Computer not booting up properly

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seahermit
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Computer not booting up properly

Postby seahermit » Mon Mar 29, 2021 2:22 am

That time again when, please, I could really do with some opinions as to why this might be happening!

My Acer Aspire desktop was bought in 2016 and I have been lucky, no real problems since then. I received conflicting advice about upgrading the security and so I have stuck with Windows Defender for now. I downloaded a couple of small Windows updates the other day, no apparent problems.

The hard drive is divided into a C-drive and a D-drive, both of one terrabyte and I haven't even used half of that total, so there should be no storage issues. I have checked through the maintenance apps, file clean-up etc. (which are automatic) - everything seems ok. And I don't let masses of stuff build up in the Recycle bin.

But suddenly yesterday the computer took ages to start and display the log-in screen - eventually I managed to log-in but couldn't access the internet. I tried two different browsers, problems with both of them. So I instead clicked onto some document files but a message came up that "Word was not working" - I don't think those were actually the problems anyway! So, I gave up for a while, returned to the computer later and, after some flickering, normality returned.

Today, when I switched on, a black screen, not even the log-in page. I tried several times, sometimes got as far as the log-in page but then everything went black again and I had to switch off at the console. Eventually, I logged in and walked away for ten minutes - after an age, the normal desktop-screen appeared and I was able to work.

The only other thing I can think of is the Sky connection. It has a habit lately of disappearing (not always at busy times) and messages come up telling me that there is something wrong at my end - no, there isn't, it is almost certainly a problem with Sky!

Maybe I should get the computer checked over. If things crash, I haven't backed-up the settings, which I should have done, but all my important files, photos etc. are stored in different cloud locations, some of it on portable storage as well.

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Derek Jempson
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Re: Computer not booting up properly

Postby Derek Jempson » Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:03 am

One of the first things that I do when I get problems like that is to check the memory stick seatings. Turn the computer off, take off the side panel and locate the memory stick/s (long, narrow strips plugged into the mother board). Using both thumbs, gently but firmly press each stick into its socket. Sometimes you will hear a click, or a scrunching noise, which usually indicates that the stick wasn't seated properly. Replace the side panel, turn on and see what happens.

UncleB
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Re: Computer not booting up properly

Postby UncleB » Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:00 am

Hello Seahermit, this is a fairly common issue and the symptoms point to a big Windows update applying.

There are normally some adjustments made behind the scenes after the update as Windows works out if the new controlling software for your hardware (called "drivers") works with your hardware - and it will often change these drivers if it finds the new ones are not fully compatible.

This settling down period matches what you saw - and the Wireless network card driver was probably the one being rolled back to an older version behind the scenes.

The black screen on startup is probably

There are 2 thinks I would recommend doing:

1 - take a full backup of everything to external drives before touching anything.
2 - reboot the computer a few times and check it is settling down and behaving normally.

If step 2 gives variable or unwanted results then you would benefit from getting a friendly techie to give it a health check to see if a rebuild (or replacement) is needed.

Good luck.

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seahermit
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Re: Computer not booting up properly

Postby seahermit » Mon Mar 29, 2021 1:49 pm

I appreciate the helpful comments. I forgot that a couple of weeks ago the Windows 10 system was heavily updated - almost certainly the cause of the problem.

I have found a lot of complicated stuff about too many apps loading at Start-up, dodgy drivers etc., so I will work through some of the obvious steps I can take. But I am not at all confident about this and I have never backed up everything, so maybe I should enlist some help.

Thanks a lot, I will see how it goes. My instinct is that it is not something serious like malware/viruses.

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Richard
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Re: Computer not booting up properly

Postby Richard » Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:33 pm

seahermit, what do you mean when you say that the 'Windows 10 system was heavily updated'.
I have never had issues as updates are applied in the background.
Try updating your chosen browser and then re-boot.
Install a decent antivirus program like Avast or Avira.

You can download a free clean-up program such as 'CCleaner' to remove clutter etcetera.

Make back-ups of important files onto a USB widget and take it from there.
If all else fails it is really very cheap to buy a new desktop computer on Bay, with Win 10 installed, then you can load important files back from the USB widget.
No point suffering with an old, struggling and outdated system.

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seahermit
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Re: Computer not booting up properly

Postby seahermit » Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:00 am

My updates generally announce themselves and I have the option to allow or to download at a later time.

My version of Windows 10 was recently largely replaced by an updated one. No big problems at first, just these boot-up ones suddenly in the last couple of days. Seems alright at the moment - UncleB was probably right, some settling down behind the scenes has been going on.

