Computer freezing after boot in a very particular way - possible boot drive failure?

MrDim

Junior Member
Dec 24, 2016
6
0
1
Relevant parts list:

  • i7 3770k w/ Corsair H60
  • GTX 970
  • ASUS Maximus V Gene
  • 16 GB RAM
  • ~4 year old SSD
  • 750W PSU
  • Windows 10
Hey guys,

I've got a problem with my PC that I'm having a lot of trouble diagnosing. It used to be an intermittent issue but it now occurs after every boot, preventing me from using my computer. I would greatly appreciate some opinions regarding the source of the problem.

For about a year now I've had a strange issue with my mostly 2 year old computer: occasionally, 1-5 minutes after boot, my computer will suddenly "freeze", but not in the way that I'm used to. What happens is this: when the freeze occurs, the computer suddenly becomes unable to load new applications, read files, etc; when opening or launching something, I'm still able to double click and receive the standard cursor loading response, but the operation never finishes. Applications that have already been launched initially can be dragged around and viewed, but performing any action on the application (or just waiting about 15 seconds) causes the application to lock up and be forever Not Responding. If I'm able to open Chrome before the freeze occurs, after the freeze I can attempt to navigate to a website, but the pageloading status is forever stuck on "waiting for cache". until Chrome locks up as well. Normally, I'm simply able to reboot once or twice more until the freezing doesn't happen on boot, and after that, it won't happen happen again (until next boot).

Just this morning, I awoke to a Windows 10 bluescreen: "A required device isn't connected or cannot be accessed", and ever since, this freeze has been occurring on every boot. Also since this bluescreen, Windows has been wanting to repair my disk on every boot, but seems to lock up at 38% every time and not complete, which to me seems like a result of my freezing issue (I haven't yet run the repair overnight so it could simply be taking a long time). I want to believe that the disk repair is related to my issue, but I'm afraid it may just be a general result of the bluescreen.

I'd be eternally grateful for suggestions as to what part could be causing this. My first guess is the obvious: a failing boot drive, my 3-4 year old SSD, especially given my bluescreen error and Windows' attempts to repair it, but this freezing problem has been happening intermittently for a long while now - does it make sense that it could have suddenly gotten worse? I always assumed SSDs would run mostly without error until their day of death, after which they wouldn't function. My next guess was bad memory, but I'd run many iterations of memtest beforehand and found no issues with my memory, and I'd never heard of bad memory causing this sort of issue. I plan on giving memtest another go as soon as I can. I can't imagine how any of my other parts could be involved in this problem.

Has anyone ever seen anything like this before?

Thanks so much in advance.

TL;DR: weird freezing problem described in second paragraph, can't figure out what part is causing it
 

Elixer

Lifer
May 7, 2002
10,376
762
126
Install Crystaldiskinfo, and see what that reports.
Also check event viewer, it does sound like a bad drive, those are the classic symptoms.
 

SKORPI0

Lifer
Jan 18, 2000
17,570
1,572
126
Replace the boot drive and a do new install of Windows 10. See if stops freezing.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
15,667
6,626
146

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
15,667
6,626
146
Also, are you sure your issues aren't related to your post back in December related to your overclocked CPU? Maybe you damaged it? You might have to test it as well.

https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/keyboard-input-outages-in-demanding-games-possible-cpu-hitching.2495555/

I am personally starting to suspect that the culprit is actually my CPU. When I first purchased this CPU 3 or so years ago, I was able to reach a comfortable, stable overclock of 4.5GHz, with max temps in the 70s. I realized about a week ago after experiencing CPU throttling ingame that my H60 had gotten clogged up (due to irresponsibility on my end) and CPU temperatures had been running very hot while playing Overwatch for many months, sometimes reaching the high 90s.
 

MrDim

Junior Member
Dec 24, 2016
6
0
1
Thanks so much all for your suggestions; I'll give them a shot as soon as I can and get back to you on the results.

Regarding my CPU: It's a definite possibility. My last problem that you referenced fortunately ended up having nothing to do with the CPU, and my temps have been much safer since then with no apparent issues, but I could believe it. Do my freezing symptoms sound like they could originate from some kind of CPU failure? How would I go about testing my CPU for such errors? I ran a decently long session of prime95 a while ago with no issue; is there some other way other than stress testing to identify a CPU problem?

Thanks again guys.

UPDATE: I was finally able to boot up successfully, though it took many more attempts than usual. Looks like I may have a bit more time to figure out the problem before it really gets bad.
 
Last edited:

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
15,667
6,626
146
Thanks so much all for your suggestions; I'll give them a shot as soon as I can and get back to you on the results.

Regarding my CPU: It's a definite possibility. My last problem that you referenced fortunately ended up having nothing to do with the CPU, and my temps have been much safer since then with no apparent issues, but I could believe it. Do my freezing symptoms sound like they could originate from some kind of CPU failure? How would I go about testing my CPU for such errors? I ran a decently long session of prime95 a while ago with no issue; is there some other way other than stress testing to identify a CPU problem?

Thanks again guys.
Something like Prime95, Intel Extreme Tuning Utility, or this:

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/19792/Intel-Processor-Diagnostic-Tool

If it is damaged, it should throw errors. After seeing your first post about PC issues, I just wanted to make sure they are not connected (which a damaged CPU could cause the same type of micro-pausing issues as well).
 

MrDim

Junior Member
Dec 24, 2016
6
0
1
CrystalDiskInfo seems to be showing no issues on my SSD:
http://imgur.com/a/Gjeo4

I enabled minidump creation so I can take a look at the details of my next bluescreen with BlueScreenView. No "integrity volations" from SFC. Is there anything else I can do to test my drive? Could I reasonably assume that it's not dying based on those CrystalDiskInfo results?

Haven't run a long prime test yet, but that's next on the agenda.
 

Ketchup

Elite Member
Sep 1, 2002
14,509
223
106
The blue screen you mentioned can happen when the computer is "waiting" on a device, such as a USB or Bluetooth device. My advice would be to unplug anything that doesn't work when the computer is frozen (such as Bluetooth or USB devices) and see if the problem goes away.

Another suggestion would be to avoid using any of the Asmedia USB or SATA ports until you have pinpointed the issue.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY