main filter capacitors hold a charge that can kill you. You can check a power supply with a multimeter or switch it out with a spare if you have one. Until i have a way to safely discharge those capacitors that PSU will sit in my junk pile. Let's face it, other than harvesting the good components there is no reason to repair a 200 watt PSU.

Having said that there is nothing particularly dangerous about opening the case of an UNPLUGGED desk top computer. I've seen CPU cooling fans with 5+ years of dust dragging them to a sqealing death. Likewise, the heat sink fins and exhaust fan were also on the verge of catastrophic meltdown. Curiously, it wasn't the squealing CPU fan that drove the owner crazy, it was that stupid BSOD that kept occuring. A good cleaning and reseating of the come-aparts was all it needed; no more squeal and no more BSOD either.

Back in the Win98 days i remember sparks blasting out the back of my computer followed by wispy little trails of smoke. Yikes! As it turns out, it is not that uncommon for PSUs to go out like that. Some die slowly and quietly, others suddenly and violently. Regardless, after i replaced it a slew of issues i thought had been software related went away.

These are the days of 7 though. Win7 is the easiest OS i've ever loaded onto a computer. Sure you could have a corrupt file or malware, but do not rule out hardware. The symptoms described are indicative of a failing PSU. As "germ-x" states we just don't have enough info. It could even be as simple as reseating a misaligned video card.

Posted 1 year ago
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Ulisse33
Posts: 8

Thank you, my good friends, for your additional suggestions. The fact is, however, that since I decided I would take note of the failure percentage I have not had a single failure any more: 16 startups so far, no "freezing". So it appears that the problem, like nosparks reported in one case, went away just as it came in. But I can assure you that I was really worried, when I first saw it, as I feared it would worsen, as usual in similar cases. This is why I have not tried to disable addons, as warlock suggests: if it works correctly with addons enabled, I figured it would "a fortiori" work correctly with them disabled.
While waiting for the beast to wake up again - and hoping it does not -, I like to comment on the latest posts.
MrCmonkeeDo suggests a possible PS failure caused by electrolytics. This is certainly a possibility, as electrolytics notoriously do not like high voltages, which are however "built in" in modern switching PS. I tend however to rule them out in my case, since this, in my opinion, would show up in frequent failures, which was indeed the case in MrCmonkeeDo case.
germ-x's , on the other hand, might have a point: a video card failure. Here I must report that, in very few cases of startup failures - may be two or three times at most - the startup phase would stop earlier than I reported previously: i.e., after the desktop came up and the various icons began to appear, the process would stop and freeze, with many of the icons incomplete: only a white frame for a number of icons, both on the desktop and in the taskbar. A comment by germ-x - or anybody else of course - on this would be much appreciated.
To complete the picture here is some information on my system: it is a 32bit desktop computer, which I bought from a local assembler, with the only addition to the standard version of a second HDD which I use for backups. The main components are as follows:
MB: Gigabyte GA-G41M.ES2L
CPU: 2,33 GHz Intel Core2 Quad
HDD: Two Barracuda Seagate/Maxtor disks, 500GB each, SATA
RAM: 2 x 2048 MB, Kingston
Video card: NVidia GeForce 9400 GT
Power Supply: 430W
Optical drive: Optiarc DVD RW AD-5240S ATA

Posted 1 year ago
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MrCmonkeeDo
Posts: 8

I calculate you need 477w to operate at 90% load with info provided.

Posted 1 year ago
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Ulisse33
Posts: 8

Hello everybody. I am now at 25 startups since I started counting them, and all were successful so far. Why? I do not know, since I have done nothing at all to my computer from that very moment, except changing the desktop color into a dark red-brown from the light blue it was. But I doubt this may have been the cure for my problem.
I will keep counting startups and report back to the forum should the problem show up again. For the time being please accept, all of you, my thanks for the suggestions you made to solve a problem that, as of now, has apparently vanished in the meanders of computing.

Posted 1 year ago
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germ-x
germ-x
Posts: 5310

@Ulisse33, Glad to hear things are ok for now.
Going back to your video you do have integrated video and it should be auto disabled in the BIOS once an external video card is found during boot-up.
With the freeze of the icons while completing the boot process this can caused by driver conflicts. Windows loads until it gets to the conflect or corrupt drivers then it cannot proceed and you get your freeze.

Posted 1 year ago
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Ulisse33
Posts: 8

Hi, germ-x. Quite frankly I wasn't aware that my MB had an integrated video. In any case I did verify that my BIOS is set, as you point out, so that the external video card has priority. You suggest however that, in spite of this, the presence in the computer of two video drivers may lead to a conflict between them, and that this may cause the freeze. But if this is the case, how do I move forward? The only way I can see is to remove, or neutralize, the driver for the MB video. Can anyone suggest a way to do this? I made an attempt, but I found myself searching (in C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore) in a list of hundreds of drivers and got lost! Any ideas?

Posted 1 year ago
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warlock
warlock
Posts: 4100

@Ulisse33, Has the problem returned?

Posted 1 year ago
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