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Question SOLVED ASUS Prime Z270-A Won't Accept Windows Install

cabbie19

Well-known Member
Hi fellow AVF'ers, looking for any help or ideas regarding Windows 10 install Problems.

Set-up details
Asus Prime Z270-A motherboard
Intel Core i5 6600 (non k)
2 x 4Gb Team Vulcan T-Force DDR4 3000MHz
Samsung PM951 M.2 PCI-e x4 SSD
Onboard Graphics
BeQuiet 630w psu (from my working pc).

Issues
When i try to install Windows 10 the loading files bar runs from left of screen to right, then the circle of dots starts to rotate. after no more than 2 full revolutions the system crashes to BSOD, with a variety of different fault descriptions (different every time).
I have been able boot into Ubuntu from a USB stick although it sometimes scrolls loads of info up the screen instead of going into Ubuntu. Once into Ubuntu, i get occasional system error messages, but it doesn't crash.
This list of issues is not exhaustive, but representative of what generally happens.

What we have tried.....

Memtest86 has been run on each memory module individually without any errors (8 passes on each module)
320gB 2.5" hdd, clean formatted to ntfs install failed bsod
1Tb 3.5" hdd, clean formatted to ntfs install failed bsod
500gB 2.5" HDD CLEAN FORMATTED TO NTFS, Then installed with Windows 10 in my sig rig, removed once basic install complete. Booted to home screen, then locked up 1st time, 2nd time booted to home screen then BSOD.
2280 m.2 drive install failed bsod
BIOS updated to latest version
BIOS re-set to "optimised defaults" each time
Tried in both "other o/s" and "uefi windows" modes
Each memory module tried individually in each of the 4 dimm slots

MA3STRO who i bought the board off has been on video link all afternoon helping with ideas and support, so he will add info to this post when he can.

All questions / suggestions very welcome

Jamie
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
Looking like a hardware error. And by the testing you’ve done, CPU or motherboard.
 

cabbie19

Well-known Member
I am currently running memtest86's cpu tests, don't know how thorough they are?
Does anybody know of a good cpu test that runs without windows?
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
Prime95 is the best, but it runs inside Windows. If Windows doesn’t run, definite hardware issue.

Do you have another CPU you cpuld try?
 

cabbie19

Well-known Member
Sadly not, my other pc's are 3rd and 4th gen
 

MA3STRO

Active Member
Thanks for your help with this @mjn.

I chatted with Jamie for a long time today and we were both going through each possibility one by one (and Jamie had did many of these previously). Jamie set it up in many different ways for us to troubleshoot, but hopefully someone else can give their perspective as none of the suggestions we went through appears to be resolving the issue.

Jamie was using an anti-static wrist band at all times when working on the setup.

I have another motherboard there so if we cannot get it working, we can exchange them, so that is not an issue; however I was not sure if the motherboard was the issue for a few reasons:
  • No error messages/beeps are posted by the motherboard
  • It posts to the bios fine
  • Ubuntu runs fine from the USB flash drive
I bought about 4 or 5 of these motherboards a year ago. Whenever Windows wouldn't boot for any reason, the motherboard would normally beep an error message. It was normally something simple such as a cable not plugged into the PSU fully, but it did always beep. Of course, not beeping does not mean the motherboard could not be causing an issue.

We didn't test the CPU. I wasn't too concerned about it today because (1) CPUs can fail, but the failure rate is very low compared to other components, and (2) The setup posts fine to the bios and runs fine on Ubuntu; and there wasn't any bios error messages or motherboard beeps etc.

Because Ubuntu was working fine from the USB drive, I kept going back to the idea that it was either the hard drives, Windows, or a combination of both.

Just to summarise what Jamie noted in the first post:
  • Setup posts to bios every time with no errors
  • No motherboard error beep messages at any point
  • Ubuntu works fine from the USB flash drive
  • Ubunutu from USB flash drive creates errors and does not boot if M2 SSD is also attached
  • Ubunutu from USB flash drive works fine when 1TB 3.5" spindle drive is connected (though cannot be mounted because it is formatted as NTFS)
We were unable to check the m2 drive to see if it does indeed work (as it was bought second hand), but when Ubuntu worked fine with the 1TB 3.5" HDD, I thought it would work with Windows.

Unfortunately, the same thing happens. Each time you attempt to load it throws up a different BSOD error message.

When you search online or what could be causing this, most people say it's a RAM issue or driver issue; however memtest is showing the RAM is OK and if the drive is formatted it shouldn't be a driver issue.

Jamie also noted the Windows install USB flash drive works fine with his other PC, so I doubt it's the install tool.

As noted earlier, we did not test the CPU, but I keep going back to the same issue with Ubuntu working etc.

Doesn't the fact Ubuntu works fine from the USB flash drive suggest all components are working correctly: PSU, motherboard, RAM, CPU, etc. The only thing not being tested in that situation is a hard drive.

Again, I do appreciate your help and I'm sure Jamie does too :)
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
I’ve built over 1000 PCs and repaired hundreds of enterprise class servers, i’ve seen PCs and servers pass all kinds of diagnostics with faulty hardware. :)

I would change CPU. But before then, maybe upgrade the motherboard BIOS? Strip all other hardware from the PC.
 

MA3STRO

Active Member
Very good point. You're right. I've had seen the same thing with HDDs dying. No errors whatsoever and then BAM...goodbye data. :)

Jamie showed me the bios version and it was the most up to date. He reset the settings to default for me as well.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Doesn't the fact Ubuntu works fine from the USB flash drive suggest all components are working correctly: PSU, motherboard, RAM, CPU, etc. The only thing not being tested in that situation is a hard drive.

Does it always work fine? Cabbie's post suggested it wasn't consistently working.

Although it doesn't rule out the motherboard as it could be something like an SATA controller error that's used by the drives but not the USB ports.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
I assume you’ve tested the PSU? Checked all the voltages are correct?
 

MA3STRO

Active Member
Yeah once or twice it loaded up a string of messages and didn't boot, but resetting it made it work ok.

I cannot recall the exact error now, but it was one of those "Send diagnostic" type errors. I searched it at the time and the page I found in the Ubuntu forums suggested it was a problem many others were having with that version of Ubuntu i.e. a software issue or bug rather than a hardware issue.

Update: It didn't stop Ubuntu running in any way.
 

cabbie19

Well-known Member
Hi all, i haven't "tested" the psu as such, but it's from my sig rig and performs perfectly in that build, so i would say PSU is fine? It has been back in my main build in between testing the z270 build, and still working fine.
 

steveo67

Active Member
May be worth doing a BIOS reset, the hardware one not just in the BIOS screen. That's usually a button/jumper on the board but MAKE SURE it's completely unplugged and powered off before doing this.
It's also worth checking your RAID/IDE/AHCI settings - I've had a few that needed that toggled until Windows is loaded and then toggled back afterwards. Symptoms are the same random halt during the boot sequence.

Might also be worth doing a full Diskpart cleanup of the drive as it's probably ended up with lots of weird partitioning going back and forth between the various OS.
 
Last edited:

cabbie19

Well-known Member
I’ve built over 1000 PCs and repaired hundreds of enterprise class servers, i’ve seen PCs and servers pass all kinds of diagnostics with faulty hardware. :)

I would change CPU. But before then, maybe upgrade the motherboard BIOS? Strip all other hardware from the PC.

I haven't got access to another cpu, board, or DDR4 memory sadly, hence i have tested the memory very extensively with both windows memory diagnostic (largely considered rubbish, but thought it was worth a couple of passes in case it showed something memtest86 had missed), and multiple passes of memtest86. Memory was tested one stick at a time, in various dimm slots of the 270 board.
Almost all testing has been performed out of the case in "minimal build" status, and as MA3STRO has stated the board has been updated to the latest BIOS (1302).

Regards
Jamie.
 

cabbie19

Well-known Member
May be worth doing a BIOS reset, the hardware one not just in the BIOS screen. That's usually a button/jumper on the board but MAKE SURE it's completely unplugged and powered off before doing this.
It's also worth checking your RAID/IDE/AHCI settings - I've had a few that needed that toggled until Windows is loaded and then toggled back afterwards. Symptoms are the same random halt during the boot sequence.

