Question Windows 10 not booting, stuck on spinning dots

Jan 2, 2021
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Hi all, please can anyone help? I've built a PC for a family friends child for gaming and I've been having some trouble since building it. Hours and hours of troubleshooting has turned up nothing so hoping someone on here might have encountered the same problem?

From the beginning, built the computer, installed Windows 10, installed all software/drivers etc. No problem. A few restarts after it decided not to boot into Windows 10, just getting stuck in spinning dots and/or automatic repair. Through troubleshooting this issue after many steps I had relocated the USB keyboard and mouse to different ports and that finally allowed me back in Windows. After a few reboots it seemed to work fine and I handed the PC over to the parents for Christmas. Christmas day comes and the parents call saying the computer was stuck on the Windows icon trying to start automatic repair. After a few troubleshooting steps I wasn't able to get them any further so I went and collected the PC to do some further tests.

First step was to reinstall Windows as could have been corrupted. Created a boot USB but the computer wouldn't boot to USB, just stuck on Windows logo with spinning dots. After trying hundreds of things, reformatting the USB, various Windows images, etc it seemed to randomly work. YAY! Reinstalled Windows, installed software/drivers, etc, rebooted a couple of times and seemed all okay. Upon my final reboot of the system to make sure it was all still good to hand back, it decided to do exactly the same thing. So back to the beginning, created a boot USB but the computer wouldn't boot to USB, just stuck on Windows logo with spinning dots. After trying hundreds of things, reformatting the USB, various Windows images, etc it seemed to randomly work again. YAY!

On this final install of Windows I decided not to install any drivers/software and it wasn't connected to the Internet so no Windows updates. Same thing... Windows logo or motherboard logo with spinning dots. Not sure if it's related or whether the BIOs is handing over USB to Windows, but the keyboard and mouse seem to always disconnect at this point too, have RGB and it goes off when the spinning dots appear.

Troubleshooting steps I've taken (that I remember):
Boot Windows into Safe mode - no boot
Uninstall Windows updates - none to uninstall Memtest86 - No errors
WD full disk check using Hirens - No errors Placing RAM modules into various slots - little luck with booting using single DIMM but back to the same issue again
Factory reset BIOS - No luck
Various BIOs updates/downgrades - No luck Reset this PC option in Windows recovery (once it finally worked) - Went successfully, again no network or driver installs... upon reboot stops wanting to boot again
New motherboard with all the above performed again - No luck

PC Specs:
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
MSI B450 GAMING PRO CARBON AC / Aorus B450 AORUS ELITE
MSI GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER Ventus 6GB OC
WD Blue 3D NAND Internal SSD M.2 SATA - 1 TB
HyperX FURY 16GB (2x 8GB) 3200MHz

Any help would be greatful appreciated thank you! :)
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
both motherboards have a mode called boot over ride, you should be able to use it to boot a USB without needing to change boot order. Its on the save & exit screen of the bios in Gigabyte boards

what power supply has it got?
 
Jan 2, 2021
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both motherboards have a mode called boot over ride, you should be able to use it to boot a USB without needing to change boot order. Its on the save & exit screen of the bios in Gigabyte boards

what power supply has it got?
I've tried this a few times but it seems to do the same thing, it'll randomly work after 10-15 tries.

My main issue right now is stopping Windows booting to the spinning dots and go straight to Windows, seems as if the Windows installs keep corrupting themselves for whatever reason. Tried various Windows is, even ones using the media creation tool, all give the same issue.

The power supply is Corsair CV550 which I guess is the 2020 model. Have been thinking maybe the power supply could be faulty not giving something power but I've also stress tested the whole system when it does finally boot to Windows using BurnInTest and 3DMark with no issues.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Do you happen to have an older installer of win 10? it could be the version - I have seen weirder things.
It looks like the boot partition is corrupting , can you try installing on another drive? I know drive seems fine.
only so many things that can corrupt data.
have you run memtest on the ram?
tried installing linux to see if it has any issues?
run prime95?
Prime 95 bootable - https://www.infopackets.com/news/10113/how-fix-bootable-prime95-stress-test-hardware
Prime 95 Guide: http://www.playtool.com/pages/prime95/prime95.html
 
Jan 2, 2021
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Do you happen to have an older installer of win 10? it could be the version - I have seen weirder things.
It looks like the boot partition is corrupting , can you try installing on another drive? I know drive seems fine.
only so many things that can corrupt data.
have you run memtest on the ram?
tried installing linux to see if it has any issues?
run prime95?
Prime 95 bootable - https://www.infopackets.com/news/10113/how-fix-bootable-prime95-stress-test-hardware
Prime 95 Guide: http://www.playtool.com/pages/prime95/prime95.html
First copy was from media creator tool from Microsoft, also tried an older copy from September 2016, no idea on the version or anything though... Both had the same problems and used two different USB drives with both copies.

I did try another HDD with the SSD removed and got the same problem, however the HDD wasn't a freshly installed copy of Windows, just one pulled from another working computer. I'll see if I can reinstall fresh on this HDD and see what happens then go through the other steps you mentioned.

Memtest86 has been run with no issues reported after ~3 hours, should I test them individually?

Haven't tried Linux as of yet.

Prime95 not ran, however BurnInTest showed no issues, I'll give Prime95 a bash though and see what happens.

Appreciate the help! :)
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Normally ideal to test ram alone but if its 3 hours in and no errors, have to think its okay. It would only be a waste of your time if you did get an error with multiple sticks in as you can't tell which is cause.

Prime 95 checks ram & CPU. Since we don't have many other ways to test Ryzen CPU for errors, its best I can find.

only so many things can corrupt multiple installs.
storage - tried on ssd and hdd
MB - same result on 2 motherboards
CPU
PSU - cause its power for everything, it might be sending wrong power to the rail the drivers run on.
RAM - ram would be causing BSOD as well so not sure its ram.

i don't know if this has any tests for the ssd - https://support.wdc.com/downloads.aspx?p=279
this might only be for their hdd - https://support.wdc.com/downloads.aspx?lang=en&p=3

i think m.2 drives use the same power source as sata, the 5 volt rail. Its possible PSU is giving an unreliable amount, just enough to corrupt drives. I am guessing as of all the parts listed it feels like the most obvious,
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
have you tried those steps?
you can't get into safe mode like that, it doesn't show as an option from boot. You need to be able to get to the logon screen before start up options is a choice in winre
 
Jan 2, 2021
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have you tried those steps?
you can't get into safe mode like that, it doesn't show as an option from boot. You need to be able to get to the logon screen before start up options is a choice in winre
Not tried just yet, get the PC back on Friday, they're currently using it without powering it down.

Safe mode didn't seem to work, when I'm able to get to the recovery option after rebooting a lot I have tried a few times but it gets stuck on spinning dots again.

I have a spare Corsair CV550 but older model so I can test that out first as your explanation makes a lot of sense. Just odd that under stress nothing else fails, but computers... :(

The M.2 drive is SATA based so I assume it's the same.

I'll perform all you've mentioned Friday and over the weekend and report back. Thank you! :)
 
Jan 2, 2021
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Normally ideal to test ram alone but if its 3 hours in and no errors, have to think its okay. It would only be a waste of your time if you did get an error with multiple sticks in as you can't tell which is cause.

Prime 95 checks ram & CPU. Since we don't have many other ways to test Ryzen CPU for errors, its best I can find.

only so many things can corrupt multiple installs.
storage - tried on ssd and hdd
MB - same result on 2 motherboards
CPU
PSU - cause its power for everything, it might be sending wrong power to the rail the drivers run on.
RAM - ram would be causing BSOD as well so not sure its ram.

i don't know if this has any tests for the ssd - https://support.wdc.com/downloads.aspx?p=279
this might only be for their hdd - https://support.wdc.com/downloads.aspx?lang=en&p=3

i think m.2 drives use the same power source as sata, the 5 volt rail. Its possible PSU is giving an unreliable amount, just enough to corrupt drives. I am guessing as of all the parts listed it feels like the most obvious,
Hi Colif,

Not long ago got this computer back and first time it booted straight into OS, however after restarting twice before trying any troubleshooting steps it done it's usual spinning dots.

Storage - Tried on SSD and HDD, unable to boot to SSD, HDD or USB to install fresh OS
MB - Same result on 2 B450 motherboards of different brands
CPU - Not tested, not sure how unless I can boot into OS for Prime95
PSU - Tried 2 different PSUs (Power rails reported by BIOs attached)
RAM - Tested with memtest86 and no BSOD for a week of use
GPU - Stress tested with no noticeable issue and games have been played on system all week without issue

PSU 1 - View: https://imgur.com/kgNh9Je

PSU 2 - View: https://imgur.com/1hDgiBI


Computer has been used for gaming and school work for a week without restarting, crashing and no other issues noticed.

I'm currently stuck trying to get back into the OS, it's like Russian roulette and works randomly after 20+ restarts. At the moment though when waiting on the spinning dots screen either just with Windows Logo displayed or "Preparing Automatic Repair" I have had two different blue screens.

Windows Logo + Spinning dots for roughly 5 minutes BSOD - DRIVER POWER STATE FAILURE
Preparing Automatic Repair BSOD for roughly 5 minutes - DRIVER PNP WATCHDOG

Could this be some sort of power saving option under BIOs? Hopefully it's useful information as I can't see anything obvious in BIOs relating to power saving.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Not long ago got this computer back and first time it booted straight into OS, however after restarting twice before trying any troubleshooting steps it done it's usual spinning dots.
computer back from where?

did you attach anything to pc now when you got it back that wasn't attached last week? maybe the problem is caused by something you are plugging into pc? try unplugging all usb or printers/hdd when you start it.


my interpretation of PNP is plug & Play. normally USB devices.
 
Jan 2, 2021
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computer back from where?

did you attach anything to pc now when you got it back that wasn't attached last week? maybe the problem is caused by something you are plugging into pc? try unplugging all usb or printers/hdd when you start it.


my interpretation of PNP is plug & Play. normally USB devices.
Back from the family friend, I left it running and told them not to reboot so they could use it for the week until I had time to look at it again :)

Only change from last time I tried troubleshooting is that I've swapped the MSI and Gigabyte motherboards as I need to return the Gigabyte one. Had the same BSODs on both motherboards, however this seems to be more common now on every reboot after ~5 minutes.

Have tried unplugging all USB, including keyboard, mouse and even the USB header on MB but having the same issue booting.
  • Wrong SATA Controller Settings in BIOS: Mode is AHCI, only AHCI or RAID available in BIOs
  • Malware Infections: Confident there's no viruses, even fresh install disconnected from Internet/LAN and had the same issue.
  • Anti-Virus and Firewall Issues: Only Windows Defender active.
  • Volume Shadow Service: Never touched, fresh install.
  • Faulty System Services: Not sure, never been tweaked.
  • Corrupted System Files and Drives: Thinking this is my issue, however it happens on every fresh install of Windows.
  • RAM Issues: Tested with memtest86, passed.
  • Faulty Drivers: Possible but happens on every fresh install of Windows.
  • Outdated Device Drivers: All up to date according to Manufacturer.
  • Conflicting Update: Updated to latest but have also tried without updating with same issues.
  • Problematic Windows Update: Updated to latest but have also tried without updating while disconnected from Internet/LAN with same issues.
  • Outdated OS: Used latest OS from Microsoft Media Creation Tool and an older ISO from Sept2016, both same issue.
  • Corrupt Windows Installation: Unlikely, multiple installs.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Jan 2, 2021
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so PC doesn't like restarting basically or being turned off and starting again, it works fine IF you can get in.
CPU is last thing we haven't tested
I'll keep trying to get in the OS today, had no luck so far since swapping the motherboard though. Hopefully Prime95 tell us something.
 
Jan 2, 2021
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I'll keep trying to get in the OS today, had no luck so far since swapping the motherboard though. Hopefully Prime95 tell us something.
Just noticed you linked a bootable version, currently running Prime95 Blend test, is this the correct test to run? Reading it says it tests CPU/MB/RAM. If so I'll run it for 24 hours and see how it goes :)

Before realising you had posted a bootable I did try booting PopOS bootable and got this error on first try
View: https://imgur.com/0pRIhxj


As if Windows was somehow still running even after a reboot to boot to USB.
 
Jan 2, 2021
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so PC doesn't like restarting basically or being turned off and starting again, it works fine IF you can get in.
CPU is last thing we haven't tested
CPU passed with no issues after 16 hours none stop Prime95.

I've run killdisk to wipe and rewrite the SSD just in case when I've been reinstalling Windows it hasn't created a new boot partitions even though I delete them all during install, currently running another memtest86 then going to try a fresh install of Windows 10... Fingers crossed :)
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
As if Windows was somehow still running even after a reboot to boot to USB.
that is curious. Do you have fast startup set up? if you don't know what it is, the answer is yes. It hibernates windows on shutdown so it could be win 10 has marked something to show its supposedly in a suspended state, but it shouldn't be if you have turned it off and unplugged it since this started.

doesn't matter now as you wiped ssd
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
if you did have fast start up on, and all you did was unplug at friends house and bring home, that is enough to break windows.

