Question Computer boots to Troubleshooting tools, no Safe Mode option

Astralv

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I have been seeing my computers getting black screen and/or repair loop more than once. My everyday computers are recoverable by reinstalling OS, but my Audio production computer contains unique software distributed on multiple drives, it would take months to reinstall everything.

Intel Ivy Bridge 3770K, Asus
P8Z77-V PRO

, 500Gb SSD and 4 or 5 other drives installed.

Yesterday, my partner needed to install some Audio management software to learn to operate Zoom meetings stuff. I told him to install on E drive because C was almost full. He told me- E drive is not available. That was odd but nothing surprises me any more. So I told him to restart and see if E drive will reappear. I changed E drive about 9 months ago because old drive was not working correctly. So this drive is relatively new Seagate HDD. He restarted but he connected old USB camera. He did not know that this computer had a history of going in to repair loop if certain USB devices were connected. Usually it would come out of the loop soon as USB device removed. I dont know what he did- at some point he admitted that he did Hard Turn Off by pressing button, then he said- there might of been update. I think he just powered it off when it was in the loop.
Well- when attempt to start now, it spinning dots for long time, not repair mode, then it asks to select keyboard input and loads Troubleshooting Screen. There is no "Safe Mode" option. It has option to reverse to last restore point, but when selected, it says, "You should restart computer and select which restore point to use". It does not offer any restore options to select from, so i dont know what it talking about. It unable to uninstall Recent updates. It unable to repair Startup. I might have like 3 years old Image file somewhere, this would be last reserve.

What can I do to force it to boot?

If unable to boot- would you recommend to buy New C drive- 1Tb and use image on the new drive or attempt to use old 500Gb drive that almost full?

I considered building new system but I want to wait until March when Ro0cket Lake released, I dont have $1500 now and if build less expansive, it would give me equivalent to Ivy Bridge, probably, so- I better try to fix this. Thank you.
 
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Astralv

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This is odd- I had replies on this thread and they disappeared. Oh, well, thanks any way.

I got new SSD. And I dont see any meaningful back ups for this computer. Really would like to boot it if it is possible, before I destroy everything.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
In Win 10 you can only get to safe mode if you can get as far as the logon screen.

I dont know what he did- at some point he admitted that he did Hard Turn Off by pressing button, then he said- there might of been update.
Well. if he turned windows off during an update it can lead to
Well- when attempt to start now, it spinning dots for long time, not repair mode, then it asks to select keyboard input and loads Troubleshooting Screen
now without actual backups, I don't know how to save the applications on the drive from needing to be reinstalled again. I don't know enough about the software to know if it could be reused on a new install.

I can get you into the drive to rescue anything you might want to save
On another PC, download the Windows 10 media creation tool and use it to make a win 10 installer on USB

how to save info
boot from installer
on screen after languages, choose repair this pc, not install.
choose troubleshoot
choose advanced
choose command prompt
type notepad and press enter
in notepad, select file>open
Use file explorer to copy any files you need to save to USB or another hdd
 

Astralv

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In Win 10 you can only get to safe mode if you can get as far as the logon screen.


Well. if he turned windows off during an update it can lead to


now without actual backups, I don't know how to save the applications on the drive from needing to be reinstalled again. I don't know enough about the software to know if it could be reused on a new install.

I can get you into the drive to rescue anything you might want to save
On another PC, download the Windows 10 media creation tool and use it to make a win 10 installer on USB

how to save info
boot from installer
on screen after languages, choose repair this pc, not install.
choose troubleshoot
choose advanced
choose command prompt
type notepad and press enter
in notepad, select file>open
Use file explorer to copy any files you need to save to USB or another hdd
Colif! Glad you here to help! I almost gave up on this thread. It is not like old times when many people were willing to help. You are always there for everybody. Thank you.

I did not think I can save anything on C. I do not store on C, I try not to install on C to avoid this situation But programs still put files on C. But it would be worth to check if there anything of value.

I dont think he hard shut down when it was updating- it likely whent in to "Disk Repair" pattern as it does with certain USB devices if they connected before computer powered on. I only saw it with one device, reproducible- like every time. It was Native Instruments Machine- a drum machine that was feeding from USB as power source. My other computer has no issues booting when it is connected. I am just suspecting- it went in to disk repair because of old USB camera. But it could be update. He is more Mac guy.

If I choose "Repair this PC", may be it would repair it? No?

I have external drive, it says it is Back Up of C drive but in Windows 8. This computer is 2013 build and was Windows 8, upgraded to 10. This backup is way outdated. This computer had some issues, it will be good for it to start over. But it took me almost a year to install everything for its newer version that is on another location. I have sound expansions banks, and it is a pain to install- they go inside of folders in different plugins and you have to read instructions every time to know where to store them, etc...

