Interesting thread. Looks like you spent a lot of time troubleshooting this system, and one thing you mention about Windows8 downgrades to Windows7; most manufacturers support this sort of thing; but like everything else Manufacturers promise, the real question is do they actually support it? You never mentioned that you had actually called Asus to ask them that question or not?
Besides that, you mention that Windows8 ran when you first bought the laptop, but not for any period of extended time? I mean more than 72 hrs. continous. Y/N?
Also, it appears you didn't run comprehensive hardware diagnostics. I suggest you download the UBCD Linux Toolkit set by Benjamin Burrows at ubcd.com. I'm going to suggest you run a complete series of tests on the Internal hardware. :smile:
This type of problem could also be due to a faulty Motherboard or hard drive, and these diagnostics may help you narrow it down, but as some other Techs mention here on TSF, those tests are only 50% at best; I think they are closer to 70% but opinions vary.
You should run the CPU, BIOS, RAM, and the HARD DRIVE tests. Since you've changed your RAM out already and it passed Memtest 86+ (which is one of the Memory tests in UBCD), I suggest you also run WMD (Windows Memory Diagnostic) and you should run it for 24 hrs. continuous or 100 passes. This is just a cross-check. I have had laptops pass the Memtest 86+ test that has run for days, and as soon as I ran WMD it coughed up a bunch of errors. Those errors were causing BSODs and Black Screens galore. Bad RAM! :angry:
Next, your spec shows that your hard drive is a 500GB SATA 5400RPM drive. Spec doesn't show Make/Model, as that could be different depending on the retailer you purchased it from. You'll need to determine the Make/Model; Seagate, WD, Toshiba, etc. and run the Manufacturer diagnostics on the hard drive. So, if it's a Seagate you'll need to run SeaTools, if WD, the DLG diagnostics, etc. You can find out which Make/Model you have also by booting into your Asus BIOS; BIOS will usually provide that info. F1, F2, or DEL keys you'll have to check your Manual. Make sure you run both SHORT and LONG tests on the manufacturer tests. BTW, make sure you have all your critical data backed up to an external Hard Drive, Flash Drive, or CD/DVD prior to running these tests!!
(goes without saying, but I'm saying it anyway--these tests can delete or corrupt data).
After running the Manufacturers diags, you'll need to run the PartEd Magic program which takes you into a Custom Linux desktop. There are 3 programs you need to run to check your hard drive. #1:
From there you'll need to run the GSmartControl
program to check Basic disk drive health; right click on properties, and click on the Info tab to get general disk health and drive info. Right click again, and select "details" and you'll see the drive test menu. Select "SHORT TEST
"; click "Execute" and it will run a brief 5min. test on your drive. If that passes, back at the same menu in the drop down it will offer you a Perform Test option, go to "EXTENDED TEST
"; run that. On a 500GB or larger drive that can take 2-4 hrs. Both of those tests should pass without error. If they report any errors, even if your Manufacturer diags show no errors, you should begin to suspect the integrity of your hard drive.
If the Short and Extended Tests pass, close out GSmartControl, and find the "PARTITION EDITOR
" icon on the PartEd Magic desktop and double-click to open it. This is similar to the Disk Management program in Windows7/8. However, it will give you a little different view and information as to the health of your disk partitions. You may have anywhere from 3-5 partitions on a Win7/8 Asus machine. Here, you are just looking to see if your partitions are intact, that there is a Recovery Partition availabe, and that there appears to be data in the Main or largest data Partition volume, which is going to be 300+GB most likely and that's where your Windows files, programs, and data all live. Make sure you see Yellow inside of that partition. The more stuff you have on your C: drive in Windows, the more Yellow you'll see in that Main partition. You should also see the "boot" flag on the header line to the right of that Main partition indicating that Windows should attempt to read a boot from that partition. If you can see all that information, then that's all you need for this test. The fact that you can read it indicates your Partition Tables are intact and readable. Clost out this program.
Final program to look at is the "FILE MANAGER
" icon on the PartEd Magic desktop. Double-click that and go the the "SYSTEM VOLUME
" folder and double-click it. That should take you into the file structure of your C: drive. You should see lots of folders there including "Windows", "Program Files", and "Documents and Settings". If you drill down into the "Documents and Settings" folder and find your windows User name or "Owner" and drill further down, you'll find your Library folders (Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos) and that's where all your stuff is. It's not a bad idea to take a quick look into your Music and Pictures folders to see your stuff. You can even open your Picture files and verify some of your images are there. This is all being done to verify your windows index, and hash table integrity. If you can browse as I mention, your Windows file structure is in reasonable health. The fact you can read it from the hard drive is what you are really looking at. :grin:
There are a few more tests I run, such as the Video checks from the Main menu by going to "SYSTEM PROFILE
; and run the Blowfish
and other video checks. This will check your GPU and it's separate Video Memory. Sometimes a bad GPU chip on the Motherboard can cause BSODs and freezes/shutdowns, and normal diags don't really find this. :ermm: In a few cases, when these tests have failed on a Customer laptop, I was able to determine that the GPU chip was causing all of the Customer problems. Replacing the Motherboard with embedded GPU chip resolved the problems. :dance:
Based on the assumption that the answer to your phone call inquiry to Asus is a "Yes" as to whether your model laptop hardware can support Windows7, running the above test should certify that your internal hardware is ok. However, with that being said, you should consider replacing the next 2 components if you continue to have problems. The hard drive is the cheapest, and of course the Motherboard is much more expensive. I would replace the hard drive first, and do a Windows7 install from legit media and see if that resolves the problem. If it does not, and the PartEdMagic (P.E.M.) video tests all pass, I would still suspect the Motherboard at this point (as you have now ruled out the RAM, and hard drive), and that's all that's really left (not counting the Case!). You are probably looking at a $100-$175 replacement cost on the Motherboard assuming you can find one on the Internet. After replacing the hard drive, and the problem remains, you'll have to decide whether it's worth the cost to buy the Motherboard or just go back to Windows8 and live with it! Maybe sell that Asus laptop to a friend, ebay, or Craigs List??
Just some thoughts here for you to consider.
Of course, if you have trouble making the UBCD disk (and that's a test of your technical computer skills right there) or using it, remember it's an advanced tool that requires expert troulbeshooting ability. You might find a local Computer Store or Independent A+ Certified Computer Pro to take it to, who can make this diagnosis for you. The Big computer chains will charge you $45-$85 or so to do this. If you can find a local Computer Tech who is reputable they may do the diagnosis for free or low-cost *under $45*. If you are lost by what I have said above, that might be a small cost to pay to find out if you indeed do have faulty hardware or not. There is a pretty good chance that your laptop is between 2-4 yrs. old and that's the red-zone for hard drive failures in laptops. :frown: Even if all your test pass on the hard drive, it's not certain that there is not a problem with it; the only way to know for sure is to replace it with another one. :wink:
Well, I beat that to death.. :horse:
guess I'll go work on some computers and wait for you to let me know how it went and what you decided to do.
Best of luck, :thumb: