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Dutchess_III's avatar

Can you help me diagnose my laptop?

Asked by Dutchess_III (37556points) September 25th, 2017

I, personally, think it’s FUBARED. Rick’s been using it and he uploaded a link to some online golf game a friend send him, and he tried to open it. Almost immediately the computer went wonky. (I texted said friend to make sure he was the one who actually sent it. He said he was and I told him I thought it had a virus.)

He was out of town when it happened and he called me. He restarted it several times, and it just kept getting worse so he kept restarting it. Now it won’t even open to the home screen.

It’s an ASUS, model number Q503U.

It opens to this.

Then it goes here

Then here.

Long story short, I have pictures of every screen I’m sent to. The most promising was one the system restore in advanced settings. It’s supposed to reload windows 10 and delete every program except those that came with the PC while still keeping the files, if I so choose. I choose to keep the files. It gets to about 30% then goes back to a blue screen that says, “Error. Can’t do it.”
The only other thing I can think of is to go ahead and delete the personal files too. Would that make a difference?

I have not tried System image recovery or UEFI Firmware settings. Hoping someone can help me with those.

I don’t know what code to plug into the Command Prompt.

I did try to restore it to an earlier date. That failed too.

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31 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

That’s the “blue screen of death.” It needs professional repair.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I figured as much.

Rarebear's avatar

PIng Ragingloli. She knows this shit cold.

ragingloli's avatar

I actually do not. Maybe if I had the machine in front of me.
In any case, as @Hawaii_Jake said, it needs professional attention.

funkdaddy's avatar

I don’t know if it’s fubared, but you’re definitely in the “sorry you lost all your files, Rick” part of the show. It sounds like the information on the drive is actually corrupted or the drive is failing. Neither is good, but if it’s “just” bad data, you can at least recover the use of the computer. Bad data is the more likely scenario if you think it was a virus.

It looks like two of the images you linked are the same, but I’m guess the advanced troubleshooting options is the other screenshot?

If it was mine, or I had to support it, I’d:

1) try the “go ahead and delete my files” option. I wouldn’t have high hopes, but definitely worth a shot at this point.

2) After that I’d try the System Image recovery option, there might be a partition on the drive that has a full image and it’s at least worth checking. Usually it’s marked something like “E: RECOVERY” or something similar. If the tool doesn’t find any images, then move on.

3) If the computer came with a DVD drive, and a DVD, that would be the next step (here’s an ASUS explanation how to get the computer to boot to the DVD drive instead of the hard drive)... basically boot to that drive and it should walk you through a reinstall.

4) If you have a DVD drive, but no DVD from ASUS, someone may have made one when they first set up the computer. I don’t remember if Windows still tells you to, but worth checking if you have a place you’d stash that stuff. That would restore a snapshot of your computer when it was new and is less painful than a full reinstall.

5) Barring any of those, you’re in for wiping it and trying to install a new OS. I think this link will let you build a Windows 10 disk that you can boot and install from (it’s free). You’d have to make that on another computer, probably as a DVD or USB drive (whichever you have handy), then do the same procedure as #3 above to kick off the installation. Answer what you can when it’s walking through the install. It won’t get you to 100%, but should get you started and then mostly it will install the updates it needs from there. It’s not fast, but it’s mostly hands off after the initial set up. And when you’re done you have a new blank computer.

I know that’s a lot of jibba jabba, but ASUS has a few items in their FAQ and google has a ton of walkthroughs for most of those things. If you’re not frustrated with it, you can probably do this.

Good luck.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I got it all @funkdaddy. It wasnt Greek to me. I’ll get on it again tomorrow.
I’m so upset I could just scream. That was MY laptop. Something I’d yearned for for years. I created his own user account on it just 3 months ago. That’s how long it took him to fuck it up.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Initiating Step 1.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Step 2: Windows can not find a system image on this computer.
Attach the back up hard disk or insert the final DVD from a back up set and click to retry. Alternatively, close this dialog for more options.”

I don’t have a back up disk and I don’t have a CD player.

(Is it “disc” or “disk”?)

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! I think so to, but that message spelled it “disk”!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Anyway, I tried looking for one. There was only one option available. When I selected it and clicking “use this one” it flashed “Resetting” really fast, but it had no effect.

The other option was to search the web, but there was a warning that it would be unprotected from viruses during that time so hell no. I backed out.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The next option is to use Command Prompt. I have no idea what prompt I need to type in. Any suggestions?

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK, I skipped command prompt. Now I’m here and clueless. I’m afraid to touch anything.


Lightlyseared's avatar

That’s the BIOS. nothing to be scared of it’s just the program that the computer uses to tell it how to load windows. Pressing the escape key will exit and the laptop will reboot.

What you need is a bootable USB with windows on. This will allow you to reinstall windows from scratch. To do this you’ll need access to another computer connected to the internet (and a USB stick :) ).
“Handy guide to making a bootable usb with windows 10 on”:

Then you can install windows from the USB “another guide”:

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ll try that then. If I could get to other places I’m pretty sure I could uninstall it myself. I have no money right now.
I have plenty of USB sticks. What would make them “bootable”?

I know how to get out of the screen. I also know how to maneuver around the screen. I just wonder if there is anything in there that could help me. I think I’ll start with the date and time, just for the hell of it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Alright. Can you help me with the command prompt @Lightlyseared? I’ve used them before, but I have no idea what command to give it.

funkdaddy's avatar

I don’t think anything you’d type in the command prompt is going to help really. Just about everything you’d put there is available in the tools you’ve been using. So there’s no magic there unfortunately.

