Computer is stuck on Acer logo screen, can't access BIOS or boot menu(Acer Aspire TC-220)

svitlaangelsvitlaangel Member Posts: 9 New User
I've checked all other threads on this and haven't found a fix yet. But first here's a little background.
We have the Acer Aspire TC-220, and it's been a wonderful computer for around 3 years. About 5 days ago, windows had an automatic update that completely messed up. I spent days with Microsoft tech support trying to fix the issue, and even though we lost years of files and beloved photos (string of bad luck, our backup hard drive for the photos had a freak accident a few days before) I was just happy to finally have the computer working again. 
Everything was fine for all of 6 hours. Then windows got slow, really really slow. Naturally I restarted the computer, but it then got stuck in a reboot loop. It would get to the acer logo screen, load, and then restart unless I intervened by opening BIOS or the boot menu. It was around midnight at this point so I just turned it back off and figured I'd sort it out tomorrow.

Now for the current problem. Woke up this morning and tried to boot it, and it loads to a black screen with the Acer logo, and in the bottom left corner it says to press del for BIOS, and f12 for boot menu. There are no loading dots underneath the logo, nothing. If I just leave it, it sits there (longest I've left it so far is 2 hrs). If I press del or f12, the text in the bottom left corner changes to "please wait..." and it just sits there, for hours. At no point do I get any little loading dots or symbols.

So far I've tried restarting, unplugging the power and "dissipating charge" or whatever tech support said, putting a windows 7 disk in, putting a bootable USB with Ubuntu in, opening the pc tower and blowing the large amounts of dust out, unplugging literally everything (monitor too) and letting it sit, then plugging it all back in. It all brings me back to the black screen of death.

I really hope this stupid Microsoft update hasn't messed up the actual computer or anything. Microsoft tech support so far has been useless, they keep recommending troubleshooting options that I've made clear I don't have access to. Acer tech support tried to help, but say I should take it to get fixed or checked somewhere nearby me. I'm not spending money on something that's not my fault, especially considering I don't have any money.

So what can I do to fix this? As of now I just want to completely clear everything and start fresh with Linux but have no clue how when I can't open the boot menu.

Thanks in advance for any help.
«1

FAQ & Answers

  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 16,468 Trailblazer
    Sure sounds like it's not a Windows problem. :( It acts like it's failing during POST (Power On Self Test) and since it doesn't go into the BIOS menu the failure is before any OS load can start. If the HDD or the OS were corrupted it would still be able to get into the BIOS setup. Try replacing the CMOS battery to verify it's not a BIOS flash corruption that might happen when the battery is in an early failure state.
    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
  • svitlaangelsvitlaangel Member Posts: 9 New User
    billsey said:
    Sure sounds like it's not a Windows problem. :( It acts like it's failing during POST (Power On Self Test) and since it doesn't go into the BIOS menu the failure is before any OS load can start. If the HDD or the OS were corrupted it would still be able to get into the BIOS setup. Try replacing the CMOS battery to verify it's not a BIOS flash corruption that might happen when the battery is in an early failure state.
    Have tried the battery, also tried those little pin things (I think they're called jumpers?). So far so bad. Seems like a hell of a coincidence though to happen right after that first problem. 
  • JordanBJordanB ACE Posts: 3,689 Pathfinder
    edited July 2019
    If you shutdown your computer, unplug it from electrical outlet, and temporarily disconnect your HDD, you should be able to regain access to the BIOS.

    You can put your HDD in to an external USB enclosure and try to recover your files.

