Preparing Automatic Repair

Feb 20, 2018
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Hello, I've been using this Pc build for about 2 months:

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming ATX AM4
Cpu: Ryzen 5 1600x
Memory: G.Skill - Trident Z (2x8GB) DDR4-3200
Storage: 960 EVO 250GB M.2-2280 SSD + Seagate Barricuda 2TB 3.5" 7100 RPM internal HDD
Gpu: Geforce GTX 1070 Ti
Psu: Corsair - CX 650W 80+ Bronze ATX
Case: Phatenks P400S ATX

An incident occurred about 3 days ago where when I was pulling up google chrome my pc suddenly shut off and rebooted itself. On boot up it loaded the bios splash screen where I was greeted by a loading animation with the message "Preparing Automatic Repair". A couple seconds of this "loading" and suddenly display, keyboard, and mouse disconnect, but the pc is still on and running confirmed by fans and leds. No matter how long I leave the pc running at this point the display and peripherals remain disconnected not picking up signals or turning on leds. I figured either a part just kicked the bucket or updates/drivers were corrupted. After turning the pc off the first thing I did was double check all wiring, even though the pc has been running fine up to this point. Nothing seemed out of place. Next I decided to go down the list and try to boot with certain parts unplugged to see if I could find a bad part.

Unplugged:

HDD = same result : boots bios, into loading animation, everything disconnects but pc is still running
SSD = same result : boots bios, into loading animation, everything disconnects but pc is still running
Case = same result : boots bios, into loading animation, everything disconnects but pc is still running
ALL RAM COMBINATIONS (4 slots, 2 sticks) = same result : boots bios, into loading animation, everything disconnects but pc is still running

Out of parts to test I decide to look for a safe mode or repair mode to boot into. Now with most pc's you can just spam F8, F12, Delete or whatever on start up to boot into said safe mode. Of course my life can't be that easy as my mobo does not have any shortcut key to boot into safe mode with #EffYouGigabyte. (I also tried getting into recovery mode by force shutting off after POST 3x = same result : boots bios, into loading animation, everything disconnects but pc is still running)

Next I reset the CMOS, and load the optimized defaults in bios = same result : boots bios, into loading animation, everything disconnects but pc is still running
(Note: I have fast boot disabled and have manually put in ram timings at this point)

Next I downloaded a Windows 10 64bit ISO to a USB, change boot option #1 to said USB and try reinstall Windows or get into repair mode = same result : boots bios, into loading animation, everything disconnects but pc is still running.

Next I downloaded the most recent drivers for my mobo and updated my bios with a USB using Q-Flash = same result : boots bios, into loading animation, everything disconnects but pc is still running.

I've tried everything I could think of and could really use some help and insight on finding a solution to my predicament.


 

Colif

Titan
Moderator
Settings like Fast boot or secure boot will cause PC to ignore USB drive... so that explains that but not why the blank screen.

Do you have integrated graphics on the motherboard? Try using them instead of nvidia card as you should at least get a flash screen for the bios
tried starting PC with no drives attached? Obviously won't boot but should give a different reaction compared to black screen.
 
Feb 20, 2018
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My original post left out some info, I've edited it to make it more clear. Fast boot is disabled. On the topic of integrated graphics unfortunately my amd cpu does not have any. Your post has made me wonder if my gpu is the problem. Would there be any way to test if it has kicked the bucket? It was O/C'ed and used for mining crypto, light gaming etc. I find it weird to have a sudden instability hiccup but it definitely is a possibility at this point. Thanks for the help
 
Feb 20, 2018
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Update: I've disconnected all internet connection from my pc to see if the problem was Windows trying to do a bad update or something and now instead of booting into a black screen it seems to boot the ISO as I get the Windows blue screen. A blue screen is all I get though, nothing comes up or loads, can't use any shortcut keys. This is the only progress I've been able to make so far. This is so frustrating, I just don't understand what keeps causing it to stall.
 
