Question Has Windows 10 bricked my GA-X99-Gaming-5 BIOS? ARGH! HELP ME!!!!

Jun 8, 2020
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I HAVE REPOSTED MY POST HERE FROM ELSEWHERE, AS I AM DESPERATE TO FIND SOMEONE WITH A MAGIC BULLET FOR ME, HOPE THIS IS OK! :)
Thanks in advance you clever folk...

I know this is referring to pretty old Gigabyte tech now but I have not had a problem with my setup until a couple of days ago, running like a dream since 2015. Now it just goes to a black screen straight after Gigabyte splash screen, no matter what you remove and how much you hammer the keyboard. And it is driving me insane!
If anyone can help me out of this horrorshow you will be earning a lifetime of karma I can tell you that ;)
Basic system = GA-X99-Gaming-5, 32GB DDR4 RAM, Intel Core i7 4770K 6-core, Windows 10, 850W high-spec PSU, Corsair water-cooling. Graphics = Powercolor Radeon R9 280x 3Gb (also tried old basic MSI Radeon 5450 256Mb card)

Background - I was trying to save a few Gb on my Windows Drive so asked it to clear up and delete redundant system files. Might be just incredible co-incidence but seems like this was a big mistake. :(
Because.... Next time I restarted it flicked strwight past the Gigabyte screen in 1-2 secs and on to a black screen which still seems to be sending info to the monitor as that stays on. Nothing else happens no matter how long you leave it. No matter how hard and fast I hammered various keys on a USB wired keyboard trying to get into the Gigabyte System info, boot options or BIOS options on startup it always went straight back to the black screen of nothingness after 1-2 seconds.

So obviously it isn't totally dead and is capable of sending info to the graphics card which is then in turn capable of sending info to the monitor, but it is like it forgets how to drive the graphics after a few seconds.
I unhooked all of the hard disks and PCI cards except for the graphics card, all USB peripherals except keyboard, everything possible I could strip out, in the hope that I could get things back to basics and have a look at what was going on. Set up a Windows 10 Installer USB stick using my laptop, and a Gigabyte BIOS USB stick using the F23c BIOS update too. Hoping I could reinstall Windows and if that failed re-flash the BIOS.

But without being able to get into the options on the startup screen none of this was possible.
I'm a few hours into my troubleshooting now and starting to get pretty fraught to say the least. I rely on this computer for all of my important work and leisure activities, especially at the moment for obvious reasons.
So I tried swapping out the R9 280x for my primitive old MSI Radeon 5450 to see if maybe it can deal with less advanced graphics capabilities for longer before crapping out. No change.
I tried taking out all the RAM, try as many permutations of the four sticks in different single slots I can. No change. Still just a Gigabyte screen for a second then blackness.
I tried leaving the CMOS battery out overnight and resetting the CMOS via the jumper. No difference. Just a second of startup screen and blackness.
I tried taking all the RAM out and putting my BIOS update USB stick in the white BIOS update USB port. Here obviously you get no monitor feedback and have to rely on the flashing orange LED that says 'FBIOS_LED'. When you power it on in this state it flashes that LED on once, thinks for a second, all other lights on the motherboard off, then shuts itself down, before restarting with all lights on, and the orange light starts flashing for a while.
At this point I'm presuming / hoping that the QFlash BIOS update process is happening though I can't find info on this anywhere. At least something is happening, I think.
I wait until the light turns solid, which I'm hoping means the BIOS flashing process is complete, then I go off for a bit just to make sure
When I return, the light is still solid. So I turn the computer off, remove the power cable, take the USB stick out, put a stick of RAM back in, put my Windows installer USB in the first of the yellow USB-DAC ports, and fire back up, do you usual trick of hammering the keyboard.
Progress! Well a tiny bit. This time the black screen holds off for long enough for me to access a screen where it says the BIOS has been updated and asks me to press enter. Then blackness.
Forewarned is forearmed and I restart, ready to quickly press enter. I do this and then it goes to blackness again.
Now when I hammer the keyboard on startup I can get into the different menus for a fraction of a second, like if I press F9 the system info comes up for long enough to see it before once again blackness descends. By mashing the keyboard on a few more startup attempts I by a MIRACLE manage to get a stable screen giving me options to boot up from USB, including the Windows 10 Installer ! Amazing! I've done it! After only about 10 hours of fruitless work! I select my Windows USB stick and have a couple of options to install 64-bit or 32-bit Windows. Those blocky words rendered in that primitive DOS font are the sweetest thing I have ever seen at this point.
But as already mentioned I have no hard disks attached. So I quick as poss try and plug my old Windows SSD drive back in, ferreting around with SATA cables in a semi-excited panic. Even if I have to wipe my Windows drive and start again, it'll be worth it, I'm thinking right now.
Then when I look up it's just that black screen again :(
I unplug the SSD again just to be sure.
Now when I restart I can't even get that two second access to the menus again like I could since the update, it's like I'm back to square one. FFS FML SNAFU FUBAR etc...
I go through all of the above steps again taking many more hours and can't even seem to replicate the situation where I got access, however temporary, to the menus, again.
I even order a PS/2 keyboard overnight to see if that works better at getting me in via the miniscule tapping window than a USB keyboard, being closer to the fundamental hardware level and all.
No difference. Just a second of Gigabyte then that inky black empty void staring back at me.
ARGH.
I don't have much money knocking about to buy a whole new computer, things being what they are at the moment. But I need the computer to earn money. So at this point I have a handful of options left.
  1. Ask you clever folk online to see if someone can help me with any more ideas!
  2. Buy a set of needle-nose tweezers and try and short out pins 1 and 6 of the main BIOS to try and force the board to use the backup BIOS. This sounds scary and like I could easily cause more damage.
Also does anyone know which of the two BIOS chips on the motherboard is main BIOS and which is backup? They are next to each other but don't seem to be labelled on the board.
  1. Buy a freshly flashed BIOS chip from ebay, hope it's legit, and try and desolder the old MBIOS (once I've identified which is which) and solder in the new one. Involves the joy of SMT soldering with super delicate components. Maybe worth soldering in an SMD chip socket if I go down this route...
  2. Buy a replacement LGA 2011v3 DDR4 RAM motherboard. I was pretty close to biting the bullet to save me more headaches and just doing this, but right now even sourcing legit compatible like-for-like X99 LGA2011 v3 DDR4 RAM motherboards for anything like a reasonable price seems nigh-on impossible too, whether new or second-hand. So even my nuclear option is a virtual non-starter. Ridiculous!
TL;DR? Help save me from the long dark black void of a misbehaving Gigabyte GA-X99 Gaming 5 BIOS :(
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
We could use more information. Please include/list your specs like so:
CPU:
Motherboard:
Ram:
SSD/HDD:
GPU:
GPU:
PSU:
OS:

Sadly this:
Basic system = GA-X99-Gaming-5, 32GB DDR4 RAM, Intel Core i7 4770K 6-core, Windows 10, 850W high-spec PSU, Corsair water-cooling. Graphics = Powercolor Radeon R9 280x 3Gb (also tried old basic MSI Radeon 5450 256Mb card)
doesn't help since you didn't mention the make and model of the PSU apart from it's wattage as well as it's age. The AIO could be a factor in overheating if the TIM needs replacing or the radiator needs cleaning or the pump has failed. That processor cannot work with the socket since the X99 platform has a much larger socket(and pin count).
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
so i take it you tried all the USB ports on PC?
tried a different keyboard? bios shouldn't be this hard to get into, especially after a cmos reset

Win 10 can't kill motherboards. It can kill itself and leave blank screens on startup, but it can't damage motherboards.
 
Jun 8, 2020
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Thanks for your reply! On looking back at my original purchase I got my specs slightly wrong sorry (including the amount of RAM, doh!), so well pointed out :)

CPU: Intel Core i7-5820K 3.30GHz Socket 2011 15MB Cache
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X99-Gaming 5 (Rev 1.0)
Ram: Ballistix Sport DDR4 16GB (4x4GB) 2400mhz
SSD/HDD: 240 Gb Sandisk SSD plus - approx 18 months old I think -as system drive, plus 2 x data HDDs.
GPU: Powercolor Radeon R9 280x 3Gb (main GPU) / MSI Radeon 5450 256Mb (old alternate GPU)
PSU: Corsair RM850 850W
OS: Windows 10, fully updated
 
Jun 8, 2020
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so i take it you tried all the USB ports on PC?
tried a different keyboard? bios shouldn't be this hard to get into, especially after a cmos reset

Win 10 can't kill motherboards. It can kill itself and leave blank screens on startup, but it can't damage motherboards.
That's what I presumed, but it seemed to happen just after I got Windows to delete a bunch of info. SO it's just coincidence you think? I thought that software could write to the motherboard firmware, eg with BIOS viruses etc.

With USB ports do you mean for the keyboard - I have tried a PS/2 keyboard as well and it doesn't seem to make any difference, still skips past the Gigabyte splash screen to a black screen too fast for you to do anything.
 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
Welcome!

Corsair watercooler? How old is the PSU? Also, can you get into BIOS? If so, check and see which version you're currently on.

The Main BIOS is denoted by a _M and the backup bios is denoted with a _B at the end...near where the BIOS chip is. The words will be written on the PCB of the motherbaord, try looking around the last two PCIe expansion slots, they should be between them, with a white dot atop of said BIOS chips.
 
Jun 8, 2020
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Welcome!

Corsair watercooler? How old is the PSU? Also, can you get into BIOS? If so, check and see which version you're currently on.

The Main BIOS is denoted by a _M and the backup bios is denoted with a _B at the end...near where the BIOS chip is. The words will be written on the PCB of the motherbaord, try looking around the last two PCIe expansion slots, they should be between them, with a white dot atop of said BIOS chips.
Thank you for the welcome :) Sorry for such a wall of info, just reaching the end of my tether.

I can't get into the BIOS, that's the problem! It goes past the Gigabyte splash / options screen and on to a blank black screen too fast to be able to do anything.

I have a Corsair liquid-cooling system for the CPU, is what I mean.

All of the core components, including the Corsair RM850 850W PSU (but not hard disks which are much newer), are around 5 1/2 years old.

I have located the BIOS chips on the motherboard but the BIOS_M and BIOS_B labels are nearby but not directly relating to the chips as far as I can see...
 
Jun 8, 2020
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Disconnect all drives and try again. It sounds like Windows Fast Boot is enabled which will prevent entering BIOS via the normal methods.
I have already disconnected all drives, that's the thing. It's still going through to the black screen after a second or two of the Gigabyte splash/options screen even with no bootable drives (or any drives) attached.
 
Jun 8, 2020
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Redundant system files? You have no idea what you’ve deleted and it’s you who’s done this problem. Format and reinstall to fix-it
I just used Windows' own automatic system file clean-up function, I wasn't going round deleting random stuff by myself. I don't know if it caused this or was just co-incidental but I'd certainly think twice before doing it again!
 

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