Windows will not boot from a cold boot

PaulJ678

Member
Hi All,

Before I reset the PC just asking if anyone has any bright ideas.

PC Specialist supplied desktop in August 2022. A few months ago it presented the fault of not booting from a cold boot. It was very rare and always started when power reset. Now it happens every time PC is cold booted. It freezes on the F2 boot screen. No boot keys work. After several power on and power off it can be caught to enter BIOS and manually boot. After which it works fine and any warm boots complete correctly. It can be powered of and back on without incident.

The following has been done/checked. All completed with no fault unless stated.

No unnecessary devices are connected
Memory diagnostics
MemTest86
Start up Repair, could not complete, chkdsk ran, all ok
Fast startup disabled
sfc/scannow
fixmbr will not run because windows on M2 SSD and not compatible for this drive
Fortect scans. necessary repairs carried out
PSU and connections tested
CMOS battery changed
System image restored. I take system image every three months. Still will not cold boot.
...and probably other things I have forgotten about

I have noticed the mother board (ASUS Prime B560-plus) has an older BIOS 1601. There is a newer version, 2001.

So which should I try next? Update BIOS, reset PC or something else.

I am not convinced a PC reset will resolve it. Windows in on its own hard drive so only apps/programs that must be installed on same drive as Windows will need to be re-installed. Other critical programs are on a separate SSD. Other data on a third SSD.

This is sending me crazy;)

Thank you in advance for your helpful comments.

Regards,
Paul
 
Last edited:

TonyCarter

VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
 

PaulJ678

Member
Hi All,

Before I rest the PC just asking if anyone has any bright ideas.

PC Specialist supplied desktop in August 2022. A few months ago it presented the fault of not booting from a cold boot. It was very rare and always started when power reset. Now it happens every time PC is cold booted. It freezes on the F2 boot screen. No boot keys work. After several power on and power off it can be caught to enter BIOS and manually boot. After which it works fine and any warm boots complete correctly. It can be powered of and back on without incident.

The following has been done/checked. All completed with no fault unless stated.

No unnecessary devices are connected
Memory diagnostics
MemTest86
Start up Repair, could not complete, chkdsk ran, all ok
Fast startup disabled
sfc/scannow
fixmbr will not run because windows on large M2 SSD and not compatible for this drive
Fortect scans. necessary repairs carried out
PSU and connections tested
CMOS battery changed
System image restored. I take system image every three months. Still will not cold boot.
...and probably other things I have forgotten about

I have noticed the mother board (ASUS Prime B560-plus) has an older BIOS 1601. There is a newer version, 2001.

So which should I try next? Update BIOS, reset PC or something else.

I am not convinced a PC reset will resolve it. Windows in on its own hard drive so only apps/programs that must be installed on same drive as Windows will need to be re-installed. Other critical programs are on a separate SSD. Other data on a third SSD.

This is sending me crazy;)

Thank you in advance for your helpful comments.

Regards,
Paul
Case
PCS 3601 CASE
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™ i7 Eight Core Processor i7-11700 (2.5GHz) 16MB Cache
Motherboard
ASUS® PRIME B560-PLUS (DDR4, USB 3.2, 6Gb/s) - ARGB Ready!
Memory (RAM)
32GB PCS PRO DDR4 2666MHz (2 x 16GB)
Graphics Card
1GB NVIDIA GEFORCE 710 - DVI, HDMI, VGA
1st M.2 SSD Drive
512GB INTEL® 670p M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD (up to 3000MB/sR, 1600MB/sW)
1st M.2 SSD Drive
512GB INTEL® 670p M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD (up to 3000MB/sR, 1600MB/sW)
1st Storage Drive
1TB PCS 2.5" SSD, SATA 6 Gb (520MB/R, 470MB/W)
Power Supply
CORSAIR 550W CV SERIES™ CV-550 POWER SUPPLY
Power Cable
1 x 1.5 Metre UK Power Cable (Kettle Lead)
Processor Cooling
PCS FrostFlow 100 V3 Series High Performance CPU Cooler
Thermal Paste
STANDARD THERMAL PASTE FOR SUFFICIENT COOLING
Sound Card
ONBOARD 6 CHANNEL (5.1) HIGH DEF AUDIO (AS STANDARD)
Network Card
10/100/1000 GIGABIT LAN PORT
Wireless Network Card
WIRELESS 802.11N 300Mbps/2.4GHz PCI-E CARD
USB/Thunderbolt Options
MIN. 2 x USB 3.0 & 2 x USB 2.0 PORTS @ BACK PANEL + MIN. 2 FRONT PORTS
Operating System
NO OPERATING SYSTEM REQUIRED
Operating System Language
United Kingdom - English Language
Windows Recovery Media
NO RECOVERY MEDIA REQUIRED
Office Software
FREE 30 Day Trial of Microsoft 365® (Operating System Required)
Anti-Virus
NO ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE
Browser
Microsoft® Edge
Warranty
3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
 