The links @Lightlyseared provided are to guides that will walk you through creating a bootable USB drive. That’s also Step 5 I listed above. Unfortunately it sounds like we’ve tried the rest.

The details are explained in those articles, but high level:
– You’re going to wipe the computer and start fresh with a new OS version of Windows
– to do that you’ll need to create the USB mentioned on another computer, with the tool we linked to. You’ll need to download it and then it walks you through the steps.
– Once that drive is made you’ll put it in your laptop (that you’re working to fix) and reboot. It should start the process of installing a fresh version of Windows. It will erase everything on the drive first.
– You may need to change the settings under that “Boot” menu of the BIOS screenshot you showed to get it to start off the USB drive. You can set an order for it to boot and you want the USB drive to be first.

If you have any documentation that came with the laptop, grab those too because you may need to enter a legit Windows key and it should be in there somewhere, hopefully.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Digging up a USB drive now! (And I know what OS means. I accidentally wiped the operating system off of my desk top a few years ago! It was a holy shit moment! I mean, I lost everything. The most heartbreaking were the pictures and the stories. However, I had most of them shared elsewhere, as well as down loaded to disc for storage so I think, in the end, I retrieved about 90% of my important stuff.)
I shut it all down and put it on the kitchen table to take to Best Buy, but I’ll try that first.
I will let you know. If this doesn’t work I’ll at least be satisfied that I’ve done everything in my power to remedy it. With a little lot of help from my friends.

And I’m going to shoot my husband. I don’t know how many fucking times I’ve told him to be careful about down loading random “fun” shit, but he just keeps doing it. Like a spoiled child. You wouldn’t believe how precious that lap top was to me. I am so, so upset.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It wants me to turn off my ad blocker…....

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ok. it’s downloaded to the USB. Will the download start automatically when I plug it into my laptop? I somehow don’t think I’m going to be given the option to begin installation on it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I think it’s loaded to the USB device. I plugged it in to the lap top, went the place where I can use a disk or USB, clicked on USB. It flashed, then started to reset. I have no idea what it did. It didn’t come up with an execute command or anything.

I don’t know how to check if there is something on the drive without plugging it in to my desk top, but now that I’ve plugged it into the infected lap top I’m not sure it’s a good idea to do that.

BTW, the lap top is UEFI I was checking into a command prompt to run it from there, and found this: “If your server platform supports Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), you should format the USB flash drive as FAT32 rather than as NTFS. To format the partition as FAT32, type format fs=fat32 quick, and then click ENTER.”

funkdaddy's avatar

So you let the tool fill the USB drive with whatever it needed, put that into the laptop and restarted it?

If that doesn’t read the USB, then you went into the BIOS/UEFI and changed the boot order to have the USB drive first? Did it restart then? What happens when it restarts and you have the USB drive plugged in?

What command prompt are you getting into?

Dutchess_III's avatar

To answer your 1st question, yes I did.

I went into the BIOS/UEFI and and choose the USB option, per instructions.

And that’s the problem. I’m not getting ANY prompts. I can’t get to my driver list to try and run it from E drive. That’s why I was hoping I could run it through the command prompts, but I don’t know what command to put in.

Also, I’d like to make sure Windows 10 actually downloaded onto the USB but I didn’t think to double check while I still had it in my desk top. I’m afraid to put it back in my desk top now to check it.

Thank you for coming back to this question @funkdaddy.

funkdaddy's avatar

If you have antivirus on your desktop, I’d go ahead and give it a shot.

If you don’t have antivirus, and don’t have Windows Defender set up, you can grab Avast in a pinch.

Once you’re back on that computer, I think the link below is the clearest procedure I could find to make sure your drive should be bootable for UEFI… notice the link at the bottom of the article (included below as well) which will walk you through the whole procedure from start to end.

First article – How to create a Windows 10 USB bootable media with UEFI support

Second article – How to do a clean installation of Windows 10

Good luck.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think I have another USB device around here. Is it OK to take the one I plugged into the infected laptop and put it in my desk top to down load the anti virus? And to make sure I actually down loaded Windows 10 to it per the directions?

funkdaddy's avatar

I think so. Just make sure you have antivirus software on your desktop as a precaution. (you probably should anyway)

Usually the operating system would need to be running to infect anything you plug in. If that’s not working on the laptop I’d be surprised if the USB is infected, even if the laptop has a virus.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I do. I have to down load it to get it over to the lap top. However in order to run the scan on my lap top I need a way to start the anti virus program.

funkdaddy's avatar

Most antivirus software has a component that runs all the time and blocks things before they get started. You can still scan files, but I guess I’m saying it’s probably not necessary to hold up anything because of a possible virus on the USB.

The laptop has never gotten to the OS with it in there, from the sounds of it, so as long as your desktop has some kind of antivirus, I’d go ahead and move forward.

Lightlyseared's avatar

The BIOS/UEFI wont boot from just any USB stick. There’s a step needed to make the USB stick bootable. The easiest way is using Microsoft’s program to create the USB stick and copy windows on to it. If you just copy windows 10 on to a USB stick it will not run from the BIOS.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, took it in. Dude said he’s inclined to blame Window’s 10. They’re reloading new and improved Windows 10 now. However, I had to go dig up my account because it was tied in with the original purchase of the computer. That took me an hour.
I’ll let you know. If it works it’ll cost $90. I told him I hoped Microsoft didn’t get any of that money.

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