Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Fuzzy Avatars Solved! Please re-upload your avatar if it was fuzzy!

(Windows 7) randomly blue screens on start up

TheScavengerTheScavenger Matrix, NYPosts: 911Member Uncommon

I've had this problem for about...6-7 months now. It can run fine for many weeks (it lasted 4 weeks before it started acting up)...but suddenly, as the computer turns on it will get right before you login to windows and then my PC resets.

 

It says "fatal system error", and asks if I want to scan my PC for errors and if it finds any it will fix them. I've let it scan a few times, but it never finds any errors. After the first few times, I just tell it to restart and skip the scanning. Sometimes it keeps giving a fatal system error, sometimes it logs right on.

 

Eventually I can get into Windows and when I get on the desktop in the event viewer, it gives a fatal system error occured "blue screen". Nothing really shows up in the event viewer that is any use.

 

It does say however "System powered down or lost power unexpectedly". Even though I turn off my PC the correct way. I never force the PC to be turned off.

 

The strange thing is, I can leave my PC on for days...and it has 0 problems. The only time it has problems is starting up. All my games run great and many are very computer intensive, no errors when using the PC...windows update is normal...no problems at all. It only blue screens on starting up the PC. And that can happen 4-6 times in a row, even with fully unpowering the PC...or it can happen once or twice...but eventually I can get into my PC and it runs fine.

 

I did a full scan on my hard drive, and my hard drive returned 0 errors. I've also done many virus scans (with a computer tech) and even had the computer tech look through my PC hardware, but no viruses were found and he couldn't find any hardware problems.

 

So, any of you guys have any idea of what this strange thing could be? It isn't really a major problem, because I can run my computer fine. Its just, once in a while, starting up is a challenge.

image
«13

Comments

  • botrytisbotrytis In Flux, MIPosts: 2,567Member
    Sounds like your hard drive is going. I would back up the system on a new drive and do an extensive test on your current HD.

    image

    "In 50 years, when I talk to my grandchildren about these days, I'll make sure to mention what an accomplished MMO player I was. They are going to be so proud ..."
    by Naqaj - 7/17/2013 MMORPG.com forum

  • stringboistringboi Atlanta, GAPosts: 394Member

    Usually restarts, or errors right before windows logs on has to do with a windows or an overclock (if you have overclocked) issue.  Have you tried reformatting and reinstalling windows?  If you have overclocked, try resetting the BIOS back to stock.  If you dont have any viruses/malware and cant find any errors during a recovery....it would be wise to at least try reinstalling windows, it just may be something deeper. 

    If after you reinstall windows and the issue continues....then you have a hardware issue.  That would take a bit more time to pinpoint which component is causing the problem.   If your not savvy with diagnosing hardware issues, you may have to take it to a shop and have them pinpoint it for you.

  • TheScavengerTheScavenger Matrix, NYPosts: 911Member Uncommon

    I have backed up my PC to an early point, my computer tech had me create one a while back. 

     

    And nope, no overclocking. I don't even know how to set that up :P so you can see how bad I am with PC hardware :P I'm pretty good at finding general PC problems, but not hardware ones.

     

    Could be hardware or something gone wrong with my Windows installation. I'll ask my computer tech and see what he thinks of re-installing Windows. All my hardware stuff is 4-5 years old now...my motherboard was rather crappy to begin with and is the oldest piece of hardware I have. If its hardware, it may be that. Because, in fact, my dads motherboard is going out and its the same exact age and brand and type as my motherboard. He has similar problems starting up (edit: And his problem started at nearly the same exact time mine did), but not exactly the same

     

    Its just weird that it only does it at startup (and even then, it can go away for weeks on end), but its completely fine when its actually running. (edit: Thats really only reason I haven't suggested to fully re-installed Windows. Its kind of annoying having to reinstall everything and it only once in a while does it on startup. Though it would narrow down a bad Windows installation and hardware)

    image
  • TheScavengerTheScavenger Matrix, NYPosts: 911Member Uncommon

    One thing I noticed, is that when my harddrive gets to 1 TB of free space (I have a 1.5 TB harddrive)...and it may just be a coincidence...but the problem seems to happen more often when it gets to 1 TB free or less. Not sure if that has to do with anything, but twice now...it got to 1 TB free and then it starts acting up. I removed a bunch of stuff and the problem seems to go away.

     

    Kind of hard to test that, when it can go weeks without having any issue. But the last time my PC acted up was like 2-3 weeks ago.

