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My desktop is dead/dying and i have no OS to fall back on... HALP!!

PlusThirtyOne

What DOES my username mean...?
To put it bluntly, my desktop is on the brink of death and i can only HOPE it's software related. My computer keeps BSoDing randomly for no apparent reason and i haven't been able to figure out why. Two minutes, ten minutes or two full hours; there's no way of knowing how long until the inevitable blue screen and restart. i haven't been able to get ANYthing done and Photoshop has already corrupted five "open" files thanks to the sudden restarts.

i need to format and reinstall but unfortunately my PC is a custom build. My roomie (at the time) fudged registration and set up Win7 in such a way that i wouldn't get any updates and suckered into the Win10 update. i have no idea what to do at this point and i don't know how Micro$oft handles OEM copies or registration. i don't have ANY keys or serials to use and i reeeeeeeeally don't want to go back to illegitimate Windows.

if anybody has any unused OEM or retail keys lying around, i'd appreciate the help... At this point, i wouldn't even mind the update to Win10 now that all the bugs and kinks have been worked out.
i have no idea what to do at this point and i'm stressing the fuck out. i've already got everything important backed up but i don't know what the next step is.

HALP!!
 
You can use the Magic Jellybean "Keyfinder" to extract a text document with your windows copy serial that you then can use if you ever re-install windows onto the same computer and mobo. It wasn't quite made clear to me if you had a legit copy or not at the moment but if the case is that you do, the software mentioned earlier will help you extract that key easily if need be.

If the case is that you need to reinstall and it's indeed software related, you can download and make a windows bootable usb drive for win10 by just googling up the iso from Microsofts own site, then use "Rufus" to make a random usb drive at or above 8 gigs bootable with it. Might be a bit more quirky if you need win7 though as those iso's can only be acquired from third party sites nowadays.
 

PlusThirtyOne

What DOES my username mean...?
It wasn't quite made clear to me if you had a legit copy or not at the moment
Honestly, i don't really know. My PC wasn't purchased from a retail store. it's a mish-mash of new and used parts. The OS was acquired and installed by my roomie who doesn't remember where my OS was acquired from. i used to use illegitimate Windows back in the day but i don't know how the system works nowadays with always-online requirements and all that jazz. it used to be that i could just grab a serial from a friend or key generator and disable Windows' updates.

i don't think it works that way anymore...

i have a physical Windows7 OEM disk but the included key is my roomie's. Plus, i'd like to use Windows' updates so i want to go legit. in the case that my current OS is illegitimate (which is an unfortunate possibility), i'd like to go legit but i can't exactly afford to buy a license from my local BestBuy for Win10. i'd also hate to waste my time reinstalling with my current (possibly bad) serial, only to find out it's a pie-rated aferwards. OEM keys for 7 are a dime a dozen i hear so nerds keep them stockpiled like Steam games. i was hoping a fellow forum goer might have a license just lying around, gathering dust. The upgrade to Win10 is free with a valid 7 license so i was hoping to take that next step as well after a successful 7 install.


EDiT:

Wait wait wait wait wait... HOLD UP!!
Last i checked (5-10 years ago), a basic Windows operating system used to cost $300. i'm seeing copies of OEM Windows10 Pro for $30-$50 online. Are Windows platforms really that cheap now!?!?!?!?

if i wanted to cave in and just BUY a Windows10 Pro (or home) license, how do i go about doing that? Brick and mortar stores are selling thumbdrives with Win10 for $100+ but i'm seeing websites with licenses posted for <$50. it's not as easy as just ordering a bootable DVD anymore, it seems so i have no idea what to do!! LOL

i just want to go back to Photoshop and Skyrim without blue-screens and restarts!! LOL
 
Last edited:

Saiko

GTWT Survivor
I don’t know anything about $50 keys, but you can get the Win10 installer from here. Once you have that, you can make a bootable USB from the installer .iso and use that to install your new OS. At the very least you can have a legitimate installation running for a month while you look for a key.
 

Pipistrele

Smart batto!
Sounds like a RAM-related problem, with all the random BSODing and stuff. Try to reattach yous RAM boards into different slots and/or removing some of them to see if it fixes the problem.

If nothing helps, try Ubuntu - it takes half an hour to make a live USB drive, another half an hour to install, and it's stable as hell. Takes some time to be used to, but all the essential stuff is easily doable on Linux (though playing games on it still kinda sucks)
 

Kebechet

Member
Sounds like a RAM-related problem, with all the random BSODing and stuff. Try to reattach yous RAM boards into different slots and/or removing some of them to see if it fixes the problem.

If nothing helps, try Ubuntu - it takes half an hour to make a live USB drive, another half an hour to install, and it's stable as hell. Takes some time to be used to, but all the essential stuff is easily doable on Linux (though playing games on it still kinda sucks)

I second Ubuntu. However make sure you get 16.04 not 17. 16 is stable, 17 is not.
 

PlusThirtyOne

What DOES my username mean...?
try Ubuntu

Unfortunately that isn't an option. if i just needed a 'puter to surf the net and browse cat pictures, then i'm already all set for that. i have an Android phone, a Win7 Alienware laptop in the livingroom (multimedia setup) and a Micro$oft Surface with Win10 (on it now). My Win7 desktop (that's having problems) is my art and gaming machine; moreso for art than gaming though. My livingroom laptop is a household device for ALL to use so it'd be rude of me to take it back to my room. None of my art software works on Win10 or on the Surface platform and all of my art, assets and media are stored on my desktop's drives. As much as i'd love to just kick my desktop to the curb and use my Surface for all instead, it isn't capable of accessing all my extra hard drives. i'd need to buy external bays for each of my drives and an expansion dock.

i know it sounds like a laundry list of first world problems but my desktop is capable and responsible for everything; all my other devices are only capable or meant for single purposes. -And none of which can handle games (heavily modded Skyrim and MGSV), my many HDs or art programs...except for my desktop with a Windows OS.

