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Maximus VIII Hero: Long Restarts and Login Freeze ups

Level 7
This is my setup, everything running at stock speeds.

Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VIII Hero,
CPU: Intel 6700K stock speed
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR4 2666
Storage: 512GB 850 Pro SSD as Boot, 1x 2TB Toshiba PH3200U
GPU: ASUS Strix 980Ti
PSU: SeaSonic X-1050
OS: Windows 10 Pro
All my fan connectors are populated. Running 8 fans plus 2 on CPU.

After finishing my build I did a clean install and installed AI Suite 3 (just for Fan Xpert) and GPU Tweak 2 along with Adobe CS6, BItDefender and other small apps and games. I was getting occasional freezes while using Windows so I ran some CPU tests and a 4 hour memory test but everything was OK. HDD tests passed. Temps OK and as stated before everything running stock speeds.

Then I started getting some really long restarts (it seemed fine when choosing to shutdown). It looked like Windows had shutdown but then the monitor would go to sleep and the PC would still be on. It would take about 5 to 10 minutes for it to actually restart. Sometimes I would get a freeze at the blue restart screen with the dotted circle animation. At that point I would hit the reset button but sometimes that wouldn't even work which kind of makes me think the motherboard was having trouble processing the switch's signal (may be wrong here, I don't know how these switches work). So I would just hold down the power button till off.

Sometimes it would freeze at the login screen right after entering my pin with the little dotted circle animation frozen next to "Welcome" but this did not happen very often.

After trying several things I decided to reinstall Windows.

I've reinstalled Windows and all my software 3 times now and I still get freezes. On one occasion I got a ACPI_BIOS_ERROR during installation. I installed from a USB stick and I used the same one to install Windows 10 Pro on 2 other computers with no issues and those PCs have been running with zero problems.

Last install I decided to install each software one at a time just to rule out software conflicts but even before installing anything, except for the LAN driver from ASUS, I got a couple of freezes.

I did some tests restarting the computer and 2 out of 10 restarts the computer froze right after entering my pin with the dotted circle animation frozen next to "Welcome".

I continued installing the software and as soon as I installed AI Suite 3 and GPU Tweak 2 I started getting the long restart problem. I ran another set of restarts and 5 out of 10 I had the long restart with 1 freeze at login. So only 4 good restarts.

I uninstalled AI Suite 3 and ran another set of tests. The long restarts were gone but I still had the login freezes. 4 out of 10 logins froze.

Uninstalled GPU Tweak 2 and out of 10 restarts I only got 1 login freeze and 1 crash on restart where the computer just shut itself off.

I restored Windows with a system image I created right before installing anything and ran some test, still froze 2 out of 10 on the login screen just like in my initial test. Reinstalled everything and it started happening again after installing AI Suite and GPU Tweak. I know, many are going to tell me not to install AIS3 or GPU Tweak but I want easy to use fan control and even if buggy GPU Tweak is actually useful.

So I'm starting to have a feeling the motherboard has problems and they are compounded for some reason once AI Suite 3/GPU Tweak 2 are installed.

I've been focusing on the restart/login freezes but I have been getting some freezes using Windows as well.

One thing I've noticed is that sometimes when I plug in a USB stick Windows won't recognize it and if I restart the computer will freeze at the restart screen and I'll have to do a hard reset, usually reset button won't work.

I've tested everything and I really don't think the video card (had it installed on another build and no problems) or HDD or the memory is the problem and I really don't think it's the CPU either I would have a large amount of BSOD which I don't. Unplugged everything and reconnect with no changes. Windows seems ok too. Ran some sfc checks and everything comes up OK. I'm running Bios 1001. I read in another post that taking 2 of the memory modules helps with any crashes or freezes, I may try that but that would be just a temporary workaround if it indeed fixes the freezing. I'm running another memory check so I'll try that after it's done.

I really want this build to work out but at this point it's all pointing to the motherboard. I'm still within the return period so I may just return it and get an MSI M7 but I really want this to work. And just to rant a bit, I'm really not surprised, I own many Asus products from routers to monitors and I always run into some kind of problem usually on the software side. The hardware is good quality but the software has aways been buggy and way below the level of quality of the hardware. Just take for example the AI Cloud hack that was a massive screw up that took 8 months to fix...:rolleyes:

Phew! ok that's it. Ok Asus I'm tired of restarting my PC:p. Any input would be appreciated, thanks.

Level 7
This is similar to a build I will be putting together soon. These are not the kind of posts you like seeing though!

The things you've already tried are the things I would have suggested. Initially, after reading your first couple sentences, I pinned it down to a software/windows related issue. It seems you have already tried to resolve it based off that though. One thing I want to point out is the Win10 Windows Update process. It can really slow up the reboot/restart times or all together freeze up during those blue screens with the dotted circular progress. Have you manually checked for Windows Updates and see if perhaps there is an update failing all the time? Check the advanced options and look at your update history and look for anything suspicious.

Have you tried re-flashing to the latest UEFI?

Have you completely ruled out hardware by running stress testing benchmarks and memtest?

Are you getting any other issues besides the long boot process, like blue screens or random restarts?

It also seems like you tried ruling out certain software installs, but your problem is setting off an alarm that this is a software related issue to me.

Anyway, I would start off by:
1) Re-flashing your UEFI and re-applying the default optimized settings.
2) Don't use a Microsoft login account (to avoid any corrupt sync settings having an affect) OR completely wipe your Microsoft sync settings on account (you can google how to do this).
3) Secure erase your SSD.
4) Once all this is done, re-install Win10 from USB (not an image).
5) Check Windows Update and let it do its thing (also check for failures here as I've had Win Update be flaky with me on a lot of Win10 installs).
6) Check your boot process speeds and run stress testing, then re-test boot process.
7) Install your driver/software and check boot process after each one to pin point problem software.

Good luck!

I believe there are other errors specific to Windows 10 Pro but event ID 56 is on Home and Pro and according to this one guy even across versions. 7,8 8.1 and 10. But the one thing all have in common is that they are using z170 chipset. So it could be bios or like you said, chipset drivers. You said you are planning on building a PC, right? If you're planning on getting a Skylake processor may be better to wait a bit until this all get's cleared. Hope they release a fix soon.

Level 7
Thanks Draetor already tried all and it looks like it's a chipset problem specifically related to Z170. There is another thread in the forums about an ACPI error with event id 56 causing freeze-ups. At first I didn't notice the error but after reading that post I checked and sure enough I had the error and is seemed to go off right before each freeze. Digging around some more I ran into this thread over at the Microsoft Support site, on page 4 there is a post where user Dean_peps quoted a reply from Asus saying it's a chipset issue, here's an excerpt:
"It's not related with driver/software. It could be confirmed on Z170 and B150 chipset motherboards, not only ours, but also other makers' motherboard."

There was a guy that went so far as to replace his motherboard with a different brand, replace gpu, psu and memory and still got the error. Now some users say they just see the error in event viewer and have no noticeable symptoms but others get the boot and reboot freezes or just random freezes.

Here is the link, give it a read.

I guess the Z170 platform is still too new. Eventually the board manufacturers will issue the fixes I suppose. For now I guess all I can do is tough it out.

Level 7
Hmm, this is interesting. I'm surprised there is not more talk about this, unless it's not as noticeable to people like you say except in the event viewer. I guess there will either be a BIOS update coming up, or Intel will release a chipset driver fix via the Intel MEI.

So reading that thread you linked seems to be an issue only with Win 10 Pro users, which I notice you have. I am using Win 10 Home, so I guess I lucked out.