Feb 20, 2018
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Just stumbled across this post, (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4091240/usb-devices-may-stop-working-after-installing-the-february-13-2018-upd), this seems to be my problem down to the letter no? Correct me if I'm wrong, if it is said problem am I just stuck with a dud pc until Microsoft releases a solution 0_o.......
Update: Haven't been able to test my gpu, I've scheduled to have a repair guy look at it
 

Colif

Titan
Moderator
One thought, since display, keyboard, and mouse disconnect, regardless of whether windows is actually installed or not, I don't believe its anything to do with a patch released by Microsoft, and it might be your PSU. As commonly, if USB stops working it could be power, and since monitor also vanishes at same time, that could also mean a lack of power.

Did you ever start PC with no drives attached? Could have also tried to boot into a Ubuntu live USB and see if another OS fairs any better.

hopefully repair guy can work it out for you.
 
Feb 20, 2018
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New development. Repair guy repeated what I've already tried, did trial and error until only mobo and cpu were left. He suggested I try a new mobo because it could be an incompatibility between cpu and mobo. Here's the catch, he had taken the gpu out in the beginning and forgot to put it back in during the trial and error testing and didn't realize until mobo and cpu were left. Tested mobo and cpu with the gpu at the end, but the problem still persisted.

I think it's important to bring up that the peripherals no longer disconnect, everything stays on but the black screen persists. I believe this should rule out PSU.

I ordered a new mobo, AsRock AB350 Pro4.
Tested it out, only ssd connected, booted from USB, same problem.
From here I decided to re-download Windows 10 on my USB and check to see if it's formatted right. It wasn't. I had to change it from NTFS to Fat32. This makes the USB usable now, solid progress!
This time when I booted up I got the message: "Intel UNDI, PXE-2.1 (build 083) copyright (c) 1997-2000 Intel Corporation..." which after researching basically meant something was wrong with my hdd or sdd.
Even more progress!
From here I have only the hdd connected, boot from USB and open CMD. I run a chksdk, dosn't work. I run chkdsk C: /f/r/x, it took 3 hours but it completed all 5 stages of the process and at the end gave me the message: "Failed to transfer logged messages to the event log with status 50". Turns out this usually happens when trying to chkdsk /f/r/x from Windows installer, go figure.
No problems were found though so I decide to unplug my hdd, put my ssd back in, and try to reinstall Windows onto it.

When I get to the part that asks me to select which partition to use I got a message that said Windows could not be installed on a MBR disk and I needed to convert to a GPT disk. Didn't have to do this the first time I built my pc but whatever.
I open another command prompt and run the following: diskpart, list disk, select disk 0, convert to GPT. Everything is going smoothly at this point and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I reboot from USB again, choose the only partition available on the ssd and successfully re-download Windows.
The pc restarts at this point and black screen. After reading some posts I believe at this point I should have let it sit for 5-15min and just work itself out, but after like 2min I power off and restart.

I boot from my USB again and decide to re-re-download Windows on the ssd, I get to the choosing partition part and there are now 4 partitions instead of 1 which makes sense, I use the format option on the partition I'm using and leave the other 3 alone and proceed with the download. I don't quite recall what happened at this point as in if the download completed or the pc shut down or what not, but now when I boot from Windows Boot Manager ssd OR my USB I get a black screen.

I use the media creation tool to set up my USB once again to avail. Did I mess up my ssd for good or something? I seemed so close to the solution and now I'm back at square 0 #feelsbad. Any help is much appreciated

edited for readability
 

Colif

Titan
Moderator
did you run chkdsk /f/r/x on the hdd or ssd? You not supposed to run chkdsk /r on ssd as they don't have sectors to repair.

at this step:
When I get to the part that asks me to select which partition to use I got a message that said Windows could not be installed on a MBR disk and I needed to convert to a GPT disk. Didn't have to do this the first time I built my pc but whatever.
the answer is delete all the partitions and click next

Try this, fresh install and wipe all the partitions, just leave unallocated space, and then click next. Win 10 will create the partitions it needs and hopefully we get past this blank screen.
 
Feb 20, 2018
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I only ran chkdsk on the hdd, the only thing I did with the ssd was convert from MBR to GPT. I did some further testing and ran memtest86, did 8 passes over 7 hours. Not a single bad block found. So here's the conclusion: even though I've used this specific SanDisk USB to successfully download Windows before and it seemed to be working with the reformat into a FAT32, I kept having this nagging feeling that something was wrong with it. Decided to drop by Best Buy and picked up a new SanDisk USB 3.0 16gb. This time I took a different approach and used the media creation tool to create ISO files and then use RUFUS to format the new USB.

After successfully formatting I booted from the usb (no hdd or sdd connected) and like magic no more black screen. From here I put the ssd back in, and downloaded Windows with all partitions deleted and only unallocated space available. Everything's back up and running! I download Windows drivers, mobo drivers, gpu drivers, lan drivers, and audio drivers. I start downloading downloading lost applications, games, benchmarks etc.. At one point I was downloading 2 large games at once andddddd everything freezes. I hit the CAPS a couple times to see if Windows was responding, no dice. I reboot my pc and I'm getting the same problem again........I'm 99% sure it's my cpu now. Going to check the pins later, any thoughts on my predicament?

 

Colif

Titan
Moderator
At one point I was downloading 2 large games at once andddddd everything freezes
PC only has so many resources, were both games going to same drive or different one? You may have just run out of memory or page file to store the game files. That might explain the freeze but not the USB thing starting again.

I might get a 2nd opinion and see what someone else thinks..
 
Feb 20, 2018
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Yes I had both games going to my completely cleaned 2TB HDD, If my pc couldn't handle that I would straight up throw it away out of extreme disappointment.

I've (hopefully) finally resolved the problem :). So I took a look at the cpu and sure enough there was 2 things I had to clean up. The tech guy checked the pins when he came over and must have got the tiniest speck of thermal paste on one pin, easily cleaned off. I also remember checking the cpu when my pc first crashed and seeing some microscopic white residue/fluff around 1-2 pins. This was the real problem. I couldn't get it out with compressed air or tweezers so I just left it not wanting to cause any excess damage. Dumb mistake. Luckily this time when I took the cpu out the white fluff, which turned out to be a couple pieces of dust, was not stuck in the pins but rather sitting on the mobo now. Took it out, put back the cpu and voila pc is back up and running!

After a month of trial and error testing, countless changing of Bios options, a tech guy, new mobo, new USB, and a SSD conversion, my journey has finally come to an end because of a piece of freaking dust. How did it even get into the cpu 2 months after being built, no one will know. Hopefully that speck of dust was indeed the problem and I don't have to open up this thread again haha.

Thank you Colif for being such a great help and guiding hand throughout this ordeal, I really appreciated having someone to draw new ideas from and bounce ideas off of.
 
Feb 20, 2018
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I knew I spoke too soon. The exact same predicament happened, within 30min of use everything froze causing me to reboot and now the pc is stuck again with the black screen predicament. I literally have not a single clue anymore on what to do.
Note: When the pc first came back to life (new USB) I had to re-download Win10 and all drivers, when the pc came back to life the second time (after taking out the dust in the cpu) I did not re-download anything, everything from the first re-download was still there and "working".

Things to contemplate:
1. How did changing USB's seem to fix the black screen problem?
2. How did replacing the cpu seem to fix the black screen problem?
3. Sometimes when I boot instead of a black screen I get a frozen command prompt named winpeshl.exe
4. Are these the only options left that could be the problem? Cpu, corrupt files/drivers, malware/virus?
 

Colif

Titan
Moderator
winpeshl.exe = Windows Preinstall Environment Shell.it is part of the windows Recovery environment which will try to load itself every 3 or 4 starts that don't work. That is normal if windows isn't booting, It freezing isn't normal though

Think you find windows is still on SSD, its just possibly messed up from not being shutdown properly the last few times - just the way it goes when something else is stopping it from showing onscreen. So USB and Monitor still disappear?

I am not a hardware expert, I wonder if its the PSU but only as disconnecting USB and monitor can happen on PSU if they can't supply the power. I don't like suggesting PSU as I am not 100% sure. Hence why I asked for a 2nd opinion before


I don't have any answers for the other questions. If its the PSU they might be unrelated.
4. CPU hardest option to check without another one to swap in, normally test everything else out 1st.
It might be corrupted files but only as a side effect as something else is likely causing the USB/monitor problem. Win 10 could have corrupted boot files now, but impossible to tell since cannot boot off USB to get into repair menus
Virus don't normally effect multiple installs unless you keep loading files after installs that aren't being scanned by a antivirus.
 