Might also be worth doing a full Diskpart cleanup of the drive as it's probably ended up with lots of weird partitioning going back and forth between the various OS.

Hi, and thanks for your contribution :)
The BIOS has been "hard re-set" multiple times during various stages of testing by removing power cable, and once all lights on the board have gone out, removing the BIOS battery for 5 mins, then re-fitting battery, and power cable, booting to BIOS and clicking optimised defaults before next tests carried out.
There is a setting in bios to choose "other os" or "UEFI Windows", this defaults to other os, but we have tried in both modes, SATA is in AHCI mode.
The Windows install has never got far enough to effect hard drives as far as i can tell, the 2.5 and 3.5 drives are clean formatted to ntfs, the other 2.5 has a fresh basic install of Win 10 on, and i'm unable to test the m.2 as the only board i have is the one we are working with.
The board always boots to BIOS without any problems, the problems only start when you start trying to install Windows.

Regards
Jamie.
 

MA3STRO

Active Member
This post might be of interest, seems to show the method of installing directly to the M2 SSD - Windows 10 boot problems on new ASUS Prime Z270-A with RAID0 array - [Solved] - Motherboards

Good link @steveo67

This recommendation looks worth trying:

The background here is NVME SSDs do not appear within the BIOS until Windows creates the system partition with the EFI Boot Sector. Your M.2 SSD contains UEFI driver information within the firmware. By disabling the CSM module Windows will read and utilize the M.2-specific UEFI driver.

Since you can have single drives with SATA configuration in RAID, you would set that to RAID.

1- The M.2 drive has to be the only drive installed.

2 - Go into the bios, under the boot tab there is an option for CSM, make sure it is disabled.

3 - Click on secure boot option below and make sure it is set to other OS, not windows UEFI.

4 - Click on key management and clear secure boot keys.

5 - Insert a USB memory stick with a bootable UEFI USB drive with Windows 10 Setup on it, USB3 is quicker but USB2 works also. A Windows DVD won’t work unless you’ve created your own UEFI Bootable DVD.

6 - Press F10 to save, exit and reboot.

7 - Windows 10 will now start installing to your NVME drive as it has its own NVME driver built in.

8 - When the PC reboots hit F2 to go back into the BIOS, you will see under boot priority that windows boot manager now lists your NVME drive.

9 - Click on secure boot again but now set it to WIndows UEFI mode. (see #3 above)

10 - Click on key management and install default secure boot keys

11 - Press F10 to save and exit and windows will finish the install. Once you have Windows up and running, shutdown the PC and reconnect your other SATA drives.

I would also recommend installing the Samsung NVME driver at this point to replace the Windows one. (optional)

# How to create a bootable UEFI USB drive with Windows 10 Setup
How to create a bootable UEFI USB drive with Windows 10 Setup
 

cabbie19

Well-known Member
That leads me to think there may be an old install of windows on the m.2, as it shows in the motherboard bios.

Yes, it is worth a go....won't be today though, as i have had to clear everything away to make way for Sunday dinner ;)
 

MA3STRO

Active Member
That could explain why it was crashing Ubuntu too.

If you were able to get logged in with it attached, you could have formatted it and chrckch the disk for errors.
 

cabbie19

Well-known Member
I am trying to contact a friend just over in the next town, he often has parts kicking around, so am hoping i can find some parts for further testing. :)
Otherwise i will set it up tomorrow and try the m.2 suggestions above.


UPDATE
Sadly he's working away all week :(
 
Last edited:

cabbie19

Well-known Member

cabbie19

Well-known Member
UPDATE
Bugger, tried instructions in link above re installing to m.2, still exactly the same result. Loading files bar completes, 1.5 - 2 revolutions of circling dots, then bsod, tried setting from AHCI to raid, got as far as choose language first time, then bsod. Further attempts result in bsod at normal, earlier point :(
Oh, one thing has changed, m.2 no longer shows in bios.
 

cabbie19

Well-known Member
Have just tried installing Ubuntu to the m.2, got to purple ubuntu loading screen, then sat there for several mins with dots going left to right, no further progress.
Also tried running ubuntu from flash drive with same result.
 

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