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View Full Version : G51J stuck at BIOS screen, won't boot [solved]



mr_johnson22
12-15-2014, 05:36 PM
Hi everyone. I hate being that guy who makes a forum account just to ask for help with something, but I don't want to make any irreversible and preventable mistakes... Sorry.

As of yesterday afternoon, my G51J notebook can't get past the BIOS screen on boot (the screen with the RoG logo and the keyboard prompts to enter the setup / popup menus). It all started while I was using the computer normally, in Windows 7, when all of a sudden a system dialog popped up saying that my hard disks failed, both the C drive and the D data drive (I know it wasn't a web browser popup or anything, so I'm not worried about viruses or anything like that). I started a backup to an external hard drive a minute later but got a BSOD as it was going (the hard drive didn't get corrupted, thankfully). When the computer rebooted it got stuck at the splash screen, and it hasn't been able to get past it since. The same problem happens when I turn the computer on in quick boot mode (the one that has its own power button); even that gets stuck at its own boot screen.

I'm worried that this is a motherboard failure, as I can't even access the (dual-booted) Linux partition I put on, and turning the computer on with OS-loaded media plugged in (either a Live USB or CD), has no effect at all. I'm also unable to enter any of the (explicitly mentioned) BIOS menus with keyboard prompts, which includes the boot menu. The keyboard itself does work, though, as the Function key commands (adjusting keyboard backlight, screen brightness) still work. The disc drive also makes familiar sounds as it reads the CD (if it's inserted), so I'm pretty sure the disk drive works too. Power is supplied to the USB drives as well.

Is it possible that something is wrong with the BIOS itself? I'm willing to try flashing the CMOS but only if the problem is related to it. I also assume there are plenty of other keys to press at startup that do hidden commands, but I wouldn't know where to start. One forum thread here had someone fix a G51JX problem by flashing the CMOS with Ctrl+Home, but if this isn't a BIOS problem I'm afraid to try it lest it makes things worse.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

cl-Albert
12-15-2014, 06:47 PM
Welcome to the forums!

If I read your post correctly, doesn't sound like you can get into the bios with 'F2' (or the delete key?) which you probably know you want to solve first.

If you are able to remove your hard drives safely, try to remove them and see if you can get into the bios (if it helps, try plugging in a different hard drive if available).

If that doesn't work, try removing any easily accessible extra memory modules (leave at least 1 module in to get into the bios).

Good luck!

mr_johnson22
12-16-2014, 04:53 AM
Okay, there's progress! Thanks so much. I finally got a chance to spend some time with my computer again; I followed your instructions and, after reading some disassembly manuals, removed the HDD. Now I'm able to enter the BIOS setup and boot menus, which I hope is good news... on one hand, it should mean the motherboard is okay, but on the other hand it probably means the hard drive is busted.

After rebooting a couple of times, the computer was able to boot from the Live CD without me having to use the boot menu, but running it is a bit finicky due to unrelated issues that have always existed (nVidia graphics cards don't work well with Fedora, but I've dealt with this before). I'm still not able to boot from the Live USB (I get a Boot Error), but there's probably just something wrong with the flash drive itself.

If it's of any help, every OS partition of the computer is on the same HDD -- Windows, Linux, and Express Gate (the fast boot mode whose name I couldn't remember last post). Other than external media, there isn't any bootable media without the hard drive. I was never sure if C and D were on the same piece of hardware; it looks like they are after all.

I'll try getting the Live CD / USB working and take it from there. I'll post any updates.

cl-Albert
12-16-2014, 04:52 PM
Sounds good and thanks for the update!

fyi.
I haven't checked this system in a while, but I'm pretty sure you will see the hard drive listed in the bios under the 'advanced' settings if everything is okay, so just one more troubleshooting steps if you're still running into problems with a different hard drive and still able to get into the bios.

Yes, hopefully the motherboard is still okay, but we probably will not know until you get the chance to try another hard drive.
It's doubtful the memory went bad at the same time, but probably easy enough to check if it's easily accessible and you're still seeing any problems.

Finally, if it turns out there is something else wrong with the system and you're stuck with an extra hard drive, you can get an external USB hard drive kit to convert that hard drive to external storage, so it can still be useful.

mr_johnson22
12-17-2014, 04:37 AM
Thanks for the advice! Just one question: can the alternate hard drive be an external one connected by USB, or do I have to get another HDD to put in the now-vacant slot in the computer? (I assume it's the latter, but I already have a few external drives lying around.) In any case, what I think I should do next is perform a fresh OS install on the new hard drive and see if things still work. Or if I can get the Live CD working, I could also set the BIOS to give boot priority to the optical drive over the HDD, put the old HDD back in, and hopefully be able to boot into the Live CD and try to examine the hard drive while running that.

I should get a chance to try things out in a day or two. I'll be sure to post my progress here.