I use the Chrome browser, since it is reported to be better and more secure than the Edge browser. There are also some things which seem to work more simply, like working with bookmark lists.

The other suggestions are good ones, thanks. I must install a better anti-virus program and download C-Cleaner - meant to but it got forgotten.

It is a good computer, not that old, and all my important data is backed up online. But probably a good idea to double up the storage places, so I will copy everything onto a flashdrive.

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seahermit
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Re: Computer not booting up properly

Postby seahermit » Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:23 am

Spoke too soon! Most things work OK including getting online.

But Word is extremely slow to open, either a new document or trying to open an existing document. I may need to uninstall an update or Word itself? Seems to be a common problem, with numerous possible solutions.

UncleB
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Re: Computer not booting up properly

Postby UncleB » Tue Mar 30, 2021 9:50 am

Windows 10 does an annual big update about this time of year, and several large but less critical "feature" updates throughout the year, all of which take 20+ mins to install (depending on your kit) and which require at least one reboot, if not several.

Once these updates have applied then they often trigger a cascade of other updates to apps (eg Microsoft Office) and features (.NET framework used by some 3rd party developed applications) as the operating system status means they have updates that are appropriate to apply to fix issues the updates caused.

It is quite common for these to take a few days of minor disruption before settling down again. It is a pain in the bum but quite normal.

With the issue with Word being slow to open, there are some useful tools built into Windows that help locate what is causing the issue - one of these is Task manager (right click on a blank section of the status bar at the bottom of the screen and select Task Manager).

In Task Manager click on the bottom left to Show More to see all the individual modules/processes running, click on the title bar of CPU to sort it by most active program and it will show which program is gobbling up your processor capacity - if Word is sitting at almost exactly 50%, 33% or 25% for a long period without more than a few % difference then it has got stuck in a loop - you can close it by right clicking on the Task Manager entry for Word, then open again as normal.

This is also a common issue but repeated occurrence is a sign something has been corrupted and more investigation is needed.

The other thing to check is the memory column - if it is close to 100% then the issue is lack o free memory rather than processor use, so a memory upgrade is the best solution (quite cheap now) unless there is one app using gigabytes of memory - in which case close the app and see if it happens again.

I deal with this sort of stuff all day so feel free to drop me a private message if you have any specific questions and I'll try to help.

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Richard
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Re: Computer not booting up properly

Postby Richard » Wed Mar 31, 2021 12:31 am

'Task View' will show how many windows you have open and using up too much memory.
How much memory do you have?

Win 10 updates should happen in the background, invisibly.
I have never had to re-boot to settle an update.

I agree that 'Task Manager' is useful to see what program is using up a lot of memory.
Shut down anything that is memory-hungry.
Sometimes there may be multiple instances of the same chosen browser open at one time.

'Flash' seems to be one of the most common culprits for the 100% hard disk usage in Windows 10 if you're using the Google Chrome browser.
Microsoft Edge is an adequate replacement for Chrome.

There are alternatives to 'Word', try shutting it down and use 'Open Office' instead perhaps.

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seahermit
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Re: Computer not booting up properly

Postby seahermit » Thu Apr 01, 2021 2:26 am

Thanks very much for all the helpful suggestions, sorry about my delay in responding - Covid has caused me several problems (including losing friends and relatives), so the computer issues are another big setback.

At present, I can get the internet using Chrome - although my Sky broadband connection keeps going. It has been going on for a year or more and there seems no way of resolving it. This five minutes, the connection has suddenly returned, so I will post this reply whilst I can! But my Bookmarks bar doesn't seem to work, whereas clicking on websites in the Bookmarks list (when you open the browser) does work! Very odd.

Word is hardly working at all, the screen keeps freezing and the only way to proceed is to shut the computer down and start again.I much prefer Word to Open Office which (the last time I tried it) had compatibility problems and could not read any of my files.

Also having problems with my Epson printer - will print but not scan, just produces a small blurred rectangle on the page, so I will probably have to re-install all of that software.

When I right-click on the status bar, a list of options comes up but clicking onto Task Manager does nothing - until five minutes later (why?!) the list of options suddenly appears on screen. If I can find my way into that again, I will check through things (not an area I have ever been into before). Some time back I uninstalled a lot of "bloatware" apps and so on, but that is the extent of my exploration into the inner workings of the computer.

Apart from the Sky connection, none of these problems were occurring before the accursed Windows update, so I will just have to work through the different ways and see what works. Thank goodness I atleast have a Samsung.


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