Question Trouble Diagnosing Hardware or Software Issue on Asus Zen Prio AIO

JamesNYC

Reputable
Jun 16, 2016
6
0
4,510
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I have an Asus Zen Pro AIO PC from 2016 https://www.asus.com/us/Displays-Desktops/All-in-One-PCs/Zen-AiO/Zen-AiO-Pro-24-Z240/.

I have been dealing with persistent issues on the device over the last month that have been driving me crazy.

The issues are:
  1. Occasionally, upon restart the PC won't recognize the solid state drive and will boot to the bios
  2. Frequently, after starting the PC the device will freeze completely and only a hard reset by holding in the power button will resolve
I use the PC for work, and on occasions where it does not freeze up I can leave it for days or weeks and it will run fine. It seems like the freezing will happen pretty soon after it's turned on or won't happen at all. This device has been used more frequently in the last year as I have been working from home, but for most of its life was used occasionally in the evenings and weekends. The SSD drive should not be malfunctioning at this point I cannot possibly be reaching the read/write limit on the drive.

When #1 occurred, I assumed that it was a hardware issue and that the solid state drive was failing. I learned that the SSD is on the motherboard in this computer and will be incredibly difficult to change (I am kicking myself for buying an AIO). However, I also know that with hardware it's usually all or nothing and I wonder why the computer boots normally most often.

As for #2, I did typical things folks would do here on this forum. I disabled all startup apps, I deleted all extra apps, I ran all forms of malware and virus scans. Then I tried an in-place upgrade of Windows 10. When that didn't work, I reinstalled windows 10 over the old version. When that didn't work I reformatted the drive completely and started it fresh. The situation I have is that the freezing can occur even when it's a clean install of Windows 10 on a freshly formatted drive.

The observed behavior has me super confused whether this is hardware or software, but given I recently reformatted completely and started with a fresh install, I am suspecting it's hardware.

My question for the forum:
  1. Could it possibly be something other than the SSD? Could the Video Card be failing or some other peripheral that might be causing the issue? Or is the above behavior consistent with SSD failure? I tried downloading and running a diagnostic on the SSD but everything returned normally. There are no driver issues or error messages on the PC, and the behavior when it freezes is normal; it freezes all at once. The mouse will move but unresponsive otherwise, keyboard inputs don't work.
  2. If I manually replaced the SSD, I don't know if I would be able to install Windows 10. I don't have any install media so I think that the license must be coming from the recovery partition, but I am unsure.
  3. I wanted to try and see if I could install Windows 10 on the 2nd HDD in the system (which isn't an SSD), but the Windows installer would not let me do this because it said the drive is invalid for running an install. Any other ideas for how I could isolate the SSD? Can I install windows and run it from external media?
Asus support is non-existent. I know the PC is out of warranty but the fact that there are no repair options I find mind-boggling. I know computers can break, buying an AIO that's hard to repair from a company with almost no support was really dumb! This would have been infinitely easier if I had a tower, and wouldn't put me in the position of potentially having to replace the entire unit and all the good peripherals :-(

Thank you for any insights from the community you may be willing to provide,

James
 

Bob.B

Prominent
Feb 8, 2021
691
79
490
10
I have an Asus Zen Pro AIO PC from 2016 https://www.asus.com/us/Displays-Desktops/All-in-One-PCs/Zen-AiO/Zen-AiO-Pro-24-Z240/.

I have been dealing with persistent issues on the device over the last month that have been driving me crazy.

The issues are:
  1. Occasionally, upon restart the PC won't recognize the solid state drive and will boot to the bios
  2. Frequently, after starting the PC the device will freeze completely and only a hard reset by holding in the power button will resolve
I use the PC for work, and on occasions where it does not freeze up I can leave it for days or weeks and it will run fine. It seems like the freezing will happen pretty soon after it's turned on or won't happen at all. This device has been used more frequently in the last year as I have been working from home, but for most of its life was used occasionally in the evenings and weekends. The SSD drive should not be malfunctioning at this point I cannot possibly be reaching the read/write limit on the drive.

When #1 occurred, I assumed that it was a hardware issue and that the solid state drive was failing. I learned that the SSD is on the motherboard in this computer and will be incredibly difficult to change (I am kicking myself for buying an AIO). However, I also know that with hardware it's usually all or nothing and I wonder why the computer boots normally most often.

As for #2, I did typical things folks would do here on this forum. I disabled all startup apps, I deleted all extra apps, I ran all forms of malware and virus scans. Then I tried an in-place upgrade of Windows 10. When that didn't work, I reinstalled windows 10 over the old version. When that didn't work I reformatted the drive completely and started it fresh. The situation I have is that the freezing can occur even when it's a clean install of Windows 10 on a freshly formatted drive.

The observed behavior has me super confused whether this is hardware or software, but given I recently reformatted completely and started with a fresh install, I am suspecting it's hardware.

My question for the forum:
  1. Could it possibly be something other than the SSD? Could the Video Card be failing or some other peripheral that might be causing the issue? Or is the above behavior consistent with SSD failure? I tried downloading and running a diagnostic on the SSD but everything returned normally. There are no driver issues or error messages on the PC, and the behavior when it freezes is normal; it freezes all at once. The mouse will move but unresponsive otherwise, keyboard inputs don't work.
  2. If I manually replaced the SSD, I don't know if I would be able to install Windows 10. I don't have any install media so I think that the license must be coming from the recovery partition, but I am unsure.
  3. I wanted to try and see if I could install Windows 10 on the 2nd HDD in the system (which isn't an SSD), but the Windows installer would not let me do this because it said the drive is invalid for running an install. Any other ideas for how I could isolate the SSD? Can I install windows and run it from external media?
Asus support is non-existent. I know the PC is out of warranty but the fact that there are no repair options I find mind-boggling. I know computers can break, buying an AIO that's hard to repair from a company with almost no support was really dumb! This would have been infinitely easier if I had a tower, and wouldn't put me in the position of potentially having to replace the entire unit and all the good peripherals :-(

Thank you for any insights from the community you may be willing to provide,

James
With the intermittent nature of the problem it will be "try this....try that".
Get a can of compressed air and a small brush and give the innards a good cleaning.
Remove the bios battery and take it to the store and buy a new one.......replace.
While you inside reseat the disks.
 

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