Question Windows freezes a short while after logging in ?

Aug 24, 2021
Hi guys,

Turning to this forum because I haven't been able to solve this problem and have run out of search terms to try in Google.

I was helping a mate with upgrading his hard drive and cloned his drive to an SSD. To test this after a number of boot issues, I brought it home and connected it into one of my PCS (disconnecting the only drive from this PC first). Ended up being unable to fix so I reinstalled Windows.

I then reconnected the original drive to the machine and found a similar problem replicated on this drive. The POST screen appears then shows the loading icon, then I get taken to a black screen with a Windows loading icon (this was as far as my friennd's SSD got before it hung). With my machine however it does load Windows but there appear to be issues with anything start menu/taskbar related (explorer.exe?).

I was able to start task manager and through this was able to launch programs but discovered regardless of what I open/close around a minute into Windows being loaded the system appears to freeze followed shortly by a device connected sound.

I've tried repairing boot sectors in the chance there was an issue loading the OS, tried running chkdsk and sfc. SFC works fine from the installation media but fails when inside the Windows installation itself. I was able to postpone the freezing by repeatedly restarting Explorer in task manager but the issue still appears.

Searching online I found something about malware found in the registry under the Image File Execution.options but I was only able to locate and delete an iexplorer key, the second key called explorer didn't exist. I have since rebooted the machine (through hard power off as Windows restart feature doesn't work), confirmed on reboot the issue is still there but the iexplorer registry key was successfully deleted.

I have also booted into the Kaspersky bootable AV and scanned all possible storage locations with nothing coming up.

I'm lost for what more to try and would prefer to resolve this issue rather than reinstall as I can't afford to lose the files on this machine and am scared connecting the drive to another machine to copy files off may result in the other machine having the same issues (if this is a virus).

Machine uses an i5 7500, 8GB Kingston DDR4, Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 and a GTX 960 Strix (tried without GPU installed with no luck)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated


Win 10 Master
win 10 by default isn't off when you power it off, its in a hybrid hibernate state. Its powered on and some of its files are still live in ram. mostly boot files and drivers.

What that means is if you unplug ssd and remove it from the PC, you can corrupt files. That is possibly what happened to your ssd as it shouldn't be affected by being removed and put back in again, unless it was still on when you unplugged it.

You might find a fresh install will fix it.

Does it freeze in safe mode?
  1. go to settings/update & security/recovery
  2. under advanced startup, click restart now button
  3. this restarts PC in a blue menu
  4. choose troubleshoot
  5. choose advanced
  6. choose startup options
  7. click the restart button
  8. choose a safe mode (it doesn't matter which) by using number associated with it.
  9. Pc will restart and load safe mode
just curious, some of the files saved into ram during the hibernate state are drivers.
Aug 24, 2021
Hi Colif,
Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately the issue with trying to boot to safe mode is that the machine doesnt have enough working features to restart from within windows (meaning the final step of reboot to safe mode doesn't work).

I have tried using the recovery options to boot into safe mode, however this just leaves me with an empty, black screen that doesn't allow for anything (no cursor or keyboard response despite mouse and keyboard both being connected).

I was thinking of turning to the final option of running an in-place upgrade to keep as much as possible whilst reinstalling, however this seems to be impossible with the machine's current state.

After playing around a bit I've come to realise that Window Desktop Manager is using 6/8GB RAM and an insanely high amount of cpu. This makes me think that theres an issue with wdm starting and thats then using all the cpu until it freezes up?
Aug 24, 2021
So to add to this, it seems that Window Desktop Manager takes over if the GPU isnt working (my gpu usage shows 0% which doesnt change whether i have my dedicated gpu installed or if i run integrated). I managed to eventually get into safemode with the machine to find the same outcome with just a little more time before it freezes up.

I'm thinking somewhere along the lines windows is failing to hand off the graphics to the gpu but even after numerous steps in safe mode I haven't had any success.

Short of a complete reinstall I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions?