ASUS X201E constant reboot loop at POST.

vorneus

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Jan 3, 2015
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Hi guys,

I have an ASUS X201E laptop which is about 6 months old and I've hardly used.

I bought it as a refurb and reinstalled it (it came with Windows 8) with Windows 7, which itself was a task getting UEFI to play nicely with USB installation media, but anyway.

I ran a full day of load testing with memtest and whatnot. All good and it's never crashed, randomly rebooted, overheated or done anything wrong.

Was using it Thursday evening, absolutely fine. Then on Friday evening I switched it on, get the ASUS splash screen on boot.. then it power cycles. This repeats forever. It's too early to hit F8 and get Windows boot options - it doesn't even get to that point. Entering the BIOS works fine. The only things I can do are hit F2 or DEL to get to the BIOS, and hit F9 which gets me some weird Windows 8 recovery thing that basically can't do anything - but that runs, interface works fine, all good etc.

It just won't boot. I've literally left it for 30 minutes and all it does it get exceedingly hot and do nothing. Extremely frustrating - would gratefully welcome any input you guys have.

Thanks a lot in advance,

-Ed
 

volcanoscout

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Jan 5, 2014
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What do you have for DRAM? If you have two sticks, try removing one and see if it boots. If no go, then try the same stick in the other slot (if you have two SODIMM slots). If still no go, then do the same with the other.
 

vorneus

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Jan 3, 2015
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Thanks for the reply volcanoscout. The RAM is actually soldered onto the motherboard on this model of (very thin) ASUS laptop. Had I known this at the point of purchase I wouldn't have actually bought it, but that's a different story altogether..

Cheers,

-Ed
 

volcanoscout

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Interesting - I've been playing around with laptops for ages and I've never seen RAM actually soldered in. Glue, yes - solder, no. I'll have to check that out. Did the refurb come with a warranty?

You can load Memtest to a bootable USB and check your DRAM again. Sometimes errors won't show up unless you run a long test - since the laptop won't run anyway, it's not like you don't have time for a long test. There's another good memory and system checker that runs from a bootable, but I can't think of it's name at the moment - I'll have to dig for it, but I'll post a link when I find it.

If the DRAM still checks out okay, might try pulling the HD or SSD, connect it to another system (as a secondary drive, not as boot drive) to copy out your personal files, then reinstall it in the laptop and do a USB W8 install. Maybe it just doesn't like W7.
 

vorneus

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Jan 3, 2015
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Thanks again for your response. I'll slap memtest on a USB and set it off, though I'll have to grapple with the darn UEFI BIOS some more.

I've not opened it up myself so don't know for sure, but everywhere I've read says the DRAM is soldered on. I was planning on slapping an SSD into it at some point anyway so I might just accelerate that plan to check the HDD isn't the issue.

It might be that it doesn't like Windows 7 - after all I completely repartitioned the drive when I installed W7, so I have absolutely no idea where this Windows 8 recovery program has come from. It's the only thing besides the BIOS that will actually do anything though.

Would it help to post a video of exactly what the laptop is doing? I'm no expert, but I worked as a computer tech for 2 years (albeit a long time ago..) and have been working with laptops and PCs in web and software development for the past 10 years and have never come across anything like it.

Cheers,

-Ed
 

volcanoscout

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In my experience (I know, scary term...) and from researching similar issues many times for THW questions, that kind of problem can often be layed at the feet of the DRAM modules or the DIMM slots themselves (and the mobo, by extension). With laptops though, for whatever reason, sometimes it's caused by seemingly unrelated problems that don't normally occur with desktops. Maybe because of the physical construction differences. One example would be a boot-loop caused by a faulty USB port - I'm sure that has occurred to someone, somewhere, in a desktop, but I've never seen it myself. The BIOS was convinced that there was a bootable USB device connected and kept trying to boot from it without ever triggering a boot fault message. Not saying that's what's happening here, just giving an example.
 

volcanoscout

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Have you tried clearing your CMOS and resetting your BIOS to default settings? Since you have access to your BIOS, you should be able to do it without cracking the case - not sure where the option would be in yours, but it should be labeled Reset to default, Load factory defaults, Clear BIOS settings, Load setup defaults, or something similar.

It might be a little premature, but you could also try reflashing your BIOS to see if that unsticks things.
 

vorneus

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Jan 3, 2015
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Thanks for staying with me volcanoscout - much appreciated.

Resetting the BIOS was something I'd already tried. It just kicks me into a Windows 8-esque automatic repair facility and can't diagnose any problems - no doubt because it's checking a drive X I've never even seen and Windows 7 is installed on C. Still, I took the opportunity to run a chkdsk using the command line it provides - no issues uncovered there.

I also decided to disable all USB ports, onboard audio/LAN and so on to see if that would get me anywhere but alas, no luck.

I could reflash the BIOS, but I'm starting to be all but convinced it's an issue with the HDD. Will set memtest off before I go to bed and see how it looks in the morning I think - if all good I'll probably order a shiny SSD and keep my fingers crossed.

If you think of anything else that might be good to try let me know! Thanks again for your help so far.

Cheers,

-Ed
 

vorneus

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Jan 3, 2015
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I feel rather ashamed that I hadn't already tried this, but I stuck my installation media (a USB stick with Win7 Pro on it) back in and booted from it.

After running repair it detected an issue with startup, had fixed the issue and was going to restart. About half a second after I clicked restart I saw that the OS it detected was Windows 8 rather than Windows 7.

On restart exactly the same thing is happening. I think there is some kind of issue with Windows 8 boot manager/recovery and Windows 7 boot manager not playing nicely together, if at all.

I have the capability to add boot options into the BIOS and have some kind of nagging feeling that the the boot option is wrong and "windows 8-ified" in some way, but unfortunately I have no idea what the "path" should be to resolve with a new boot option for Windows 7 - if there even is such a thing. I'm going to do some more Googling to see what I can turn up.

Cheers,

-Ed
 

volcanoscout

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Try running Disk Cleanup, Clean system files, and check the box next to "Previous Windows installation(s)". I think the program hiccup is probably not contained in the files that will be deleted, but it's worth a try. Usually the Windows .old files are just space wasters - I don't think the current OS can draw on them during boot, but I don't know that for sure.

I think you're going to have to go through all of your boot and startup settings in detail to find the application or process that's trying to access W8.

I wouldn't spend too much time beating yourself up. It's like finding something you've lost - it's always in the last place you check. And it's always a very obvious no-brainer...after the fact. If I had a dime for every time I've missed a solution that was obvious after the fact, I'd be a rich man:)
 

vorneus

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Thanks for all your help volcanoscout.

After trying a bunch of things (including advice from your last post) I've decided to give up, get an SSD and throw that in.

I think fundamentally the drive in there is supposed to be Windows 8 and I now have two versions fighting to boot, so my thinking is to simply take that out of the equation with a new hard drive. I've also been looking for an excuse to put an SSD in it sooner rather than later, so..

Thanks again and all the best.

Cheers,

-Ed
 

volcanoscout

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My pleasure. Got a good chuckle reading your last post - before I even got to your third paragraph, I was already framing a reply about how I often use component "faults" as an excuse to upgrade. I think my wife is starting to catch on though...
 
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