Solved! Help: Diagnosing Problems with Laptop

Henners101

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Hello everyone - long time lurker and first time poster. Usually I try to fix things myself but something is very wrong with my laptop... apologies for the length of this post, I'm just trying to give as much detail as possible.

Some historical context: Laptop is from PCSpecialist, a couple of years old. There have been various issues with it from the start (e.g. the Killer Wireless 1535 card that won't let me game on WiFi without shutting down, derp). The screen had some issues a while ago - eventually took it to get repaired and apparently the cable connecting the screen and the mobo was faulty and shorting it out. Got that and the screen replaced.

Over the past 2 months, the laptop would randomly crash - just go to a black screen without warning. The backlight would still be on, but nothing would display. If sound was playing at the time, it would warble electronically, slow down, and then cut off. I would only be able to reset by hard booting with the power button, although once in a blue moon I would be able to sleep the system with the power button and reawaken it. In the latter case, it usually would not last long without crashing again. On restart, everything worked fine. Event Viewer didn't seem to display any critical failures afterwards, other than a yellow warning message of "the procesor blah blah is being slowed by system firmware." Googled that and found nothing to help - I assumed it was from the computer being shut down.

Eventually I figured out that if I used my external Xonar U5 sound card and an ethernet cable, the crashes happened WAY less - almost never. I could game on it for days without any issue. So I just started using it as a stationary desktop almost, with it never leaving my desk. This indicated to me that maybe the issue was with the soundchip on the motherboard?

Additionally, sometimes when it died the fans on the laptop would go absolutely crazy, even if it wasn't even warm at the time.

Unfortunately, today my girlfriend played some games on my laptop without the sound card, while I wasn't there, and it crashed again. I rebooted, it worked fine, but then it cut out again a while later - and rebooting didn't work. It would display the boot splash (Style Note), and stick there. I immediately got worried about it being my HDD corrupted or something from all this rebooting with the power button, so on recommendation from some interwebz articles I tried hard booting with the power button multiple times (a few more times can't hurt, eh..) to see if I could get the system to go into Windows Recovery Mode. Didn't work. Eventually I pulled open the case and removed+replaced the CMOS battery to reset the BIOS.

After that, on boot the "Style Note" splash would actually disappear, but I'd just go to a blank black screen after where it then froze again. Fans go crazy again. I reset the BIOS to defaults through the BIOS Menu as well. No change.

The BIOS Menu does detect my HDD, and it is set to boot from there, so that isn't the issue.

It's worth noting that my copy of Windows wasn't legit. I actually have access to a legit copy as I'm a student, I just hadn't gotten around to installing it yet - it had worked fine for ages on the non-legit copy and as I had access to the license I felt I wasn't morally in the wrong, just lazy. Probably a mistake, maybe it led to this kerfuffle.

Anyway, I really need some help diagnosing the issue and trying to fix this. Should I try use my legit Windows access to get the iso file and burn it to a USB to try to boot from there, which might tell me whether its the HDD or something else that's broken? Really just not sure what to do from here.

Any help would be really appreciated!
 

asoroka

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If fans go crazy it means that the CPU is under load.
Something is wrong with your drivers or you have some crud software.

I would start with a clean (legit) install, of course that means you will lose anything already on the disk.
 

Henners101

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Hi asoroka, thanks for your help.

I've now used the Windows Media Creation Tool on my girlfriend's laptop to make a bootable USB, and reinstalled Windows on the laptop, which has led to some progress - I can now get into the Recovery Environment and do some troubleshooting via the Command Prompt. However, I still can't boot into Windows - I get the error that stexstor.sys is missing or corrupted, error code 0xc000000d.

I've run chkdsk c: /r and it says there's nothing wrong with the disk. I've tried to run sfc /scannow after, but it says "Windows Resource Protection could not perform the requested operation." My fans rev up when I try to do it, too.

Additionally, I can't boot into safe mode - whenever I try it just takes me through automatic repair which inevitably fails and sends me back to the recovery environment.

I've also tried resetting the PC via the Recovery Environment, but that doesn't work either - it just says there was a probelm and no changes were made at around 15% of the way through.

Any further ideas? At least I'm getting somewhere; I really want to avoid spending a fortune at a repair shop for some half-assed cobbled-together solution that only lasts until juussttt after the repair warranty expires. I'm just really stumped as I was convinced it was either a busted HDD or a driver/software error as you said.
 

asoroka

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So for some reason it thinks it needs this driver.

This is normally required for a SuperTrack raid controller.

I am not familiar with the hardware on your laptop.

Can you check in bios if you have a special controller or can switch your disks controller to be standard.

Alternately you can install this driver as part of the boot process, did you get any driver disks with your laptop?
If you don't have it then you will need to find it on the internet.

But it looks like you have a non standard disk controller.

 
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