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PC sits on a black screen with a single dash when i restart or power on.

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MadMacsMan

New Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
So I have an Intel based system that I've had in its current configuration for over a year now and a few days ago I encountered a problem when I wasn't even using it at the time.

Here's the problem, I was downloading an update on steam when my computer seemed to just turn off, I wasn't looking at it or near it at the time, it was around an hour later that I noticed something was wrong.
When I looked at the system both my monitors were black except for a single dash ( - ) or hyphen was visible on one monitor. I tried to restart my machine and again it seemed to start okay, no beep codes, I heard the AIO pump and all the fans came on and the HDDs can be heard spinning up but again it just sat with the single hyphen on the screen.

I again powered the system down and removed the power cable from the PSU and held the power button down to dispel any charge that may have been left and plugged it back in. I got it to POST and entered the BIOS to investigate the settings on the off chance something had gone aerie. Nothing had changed and when I exited the BIOS and the system restarted it again sat on the black screen with a hyphen. I repeated the removing of the power cable and such and let the machine boot to windows.

I viewed the reliability log and the event viewer and there were no records of any system failures in either.

Anyone had this problem before?

My specs are as follows:

CPU: Intel i5-4460
MoBo: Asus Z97-P
RAM: Corsair Vengeance PRO 16GB 2400MHZ (Running at 1333MHZ due to not having upgraded my CPU yet)
GPU: MSO GTX 760 OC
PSU: Corsair CX600M
Drives: 1x 128GB SSD
1x 1TB 5400RPM HDD
1x 1TB 7400RPM HDD
Additional Cards: 1x ASUS wireless network card
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Does the system seem to complete the boot up even though no image appears on the monitor? I mean does the hard disk activity light show normal flash patterns?

Have you tried removing the video card and just using the onboard video?

My best three guesses in this order would be 1. video card, 2. PSU, 3. Motherboard

Do you have a spare PSU you can test if using the onboard video doesn't change anything?

You might also try taking all but one memory stick out and trying each stick in each slot. But it doesn't act like a memory issue. But it wouldn't cost you anything to try that.

Your system is getting some age on it. It could hardware failure at several points. If you want to keep the system your only recourse after trying my above suggestions is to start swapping out parts with known good ones.
 

Johan45

Benching Team Leader Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 19, 2012
Sounds to me like the system is searching for bootable media, so a HDD/SSD issue possibly the motherboard. What I would try first is checking the BIOS for HDD visibility in the boot section if they all appear then try isolating which one it could be. To check if the system actually works you can use your Windows install media or anything that's bootable like a linux live disc this should rule out any mobo/system issues
 

Johan45

Benching Team Leader Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 19, 2012
It was a steam update Opty, doubt it included any drivers
 
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MadMacsMan

New Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Thanks Trents, whats confusing me is that it boots up normally without the black screen and hyphen when I remove the power cable and reinsert it. That has me thinking PSU but while I know my way around a computer and I've built a fair few in my time I've never seen or heard of a computer doing what mines done.

I do have another PSU but its currently residing at my parents house. Ill hopefully get it this week and try out your suggestions.
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Thanks Trents, whats confusing me is that it boots up normally without the black screen and hyphen when I remove the power cable and reinsert it. That has me thinking PSU but while I know my way around a computer and I've built a fair few in my time I've never seen or heard of a computer doing what mines done.

I do have another PSU but its currently residing at my parents house. Ill hopefully get it this week and try out your suggestions.

That additional info would seem to rule out the GPU. Sorry, I missed that from your original post but see now you said that there.

I have also seen situations like this that were caused by USB device problems/conflicts. You might try disconnecting all unnecessary USB devices. But my instincts tell me it is likely a PSU or motherboard problem.
 
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MadMacsMan

New Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Sounds to me like the system is searching for bootable media, so a HDD/SSD issue possibly the motherboard. What I would try first is checking the BIOS for HDD visibility in the boot section if they all appear then try isolating which one it could be. To check if the system actually works you can use your Windows install media or anything that's bootable like a linux live disc this should rule out any mobo/system issues
Johan45

I did just notice something there when i was looking through my BIOS setting Johan and I noticed that on the home screen of ASUS's bios only one of my HDDs shows up as a bootable media but when I check my advanced settings and got to the BOOT section all 3 of my drives shows up. Could this be a MoBo issue or would it be something to do with the secondary and tertiary drives I have installed?
 

dejo

Senior Moment Senior Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2001
are there any usb drives left in a port? that can cause this very issue
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Johan45

I did just notice something there when i was looking through my BIOS setting Johan and I noticed that on the home screen of ASUS's bios only one of my HDDs shows up as a bootable media but when I check my advanced settings and got to the BOOT section all 3 of my drives shows up. Could this be a MoBo issue or would it be something to do with the secondary and tertiary drives I have installed?

Just because all the drives show up in that section doesn't mean the bios believes them to all be bootable. But do make sure the system drive is showing up as the first bootable device. If I were you I would do what you described about pulling the plug to get into windows and then get and run Crystaldiskinfo to dheck the SMART drive info for the system disk and all other disks. Come to think of it, the problem you describe could be caused by a bad disk that the bios is having trouble reading.

If when you run Crystaldiskinfo and you hear a musical jingle as the program loads, one of the drives has an issue. You can toggle between each drive in the prog interface and it will give you detailed information. If any drive page in the CDI interface shows other than blue color highlights that is means that drive has issues.
 
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MadMacsMan

New Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Here's the screenshot of the results for the C drive on my system, there weren't any chimes or jingles when I started the test but some of those numbers seem fairly low.

0b55968911.png

Something I only just realised as well, I started using an ethernet cable to connect my system directly to my router, I didn't see a network option in the boot devices but could it be causing issues for the BIOS trying to select the correct drive?
 

Johan45

Benching Team Leader Super Moderator
Joined
Dec 19, 2012
There's definately something wrong with those numbers, that's an SSD correct?

If it were me I would back up what I could from that SSD just in case. Then try another disk if you have one.
 
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trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Here's the screenshot of the results for the C drive on my system, there weren't any chimes or jingles when I started the test but some of those numbers seem fairly low.

View attachment 202233

Something I only just realised as well, I started using an ethernet cable to connect my system directly to my router, I didn't see a network option in the boot devices but could it be causing issues for the BIOS trying to select the correct drive?

You ran Crystaldiskmark, not Crystaldiskinfo. Two different programs for two different purposes.
 

TransformedBG

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2013
Do you have a usb hub connected to your computer? or any usb devices external? I was having a similar problem turned out my USB hub blew
 

caddi daddi

Godzilla to ant hills
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
back up the boot drive,
remove all other drives,
try another sata cable and see what happens.
 

don256us

Uber Folding Senior
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
Has anyone mentioned the possibility of USB? Oh yeah. I see it. ;) That's my favorite too for this. If you've removed all USB connected devices, and the issue persists, we have to do other troubleshooting steps. Many have been mentioned so I'll not be taking credit for introducing them here.

Run Memtest 86+. This will check your RAM for any errors.
Remove everything from your system except the basics. Mouse, keyboard and monitor. Use a different video card if you can.
Look into replacing your CMOS battery. It's a long shot but ther're like $3 on the high end at WalMart, etc.
Unplug any storage drives you have and boot with only the main drive.
 
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