I am making Media. I want to see if I can "Repair" it. If not- I will probably have to reinstall. I bought larger SSD for it... Windows would not become unbootable if C drive is too small? He was installing some software for Zoom video support and C drive was almost full.

But the strange thing is- about 9 months ago my E drive went out of service. I changed it to new. But before computer malfunctioned, my partner said- the E drive and some other drive were not on the list. Can it be some motherboard or SATA issue? I believe I changed the cable when I changed E drive... I dont see why this E drive would disappear again, unless Seagate started to produce failing drives. Thank you again for your help.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
If I choose "Repair this PC", may be it would repair it? No?
not directly, all that does is open the windows recovery menu and give you options like reset/system restore/command prompt and start up repair (which I doubt would help but you never can tell)

boot from installer
on screen after languages, choose repair this pc, not install.
choose troubleshoot
choose advanced
choose start up repair - this will scan PC and maybe fix this - will ask for logon info

you could try system restore, it might help... rarely it does. its been around since XP and its always a last step I used to use. Its still worth a try.

Shame reset/refresh this PC both only look at C drive, and neither care about 3rd party applications. It burns those to the ground

you can use the notepad trick to access any connected drive. Maybe not external ones.
 
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Astralv

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Thank you for your reply. I already had access to all these tools. If I restart, it asks to select keyboars language (English) and then it offers all these troubleshooting options- without use of USB stick. If I try to reverse to last check point, it gives me a message, "Restart computer and select restore point you want to restore from. I dont understand where I would select it- when I restart it goes back to select keyboard type and back to the same screen. I already tries to reverse recent update- 2 options- quality update and feature update- both of them return with "Unable to reverse updates". It says, "Unable to repair Startup". This is why it felt like some minor stock up that triggers these tools. And there was no "Boot in safe mode" options. Would it be any difference if access these options with USB stick? Thanks.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
yes, winre is available that way as well.

I remember reading your initial post about system restore now. Windows has dumb messages like that. There is another about trying to update PC using a USB and it tells you to remove USB and restart PC which won't work either. When its broken it does dumb things.

there is no real difference, its just how you boot. I don't think tools on USB will offer any different choices. You may just have to bite the bullet and stop wasting time now which you could use to rebuild install. And make sure backups stay up to date :)
 

Astralv

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Just want to make sure I tried everything. Also this is kind of seriously ridiculous. We supposed to live knowing that our computers can crash like this any minute. It takes months of work to install everything so it crashes in one evening.

Do you think- Seagate external drives remain good over years if properly stored in the box and not used or do they go bad? Like this drive with 2015 backup- it must be over 5 years old- will it last long enough to be used for backup? It only used few times to make backups. Thank you.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Almost every part in your PC could just stop now, every person who gets a problem here says it happened suddenly. Very few parts in PC give a sign they are failing. They just do.

Win 10 is much more reliable than previous versions of Windows. Compared to Millennium Edition. its perfect. With ME I got good at reinstalling windows, with win 10 I have only done it twice and both times the problem was hardware, not software. I only reinstalled to make sure it wasn't windows.

Shutdown/restart seems to be one weakness Win 10 has. Might be related to fast start-up. They changed how PC shuts down and if you interrupt it, it can corrupt files. I helped one person who pressed reset button on case when PC was shutting down and it refused to boot after that.

that could be what happened here. The simple way to avoid it is not to use Fast Startup, which is unfortunately on by default in win 10. Too late to learn that now. Maybe next time.

hdd stored in a box should be exactly the same as when you put them in. They don't go bad from not being used (provided you put them in a safe place).
 

Astralv

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Thank you for great info and help. I am wondering if hard shut down vulnerability has to do anything with SSDs as most of us have Windows on SSD now. My everyday nonmusic computer, for example, often goes sleep and when it wakes up, the graphic card does not turn on, so monitor stays off, so there is no way to restart it other than just hard shut down or reset. I had to install Windows on it 3 to 5 times. My son's computer (Haswell) failed several Windows updates. It also waiting for me to reinstall Windows on it. It just way too much. Feels like there is always something.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Only in a round about way. Fast startup is designed to speed up booting off a hdd. Since it saves a copy of all running drivers + the windows kernel/registry to ram/storage at shutdown and leaves the PC in a hibernate state instead of asleep, its designed to make hdd look fast than they actually are, as since half the pc has files in ram right away at launch, it starts faster than it would otherwise

Without ssd existing to make hdd look like they standing still at startup, no one would have possibly thought of fast startup as we would all be used to PC starting really slowly.

