Rig went from a new gaming PC to a freezing mess in 6 hours, no bsod, two Windows reinstalls, I’m stumped
Hey y’all. I’ve been working with Windows PCs for 25 years, building my own gaming PCs for 15. I’m occasionally blindsided by new tech innovations but I’ve always been the daughter that is good with computers (i.e. good at googling).
Windows 10 installed on a WD Blue SA510 SATA SSD (1TB). (Separate Samsung 860 EVO 500 GB used exclusively for gaming, an important detail for later)
ASRock Z690 Steel Legend LGA 1700 Intel Z690 SATA 6Gb/s DDR4 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i7-12700K – Core i7 12th Gen Alder Lake 12-Core
G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 16GB RAM
ASRock Radeon RX 6700 XT Challenger D Gaming Graphic Card, 12GB GDDR6 VRAM
be quiet! 250W TDP Dark Rock Pro 4 CPU Cooler with Silent Wings
Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 750W 80+ Gold SLI/ CrossFire Ready Ultra Quiet 140mm Hydraulic Bearing Smart Zero Fan Full Modular Power Supply
Antivirus:. Windows Defender & Windows Firewall
Assembled Nov 2022.
No one has access to this PC but me.
Monday evening: Computer begins hanging for a few frames. Only noticed when I lost 2,000 runes in Elden Ring, (which is installed on the Samsung SSD, not the WD Blue SSD that Windows is installed on). Tell myself that I will run Malwarebytes in the morning.
Tuesday morning: Download and run Malwarebytes. Totally clean. Allow Asrock driver update to run. Allow Surfshark VPN to update. Things get suspiciously slow.
Tuesday afternoon: System continues to slow down exponentially. It’s like watching the damage done by a totally full hard drive, at 4x the speed.
Check to see if WD BLUE SSD is full. Ashamed to say that it was fuller than I’d liked but 1/6th empty wasn’t too bad? Empty trash and delete some old video files to free up another hundred or so gigabytes.
Everything is still slow and is getting worse. Much worse. And quickly. No programs crashing yet but the PC is struggling hard.
System freezes. Not a blue screen of death. Just hangs there. Eventually get annoyed and turn off the power strip, unplug everything, open case, wiggle everything around to make sure nothing is loose. Everything looks fine. Interior isn’t even hot, hell, it’s barely warm.
Replug and boot.
Things really begin to drag. Booting up began to take upwards of 10 minutes.
Use Windows’ tool to check if the RAM has gone bad.
It runs normally (and quickly!), with reboot, and after going into event viewer, which takes an hour of waiting, see that RAM is healthy.
I tried a couple of other command line windows fix-its for slow PCs recommended online but I can’t remember exactly what. Soon, it won’t matter anyway.
Tuesday Evening:. Because I brought this SSD from my old PC and didn’t do a clean reinstall of windows (I know, I know, I am disappointed with me too) I figure that one of the updates made Windows shit the bed. It’s practically inevitable, right?
Grab my rescue USB, boot from USB, try the repair function, and it freezes.
Windows still fucked.
Boot from USB, Windows reinstall, yes I’d like to keep my personal files.
It stays at 7% for two hours.
Reboot from USB.
Yes I’d like to keep my personal files.
Windows reinstalled successfully, but my personal files are gone, probably lost in the freeze.
That’s why I pay for backup utilities. Highly annoying to lose all that data, but not the end of the world.
Computer seems back to normal.
ASRock graphics driver would like to install latest update. Fine, whatever.
Computer begins freezing and hanging.
It was the graphics card driver this whole time??
Go to reinstall windows again.
It freezes on a tiny percentage for an hour again.
Re-re- reinstall again.
Spend the time waiting penning an angry rant on r/ASRock (sorry, r/Asrock, that was not cool of me).
Do NOT let ASRock utility update because I think Asrock graphic card driver is the problem.
Everything seems normal.
Download my backup utility and let it download overnight.
Wake up to the download stuck on 2% and Firefox crashed, everything slow af again.