TonyCarter

VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
It could be a failing SSD, and if it is, using it will just increase the risk of it not working each subsequent time...as they usually work one minute and then fail the next. Also, how full is it?

Have you tried to boot from another device (e.g. USB stick, spare external SSD?).

Which SSD is being used for the boot drive? Have you run any manufacturer diagnostics on it to see if it's performing correctly?

What is Fortect?
 

PaulJ678

Member
It could be a failing SSD, and if it is, using it will just increase the risk of it not working each subsequent time...as they usually work one minute and then fail the next. Also, how full is it?

Have you tried to boot from another device (e.g. USB stick, spare external SSD?).

Which SSD is being used for the boot drive? Have you run any manufacturer diagnostics on it to see if it's performing correctly?

What is Fortect?
Hi Tony,

Thanks for the response.

I have booted from USB when cold boot has failed then it becomes a warm boot and boots oaky. Not tried with a cold boot beacuse you need to let it go cold and do not know if the cold boot will work or not. Cold boots now fail 4/5 times sometimes fine for a few days then not. I tend to leave it on now to avoid issues at start of day. I will try this at next cold boot but I suspect it will not boot since it hangs before running through the boot sequence.

The OS is on one of the M2 SSDs (228 / 475gb). Only Windows and programs that must be on same drive as Windows are on that drive. Intel diagnostics will not run because diagnostics tool states 'This drive is no longer supported'

Fortect is a scanning tool that automates optimization tasks. It reports no issues with hardware.

The PC is used as a server for critical software but that has now been transfered to the backup server whilst this is resolved. I figure an OS reset will point towards the SSD beginning to fail or not. At less than 18 month old that would be unusual.

Regards,
Paul
 

TonyCarter

VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
I agree, 18 months isn't a long time for an SSD, but depending on the amount of data/writes it's doing they can wear out faster...and I don't know the endurance credentials for that drive.

I'd contact PCS support and RMA the drive, and they should give you a new one...but in the meantime you may want to restore your image to another drive to see if that solves it...at least as a troubleshooting step to see if it's the SSD or something else (motherboard, software, etc.).

If you are considering updating the BIOS, then please be aware that you need PCS support approval before you do, otherwise you risk invalidating your warranty should something get damaged/locked during the process.

I'm hoping one of the more technical forum volunteers come along to offer other options/advice as there is a breadth of knowledge on here that no single person can cover.
 

ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
My first advice would be to uninstall Fortect. These types of tools are unnecessary and often dangerous. For example, I read this on their website under the BSOD section...
The BSoD is a serious miscommunication between your hardware and operating system that prevents your computer from functioning. Fortect repairs incompatible DLLs, drivers, and Windows bugs that cause BSoDs, while identifying malfunctioning hardware that needs to be replaced.
That is just wrong on so many levels. A BSOD is NOT a miscommunication, it's a deliberate mechanism designed to protect your data when an unrecoverable error occurs. ANY third-party software that 'repairs' (or updates or installs) drivers is to be avoided like the plague - because you have no idea whether the software is really finding the right driver, nor where the driver has come from. The same goes for dlls - though it's rare to find a dll causing a BSOD - unless it's a thrid-party dll. It is impossible for any software to reliably identify what hardware has caused a BSOD, it's often difficult for experienced BSOD analysts to know for sure.

