Question Fresh build won’t boot past MSI screen

Jan 30, 2021
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Hello all, I’m going crazy trying to figure out what is wrong with my fresh build.
CPU: i9-10900k
Cooler: NZXT X63 Kraken
Mobo: MSI Z490 MAG Tomahawk
Ram: G.skill Royal 16GB 3600
Storage: 1x Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB NVME. 1x Samsung 860 Evo 2TB 2.5" SSD
PSU: Seasonic Focus+ 850w 80+Gold
GPU: EVGA 980TI FTW

Basically, the problem is I can load windows onto the Nvme and everything works fine. Goes to desktop and can install drivers and what not. I can restart the pc, and it will load to desktop. But if I shut it off for a few mins, or I shut the psu off and back on and try to boot, it won’t load past the MSI graphic screen, ever. So far this is what I have tried...
Formatted and reinstalled windows 10 2x on NVME. Tried with the 2.5" hooked up and without.
Moved NVME from Top M.2 slot to Bottom M.2 slot
Installed windows on the 2.5" - This worked until it was shut off over night and then same problem occurred.
Installed old Samsung 2.5" from other PC, same thing as above.
Ran with 1 ram stick, then the other, in various slots on the board. Swapped in known good ram from old PC.
Removed CPU and inspected for bent/damaged pins, none found. Reseated CPU and reapplied thermal paste.
Updated Bios to latest MSI version.
Reset CMOS(about a dozen times now)
Attempted various boots with Fast boot on/off, Secure boot on/off, CSM mode on/off.
Replaced the board with another New MSI Tomahawk per MSI support.
I have tested the drives in my old system, and both of them will boot and function properly in my old system, even with multiple power cycles and letting it sit for long periods. All drives show up in MSI bios correctly, self test through bios says both drives are good. I contacted MSI support about the problem, and went through the trouble shooting steps. This led them to the conclusion the board was bad. I returned it to Microcenter and swapped it for another MSI Tomahawk. Installed new board, everything booted up just fine.. Shut PSU off and restarted... Stuck at MSI logo again. The system will boot just fine if I format and reinstall windows on the drive, but after its off for a few mins or power cycled, it will continue to lock up. I can get into the bios, but it will not load past the MSI screen. I am pulling my hair out trying to figure out what is wrong, and can't seem to find help on this matter anywhere.
 
Jan 30, 2021
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Turned off logo, cpu will flash on. Dram stays on a little longer then goes off, vga stays on the longest, eventually goes off and then boot flashes and that’s it, won’t do anything after that.
 
Jan 30, 2021
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Has 2 cables that comes with it. One Has a led plug, a sata power plug, and a 3pin fan connector(I have it connected to cpu fan), The other goes to an internal USB port.
 

silverferret88

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Jun 27, 2015
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It has two fans, but only one 3 pin? or are you daisy chaining the fans? Just trying to rule out an improper cooler config killing the boot cycle.
(mobo thinks theres no CPU fan etc and wont let system start, common problem I find with people using AiO setups)

Simple way to see if this is/is not the case, take that 3 pin connector for the fans, plug it into a chassis header. Start the rig, enter your BIOS, and disable the CPU fan sensor.
(it will be fine to boot with the sensor disabled since you're using a USB header for the pump, fan power will be provided via the chassis header.)
If this won't let it boot, you can either leave it or change it back, but we'll have ruled it out.
 
Jan 30, 2021
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The two fans on the rad have their own cords plugged into 2 chassis fan spots. The 3 pin connector that plugs into the pump is plugged into the CPU_Fan slot.
 

silverferret88

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Jun 27, 2015
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As long as its on the CPU_Fan1/PUMP_Fan1 that should be fine. Are you able to start the system to open the bios? check to see if its registering the pump under the CPU fan sensor. Lets try and eliminate hardware piece by piece and see where the problem lies. I've seen this happen before, it starts and runs nicely once or twice, then when you install things overtop, the BIOS gets stupid and thinks there is no CPU fan etc.

Looking at your other steps you've done, covered a bit of ground.
Knowing what the POST code would help a lot. Does that board not have a digital display that shows numbers?
 
Jan 30, 2021
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I am able to get into the bios. It recognizes there is a fan on the cpu_fan and on the pump_fan spots when I moved the cooler connector around. This board does not have the digital display, nor do I have a speaker.
 
Jan 30, 2021
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Well, I went and bought a 64gb usb and made a new bootable windows 10 file from the latest windows downloader(based on a post I found while searching google for the last 3 hours). Formatted the nvme, took out the 2.5”, and installed windows via the new drive(old stick I was using to install was dated to 2015). Everything went through, I shut it down, removed all power and let it sit for 20 mins. Came back, and to my surprise, it booted to the desktop! I still have my doubts right now based on the past 3 days of diagnosing this thing, but right now I have my graphics card and my other 2.5” installed, and it is still(knock on wood) working. I’ll keep this thread updated if anything new pops up. I’ll let it sit overnight and see if it will boot in the AM
 
Jan 30, 2021
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Did you ever try to boot it without the GPU in? I don't think I saw that in your OP.
Yes, I had removed the gpu early on in the diagnosis stage thinking maybe it was too old and giving problems. Has been using mobo port since.

leds arent post codes, msi logo is off, so look at your monitor, bottom right corner is showing some hex numbers (2 letters like A2), that is post code
I was getting no hex numbers from my monitor during the boots. Just a blank black screen.

had it shut off all night with power unplugged, booted to windows with no issues before I had to leave for work. I’m not sure if it was the “old” copy of windows 10 conflicting with new hardware, or what but appears that problem is solved. Now I just need to figure out why half my USB ports, and both internal headers aren’t working
 

silverferret88

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Jun 27, 2015
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Oh wait what? Yes, you always, ALWAYS, fresh install windows (full format, wipe the old drive/fresh install windows on a new drive) when using new MOBO and/or CPU. NEVER use old installations, they contain imbedded drivers/configurations of the old hardware.

Sorry, don't know how I missed that one earlier on.

Secondly for the USB ports (if case ports, re-check your case to mobo connections are in the right spot) if its USB ports on the MOBO, check the BIOS to make sure they are enabled as USB.
Several manufacturers change certain USB ports to only work as USB flash resets or data ports.
The BIOS can disable internal headers as well, just go slowly through the lists and see what is enabled and what isn't.
 
Jan 30, 2021
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Oh wait what? Yes, you always, ALWAYS, fresh install windows (full format, wipe the old drive/fresh install windows on a new drive) when using new MOBO and/or CPU. NEVER use old installations, they contain imbedded drivers/configurations of the old hardware.

Secondly for the USB ports (if case ports, re-check your case to mobo connections are in the right spot) if its USB ports on the MOBO, check the BIOS to make sure they are enabled as USB.
Several manufacturers change certain USB ports to only work as USB flash resets or data ports.
The BIOS can disable internal headers as well, just go slowly through the lists and see what is enabled and what isn't.
Yeah it was the bootable USB that I got when I first purchased windows 10, but that was in 2015. It was fresh windows on a formatted nvme drive, but I am assuming there was a driver issue or new hardware not compatible with a 2015 windows installation that was causing my no boot issue, even though it would work in my old rig(built in 2015). I found another thread that had a step by step to making a new windows 10 bootable using the most current version, and that appears to have solved that problem. (fingers crossed).

I'll double check the bios when I get home. One thing I noticed after installing this board compared to the first was that only certain usb slots on the io would work(mouse/keyboard). Some would not work at all. My first board, all usb ports worked from the get-go. It is also effecting my internal 2.0 that my Kraken is hooked up to, as NZXT cam is not detecting my cooler. I noticed in device manager a yellow triangle next to a
"unknown usb device-configuration descriptor failed". It is not my keyboard or mouse, as I can see those being disconnected and reconnected. I'm assuming this is the hub controller for both my internal 2.0 slots, and external that aren't currently working.
 