-

On the topic of RAM, would a thorough RAM check tell me if that were the problem without having to test all combinations of sticks and slots? Any good apps for running such a test? Hell, if i can avoid having to reinstall Windows, that'd be super convenient too! Or, perhaps there's a background utility i can use to diagnose a BSoD? For some reason, despite being instructed to, my computer isn't creating a crash-log or minidump to reference. Otherwise i might have any idea what the culprit is.
 

GrowlBurger

Because I CAN!
Telling someone to "just use Ubuntu" without knowing anything about their situation is a horrible suggestion. What if they have lots of Windows games or other software that doesn't run on Linux? What if they don't want to bother learning how to use a CLI for random shit that can easily be done via a GUI in Windows? Etc etc. Not to mention, we have no idea whether or not OP's problem is hardware or software related. "Just installing Ubuntu" may not fix the issue at all. It's a non-answer from Linux fanbois.

As for your problems OP, I recommend you start by running hardware diagnostics. At least then you can figure out if its hardware or software related. If it's hardware related, there's no point in reinstalling a new OS without first fixing the underlying issues. If there's no hardware issues, you can be pretty sure reinstalling will indeed fix your issues.

It could be the RAM but tbh, I would be very surprised if it was. I've found that in issues like this, if it is a hardware issue, 9 out of 10 times it's the hard drive, not the RAM. There are a couple tools I use to test both RAM and the HDDs. Info below:

RAM tester: Memtest86+ - Advanced Memory Diagnostic Tool
One of the downloads automatically sets up a bootable USB drive, very nifty! Just remember that it will wipe your USB drive in the process

HDD tester: HDAT2 Download
Unfortunately, no easy USB drive tool here, you'll have to download the ISO and image it to a USB drive using Rufus or some other similar tool.

Alternatively, you can download UBCD: Ultimate Boot CD - Download the UBCD
You will also need to manually image the ISO to a USB drive, but UBCD is a whole collection of tools, including the ones mentioned above, so you only have to image once and then can use either tool by navigating the menus.

Writing out a full tutorial on how to use all of these tools and get everything set up would require a VERY lengthy post, so I recommend you look up tutorials on all of this online if you aren't familiar or sure of how to do all this. If you have questions after following the tutorials or hit a roadblock, I'll try to help from there but writing everything from scratch would be quite onerous. Apologies.

Assuming either of those tests DOES show problems, you'll probably want to reinstall your OS anyways, after replacing the respective parts, since both corrupted HDDs and RAM have a tendency to completely fuck up OS installs, and even after resolving the issue, there might be leftover data corruption. If we don't see any problems, then you're probably safe to just format and reinstall.
 

PlusThirtyOne

What DOES my username mean...?
Update:

Thank you all who messaged me about the issues and possible fixes. in the end, i decided to give up on my current desktop. instead, thanks to a Christmas present fuckup, i'm actually just going to build a NEW desktop (with blackjack and hookers), complete with its own Win10 OEM, which i will install and manage myself so i know it's legit. i spent new year's eve shopping NewEgg and slapped together a dope machine that i can't wait to watch my roommate build. Backing up my C: drive should be no problem at all with a whole new PC to handle the task.
 

Pipistrele

Smart batto!
Telling someone to "just use Ubuntu" without knowing anything about their situation is a horrible suggestion. What if they have lots of Windows games or other software that doesn't run on Linux? What if they don't want to bother learning how to use a CLI for random shit that can easily be done via a GUI in Windows? Etc etc. Not to mention, we have no idea whether or not OP's problem is hardware or software related. "Just installing Ubuntu" may not fix the issue at all. It's a non-answer from Linux fanbois.
I suggested Ubuntu because it's a great emergency OS in terms of stability (it's more tolerant to "faulty" hardware) and ease of use (it already has all the essential drivers and software, and you don't need fancy terminal commands to install most of the stuff). It's certainly not a substitute for Windows, and it kinda sucks for gaming, which is what I warned about in advance - it's just something a casual user can install to live another month or so until he finally fixes his computer. I also clearly said "if nothing helps" - adequately, when it comes to high amount of BSoDs without a clear indication of the problem, repairing/reinstalling Windows is one of the more effective things to do when it comes to software problems (some can find it an overkill, but it usually takes more time to find and completely fix the problem than to just backup your stuff and "hard reset" your Windows), and since OP couldn't really reinstall the thing, installing an alternative OS on separate partition to buy more time for finding solution (without compromising the opportunity of actually using the computer BSoDlessly) seems like a next logical thing to do.

TL;DR: Stop overreacting so much.
 
Windows 10 is kinda free. If you get the media creation tool from Microsoft and use that and install Windows when it asks for a key you should be able to just press next to skip it and use windows unactivated. You will not be able to change the wallpaper etc tho.
 

PlusThirtyOne

What DOES my username mean...?
you do know that windows provides dump files and a stop code to say why it called it quits, right? why don't you, you know, figure out what it halted for?

also, why the hell hasn't anybody mentioned that yet? am i missing something here?
My crashdump was far too vague to figure out what the culprit was. i also don't think it was consistent anyway. i checked every recent dump and got different last words almost every time. One potential culprit was a service host (no clue which one) and another was unrelated. Another was a driver dll and next it was itself an error report i never got to read.

it actually doesn't matter now but you have a good point. i hadn't posted my minidump findings and nobody mentioned a dumpcheck. Huh... Oh well!
 
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