Asushat
12-17-2014, 09:23 AM
Alternate HDD will need to be native to the system not external (if no internals are installed). So yes you would need a new one. Provided it takes the ordinary sized laptop HDD, frys has WD 1 tb 7200 rpm laptop internal drives for 70$ or less right now, probably less due to christmas. Got one last year on sale for like 25$ still have not installed it yet (but its intended for a craptop not my asus).

cl-Albert
12-17-2014, 04:54 PM
Thanks for the advice! Just one question: can the alternate hard drive be an external one connected by USB, or do I have to get another HDD to put in the now-vacant slot in the computer? (I assume it's the latter, but I already have a few external drives lying around.) In any case, what I think I should do next is perform a fresh OS install on the new hard drive and see if things still work. Or if I can get the Live CD working, I could also set the BIOS to give boot priority to the optical drive over the HDD, put the old HDD back in, and hopefully be able to boot into the Live CD and try to examine the hard drive while running that.

I should get a chance to try things out in a day or two. I'll be sure to post my progress here.

Yes, recommend plugging in another internal hard drive as Asushat mentioned.

fyi. Not sure how likely it is these days, but if there's any external USB hard drives you don't care a lot about, you might try to check if they happen to use the same kind of 2.5 inch SATA hard drive that you could use internally for your notebook if you can find a way to take it apart safely.

May not be a very good idea, but thought I would just run it by you.

mr_johnson22
12-18-2014, 08:16 AM
Alright, thanks for all the hard drive tips. Before I go out and get one, though, do you think it's safe for me to try to put my old HDD back in and to back it up (or at least copy some important files) while running a Live USB, which I just got working? If putting the old HDD will damage it further (I don't see why it would, but then again I don't know why it got damaged in the first place), I'll use some other method of getting my data back from it.

cl-Albert
12-18-2014, 04:48 PM
Alright, thanks for all the hard drive tips. Before I go out and get one, though, do you think it's safe for me to try to put my old HDD back in and to back it up (or at least copy some important files) while running a Live USB, which I just got working? If putting the old HDD will damage it further (I don't see why it would, but then again I don't know why it got damaged in the first place), I'll use some other method of getting my data back from it.

You never know, but I would think whatever damaged is damaged and putting the defective hard drive back in your notebook isn't going to change very much now.
From what I understand though as soon as you put the defective hard drive back in your notebook, you will not be able to get into the bios or boot to USB, but maybe you still want to try it to see.

mr_johnson22
12-18-2014, 07:22 PM
Yup, you were right, putting the HDD back in brought me back to square 1. I'll look into hard drive options; I'm fortunate enough to have a Tiger Direct in my neighborhood.

mr_johnson22
12-19-2014, 06:54 AM
Alright, some good news! I just got a SATA to USB adapter, and while running from the properly-set-up Live USB I'm able to retrieve all of my HDD's files once it's hooked up to the adapter. I also took the HDD out of an old laptop that was gathering dust, which fit snugly into my notebook's HDD slot, and was able to boot into the OS stored on it (Windows Vista) and use the computer like normal. So unless I'm missing something, the problem lies in my hard drive, not the motherboard or any other component of the computer itself. At this point I think it's safe for me to get a good replacement hard drive and at least transfer my Windows 7 image onto it (and to back up my data to an external drive, of course). If there's still something I should do before committing to a replacement drive, please let me know so I don't end up killing it. :P

Speaking of which, is it possible that my drive got corrupted because of how I was using it? The only thing I've done that I can imagine causing a problem is having created the Linux partition and editing the auto-mount service (fstab) to mount my Windows D drive on boot. That's nothing too special though, and aside from that I haven't ever really tinkered with anything hardware-related before. I'm willing to accept that the drive just crapped out due to natural causes (it is 4 and a half years old, after all), but if there are any common culprits of HDD failure, I will change my usage habits accordingly to avoid causing a similar problem in the future.

cl-Albert
12-19-2014, 05:00 PM
Thanks for the update.

I'm actually a little puzzled by this situation for the reasons below (but happy for you that everything seems to be turning out relatively 'okay'), so not sure if others have a better idea.

1. I don't know as much about it, but don't usually hear bad hard drives preventing you from getting into the bios (but I vaguely remember running across it before), so a little surprised to hear you run into this problem.

2. Also if the problem is really caused by the hard drive and not the rest of the notebook, wouldn't expect you could access the data through a SATA to USB adapter if that bad hard drive would not let you get into the bios, but probably just shows I don't know everything.

Just wondering if you have a good way to reinstall Windows on another hard drive?
I'm probably too much of a worrier, but thought you may want to check if you can reinstall Windows successfully on the other hard drive you have although there are other things you can try if it doesn't work.