Feb 20, 2018
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Only monitor cuts out after bios, it's like Windows is freezing up on boot or something. USB's all work, nothing wrong with any of them ever since I replaced the mobo I believe.

I was able to remedy the black screen problem again by booting from my USB. I tried 2 things here:
1. Tried to use the restart option in "repair my pc" to get into safe mode, upon reboot the black screen problem persisted.
2. Tried "continue to Windows 10" in "repair my pc" and the pc just magically started working again, got into safe mode with Win+R, msconfg, boot options:safe.

From here I let the pc sit overnight, a solid 12+ hours, to see if it would freeze up like the other 2 times = no freezing. Everything seems stable in safe mode idling. The only other thing I could think of doing here was checking the event files = there are a number of errors and warnings. (Can post later if needed, researched myself and most were mainly ignorable.) Nothing really stood out.

Since everything was stable I decided to exit safe mode (successful, no black screen) and re-check drivers and such. Everything seems fine.........for now. Something is obviously still wrong though, are there any tests and such that anyone recommends I use to check for the problem/corruption?


 

Colif

Titan
Moderator
If the problem returns, see if anything below helps. I would run start up repair anyway just to see if it finds anything.

i must have overlooked fact its just the monitor now. is monitor off or is light still on and showing a blank screen?

Number 2 makes me wonder if its just the boot process that is messed up. See if this helps
go to settings/update & security/recovery
under advanced startup, click restart now
this loads the advanced startup menu - same thing as the repair menus off USB
try running start up repair, it can fix boot problems

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

another fix is to go into advanced start up again
choose troubelshoot
choose advanced
choose command prompt
follow this - https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-rebuild-the-bcd-in-windows-2624508
 
Feb 20, 2018
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So after exiting safe mode and downloading all the up-to-date drivers for mobo and gpu my pc froze again.
The USB does not work anymore to boot from, getting constant blank screens.

Yes the problem is just with the monitor now, the backlight is on and all fans/lights are running but the pc freezes on either a black or blue screen on boot.

When I was able to access the USB I had already tried start up repair and it was not able to fix anything, I get the msg:
Startup Repair couldn't repair your PC, Log file: D:\\Windows\System32\Logfiles\Srt\SrtTrail.txt

I ordered a mobo speaker and I kept getting 1 beep on boot (Asrock mobo), I looked up the beep codes and it said "memory" so I thought it was incompatible ram. I ordered new ram sticks with the compatible ram list on the mobo website: F4-3500C16D-16GVK. I was foolish, I'm guessing mobo always gives 1 beep for boot? Problem still persists

So now where I'm currently at is I've bread-boarded my pc, the only things attached are:
cpu
cpu fan
gpu
1 ram stick
mobo speaker
24 pin connector
cpu connector

I take out the CMOS battery, everything is at default now. (Went back to Gigabyte mobo)
I got 0 beep codes starting from cpu+cpu fan, then adding gpu, then adding 1 ram stick.

Everything seems to be fine, then I plug in the Windows 10 USB and it freezes on a blue screen when it boots from it. Going to reconfigure the USB after class but I've done this like 10 times with 2 different USB's, any other suggestions?
 
Feb 20, 2018
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Recap: Pc freezes on a black screen/blue screen/preparing automatic repair msg when booting.

Had another repair guy look at my pc.

He tested all the parts individually: they all work.

Problem persists and OS is not downloadable with USB. He decides that the USB isn't working and that the solution is to flash the m.2 and hdd with the OS.

Problem persists.

From here he thought it was a (Gigabyte) mobo + cpu incompatibility. Good thing that was the 1st thing I also suspected during this ordeal. I gave him the 2nd mobo (Asrock) I bought.

Both don't "work" and the repair guy has been at this for 2 weeks.

He confirms my fears, the cpu doesn't work with any mobo he tries.

I sent my cpu back to AMD and waited for their visual/mechanical check.

Just got an email that says the warranty has been approved and I'll be recieving a replacement cpu soon!

I'll leave an update once I recieve my new cpu.
 

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