Question VGA LED on motherboard stays on, cannot reach BIOS

kevinrcole

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Sep 30, 2016
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Hello all. I've run into a very weird issue recently which has caused me to spend all my time troubleshooting and worrying about my PC for hours on end. My PC has been acting a bit weird the past few months - mostly just running games (like CoD) poorly when the PC should be above recommended specs. But I have also had problems booting up, where it seems my PC gets stuck in POST and just sits there until I power off.

I should list my components first, along with any drivers/versions, as it might help:

Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Version: 10.0.18363 Build 18363)
Asus Z97-AR MOBO (Version: American Megatrends Inc. 1008, 5/29/2014)
Intel i5-4690K @ 3.5GHz CPU (Version: 10.0.18362.1049, 4/21/2009 [from properties])
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 (4GB) GPU (Version: 457.30 [27.21.14.5730 from properties])
Corsair Vengeance LP CML8GX3M2A1600C9 4GB x 4 (16GB total) RAM
Corsair Force LX 256GB SSD
EVGA PSU
(Sorry! Can't recall the specific model, but I want to say it is a 750W PSU, probably Gold version - I will try to check again when I can)

Long post incoming o_O

So as of now, I've had problems just booting the system up properly. What typically happens is I press my power button, the PC goes through POST (I can see all the LEDs flashing to check), with all fans on. However, most of the time now, after passing through the CPU and DRAM LEDs, it gets stuck on the VGA LED and remains there, a solid red, and no display shows up on my monitor(s). It either stays there, and my BOOT LED blinks on while the VGA LED is on, then BOOT LED turns off, or it sometimes remains on. On the times the BOOT LED remains on, the whole system will remain like this until I power off (in which case, the PC turns off immediately on the press of my power button, without delay). But if my PC passes the BOOT LED and only the VGA LED remains on (still no display, even if monitor is connected through the MOBO or the GPU), I have to hold the power button to power off (just like when the computer is logged on and I'm forcing shut off).

What seems to be a sure-fire way I can access my OS, let alone BIOS, is to remove my GPU and boot from there. The PC would boot just fine - I can see the ASUS logo and the option to press DEL/F2 for BIOS, or just log in and use my computer. The way I am currently using my computer to type this right now was I booted without my GPU, then I uninstalled all the NVIDIA-related drivers on my computer (all through uninstalling via Control Panel). I went to NVIDIA's website and redownloaded the latest driver (457.30, what I already had before doing a reinstall) while the display was all wonky/low-res due to no proper driver (monitor is connected via GPU). After reinstallation, the display is perfectly fine and useable, even with both monitors plugged into the GPU.

During my troubleshooting earlier and the last few days (as in, removing my GPU, checking power cords, booting PC with and without GPU, removing CMOS battery and waiting about 15 min, removing colored power cords for MOBO and GPU and using the direct PSU cords, etc etc - a lot of various testing mixing trying these things out), I did notice another phenomenon as of tonight. When I plugged in my power and waited a few moments before turning my PC on again (so, after doing any hardware adjustments with the main power cord unplugged from PSU to the wall outlet), my PC would turn on, but then shut off immediately, notably when the CPU LED would turn on. (This was in a span of about 1 or 2 sec from power on, the shut off) Then it would automatically turn on again and go a bit further in POST, reaching either VRAM or VGA, then turn off again (so about 5 sec). Then it would repeat this, or maybe reach the BOOT LED, but then turn off again. After 3 or 4 resets (all by itself, as I am just observing), the computer will stay on. I think it was successfully at reaching login once, but otherwise every time this occurred (which is almost each start up now after all of tonight's troubleshooting) it either got stuck with no display and no LEDs on, or it will remain on the VGA LED after it cycled through all the POST LEDs a couple times, and would remain stuck just like detailed earlier.


My main issue has been the huge amount of troubleshooting required to get my PC to run properly. Is it my GPU being picky..? Is this something to do with my MOBO (bad connection to the GPU...? Despite it working perfectly fine after POST)? Is my PSU going bad, perhaps? (Though, my computer has never crashed in the middle of usage). Literally the only time I encounter issues is just booting my PC - if it boots past BIOS, everything else seems to be fine.

Or is this possibly a software issue? Knowing that I was able to log into my computer seemingly fine after uninstalling my drivers this time around, even when using my GPU to display, makes me lean toward a possible software issue? That, plus during times that my games have run poorly (like CoD running at 30fps on lowest settings possible, despite being able to run it at 60fps at higher settings the day before, for example), or how sometimes my Oculus Link runs Beat Saber at 45fps in my headset until I restart my PC and it then runs fine at 72fps), makes me suspect a potential software issue. Thing is, I just have no idea what part of my software would have gone bad overtime - apparently bad enough to make my PC struggle to even boot at all. I've went through various versions of my GPU drivers and none have been a clear answer to working properly. I've run into this boot-up issue on maybe 3 or 4 different versions of the GPU drivers. Either installed from the website, or through GeForce Experience. Would it be worth it to just do a whole clean install of my Windows? Or even flash my BIOS to be the latest version? (Potentially risky though? My version is super old, since I made it in 2014...)

One final thing I could mention is that through the Asus EZ Setup Wizard in BIOS, I was able to overclock my CPU yesterday, with games including the new CoD working perfectly fine. Whereas the day before, I would constantly hit 45-55fps in CoD depending on the situation in the game. But I'm not entirely sure if the boost to the consistent 60fps in CoD was due to using GeForce Experience to reinstall the same latest driver and optimizing my game through the app (yet again), or if it was indeed from the overclock that the BIOS EZ Setup Wizard provided me. (I just set my usage to gaming in BIOS, vs normal usage in the little 2- or 3-question thing they ask in that wizard).


Anyways, I hope my question is even coherent enough to get an idea of what's happening. I can try to answer any Q's asked for clarification, or try other troubleshooting techniques anyone recommends. Apologies if this whole post is unwieldly too - I tend to type a lot! It's 2 3am right now and I just want to be done with dealing with my computer after a week of this :/ I will try to also keep an eye on this post to not miss any replies...

Thank you so much for any thoughts or suggestions! It is greatly appreciated. I have been getting close to just resetting my Windows and hope it works out (after making a backup lol). Been getting so much anxiety with this adding to all my unneeded stressors already!
 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
We're on version 20H2 for Windows 10, the latest BIOS version for your board is version 3503 which is a Beta BIOS, while the the non Beta version is 2801 so if anything, update your BIOS to the latest and then update the OS and see if that helps.

To note, please update the BIOS gradually till you reach the latest version, taking note of any Intel MEI installation's along the way.
 

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