    Your HDD is probably either corrupt or failing.   Personally, I would just buy another HDD and an external enclosure and use the old HDD as a backup if it's still good.  Or it might be a good time to upgrade to an SSD.

    https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-3-5-inches-SATA-Drive-Enclosure/dp/B01MZC303G/ref=pd_cp_147_4?pd_rd_w=FHMti&pf_rd_p=ef4dc990-a9ca-4945-ae0b-f8d549198ed6&pf_rd_r=TY0RA3BTGANMVACAMYQK&pd_rd_r=f32a820a-a122-11e9-a02a-55bde3839eb2&pd_rd_wg=wtlv2&pd_rd_i=B01MZC303G&psc=1&refRID=TY0RA3BTGANMVACAMYQK

    https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Cache-Desktop-Drive-WD10EZEX/dp/B0088PUEPK/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=hard+drive&qid=1562550902&s=electronics&sr=1-6

    https://www.amazon.com/Crucial-MX500-500GB-NAND-Internal/dp/B0784SLQM6/ref=sr_1_7?keywords=ssd&qid=1562550955&s=electronics&sr=1-7

    You can get Windows 10 free the link below.

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

    The link below explains how to install Windows 10 in UEFI/EFI mode

    https://community.acer.com/en/discussion/comment/697963#Comment_697963

    Or you can order you original Acer OEM recovery media from Acer.

    https://store.acer.com/en-us/extended/recovery
    I'm not an Acer employee.
  • JordanBJordanB ACE Posts: 3,689 Pathfinder
    edited July 2019
    Also, after you install windows 10 make sure you have BIOS P11.A4.  That could also possibly be the reason you are having problems.

    https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/drivers

    The WinFlashUtilty SOP instructions are in the Appendix folder.









    I'm not an Acer employee.
  • svitlaangelsvitlaangel Member Posts: 9 New User
    JordanB said:
    If you shutdown your computer, unplug it from electrical outlet, and temporarily disconnect your HDD, you should be able to regain access to the BIOS.

    You can put your HDD in to an external USB enclosure and try to recover your files.

    Your HDD is probably either corrupt or failing.   Personally, I would just buy another HDD and an external enclosure and use the old HDD as a backup if it's still good.  Or it might be a good time to upgrade to a SSD.
    Have tried testing the insides of the computer by swapping them with my own desktop (problem computer is my mum's) one by one. HDD was fine, just strangely empty? I'm not bothered about files, lost them with the windows auto upgrade (just to clarify, we have had windows 10 for a while now this was a small update). Weird thing was that there was no operating system on it at all even though microsoft had just gotten me to do a clean install of windows before this. Have now put ubuntu on the hard drive and it's running on my pc fine.

    Tried booting mum's pc with no hard drive, and with my hard drive, exact same screen every time.

    I tried swapping the graphics cards too, someone said something about them. It was quite strange, when I put mum's graphics card in my computer it went past the acer screen and to the windows logo, then stopped. When I put my graphics card in my mum's computer the monitor didn't recognize it at all. Put them back in their respective pcs and everything was back to normal (my pc worked fine, mum's still loads to the acer screen then freezes). Have replaced the CMOS battery and still the same screen.
  • JordanBJordanB ACE Posts: 3,689 Pathfinder
    edited July 2019
    ok, but it's not clear what model of desktop that you have.  I know your mum has TC-220.  For example, you can't stick a UEFI/EFI/GPT hard drive in a legacy computer and expect it to work when used as the boot drive.  And you can't stick a modern UEFI graphics card in to a legacy desktop and expect it to work.

    Also, it's unclear why the Microsoft tech would suggest trying to boot a legacy operating system (windows 7) that would require your UEFI to be in legacy mode, when your computer shipped in default UEFI mode and is assumed to be in UEFI mode......unless the Microsoft tech knows something that I don't.
    I'm not an Acer employee.
  • svitlaangelsvitlaangel Member Posts: 9 New User
    JordanB said:
    ok, but it's not clear what model of desktop that you have.  I know your mum has TC-220.  For example, you can't stick a UEFI/EFI/GPT hard drive in a legacy computer and expect it to work when used as the boot drive.  And you can't stick a modern UEFI graphics card in to a legacy desktop and expect it to work.

    Also, it's unclear why the Microsoft tech would suggest trying to boot a legacy operating system (windows 7) that would require your UEFI to be in legacy mode, when your computer shipped in default UEFI mode and is assumed to be in UEFI mode......unless the Microsoft tech knows something that I don't.
    Honestly microsoft tech support seemed clueless, and that's coming from me who knows practically nothing. Mine is an asus, but we got them around the same time so I figured they'd be more or less compatible.

