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No Windows, no UEFI, just a black screen and short ticking every 3 seconds

By TamasBolvari · 10 replies
Jun 24, 2016
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  1. What's wrong with my PC? The only problem I had previously is the noise of the internal HDD (it was like a scooter, it made fastly repeating clicking noise at variable speed). To solve this issue, I cloned the whole internal HDD to an external HDD using Macrium Reflect Free to use it instead of the loud internal HDD. This process took about 2 hours, but finished succesfully. Then, I got BSOD and was able to start Windows from the external HDD only in safe mode. I found out Windows 10 doesn't run from USB HDDs, due to anti-piracy reasons. From this point, I was unable to boot from either the internal or the external HDDs, even the Macrium Windows PE Rescue Environment was useless from pendrive to fix the boot problem. The only thing I saw is a black screen. No Windows, no UEFI, nothing. Just a black screen and a short clicking sound repeating every 3 seconds. I've read somewhere that the HDD might had overheated and the head has stuck, which makes this noise while trying to "escape". I listened closely, but the sound was coming from a little speaker on the motherboard, not the HDD. I removed the speaker, the sound stopped, attached it again, the sound restarted, so it's 100%. I received my new internal HDD, removed the loud one (and the external as well), but it did not help. Removing the motherboard battery was useless as well. And here comes the interesting part, because I have a half-solution: the PC starts perfectly every time I remove the RAM and put it into the other slot. It works in both the left and right slots, but it needs to be swapped everytime I want to start the PC, otherwise I get the black screen and the ticking. Why is this needed, what is the cause, how could this be fixed? PS: the motherboard manufacturer's FAQs* say that the continuous short beep (not tick) means that the power supply unit is failed.

    * http://www.gigabyte.com/support-downloads/faq-page.aspx?fid=816
  2. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,614   +984

    Start from the beginning... when you first turn it on do you get a single beep? ( AWARD BIOS 1short beep :System normal )

    Do you get any beep or beeps?
    TamasBolvari likes this.
  3. TamasBolvari

    TamasBolvari Topic Starter

    If I put the RAM from one of the slots to the other one, then yes, I hear 1 short beep and the system boots normally. Otherwise - if I just simply want to turn on my PC without changing the slot of the RAM - I don't hear the normal beep sound, just a short ticking sound repeating every 3 seconds. In the latter case, the system is unable to boot, I don't even see the UEFI.
  4. TamasBolvari

    TamasBolvari Topic Starter

    Update: my Windows 10 Pro thinks it's a Windows To Go, but it isn't. I guess this is caused by the fact that I've cloned my previous internal (loud) HDD to an external HDD, but Windows couldn't boot from that because of anti-piracy USB restrictions, and then I've cloned that external HDD to my new internal (silent) HDD. So I think Windows has marked itself as "I won't launch since I'm not on an internal HDD", and it still doesn't know that it is already in my super safe PC on a SATA HDD... I can't believe it's such an inconvenience to move my Windows to a new HDD.
  5. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,614   +984

    If that is the case then a bootable USB (Linux, DOS, Win7 OS, etc) should get through POST and allow access to BIOS and actually boot. Otherwise it is something hardware based. Please gather model numbers for motherboard, RAM, CPU, GPU and confirm that they are fully supported by the motherboard (I had a somewhat similar situation with RAM which wanted voltage to be 0.1v higher).
    TamasBolvari likes this.
  6. TamasBolvari

    TamasBolvari Topic Starter

    Unfortunatelly it doesn't help. If the RAM isn't put into the other slot, the PC won't start even if I plug a bootable Windows PE into it. If I put the RAM into the other slot, then the gets through the POST and allows me to either enter the UEFI or simply boot from the internal HDD (or the bootable pendrive).

    Okay, I'll collect some data, but it should be noted that this PC has worked perfectly for ages before the HDD cloning.

    Update, here is what Piriform Speccy sees:

    Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

    Intel Core i3 4150 @ 3.50GHz 39 °C
    Haswell 22nm Technology

    4,00GB Single-Channel DDR3 @ 798MHz (11-11-11-28)

    Gigabyte Technology Co. Ltd. H81M-HD3 (SOCKET 0) 28 °C

    IPS231 (1920x1080@60Hz)
    Intel HD Graphics 4400 (Gigabyte)

    186GB TOSHIBA MK2060GSC (SATA) 37 °C

    Optical Drives

    High Definition Audio hangeszköz

    0.792 V

    2.016 V

    2.028 V

    3.407 V

    3.168 V

    -6.960 V

    -6.096 V

    2.863 V

    1.488 V
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2016
  7. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,614   +984

    Speccy is off on your voltages...update? Try HWInfo.
    TamasBolvari likes this.
  8. TamasBolvari

    TamasBolvari Topic Starter

  9. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,614   +984

    VBAT is a bit low - expected 3.2 to 3.3v.

    Chassis Intrusion is 'yes'. Per manual...

    "• CI (Chassis Intrusion Header): Connects to the chassis intrusion switch/sensor on the chassis that can detect if the chassis cover has been removed. This function requires a chassis with a chassis intrusion switch/sensor.

    ` PC Health Status
    Reset Case Open Status
    Disabled Keeps or clears the record of previous chassis intrusion status. (Default)
    Enabled Clears the record of previous chassis intrusion status and the Case Open field will show "No" at next boot. & Case Open Displays the detection status of the chassis intrusion detection device attached to the motherboard CI header. If the system chassis cover is removed, this field will show "Yes", otherwise it will show "No". To clear the chassis intrusion status record, set Reset Case Open Status to Enabled, save the settings to the CMOS, and then restart your system."

    Unless you have a reason for monitoring intrusion, this might be better if "disabled". I understand that a weak CMOS bat &/or chassis intrusion can cause boot problems.
    TamasBolvari likes this.
  10. TamasBolvari

    TamasBolvari Topic Starter

    Solved. Go to BIOS, set Memory Boot Mode to Disable Fast Boot.

    (Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H81M-HD3, BIOS Version: F6 07/09/2014, RAM: 1x4GB DIMM DDR3 Kingston 99U5584-005.A00LF clocked @ 1600 MHz.)
  11. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,614   +984

    Congratulations - and thank you for the answer - seems the idea of memory and voltage was right ballpark, but not the right pew. I guess fast boot was too fast for the memory to be properly recognized - causing a timeout and retry loop.

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