Tools like this are little more than snake oil, you don't need them and they have the potential to do more harm than good. This, for example, would worry me...
Fortect scans. necessary repairs carried out
What 'necessary repairs' did it carry out? Please, just uninstall Fortect, I've seen too many BSODs caused by third-party driver install/update tools and similar tune-up tools.

That said, your original problem of cold boot failures is almost certainly a hardare problem - and that could be anythjing. How far does it get in the boot process when booting from cold? Does it POST for example? Do you hear any additional POST beeps (apart from the single one)? Does it get as far as the WIndows loading screen (with the spinning circle)?

Knowing how far it gets in a cold boot will help narrow down what the problem might be. It could just be a card than needs re-seating, or it could be a PSU issue. Did anything happen prior to this problem starting? A power outage for example?
 

PaulJ678

Member
My first advice would be to uninstall Fortect. These types of tools are unnecessary and often dangerous. For example, I read this on their website under the BSOD section...

That is just wrong on so many levels. A BSOD is NOT a miscommunication, it's a deliberate mechanism designed to protect your data when an unrecoverable error occurs. ANY third-party software that 'repairs' (or updates or installs) drivers is to be avoided like the plague - because you have no idea whether the software is really finding the right driver, nor where the driver has come from. The same goes for dlls - though it's rare to find a dll causing a BSOD - unless it's a thrid-party dll. It is impossible for any software to reliably identify what hardware has caused a BSOD, it's often difficult for experienced BSOD analysts to know for sure.

Tools like this are little more than snake oil, you don't need them and they have the potential to do more harm than good. This, for example, would worry me...

What 'necessary repairs' did it carry out? Please, just uninstall Fortect, I've seen too many BSODs caused by third-party driver install/update tools and similar tune-up tools.

That said, your original problem of cold boot failures is almost certainly a hardare problem - and that could be anythjing. How far does it get in the boot process when booting from cold? Does it POST for example? Do you hear any additional POST beeps (apart from the single one)? Does it get as far as the WIndows loading screen (with the spinning circle)?

Knowing how far it gets in a cold boot will help narrow down what the problem might be. It could just be a card than needs re-seating, or it could be a PSU issue. Did anything happen prior to this problem starting? A power outage for example?
Thanks for the response ubuysa.

Don't worry. Fortect was only used to scan in case we had missed anything, I dont let it apply fixes. After scanning it was uninstalled. There were a couple of minor fixes which we manually applied so they can be undone. It made no difference.

We get the POST beep then it freezes before Window loads. An image is attached. F2/F8 will not work when frozen but sometimes you can catch it before it freezes to get into the BIOS and boot from there. I am pretty sure all seating has been checked but does not hurt to check again. I will do this when next turned off. The PSU has been tested with a multi-meter and all voltages for each pin are correct.

There is not an incident that can be attributed to this issue. It initially happened once and then mot again for some time. Over a period of six months has become more frequent but still uncommon. About one month ago it happened three days consecutively so I started running scans on hardware and other fault finding etc. It was fine last week and cold booted all week. This week the fault re-appeared so I was intending to get ready to reset to PC but...

...I also think it is more likely to be hardware so I am hesitant to re-install the OS if I can identify a hardware issue. I would be wasting my time with all the supplementary work needed after the OS re-installed. I have little enough time as it is and the problem is now that it is in my head ;)
 

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PaulJ678

Member
Are all your BIOS settings defaulted? Can you post a photo of the boot options page?
The BIOS reset when battery changed. Yes, I will upload an image when next at location of the miscreant PC. From memory only the Windows Boot Manger is listed.

Thank you very much for assistance.
 

PaulJ678

Member
The BIOS reset when battery changed. Yes, I will upload an image when next at location of the miscreant PC. From memory only the Windows Boot Manger is listed.