     

    May be a coincidence...but my PC seems a lot more stable when I have 1.1 TB+ free. 

     

    But at the same time, my dads motherboard is going bad and at nearly the exact same time...his and my problem (which are sort of similar) happened at once. And we both have the exact same motherboard and they are both near the same age, and its a crappy motherboard.

     

    Guess further testing is required. For now, my tech said if my PC is running, if I don't want to go through the pain of reinstalling...that I should just stick with it. Plus I don't really have the money to pay him to reinstall. Guess it isn't really a big deal if it only happens at startup and it runs fine.

     

    I mostly just posted, cause the problem seems so strange...never acting up while running. just starting up. And maybe see what others thought it could be.

    image
  • stringboistringboi Atlanta, GAPosts: 394Member

    Its most likely a windows or hard drive issue.  If you can tolerate a reinstall, I would do it.....it will cross off a software issue if everything reinstalls correctly and all is well afterwards.  If it is your hard drive, you may run into an issue reinstalling windows and you will know its the hard drive because of the install errors OR you may make it through the install and then it will act up again, then you will be able to confirm you have a clean operating system, so it cant be that....it must be a faulty drive sectore on your HD.

    A clean install is simple....just back up anything you want to keep to the cloud or on a secondary drive, pop in your Windows CD, restart and hit any key to boot from the disc...follow the direction and done!  The most time consuming part is reinstalling the software you once had.  But in just about every case, this will solve any software issues regardless of registry, malware, viruses or anything really......it will greatly help to narrow down why this is happening.

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Anchorage, AKPosts: 1,788Member

    Next time you are logged into windows, open a command prompt as administrator (start>all programs>accessories> right click command prompt and select "run as administrator").

    In the command window, type "sfc /scannow" without quotes and hit enter.

    This will scan your system files and determine if any have become corrupted or comprimised.

    You make me like charity

  • TerranahTerranah Stockton, CAPosts: 3,605Member

    I'm not a computer tech or anything, so take with a grain of salt.  But I've had this happen over the years a time or three, and it seems like in almost every instance it was the hard drive dying.  It may not happen tomorrow, but I'd be backing up all the pics and things you don't want to lose.

     

    Good luck.

  • TheScavengerTheScavenger Matrix, NYPosts: 911Member Uncommon

    When I'm on my PC I'll do the sfc scan. Though I'm pretty sure my tech guy already did that a couple times and nothing came up. That was one of the first things he did I think.

     

    Do harddrives really take that long to die though if its a harddrive problem? The problem started around August...been like 6 months now. It doesn't make any weird noise or anything, and it doesn't do anything weird when its being used.

     

    On the plus side, my tech guy set up a backup harddrive through my dads setup. So I've been backing things up that I don't want to lose. On top of the full backup I already did near the beginning of last year. So even if something dies, I'll still have access to my stuff.

    image
  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    IT guy here-

    Sounds like you've got some Boot sector corruption.

    How long has it been since your OS was installed?

    You've got to get your hands on your Windows install disk and boot into recovery mode -

    You can try the automatic - though it usually doesn't work.

    If not, use recovery mode and get to a CMD line.

    If you need help with all this, google it lol *note - this is MUCH different than just running CMD in Windows*

    Then you'll type -

    bootrec /fixboot

    and then

    bootrec /fixmbr

    Might want to make a backup of your data first.

    If you don't feel comfortable doing any of that, back up your data just reinstall windows fresh.

    Also - it might be bad sectors on your hard drive that a chkdsk can't fix. Signs of an aging/near death drive.

    You can run all the CHKDSK C: /F you want - if a drive is really borked it won't fix a damn thing.

  • knightauditknightaudit Victoria, BCPosts: 255Member Uncommon

    Based on what you have said and the issues you are having, one thing that does get overlooked is the BIOS battery. The batteries are good for about 4-5 years and then start to fade out ... This can cause problems in start up, changes in the BIOS settings and even the internal clock.

    Just another thing to keep in mind if all else fails .. try that.

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member
    Originally posted by knightaudit

    Based on what you have said and the issues you are having, one thing that does get overlooked is the BIOS battery. The batteries are good for about 4-5 years and then start to fade out ... This can cause problems in start up, changes in the BIOS settings and even the internal clock.

    Just another thing to keep in mind if all else fails .. try that.

    ^ this is also PARTIALLY true, though unless you have a REALLY old motherboard is incredibly rare - those things last a really long time.

    Like... 10+ years. Not 4-5.

