Help me diagnose my PC? [SOLVED]

Earlier this week, my PC decided to lessen it’s functionality to that of shiny paperweight. I’ll do my best to explain what my PC is doing and what I’ve tried doing to fix it.
For starters, my specs (these are just off the top of my head cus I can’t actually view them lol)

  • 1tb HDD
  • 32gb ddr4 ram
  • intel 17 3770
  • nvidia gtx 970
  • Windows 10

One day, I got home from work, and turned on my monitors. I had left my PC on since my last use, and saw it was on the login screen, so I assumed it was a windows update. Upon logging in, I was greeted with a black desktop with the icons not properly loading and an uninteractable task bar. I assumed this was caused by the windows update and rolled back to the previous version. It didnt yield any results, so I tried to load a recovery point from a couple of weeks ago. At this point, not even the icons nor task bar showed. I could still open the task manager and see that my system was using 100% of the disk, and windows explorer was not open, and it would not work even by starting it manually. At this point I started unplugging all unnecessary hardware from my pc, but nothing fixed the issue. I want to clarify that the login screen functions perfectly fine, and I have logged in with a test account made with command prompt to ensure its not a corrupt user.

I decided to do a system restore (not deleting my files though, as I have lots of important stuff I can’t lose). This once again did not fix it. I’ve done most of my troubleshooting in safe mode, and it hasn’t made it any better.

I followed this guide as best as I could. The only things I couldn’t do were the device manager and regedit options, as I can’t open either. None of the others made any differences.

I’m sure I may be forgetting some details, so if you need any clarification, please ask. I’m desperate to isolate the problem to find a quick fix as soon as possible, as some of my livelihood depends on it.

Much thanks, lads.

1 Like

I’m afraid I’m not much in the way of tech support, but it could be a hardware issue. You might try using some canned air to dust out the interior, maybe that will help.

Whoops forgot to mention I did do that. Hardware’s clean as a whistle.

1 Like

I doubt it’s hardware. If it was, your PC would most likely beep several times shortly after it’s turned on or the system would refuse to load.
Have you tried launching Windows in Safe Mode? Here’s a guide how to do it:

Have you also installed any new programs recently? You did say that you left your pc on, so it could be possible you installed something that has issues when launched on startup.

I had a similar issue with Malwarebytes premium (automatic free trial after installing normal edition); the software works fine before a reboot, but I got a black screen after a reboot due to it launching on startup. Uninstalling the program by booting into safe mode fixed the issue.

As I mentioned, I have, and it did not help.

I did in fact recently install malwarebytes premium, but it was a trial period that ended last week. I did restart my pc since then, but even if I wished to uninstall it, the current state of my pc would not allow me.

As far as installing other programs, I only installed Starbound in recent days. I am highly doubtful that it caused any problems.

If you can start Windows Explorer manually using Task Manager, you should be able to launch Device Manager and Registry Editor as well. Instead of typing “explorer.exe”, type “devmgmt.msc” for Device Manager and “regedit.exe” for Registry Editor.
You could also try the “sfc /scannow” command in Command Prompt to check if the system is corrupted.
If all else fails and you run out of ideas, you may have to reinstall your system.

1 Like

With the parts you weren’t able to you can easily access them with the Run program, to access the run window press the “windows” key and the “r” key, and then you just type in the name of what you need to run.
Or head into the task manager with ctrl + alt + delete, click on file, select run new task and type in the name for the device manager snap-in or the registry editor.

Since you got access to the command prompt id recommend booting the command prompt as an admin if possible and type in the “sfc /scannow” command and make it check if the system has been corrupted in any way

It could also be a virus infection that has gone to town on your pc while you were away, personally i doubt this is the case so maybe do this as an almost last resort if you’re out of ideas.
To get rid of the virus i recommend Eset Nod32 Antivirus as you can make a bootable version that can run on its own.

Eset Nod SysRescue

Here’s a link that will tell you how to set up the SysRescue boot media

To do a proper scan you will need to choose the scan setup option and follow these settings in the threatsense engine.

Scan settings:
select the in-depth profile and
Make it scan absolutely everything on your computer, you can let it ignore the mailboxes and email files since the issue is most likely not there.
head into options and select Potentially unsafe application so that it detects everything
If you got any other installed antiviruses or malware detectors then then you might not wanna set it to automatically clean or delete whatever infected files it finds, as antivirus software and malware removers are often detected as false positives.
You can still leave it at the default and let it clean and/or remove what it finds, but if you dont wanna risk having to reinstall antivirus software and malware removers then set it to no cleaning.
Now head into scan targets and click on the little select box next to the computer folder to make it scan everything on the pc
Now select the the smart scan button and let it scan with the profile settings we made
When it’s done and all files have been checked and the infected files has been cleaned or deleted by your command or by the antivirus itself, just shut down the sysrescue software and the pc, then take out the usb/cd and turn the pc back on and let it boot the hdd.

If all else fails we got two options left, either get a windows installation disk and try a startup repair from that,
or backup all the files you do wanna keep to another harddrive, and then do a reformat of the original harddrive and reinstall windows 10 on it.
Then you just move all the files you backed up back unto the original harddrive.

1 Like
Why the detour, just use ctrl+shift+esc.


Black desktop, improperly loading icons and 100% HDD activity make me wonder if you caught some nasty malware or if your HDD is dying. Have you done any tests in those directions?

or like i said, just go straight to the Run application since that is what task manager uses to make processes

I’m not an expert at PCs but I’ve had similar issues such as the processor or GPU overheating, or you may need a new hard drive. Have you measured your temps lately? Dust really gets you and can block air from flowing causing hardware to overheat. I’m not a PC expert so if I’m wrong please correct me if any of you are a PC expert.

Hey guys, HUGE thank you for your suggestions. I unfortunately haven’t yet been able to put them into practice, but I’ll definitely be sure to let you guys know how it turns out. You guys rock~

Quick update;

Upon closer inspection, the problem (or at least, one problem) may be as simple as a video driver issue, as in, my pc somehow seems to have lost it. I was able to get the latest driver version onto a thumb drive. Any advice on booting the installer without being able to use windows explorer?

You can use command prompt to navigate and launch the installer.

Could you elaborate on how to do this, or at least point me in the right direction? I am not particularly familiar with command prompt.

Use this guide:

You’ll use the “cd” and “dir” commands most of the time.

use the command “cd” to move around in the command prompt.
so if for example you wanna navigate to your program files folder it would be something like: cd C:\Program Files\

if you need to access a different drive you just type in whatever the drive letter is
so if you wanna access your F drive you simply type in: F:

as for running the installer you can use “start”
so the start command would be: start GraphicsDriveInstaller.exe
Remember it has to be the exact name as the file itself, the filetype also has to be exactly the same as the filetype on the installer

Don’t bother trying to exactly type it out. Press tab repeatedly to go through the filenames until autocomplete correctly fills it in for you.

Also if you have serious video driver issues, consider using DDU in safe mode and start with a clean reinstall.

Would you mind sharing what mobo you’re using? I had similar issues and I want to know if you have the same motherboard I did

In general updates would be appreciated, even if it’s just “Solution X worked, thanks!”

1 Like