Last edited:
Jan 30, 2021
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Just an update. I double checked all settings in bios, all USB ports are enabled. I went ahead and flashed to bios to the newest(beta) version, updated to latest chipset, cleared cmos, tried booting with all usbs unplugged(including all 3 internal headers). I’m assuming it’s a hub since I have 4 USB ports on the back io that don’t work, as well as my 2x internal 2.0 plugs. And when I plug something in to one of the “dead” slots, Device manager shows it pop up as unknown usb device“Invalid configuration descriptor”. Only thing I didn’t try is reinstalling windows again.
 
Just an update. I double checked all settings in bios, all USB ports are enabled. I went ahead and flashed to bios to the newest(beta) version, updated to latest chipset, cleared cmos, tried booting with all usbs unplugged(including all 3 internal headers). I’m assuming it’s a hub since I have 4 USB ports on the back io that don’t work, as well as my 2x internal 2.0 plugs. And when I plug something in to one of the “dead” slots, Device manager shows it pop up as unknown usb device“Invalid configuration descriptor”. Only thing I didn’t try is reinstalling windows again.
if it reads something ,then its not exactly dead
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/drivers/usbcon/case-study--troubleshooting-an-unknown-usb-device-by-using-etw-and-netmon
u can check usb trace logs
 

silverferret88

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Jun 27, 2015
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So all external USB ports on the MOBO should work regardless of internal connectors if on in BIOS.
As for the fact that the system is registering, does that MOBO require any kind of software for USB slots?
Not too familiar with MSI boards.

https://download.msi.com/archive/mnu_exe/mb/E7C80v1.1.pdf
if you go to page 35. Top section. Those are your USB 2.0 connectors, one of which your USB header from the pump should be plugged into.
The 3 Pin fan controller goes into the CPU_fan header (looks like its the one to the left of the RAM stacks)

When you do this, does the pump AND fans turn on at all?
Part #2, when you enter BIOS, does the system record any kind of fan spin/pump action informal at all?
 
Jan 30, 2021
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So all external USB ports on the MOBO should work regardless of internal connectors if on in BIOS.
As for the fact that the system is registering, does that MOBO require any kind of software for USB slots?
Not too familiar with MSI boards.

https://download.msi.com/archive/mnu_exe/mb/E7C80v1.1.pdf
if you go to page 35. Top section. Those are your USB 2.0 connectors, one of which your USB header from the pump should be plugged into.
The 3 Pin fan controller goes into the CPU_fan header (looks like its the one to the left of the RAM stacks)

When you do this, does the pump AND fans turn on at all?
Part #2, when you enter BIOS, does the system record any kind of fan spin/pump action informal at all?
Yes, I have the Kraken plugged into the Left USB header, and my NZXT control hub plugged into the Right USB header. Pump and fans both run, all fans light up, cooler block lights up as well. Bios recognizes fan speed on cpu_fan port. It's getting powered up, but the computer is unable to recognize the cooler, and 4 of my usb ports on the rear io. I have 3 working, and 4 not working.
 

silverferret88

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Jun 27, 2015
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Well this is getting... interesting. I'm assuming that the cooler has some sort of software to control the pump, and it's not seeing it at all? Thats really weird. I see some topics about that cooler having problems with AMD boards....
but no intel. Probably going to have to contact their support.

As for the USB ports... try disabling them all in the BIOS. starting the PC. Shutting down to Bios and re-enabling them?
 
Jan 30, 2021
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I got in contact with both MSI and NZXT, both of them came to the agreement that, once again, something was internally wrong with the board itself. I RMA'd it and picked up an Asus board. Got everything back together and, knock on wood, everything has been working great. Hopefully it was just a fluke of a bad board, as I haven't really had issue with MSI previously. Thank you for your help through this Silver and Kerberos, it was very much appreciated.
 

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