    And it's called a CMOS battery.

    The rest is true - if that IS starting to go it can mess with your BIOS settings, even internal clock - though once you hit windows you won't notice cause your clock in OS is probably pulling net time.

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Anchorage, AKPosts: 1,788Member
    Originally posted by TheScavenger

    When I'm on my PC I'll do the sfc scan. Though I'm pretty sure my tech guy already did that a couple times and nothing came up. That was one of the first things he did I think.

     

    Do harddrives really take that long to die though if its a harddrive problem? The problem started around August...been like 6 months now. It doesn't make any weird noise or anything, and it doesn't do anything weird when its being used.

     

    On the plus side, my tech guy set up a backup harddrive through my dads setup. So I've been backing things up that I don't want to lose. On top of the full backup I already did near the beginning of last year. So even if something dies, I'll still have access to my stuff.

    Hard drive failures can happen slowly over time, yes.  What happens is if a system file happens to be located on a sector that goes bad, it can cause some of the errors you are experiencing upon startup.

    The thing is, there are other possible causes for this, namely malware and viruses.  Sometimes you'll get something, and your antivirus will detect and remove it, but not before some system files got screwed up in the process.

    You mentioned having checked the drive for errors once already with no bad results, which is the only reason I'm not telling you to replace the drive just yet.  Run the SFC command first, and just see if it picks anything up.  If it does, then you've isolated the problem down to a few things, one of which is a possible hard drive failure.

    If it truly doesn't pick anything up (SFC just scans system files and restrores them from secured backups or the disk if needed), then you have a bigger problem than a likely HD failure.

     

    It would really help if you give the specific error code when it comes up with Fatal System Error.  it will probably be in a format like 0xc00021a or something.

    You make me like charity

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    *note*

    SFC scan now is the poor man's CHKDSK /F

    SFC scan does software/registry and CHKDSK /F does hardware layer disk checking and attempts to fix bad sectors.

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Anchorage, AKPosts: 1,788Member
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    IT guy here-

    Sounds like you've got some Boot sector corruption.

    How long has it been since your OS was installed?

    You've got to get your hands on your Windows install disk and boot into recovery mode -

    You can try the automatic - though it usually doesn't work.

    If not, use recovery mode and get to a CMD line.

    If you need help with all this, google it lol *note - this is MUCH different than just running CMD in Windows*

    Then you'll type -

    bootrec /fixboot

    and then

    bootrec /fixmbr

    Might want to make a backup of your data first.

    If you don't feel comfortable doing any of that, back up your data just reinstall windows fresh.

    Also - it might be bad sectors on your hard drive that a chkdsk can't fix. Signs of an aging/near death drive.

    You can run all the CHKDSK C: /F you want - if a drive is really borked it won't fix a damn thing.

    Um, if he has boot sector problems it wouldn't really work at all.  All the bootsector does is tells the computer where the OS (or boot loader) is located, so that it can start loading windows.  It either works, or doesn't work.  there's not really any shade of grey there.

    The fact that it can start loading Windows means the bootsector is just fine.

    You make me like charity

  • maskedweaselmaskedweasel houston, TXPosts: 7,277Member Uncommon

    It could be a MBR issue like Spock said, it could also be a hardware issue.  If you do get a blue screen you can give everyone the exact error which would help in troubleshooting.

     

    To kill any installed software related issues,  I would at least try to get into safemode after the first time of experiencing the problem, which kills all unnecessary services... this could signify something is starting up that is causing a crash.

     

    As far as the harddrive going out, you can check in your error logs and see if there are any DISK errors, which usually signifies bad blocks more times then not.  

     

    You can also check to make sure all your cables are connected properly to your hard drive, in the event there is a loss of power on the drive or something is a little loose, you could experience intermittent blue screens.

    "Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


    image

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member
    Originally posted by asmkm22
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    IT guy here-

    Sounds like you've got some Boot sector corruption.

    How long has it been since your OS was installed?

    You've got to get your hands on your Windows install disk and boot into recovery mode -

    You can try the automatic - though it usually doesn't work.

    If not, use recovery mode and get to a CMD line.

    If you need help with all this, google it lol *note - this is MUCH different than just running CMD in Windows*

    Then you'll type -

    bootrec /fixboot

    and then

    bootrec /fixmbr

    Might want to make a backup of your data first.

    If you don't feel comfortable doing any of that, back up your data just reinstall windows fresh.

    Also - it might be bad sectors on your hard drive that a chkdsk can't fix. Signs of an aging/near death drive.