Fast startup either copies all the drivers currently running + other windows files into ram or onto a file on hdd, when you shut PC down. So when you start PC half the drivers are pre loaded and it takes less time to start up.

This is great except if you unplug PC. If you do that, you lose the files saved in ram and what should happen is windows just loads the files off the drive as if its a new start but sometimes it corrupts the boot files and leads to windows not working. I suspect win 10 saves the boot files into ram as they are first ones it would need at boot.

Easiest answer is turn it off once you reinstall windows 10

Since you use an ssd it really doesn't speed you up at all. Its mainly for systems with hdd. I don't have it on at all (mainly as I never know when I will need to unplug PC) - https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/4189-turn-off-fast-startup-windows-10-a.html
 
Jan 2, 2021
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if you did have fast start up on, and all you did was unplug at friends house and bring home, that is enough to break windows.

Fast startup either copies all the drivers currently running + other windows files into ram or onto a file on hdd, when you shut PC down. So when you start PC half the drivers are pre loaded and it takes less time to start up.

This is great except if you unplug PC. If you do that, you lose the files saved in ram and what should happen is windows just loads the files off the drive as if its a new start but sometimes it corrupts the boot files and leads to windows not working. I suspect win 10 saves the boot files into ram as they are first ones it would need at boot.

Easiest answer is turn it off once you reinstall windows 10

Since you use an ssd it really doesn't speed you up at all. Its mainly for systems with hdd. I don't have it on at all (mainly as I never know when I will need to unplug PC) - https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/4189-turn-off-fast-startup-windows-10-a.html
Honestly I have no idea on this MSI motherboard as I haven't found the option yet, however when I had the Gigabyte motherboard installed sometimes disabling or enabling fast start up helped it boot into Windows.

Memtest shouldn't take too long now, I'll try and find the option for fast startup on the MSI motherboard, disable, then reinstall Windows.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
its an option in windows 10. not bios.
fast boot in bios just removes certain checks mb makes before handing control to win 10
Fast startup in win 10 is completely different. Not related.
 
Jan 2, 2021
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its an option in windows 10. not bios.
fast boot in bios just removes certain checks mb makes before handing control to win 10
Fast startup in win 10 is completely different. Not related.
This could explain the problem then, fresh installs work fine until rebooted a few times. Currently installing Windows 10 and will disable the Windows 10 fast boot option see how it goes :D
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
i think windows 10 should check if you have ssd or nvme and disable the feature as it only helps people on hdd. When it takes up to 2 minutes to start, any little extra boost helps. But ssd and nvme can boot windows and all drivers in under 20 seconds so its not really helpful.
also can mess with old drivers that aren't written for the modes and cause weird errors.
 
Jan 2, 2021
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i think windows 10 should check if you have ssd or nvme and disable the feature as it only helps people on hdd. When it takes up to 2 minutes to start, any little extra boost helps. But ssd and nvme can boot windows and all drivers in under 20 seconds so its not really helpful.
also can mess with old drivers that aren't written for the modes and cause weird errors.
Stuck again :( Now trying to boot to USB gives me Windows 10 logo and spinning dots, doesn't move from this screen at all. Tried UEFI with USB with partition and BIOs as GBT and CSM with USB partition MBR with no luck... same issue.

I also found another graphics card, I read somewhere awhile ago this can cause issues, but having the same problems :(

I have also booted into PopOS live and formatted the SSD as NTFS just in case Windows couldn't see the disk, no fix either.

Never known a computer like this :oops:
 
Jan 2, 2021
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Stuck again :( Now trying to boot to USB gives me Windows 10 logo and spinning dots, doesn't move from this screen at all. Tried UEFI with USB with partition and BIOs as GBT and CSM with USB partition MBR with no luck... same issue.

I also found another graphics card, I read somewhere awhile ago this can cause issues, but having the same problems :(

I have also booted into PopOS live and formatted the SSD as NTFS just in case Windows couldn't see the disk, no fix either.

Never known a computer like this :oops:
Finally booted to Windows 10 installer, all went well and disabled fast restart under Windows,. Installed all drivers etc, after second reboot same problem.

Any thoughts on next thing to try? Completely lost at the moment.

Storage - Tried on SSD and HDD, unable to boot to USB to install OS. WD diagnosis reports no issues
MB - Same result on 2 motherboards
CPU - 16 hours testing on Prime95 with all passes
PSU - Tried 2 different PSUs
RAM - Tested twice with memtest86 with all passes
GPU - Stress tested with no noticeable issue, tried another GPU with same issue.
 

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