Thank you very much for assistance.
I got someone to send me an image
 

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ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
You bought it with no OS supplied, so....
  • How did you install Windows?
  • Are the boot partitions and Windows partitions on the same drive (M.2_1), or is the boot partition on M2_1 and Windows on M2_2 (it happens)?
  • What is that plugged into the USB port (31.4GB)? It appears in the boot list and that concerns me.
  • Will it boot with that USB drive removed?
  • Will it boot with the SSD in M2_2 and the SATA SSD (and that USB drive) removed?
From what you describe the BIOS seems to stall trying to locate the boot files. It must have located a bootable device or you'd get a boot failure message, but the bootable device stalls.

Depending on your answers to the questions above we'll suggest a next step.
 

PaulJ678

Member
You bought it with no OS supplied, so....
  • How did you install Windows?
  • Are the boot partitions and Windows partitions on the same drive (M.2_1), or is the boot partition on M2_1 and Windows on M2_2 (it happens)?
  • What is that plugged into the USB port (31.4GB)? It appears in the boot list and that concerns me.
  • Will it boot with that USB drive removed?
  • Will it boot with the SSD in M2_2 and the SATA SSD (and that USB drive) removed?
From what you describe the BIOS seems to stall trying to locate the boot files. It must have located a bootable device or you'd get a boot failure message, but the bootable device stalls.

Depending on your answers to the questions above we'll suggest a next step.
Hi ubuysa,

Thank you again for your help. I can answer all those very easily.

Windows was installed from a digital license from my Microsoft account.

Anything to do with windows (including boot partitions) is on one of the M2 SSD drives. Nothing other than apps/programs that must be on the same drive as Windows is on that drive. Critical software and/or data is one of the other two drives or a NAS.

The USB was a drive inadvertently left in a port that is used for backing up specific data for offsite storage. It is not usually in there and is not usually listed in the boot order. I was surprised to see it there too. The person that sent me the image forgot to remove it when warm booting to get the image.

The USB is normally removed and the cold boot issue occurs whether a USB is or is not plugged in. All warm boots are fine.

I cannot answer the last question because I have not ‘yet’ changed the location of Windows. Windows is on M2_1, other critical software on M2-2, all other data and non critical software on the SSD. There is tons of room on the M2-2 and SSD. Software on the M2-2 is no longer ‘live’ since the server status of that drive is redundant and a backup server is being used until this is resolved (there is even a backup to the backup to ensure I always have redundancy)

Before the next cold boot all seating will the checked again.

If the issue still exists then I am left with resetting Windows on M2_1 if issue still exists then install Windows on M2_2.

Whatever it is now is a botheration but I guess I need a hobby 😀
 

ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
What I meant by how did you install Windows was; did you install it via media prepared by the Windows Media Creation Tool? Did you delete all (any) existing partitions on the drive? Did you ensure that only the system drive was connected (that is important to ensure that the installer accesses only one drive)?

This does still seem to be a boot file problem, it appears that the BIOS transfers control to bootable media and then everything stalls. So I really would like to know what happens when the only drive in there is the system drive (M2_1).

Something else to try is to download a Linux distro that can run off the USB drive (such as Linux Mint). Permanently move that USB drive to the top of the boot order, so it's always selected first, and then power off and let it go cold. Then see whether it boots that Linux USB drive from cold.
 

PaulJ678

Member
What I meant by how did you install Windows was; did you install it via media prepared by the Windows Media Creation Tool? Did you delete all (any) existing partitions on the drive? Did you ensure that only the system drive was connected (that is important to ensure that the installer accesses only one drive)?

This does still seem to be a boot file problem, it appears that the BIOS transfers control to bootable media and then everything stalls. So I really would like to know what happens when the only drive in there is the system drive (M2_1).

Something else to try is to download a Linux distro that can run off the USB drive (such as Linux Mint). Permanently move that USB drive to the top of the boot order, so it's always selected first, and then power off and let it go cold. Then see whether it boots that Linux USB drive from cold.
Hi ubuysa,

Windows was installed on the PC buy PCS for testing purpose so I simply entered our credentials using a digital licence. It was installed on one hard drive only.