    You can run all the CHKDSK C: /F you want - if a drive is really borked it won't fix a damn thing.

    Um, if he has boot sector problems it wouldn't really work at all.  All the bootsector does is tells the computer where the OS (or boot loader) is located, so that it can start loading windows.  It either works, or doesn't work.  there's not really any shade of grey there.

    The fact that it can start loading Windows means the bootsector is just fine.

    Only partially true.

    Problem is more likely in Partition tables if Windows is trying to load and sometimes works. Which means corruption.

    But as I said, it's more likely to be hard drive issues (physical) which means HOPEFULLY a chkdsk /f will correct any issues.

    If not, reinstall OS is next logical step - still problems? New HD.

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Anchorage, AKPosts: 1,788Member
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    *note*

    SFC scan now is the poor man's CHKDSK /F

    SFC scan does software/registry and CHKDSK /F does hardware layer disk checking and attempts to fix bad sectors.

    What are you even talking about?  The two are completely different tools...

    CHKDSK is a tool used to check the file system of a disk, to make sure that data can be read and written properly.

    SFC is used to scan the Windows system files to make sure the required system files exist, and are valid (not fake replacements).  If it detects a problem with one, it attempts to restore it from a protected folder designed specficially for this, or from the windows disk if the folder is also corrupted.

    You make me like charity

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member
    Originally posted by asmkm22
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    *note*

    SFC scan now is the poor man's CHKDSK /F

    SFC scan does software/registry and CHKDSK /F does hardware layer disk checking and attempts to fix bad sectors.

    What are you even talking about?  The two are completely different tools...

    CHKDSK is a tool used to check the file system of a disk, to make sure that data can be read and written properly.

    SFC is used to scan the Windows system files to make sure the required system files exist, and are valid (not fake replacements).  If it detects a problem with one, it attempts to restore it from a protected folder designed specficially for this, or from the windows disk if the folder is also corrupted.

    Ummm I know.

    Like I said.

    He/she ran SFC scannow a couple of times now - problem is not in the file system.

    SFC scannow is a nub tool people read about on yahoo answers - but few outside of technical fields ever chkdsk /f their machines unless their IT does it for them.

    Do you work in IT every day for the past decade? I do.

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Anchorage, AKPosts: 1,788Member
    Originally posted by maskedweasel

    It could be a MBR issue like Spock said, it could also be a hardware issue.  If you do get a blue screen you can give everyone the exact error which would help in troubleshooting.

     

    To kill any installed software related issues,  I would at least try to get into safemode after the first time of experiencing the problem, which kills all unnecessary services... this could signify something is starting up that is causing a crash.

     

    As far as the harddrive going out, you can check in your error logs and see if there are any DISK errors, which usually signifies bad blocks more times then not.  

     

    You can also check to make sure all your cables are connected properly to your hard drive, in the event there is a loss of power on the drive or something is a little loose, you could experience intermittent blue screens.

    There's a lot of misinformation floating around here...

    MBR problems tend to be very black and white.  Either the MBR works and the OS location is found, or it doesn't, and the computer complains about there not being an OS installed (there might be, but the MBR doesn't actually know where on the disk it is, usually  because the MBR got corrupted or cleared).  Since his OS is clearly being found, the MBR is not the issue.

    You make me like charity

  • asmkm22asmkm22 Anchorage, AKPosts: 1,788Member
    Originally posted by BadSpock
    Originally posted by asmkm22
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    *note*

    SFC scan now is the poor man's CHKDSK /F

    SFC scan does software/registry and CHKDSK /F does hardware layer disk checking and attempts to fix bad sectors.

    What are you even talking about?  The two are completely different tools...

    CHKDSK is a tool used to check the file system of a disk, to make sure that data can be read and written properly.

    SFC is used to scan the Windows system files to make sure the required system files exist, and are valid (not fake replacements).  If it detects a problem with one, it attempts to restore it from a protected folder designed specficially for this, or from the windows disk if the folder is also corrupted.

    Ummm I know.

    Like I said.

    He/she ran SFC scannow a couple of times now - problem is not in the file system.

    SFC scannow is a nub tool people read about on yahoo answers - but few outside of technical fields ever chkdsk /f their machines unless their IT does it for them.

    Do you work in IT every day for the past decade? I do.

     

    Chkdisk and SFC have two completely different purposes.  One isn't going to fix the problems of another, and one certainly isn't somehow better than the other, as you imply.

    I'm not about to get into a work credentials argument with you here, but yes, I have more experience than 10 years in "IT".

    You make me like charity

  • logicbomb82logicbomb82 Muncie, INPosts: 201Member Uncommon
    Check your motherboard for swollen caps. This could cause weird issues like this and it will only get worse.  Easy to check and can save you from buying a new HDD.

    Some people call me Logicbomb or Logic or a**hole. Whatever works.

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    *SIGH*

    Here you go - learn something new Mr. IT Veteran!

    "The MBR is actually a low level executable program that contains the appropriate instructions on booting the computer. As such, it is susceptible to malware that may replace its code with something more malicious. This has already been exhibited by some viruses that replace the MBR with their own code in order to deliver their own payload even before the computer is able to launch the OS. Even though the partition table is not an executable, it also needs to be protected. If the partition table is corrupted, the computer will not be able to tell where one partition starts and where the other begins. This can result to data corruption and even cause the computer not to start."

    I HAVE SEEN issues where MBR is just fine and PC reads the OS but that can't load it fully and BLUE SCREENS because the PARTITION TABLE is corrupted due to a malware infection.

    The PARTITION TABLE is contained w/in the MBR - but it's not the same thing.

    Hence why I said might be a good idea to mess with CHKDSK and auto-recovery first before getting into fixmbr stuff as that can break things more.

    I know the difference between SFC scannow and CHKDSK - he/she has run SFC scannow - didn't fix problem because windows file structure is not the problem.

    Hard drive MIGHT be.

    CHKDSK /F might help fix hard drive errors causing irregularity in boot and other system stability.

    /class dismissed.

  • maskedweaselmaskedweasel houston, TXPosts: 7,277Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by asmkm22
    Originally posted by maskedweasel

    It could be a MBR issue like Spock said, it could also be a hardware issue.  If you do get a blue screen you can give everyone the exact error which would help in troubleshooting.

     

    To kill any installed software related issues,  I would at least try to get into safemode after the first time of experiencing the problem, which kills all unnecessary services... this could signify something is starting up that is causing a crash.

     

    As far as the harddrive going out, you can check in your error logs and see if there are any DISK errors, which usually signifies bad blocks more times then not.  

     

    You can also check to make sure all your cables are connected properly to your hard drive, in the event there is a loss of power on the drive or something is a little loose, you could experience intermittent blue screens.

    There's a lot of misinformation floating around here...

    MBR problems tend to be very black and white.  Either the MBR works and the OS location is found, or it doesn't, and the computer complains about there not being an OS installed (there might be, but the MBR doesn't actually know where on the disk it is, usually  because the MBR got corrupted or cleared).  Since his OS is clearly being found, the MBR is not the issue.

     

    That is a little presumptuous,  and it would depend on how things were set up originally on his PC.  There are cases of MBR issues within multiple installations that could default to the wrong installation causing a blue screen.   

    Seeing as how he's had a tech work on his PC before, it could be an instance where he might have multiple installations.  Thats really just splitting hairs though.  Without the specific error, and without seeing it, we all get to presume as much as we want. 

    "Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


    image

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member
    Originally posted by maskedweasel

    Seeing as how he's had a tech work on his PC before, it could be an instance where he might have multiple installations.  Thats really just splitting hairs though.  Without the specific error, and without seeing it, we all get to presume as much as we want. 

    Exactly.

    He might come back to the thread and say "I've been using the same HD for 5+ years and this is my 4th OS installation on it" and I'd say "OK buy a new one" but we don't know all the details.

    OP says "fully scanned HD" but what scan?

    If this is a newer/brand new drive and this is first/only OS installation I'd say it's corruption likely related to a virus or malware.

    If it's old as balls it's probably physical and/or logical and a reinstall / reformat / chkdsk might fix it.

     

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member
    Originally posted by TheScavenger

    Could be hardware or something gone wrong with my Windows installation. I'll ask my computer tech and see what he thinks of re-installing Windows. All my hardware stuff is 4-5 years old now...my motherboard was rather crappy to begin with and is the oldest piece of hardware I have. If its hardware, it may be that. Because, in fact, my dads motherboard is going out and its the same exact age and brand and type as my motherboard. He has similar problems starting up (edit: And his problem started at nearly the same exact time mine did), but not exactly the same

     

    /thread

    Buy a new one.

    Helps to read the later posts by the OP :)

    OP - unless you know what you're doing you'll spend LESS buying new equipment than paying someone to fix it.

«13
Sign In or Register to comment.