If you have an ssd or better, nvme, you don't need fast start-up at all as it doesn't make them that much faster. I always have it off. Mums pc could really use fast startup but as its unplugged so often, its not worth the risk.

My everyday nonmusic computer, for example, often goes sleep and when it wakes up, the graphic card does not turn on, so monitor stays off, so there is no way to restart it other than just hard shut down or reset.
that is caused by old drivers, not ssd.
Can you download and run Driverview - http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/driverview.html

All it does is looks at drivers installed; it won't install any

When you run it, go into view tab and set it to hide all Microsoft drivers, will make list shorter.

Now its up to you, you can look through the drivers and try to find old drivers, or you can take a screenshot from (and including)Driver name to (and including)Creation date.

upload it to an image sharing website and show link here

All I would do is look at driver versions (or dates if you lucky to have any) to see what might have newer versions.

My son's computer (Haswell) failed several Windows updates. It also waiting for me to reinstall Windows on it.
I would download the Windows 10 media creation tool and use it to make a win 10 installer on USB
put it in his PC with win 10 running
go to file exploder and open USB
run setup.exe
agree to update current PC
win 10 will upgrade it to 20H2 and possibly fix the update problem. If it doesn't you could try a repair install after, beats a clean - https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/16397-repair-install-windows-10-place-upgrade.html
 

Astralv

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Reinstalled Windows. One of the drives, Seagate HDD is not showing up. I tried different SATA port, different power source- it looks dead. I dont get it. I replaced it less than a year ago because old one died. Do I have some voltage issue making drives die? It is 2nd daisy chained drive out of 3 on the same power connection.

Not sure I understand your "Old Drivers" point. Old drivers for the graphic card? I have been updating it when offered Catalyst update.

For my sun's computer- Windows is not running. It failed update and is all black. It boots in safe mode but not in in normal mode unless Catalyst graphic driver is removed. We tryed to reinstall it over and over. But it does not work if this driver is installed.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
My old drivers comment was in relation to this
My everyday nonmusic computer, for example, often goes sleep and when it wakes up, the graphic card does not turn on, so monitor stays off,
but i got it wrong and said ssd at end, not gpu. Old GPU drivers can cause it to not start after sleep, I had similar on my last PC so I just never used sleep.

It is 2nd daisy chained drive out of 3 on the same power connection.
do you mean internally? How old is the PC? If you keep losing drives it could be the PSU to blame. I went through about 3 drives 15 years ago and for a long time I blamed the drives, its only now I know how important a good PSU is that I know it wasn't the drives themselves.
 

Astralv

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The computer is 2013, Ivy Bridge. It was only used few times a week for couple of hours for music- I had Hasswell for internet use. Built them few months apart. The power supply is Thermaltake Bronze 800W. I had suspicions that PSU could do things. It had some other issues, cant remember what it was. But I cant test it for voltage. And replacing it would be too much trouble- I may as well build new computer. Also I am not exactly in the position to spend $1500 right this second, and buying something less expansive would give me the same specs as Ivy Bridge 3770K. I was hoping to wait for SATA 4 release and next Intel in the Spring or even next next in the fall... I use like 6 drives in one computer and this is what makes it so expansive... This is 2nd HDD in 7 years. It just 2nd within 1 year and the same port.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
7 years is old enough for what might have been a fine PSU to go bad. And other parts as well. the 6 year old hdd could have killed itself

When is SATA 4.0 at 12Gb/s coming?
There are no plans to extend SATA bandwidth beyond the current 6Gb/s transfer rate since the change requires signigicant changes to the PHY section of the specification, the impact to compliance testing and compatibility. SATA-IO will continue to maintain and make improvements to the specification to insure the stability, compatibility and reliability that SATA has and will continue to deliver into the future.”

They have gone forward with SATA express but that is really just PCIe.
https://www.quora.com/Is-there-a-SATA-4-spec-in-the-works

do you need so many drives? could you do it with less but bigger drives? hdd is past, ssd/nvme/whatever is next... is the future. maybe even optane.

replacing drives compared to PSU will soon add up.
 

Astralv

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I still no proof that PSU is faulty. It is suspicious that new HDD died less than year from older one, but it can be just bad drive.
I dont think drives got any less expansive in recent years. This computer had 250Gb and 500Gb drives, one 1TB drive and HDDs. Still use HDD for recording as it was believed that it is better for audio. Ironically this is the drive that failed twice. Luckily we did not have anything important recorded on it. Will just have to save everything twice on different drives...
 

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