This morning was a cold boot with the USB removed which stalled again at the same place. Forced restarts as before to get into BIOS to manually boot. Two warm boots since without issue.

I will try your suggestion.
 

SpyderTracks

We love you Ukraine
Hi ubuysa,

Windows was installed on the PC buy PCS for testing purpose so I simply entered our credentials using a digital licence. It was installed on one hard drive only.

This morning was a cold boot with the USB removed which stalled again at the same place. Forced restarts as before to get into BIOS to manually boot. Two warm boots since without issue.

I will try your suggestion.
The test windows isn’t suitable for use as it’s not fully configured, you’d need to clean install windows.
 

ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
As above. When you buy a system without an OS then you MUST expect to install one yourself. Why would you use any old random OS that happened to be on there?
 

PaulJ678

Member
As above. When you buy a system without an OS then you MUST expect to install one yourself. Why would you use any old random OS that happened to be on there?
Sorry...I was wrong. Windows was clean installed from USB. I was thinking about a laptop that came with Windows installed that was then linked to a Microsoft account. I had several new PCs around the same time, some with, some without the OS .
 

PaulJ678

Member
Hi All,

I am back again. The PC is fixed so here is what happened in case it helps someone else.

As a last resort a clean install of Windows was carried out. It did not resolve the issue. After the clean re-install the PC would not boot at all unless the SSD SATA was disconnected then we could warm boot with the SSD SATA connected once a cold boot succeeded. This drive did not hold the OS and was only used for low level data.

At this point a dialogue was started with PCS. CrystalDisk ran which indicated the M2 SSD containing the OS had a poor write speed. PCS solution was to to send out a new drive BUT we had to give the suspected faulty one to the courier. I was not happy with this solution because the OS was on that drive. In any case there are several factors which can affect write speed. I ran CrystalDisk again and the result was as it should be. PCS offered RMA but there would be charges since PC over 12 months old, although the problem started months ago and within the warranty period.

Rather than do this we sent the PC to a local expert for testing because the turnaround and downtime would be significantly less. Upon inspection there was damage to the motherboard. Pins on the CPU socket were damaged/bent and a usb header socket was damaged and had bent pins. The technician said the person assembling the PC must have been having a bad day and was very heavy handed.

When PCS were informed of this the first gambit was if any damaged caused by a third party then not their liability. This was quickly dismissed and the technician, obviously, had photos as the inspection was carried out. PCS next response was that any damge MUST be reported within the first 72 hours after delivery. Again this was dismissed. . PCS implication is that PCS expect every customer to remove every component within 72 hours of receipt to check pins/pads etc for damage…not gonna happen is it. PCS conceded this.

Our technician changed the motherboard but 1 out of 10 cold boots still failed. The SATA SSD was still causing issues. This was tested and there were a massive amount of write cycles used much much more than would be expected for a PC of this age (17 months). This drive was changed.

Now both of these components have been change the PC works perfectly. What resolution I will have with PCS over this will come out in time. The main thing is we have the PC back and it is operating as it should.

I now have to decide if I can be bothered seeking resolution from PCS. I have already wasted far too much time on this but now know more than I did about PC fault finding than at the beginning of this adventure...which will help next time.

Thank you to those that offered advice when I asked. It is appreciated!
 
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ubuysa

The BSOD Doctor
Your concerns above are predicated on the assumption that the local expert's diagnosis was correct. I don't know what you know of the local expert's experience, knowledge, and skills, but since most people know very little of the workings of PCs, anyone with a small scrap of knowledge can set themselves up as a PC repair technician and fool most of the people most of the time. There are no recognised qualifications, no regulatory body, and no inspections to verify competence of local PC repair shops. Having come across quite a few of these people whilst assisting others I now have zero confidence in most local experts.

If, as your expert claims, pins on the CPU socket were damaged/bent then the PC would never have passed PCS's stress testing and you'd have had failures from day one. In addition, if a usb header socket was damaged and had bent pins, then anything connected to that header would have problems, problems you'd have noticed from day 1. What your local expert is claiming doesn't make sense. But then much of what local experts say and do doesn't make sense.

`
 
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