PC randomly restarts and displays "reboot and insert proper boot device"

macl64

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After the PC restarts and displays the message "reboot and insert proper boot device," I then reboot the computer and it works fine. Well fine excluding the other issues I mention below.

Initially I thought it was a problem with the hard drive so I switched data cables and tried different sata ports. That seems not to have done anything, and the things I will mention below has given me a stronger belief that there is a virus.

Antivirus: Although I mentioned that my PC restarts randomly, I am starting to think that there is a pattern. It seems like every time I run an anti-virus software, the restart occurs. Likewise, it seems to occur when I'm doing anything remotely intense, although I've never had this problem any time before the last few days.

RAM: Another thing I have noticed is ridiculous RAM usage percentages (90% and above) when doing things like attempting to run a game on steam. This has never happened before the restarts started occurring. Just yesterday I was idle at one point yet still above 90% usage. I tried to see what was taken up so much of my 8GB with no success as the numbers didn't add up (I was looking at task manager).

I think the last time it occurred was when tried to backup a file. Maybe it is a hard drive problem.

Specs:

CPU: FX8320
Motherboard: MSI 970 GAMING ATX AM3+
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866
GPU: Asus GTX 770
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

Any advice is greatly appreciated
 

little_me

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May 9, 2015
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I would suspect health of the hard disk.
You could use tools like data lifeguard (Western digitals own tool) or crystaldiskinfo or HWinfo (lot of other information too, in this case a bit excessive) to see the smart data for possible problems.
https://support.wdc.com/downloads.aspx?lang=en
http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskInfo/index-e.html
https://www.hwinfo.com/

Edit:
If using crystaldiskinfo, following things are something to look for: (all raw values should be 0 or at least not rising each time you check)
05 Reallocated sectors count (raw value)
0A Spin retry count (if this has bigger than 0 raw value, drive motor might be failing)
B7 Western Digital, Samsung or Seagate attribute: Total number of data blocks with detected, uncorrectable errors encountered during normal operation
BB Reported Uncorrectable Errors
BC Command Timeout
C5 Current Pending Sector Count
C6 Uncorrectable Sector Count

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.M.A.R.T.
 

macl64

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Thanks for the response, I am currently doing a test using data lifeguard. I'll update when it has finished
 

macl64

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During the test, the PC rebooted into EFI Shell. This has happened before. To fix this I go into bios and reset to defaults settings. This is only a temporary fix.

After I reset into Windows, I ran a quick test and received the message
"Quick Test on drive 1 did not complete!
Status code = 02 (interrupted by hard or soft reset)"

I imagine it is a hard drive failing then, in which case I think I'm still covered by warranty.

I can still access all of my files but last time I tried to backup anything, it caused the reset. In fairness, I did try backing up everything in a large chunk rather than copying in small amounts. If backing up by simply transferring files onto an external HDD does not work, is there anything else you would suggest?
 

little_me

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event viewer should have somekind of information as to why the reboot happened. You might have had blue screen of death (BSOD) and by default, windows automatically reboots, usually fast enough that you can't really see it unless you are watching the screen at right that moment. (or if you turned auto-reboot off)

So.. event viewer, windows logs, system should have it with the time/date of reboot.

That in itself should not cause disk to vanish and/or bios settings to reset though. empty BIOS battery (round CR2032) might cause settings to reset on power down though. (they should not reset on reboots)

Doing specific testing on hard disk was not my goal though, what would give general idea of it's health status would have been just read S.M.A.R.T. status/report. which can be done by right clicking on the disk and selecting "show SMART drive info" in top part.

This seemingly does not show raw values though but if the drive is failing, it should still say something.

(It does offer quick and extensive testing for it too) since If hard disk is failing and since it is also system disk, I am quite sure that if it is breaking and gets "lost" at times, it will cause BSOD and resulting reboot.

As for backing up data, it might be that extensive big read operations cause it to fail, which might allow you to copy things over in small chunks.


as for that status code 02, it pretty much means.. "power was lost for some reason" which while kind of possibly pointing to PSU, is most likely not it. Reason being that hard disk doesn't use all that much power and while you are not really doing something, there should be plenty of room on PSU to feed single hard disk.

So.. the SMART info is partly interesting because it could tell if the problem is more on the disk side or... if we should suspect PSU. That wiki page about SMART kind of points out what all the parameters mean and if they should be considered potentially dangerous. Most of the data is just "nice to know" stuff.
 

macl64

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Event viewer: "The system has rebooted without cleanly shutting down first. This error could be caused if the system stopped responding, crashed or unexpectedly lost power." - source is Kernal-Power
This critical message appears every time the PC has rebooted.

This is the result of checking SMART drive information





By the way, my issue is not actually solved, I accidentally pressed best answer but I'm unsure how to undo it.
 

little_me

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I unselected the solution.

Now.. since the smart data itself doesn't seem to have oddities and event viewer claims power loss on restarts and not a crash...
It is possible that either the disk causes overload and a short on load, causing PSU protection to cut the power
or PSU is going bad.

The problem I see with that is that either way the disk should not need a bios reset (load defaults is pretty much same thing) to start working.
This leads me to suspect the hard disk the most.
It could also be sata controller on motherboard.
The testing at this point would pretty much need replacement of one of the suspect parts (Hard disk, PSU, motherboard for a while) to eliminate if that is the culprit.
That is somewhat difficult though unless you have spares lying around.
-Hard disk is difficult mostly since it has your OS/data on it and doesn't like heavy load situations.
-PSU is easiest of the lot but I suspect HDD/motherboard more.
-Motherboard is most tricky since windows license is also tied to this, swap it and windows wont stay activated. If new board is also MSI 970 gaming, you would likely not have to reinstall windows or anything like that though. (since drivers/chipsets/stuff are same)
 

macl64

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So I've just spent some time testing out the computer and trying to find out what component is causing the problem.

I was using the computer for a while and gradually doing more demanding tasks. I started off simple using google chrome and watching YouTube videos, browsing and so on. After that I started to play a game and I did not come across any problems for the entire time much to my surprise. A few minutes ago, I left the computer with only the desktop left on. I sat nearby the computer for about 5 minutes and happened to notice a blue screen appear for about 2-3 seconds which I think displayed the message "Your PC ran into some problems."

One thing that I did notice was a strange HDD usage level as I was on the PC. From time to time, usage would skyrocket to 95-100%.

Originally when the problem first occurred a bios reset was not necessary at all. When the crash occurred, the PC would automatically reset and display the message "Insert proper boot device." All I would need to do to temporarily solve this is reboot the computer and it would start up again.

I used a program called Rkill during the time I suspected it was a virus. The PC now automatically reboots into EFI Shell instead of going into Windows when the crash occurs. That could be because the PC crashed while I was scanning using Rkill. Following this I am required to reset the bios in order to get the PC to boot into Windows when a crash occurs.

So essentially I'm starting to strongly believe this is a HDD issue.

So excluding my last test, it seems the error occurs while I am doing anything vaguely demanding on the PC. I exclude the last test because I was idle. Usually being idle does not cause the crash to occur. Backing up files also seems to have caused the problem in the past too.

Update: I tried something out. So the last time my PC rebooted/crashed, I went into the bios and checked 'system status.' There I detected that the HDD was not listed in the sata connections. On the other hand, when I rebooted the PC myself, the HDD is recognised in the system status menu.

There are only two sata connections on my PC I should add: The optical drive and the HDD.
The next thing I tried was the following

1. I plugged the optical drive out and waited for the PC to reset/crash. When it rebooted and displayed the message 'reboot and insert...' I went into bios instead.
2. When checking system status I noticed the HDD was not listed at all as a sata connection.
3. I turned the computer off and plugged the optical drive back in
4. I then rebooted into Windows and waited for a reboot to occur.
5. Once it occurred I went into the bios again and into the system status menu. Here I noticed that the optical drive was listed, but not the HDD.
6. After I manually reset the computer (like I do every time a crash occurs), the HDD was now listed in system status.

Conclusion: I imagine based on this that the hard drive is mostly likely the issue (Just to add, I have changed sata cables/connections etc.).
 
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