I don't consider myself a hard drive failure expert, but it sounds like your defective hard drive has a hardware problem, so wouldn't think anything you did with the software would cause this unless you just consider normal 'wear and tear' after 4.5 years eventually caused something to go bad.
You may want to ask around more, but if you were using the hard drive and notebook constantly for 4.5 years, it's not too unexpected to me that it would go bad since it has moving parts.

mr_johnson22
12-19-2014, 07:30 PM
Thanks again for the tips. I'm not quite sure how to feel either...things seem to be okay now, but I don't really understand what the problem with the hard drive is. There's someone I know whom I can ask about this, thankfully, especially now that the issue is more defined. Also, I just thought of something: I can try putting the hard drive in that old notebook I found, and if it can boot safely from the drive, I'll know that the real problem is a lot more complicated. I'll be sure to back up the drive before trying that, of course.

As for reinstalling Windows, I would think I can still access the system image and do something with that; I expect there are plenty of utilities from Microsoft for installing Windows from images, but I haven't actually looked into it yet. The copy of Win7 I'd be reinstalling also came with my notebook so I don't have a serial key, or at least I don't think I do, but this is likely a common enough scenario for there to be simple solutions for it.

As usual, I'll post updates as I learn more about the issue.

mr_johnson22
12-24-2014, 12:20 AM
Okay, I have a update with funky news. I tried putting my hard drive in a spare HP notebook (not the old laptop from where I got the other hard drive to test with my Asus), and it detected a S.M.A.R.T. device error, saying that "device failure is imminent". I treat this as good news because it's more evidence for the hard drive being the cause of the Asus boot problems, even if the Asus never gave me messages like that. Running diagnostic tests on the hard drive fails with errors, as well; again, good news in my opinion. Though despite this, the HP was still able to boot into the hard drive, which I didn't expect. I took a chance and entered Windows, and headed straight for Windows Backup to create a system image...but it failed due to a I/O error within a few minutes. I'm going to try running chkdsk and see if that helps anything.

I should also mention that I did this after backing up all of my hard drive's files (the old-fashioned way, just by directly copying files; it seemed like the safest option) to an external drive, and as far as I can tell the files on my OS partition copied over just fine. In fact, it was the D drive that took forever to copy (every once in a while copy operations would hang on D drive files), so I'm a tad concerned to find that there's a problem with the C drive as well (on account of the image backup failing).

In any case, at this point I think it's pretty safe to bet that the hard drive alone is what's responsible for my Asus' booting problems. The fact that the HP notebook is able to boot into it doesn't worry me all that much, since it's a newer (albeit worse-performing) computer than my G51J and probably has booting utilities (like S.M.A.R.T. support) that my G51J lacks. And as I mentioned before, the Asus has no problem booting & running from a different hard drive, or from a Live USB. In fact, I've been using the Asus pretty heavily with the Live USB for the past few days with no problems.

So unless there's anything else you want me to check, I will be getting a replacement HDD and will try to back up a Win7 image somehow. Thanks again for all of your help! I learned a ton from this unusual little crisis. :)

PS: I'll only mark this topic as [SOLVED] once I get my happy ending. I'm not ruling out any bad outcomes just yet.

cl-Albert
12-24-2014, 01:12 AM
Thanks for all your feedback as well, but yes, I'd like to find out what happens when you install a different hard drive.

Just wish you still have some options in case the other hard drive doesn't work out, so you aren't stuck with it, but I may worry too much and not sure what else you can do to be more sure of the situation.

Good luck!

mr_johnson22
01-03-2015, 01:20 AM
Final result: success! Got a spiffy new hard drive and I'm happy to say everything's working fine. Restoring my Windows system turned out to be a bit of an adventure, but that's a whole other story.

Thanks again for all of the help & well wishes! All the best for the new year.

danwat1234
01-05-2015, 05:38 AM
Hope you got an SSD for the main drive, then a storage (mechanical) drive for the other bay! Makes it much faster.

mr_johnson22
01-07-2015, 05:55 AM
Sure, now you tell me. :P If I find myself needing speed I'll surely give that a shot! I still need to get another caddy, or take out my optical drive, so it'll be for some point down the road.

Unrelated note: are threads only marked as [solved] by admins? I tried to change the thread title the other day but I couldn't find an edit button anywhere.

cl-Albert
01-07-2015, 05:07 PM
Final result: success! Got a spiffy new hard drive and I'm happy to say everything's working fine. Restoring my Windows system turned out to be a bit of an adventure, but that's a whole other story.

Thanks again for all of the help & well wishes! All the best for the new year.

Glad to hear you could solve it and thanks for the update!



Unrelated note: are threads only marked as [solved] by admins? I tried to change the thread title the other day but I couldn't find an edit button anywhere.

Yes, hope it's okay I changed your thread title to [solved] and I believe only the moderators can edit the thread titles, so let me or other moderators know if anything needs to be changed.