Never once had a BSOD, everything just slowed until it came to a stop.
Curl up in fetal position and have a little cry, download Reddit app on phone, delete rant on r/Asrock, come to r/techsupport completely defeated, tired, and ready for my lashings about whatever dumb fuck obvious thing I missed.
Please be gentle.
Update:. Please don’t ask me to run tests in windows or download anything new. I booted it up again and it’s going so slowly that it may load the desktop just in time for the 2025 Christmas shopping season if I’m lucky. If the windows logo isn’t burned into the screen, it’s burned into my retinas for sure. BIOS still loads just fine but messing with bios scares the bejeezus out of me.
Also, it didn’t like being plugged into the onboard graphics with the GPU removed. My monitor said no signal detected.
Ordered a new PSU, since that seems to be a favorite theory as to how so much can be so fucked up but not trigger a single BSOD.
Screenshots of resource monitor, sorry it’s photos and not actual screenshots, opening paint would take until morning,
I was told that if the queue length is less than 5, then the SSD is not likely to be what is slowing things down.
Sorry I can’t address everyone individually, THERE ARE TOO MANY OF YOU. Thank you for your help (so far) and sorry if I got cranky last night, mobile reddit’s eyestrain font and my shitty phone had eaten away the last of my patience.
I remembered that I had an old rig that was mostly stripped for parts in storage and that I have a pile of old, mostly functional spinning plate drives that date all the way back to my college days (20 years ago).
Last night I got the old rig up and running and plugged in the (much-maligned) WD Blue drive. I expected it to take a while to boot because when that computer was built, Obama’s hair didn’t have any grey in it. And yet suspiciously, it took almost the same amount of time to boot that brand-new, stripped-down, clean install of windows as that demon drive was taking on my shiny new battlestation. And loading anything was completely out of the question.
One point goes to Team “Why the fuck does anyone still buy WD Blue drives”.
After trying several times to use my Rescue USB to download Windows onto the Samsung SSD, and on both computers I got the error message “Yo, there’s not enough room for Windows here”, and realized that both computers were trying to install Windows onto the thumb drive.
After a few more fruitless google searches (and the crick in my neck from looking at my phone increasing exponentially), I remembered that I have a pile of old spinny disk drives that go all the way back to my college days. Some of them are older than some of you.
And most still work.
Most are WD Blues.
Apparently I have lived some sort of charmed existence where spinny disk drives just don’t fail on me? Ten, fifteen, twenty years and still going strong? Abandoned only because I upgraded to larger drives and physically ran out of room in my tower to keep them.
Anyway, I found the youngest one with a working copy of Windows on it. From mid-2022.
… I know, I was late to the SSD train. But there was something tantalizingly nostalgic about hearing that scratchy little grinding noise of a spinning plate reading. Not quite “mom’s cooking” nostalgic. Closer to “I visited my hometown and the grocery store is exactly how I remember it” nostalgic. Do they sell white noise machines that are just old disk drives?
And my little beast of a gaming PC did boot up slow, but it was “I’ll fix myself a cup of coffee while waiting” slow, not “I’ll bingewatch a limited series on Netflix while waiting” slow.
And once that “old” version of Windows 10 booted, I checked CPUID HWMonitor to see if anyone telling me that my chipset is melting were right.
Like I told some of you, it’s Winter, my apartment is cold, and my be quiet! Blackrock tower cooler was absolutely overkill.
Next step is Installing Windows onto the Samsung and see if that boots my system up as quickly as it used to.
Final (?) Edit:
Installed Windows on the smaller 500gb Samsung drive, and I am cautiously optimisitic that everything is working as intended.
Lesson learned: WD Blue sucks ass.
I’m less thrilled that I have many hours of downloading, synching, installing, and customizing in front of me to get my computer back to what it was before all this happened, but I am thankful that the only thing I seem to have lost was a single 5 month old SDD rather than…. Well, you need only scroll down to witness some of the hardware catastrophe hypothesis put forth.