    From what I can tell the hard drives are identical. They look the same, are the same size and everything.

    Not entirely sure what model my desktop is, family use it so informational stickers have been removed and butterfly and flower stickers have been added. Is there any other way to check the tower's model?
  • JordanBJordanB ACE Posts: 3,689 Pathfinder
    Did the ASUS come pre-installed with Windows 7 or Windows 8?

    Here's what I'd do....

    1. Unplug the TC-220 from the electrical outlet
    2. Remove hard drive and graphics card and CMOS battery
    3.  Reassemble the computer without the hdd and graphics card, but re-install CMOS battery.
    4.  Turn on computer and see if you can access BIOS screen by pressing the delete key



    I'm not an Acer employee.
  • svitlaangelsvitlaangel Member Posts: 9 New User
    JordanB said:
    Did the ASUS come pre-installed with Windows 7 or Windows 8?

    Here's what I'd do....

    1. Unplug the TC-220 from the electrical outlet
    2. Remove hard drive and graphics card and CMOS battery
    3.  Reassemble the computer without the hdd and graphics card, but re-install CMOS battery.
    4.  Turn on computer and see if you can access BIOS screen by pressing the delete key



    Mine came with windows 7, but we upgraded to 10 within a few months of buying. My mum's we got a couple of months later so it already had windows 10.

    And I'm sorry for what's probably a ridiculous question with a very obvious answer, but how can I use the monitor if there's no graphics card? Am I looking at the wrong part all together? The thing that I thought was the graphics card has the dvi cable plugged into it, so when I remove the card the monitor isn't attached to the console. Thank you very much for all your help so far btw.
  • svitlaangelsvitlaangel Member Posts: 9 New User
    JordanB said:
    Did the ASUS come pre-installed with Windows 7 or Windows 8?

    Here's what I'd do....

    1. Unplug the TC-220 from the electrical outlet
    2. Remove hard drive and graphics card and CMOS battery
    3.  Reassemble the computer without the hdd and graphics card, but re-install CMOS battery.
    4.  Turn on computer and see if you can access BIOS screen by pressing the delete key



    Mine came with windows 7, but we upgraded to 10 within a few months of buying. My mum's we got a couple of months later so it already had windows 10.

    And I'm sorry for what's probably a ridiculous question with a very obvious answer, but how can I use the monitor if there's no graphics card? Am I looking at the wrong part all together? The thing that I thought was the graphics card has the dvi cable plugged into it, so when I remove the card the monitor isn't attached to the console. Thank you very much for all your help so far btw.
    Just figured it out, there was a cap screwed over a d-sub socket thing on the computer. So I tried that, still stuck on the acer screen and won't open the bios. Does this mean there's something wrong with my cmos battery or the little battery holder? 
  • svitlaangelsvitlaangel Member Posts: 9 New User
    So another update. This is the first time I've managed to get the pc to do something other than display the black screen of death.

    I had to put the usb with the bios win flash that was suggested before in, AND move the jumper thing from the 2nd and 3rd pins to the 1st and 2nd pins.

    If I do just one of these things it stays the same.

    When I do them both, the power light flashes repeatedly, and the screen doesn't turn on. Idk if this is a good thing, but it's certainly something different so it seems like progress. Any idea what it means?
  • JordanBJordanB ACE Posts: 3,689 Pathfinder
    edited July 2019
    Here's the jumpers.   
    When I suggested updating the BIOS, I was talking about after you installed Windows 10 and your system was stable.  Take a look at my previous posts.

    It might be time for you to take the computer to a repair shop and quit while you're ahead.  :)





      I don't have any more ideas.

    I'm not an Acer employee.
  • svitlaangelsvitlaangel Member Posts: 9 New User
    JordanB said:
    Here's the jumpers.   
    When I suggested updating the BIOS, I was talking about after you installed Windows 10 and your system was stable.  Take a look at my previous posts.

    It might be time for you to take the computer to a repair shop and quit while you're ahead.  :)





      I don't have any more ideas.

    Not taking it to a repair shop, too many times we've been ripped off. Is there any way to identify what needs to be replaced? New motherboard? Thanks for your help though, I really appreciate it.
  • JordanBJordanB ACE Posts: 3,689 Pathfinder
    The only thing I can suggest is to reinstall everything and make sure you put the jumper back in to the normal position.  
    Maybe billsey will have some more suggestions.  
    The symptoms you describe are typical of a failed HDD.  Good luck. 
    I'm not an Acer employee.
  • svitlaangelsvitlaangel Member Posts: 9 New User
    JordanB said:
    The only thing I can suggest is to reinstall everything and make sure you put the jumper back in to the normal position.  
    Maybe billsey will have some more suggestions.  
    The symptoms you describe are typical of a failed HDD.  Good luck. 
    I actually plugged the HDD into my computer and let ubuntu download on it while I kept trying to fix this one. So yeah the HDD is definitely fine. Just very confused atm as to what it could be. Still not giving up hope though, there's gotta be someone out there that might know something :)
  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 16,468 Trailblazer
    I'm still of the opinion that it's very low level. BTW, the difference between coming with 7 and coming with 8 or later is that the systems that shipped with Windows 7 use a legacy BIOS boot, from 8.0 on they used an UEFI boot. It sounds like yours then came with legacy and hers with UEFI. The process that a computer goes through to get booted with UEFI is kind of like this:
    You press the power button, the PSU is providing a little bit of electricity to the motherboard and that bit of the motherboard sees the button press and tells the PSU to turn everything else on.
    1. The PSU turns on providing power to the motherboard, the drives and potentially to the graphics card.
    2. Each of those starts into their respective self tests. The self test for the motherboard is called POST. During POST the motherboard starts up the graphics card and in the case of your mother's computer puts that Acer logo on the screen. Note that during this the system is watching for a key press for BIOS setup.
    3. If the keypress has been detected the BIOS screen is shown. After dealing with the BIOS the process starts over.
    4. Once the first half POST has completed the rest of the UEFI BIOS is loaded from the boot partition of the HDD/SSD.
    5. The second half of POST mostly is verifying that the UEFI data is valid and where the OS is located on the HDD/SSD.
    6. After POST the motherboard then starts the OS load.
    In your case you are getting to the Acer screen, but not to the BIOS setup screen. That means you are failing in the BIOS portion of POST, after the graphics have been initialized but before loading UEFI. You might be failing with both a keyboard error, stopping the BIOS setup load, and a UEFI error because the boot partition is no longer there. Or you might just be pressing the wrong key for BIOS setup... :)
    If the disk is fully blank then you will never get past that first half of POST because there's no UEFI to load.
    If we assume everything is working and you are just not getting the right keypress then a Windows reinstall is best, from a USB flash drive. It will recreate the correct partitions and reload the UEFI data to the boot partition.
    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
  • LewisH729LewisH729 Member Posts: 4 New User
    Hello i have the same problem with my acer aspire tc- 220 and i wanna know if you ever managed to fix it.
  • tttttttttt Member Posts: 582 Seasoned Specialist
    @LewisH729

    Have you tried to use one memory stick at a time to test for bad memory?
  • LewisH729LewisH729 Member Posts: 4 New User
    edited December 2020
    Yes so far ive tried most of what i had seen in this thread.

    I have tried loading with just 1 ram and both
    I tried taking the cmos battery out and putting it back in, also the bit with the jumpers
    I also tried to load the bios with my hdd unconnected with still no luck

    This happened when i was trying to install windows 10 to a blank hdd from a usb but cancelled. I was put into the automatic repair then windows advanced setup.

    Now i just get stuck on the acer screen. If i just leave it nothing happens and if i press delete nothing aswell. 
    But if i power it off then on and press delete as soon as it loads then i get the entering setup message but then it just freezes for hours with nothing else
  • LewisH729LewisH729 Member Posts: 4 New User
    I was also a bit confused when i saw the windows advanced startup as the harddrive that was plugged in was empty and my main windows one was dissconnected.
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