Solution update: Sadly, we were not able to find an actual solution to the problem I faced. It took a little while, and there were some complications involved, but eventually the only thing to do was to refresh/reset Windows. If you have a similar issue I'd recommend reading this thread and making sure none of the proposed solutions work for you, and also potentially starting your own ticket first. That being said, resetting Windows has solved the problem I faced, so that might be the solution for you too.
I'm posting here because my brother's computer has been having some problems for the past week or so, and I've exhausted all of my knowledge trying to help him. It is a custom built gaming rig that I built, similar to my own rig. At the moment he is running Windows 8.1, with an NVidia GTX970 (MSI Build). If you want the specifics of all of his parts, go to this link: (Intel Core i5-4690K, MSI GeForce GTX 970, Corsair 500R Black - System Build - PCPartPicker). It is the partlist I used to build his computer, and all of his parts are the ones listed there. In terms of software on his computer, since it is a custom built gaming rig there is not much bloatware or other unnecessary software. Steam of course is installed, as are a couple games on Steam. He also uses EVGA Precision X16 to manage fan speed, and Open Hardware Monitor to check computer part health and temps. Windows Defender coupled with Malwarebytes (free) is the chosen antivirus, and scans from both have revealed no threatening viruses. He has a wireless adapter, but uses an ethernet cable for faster speeds. Finally, he navigates the internet using Google Chrome. Any other software on his computer I would need to actually search for, so if you need more information let me know.
Anyway, on to the problems I am having. It was running fine for 3-4 months, and then randomly started becoming difficult to use. He has told me that a couple times his computer would lock up for about a minute while using both Flash Player and Java at the same time, and it would only happen once per restart. I wasn't there for troubleshooting that, and the problem went away on its own, I just thought it could be pertinent. There was also a problem with his wireless adapter earlier than that, but I attributed that to the fact that it was a pretty cheap adapter with pretty cheap software. Finally, there was another issue updating EVGA Precision X16 that happened because he had to shutdown his computer mid update due to the previously mentioned Flash Player conflict. The program no longer started, installed, or ran after the update was interrupted midway, and he needed it in order to control his fans. He downloaded and used IoBit Uninstaller to remove the damaged file, and redownloaded a new file from the EVGA Precision X16 page. While trying to run this installer it stated that the file path to somewhere inside appdata could not be found, and would ask that we locate the file manually. I followed the path it was giving me, and sure enough I found the file without a problem. I figured the installer must have been broken or something, and just ran the .exe that was located in the appdata folder. It successfully (as far as I know) installed a slightly older version of EVGA Precision X16, but it worked and that was what mattered to him. The real issue reared its head sometime in the past week or so, and it is the one that makes his computer almost unusable and that I cannot solve.
Basically, whenever he restarted his computer, it would be excessively slow for 30 minutes up to possibly an hour. When I say excessively slow, I mean that his keyboard inputs to log in were slow, and once in the computer almost didn't respond. It seems to be a problem with Windows Explorer, because he could still move his mouse and such. While hovering over programs or folders, they did not present their normal behavior. Right clicks took 5 minutes to register, and opening the Windows 8 charm screen was a no go. Out of curiosity of whether it was actually a windows explorer problem or not, I had him use Windows + R to run Steam.exe and see if Steam was slow as well. Steam started up at the update screen, and then crashed about halfway through due to the inability to receive files it needed. While trying to open Steam again, the computer presented an error (Steam.exe could not be located, check to make sure it is still on your Hard Drive). In addition, all other programs showed almost no response and would not open, including Task Manager. This behavior used to go away on its own as I mentioned earlier after anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. I couldn't fathom what might be wrong, but I figured it might just be a temporary issue that would go away, and as a workaround he just stopped shutting down his computer for a couple days.
At first glance I didn't know what was wrong, but we eventually got Task Manager open and saw his Disk Usage was at 100% solid, with 0R/W speeds, although it did spike occasionally up to a mb or so. The disk usage also was not linked to any specific program, with the highest program in Task Manager showing as System with .1mb/s being used. I've seen his disk get up to speeds of around 100mb/s, so I am sure .1 is not "100% Usage" as both Task Manager and Resource Monitor were showing me. I couldn't think what might be wrong, but I figured I'd try all the normal troubleshooting methods. First I had him scan for viruses with Malwarebytes a couple times, and I checked Windows Update and Windows Defender to make sure there were no issues there. As mentioned previously, the virus scan showed nothing, and Windows Defender was fine. Windows Update also showed no major updates, only the update available for Windows 10 and a couple optional software (bing and whatnot). Since that turned up nothing I had him check his temperatures and make sure all of his fans were operating correctly, which they were. We checked his program uninstall database to make sure there were no programs we didn't know present, and there were none. I cleaned up his recycle bin and any programs he didn't need, and I checked to make sure Windows was still running the built-in defragger - which it was. I couldn't find any potential problems, so he just decided to leave it on and we played some Minecraft for a couple days.
Yesterday evening, I logged on to find that his Minecraft was running at around 3FPS, which is very very low for his quality of computer, and much below the normal 60FPS. I shut down the game and restarted it, and the FPS returned to normal. However, every 20 seconds or so the entire game would freeze for a couple seconds, and then return to normal operations. I checked Task Manager, and sure enough his disk was at 100% with 0R/W speeds. I figured that it might just be having problems from being kept on too long, so I restarted it and dealt with the aforementioned hour of un-usability. However, the problem still persisted in bursts after the restart finished. His computer would run like normal after the startup difficulties, and seemingly randomly revert back to the 100% disk usage. I did a bit of googling about the issue and tried all the solutions I found. I ran src /scannow in an elevated command prompt, but it failed at around 39%. Another solution was to try and download CCleaner and Little Registry Cleaner and repair any registry damage, which I did. It showed no improvement, but while attempting to scan the registry it took a good 10 minutes of 100% disk usage. I tried starting in Safe Mode to disable startup programs and anything else that might be causing the problem, but Safe Mode had a similar difficulty. The only difference is that Safe Mode was slightly navigable and wasn't as slow as a normal startup, but I think that might just be due to having less programs to start. Since it was still present in safe mode, I figured it couldn't be a problem with startup programs or the like, and took the advice of another post to run CHKDSK. Of course the computer asked me to restart to run it since it can't check a disk in use, which I did. It ran to about 10% and was stuck there for two hours or so, but eventually got up to 100%. I figured that might just be how CHKDSK works, and was glad to see it at 100% so that I might be able to finally fix the problem. However, after staying at 100% for a couple minutes the computer flashed a BSOD that I didn't have time to read and restarted. Upon rebooting it reentered the CHKDSK screen to state "Repairing detected errors". After about 30 seconds it let me know that it couldn't find or repair any errors, and went to the normal startup screen. (Update: As per the instructions below, I tried another CHKDSK, but it bore no fruit.)
At this point I figured the only solution would be to restore the computer from a restore point, which I know the computer has. (It creates restore points regularly, as per Windows default settings, I checked.) However, once I got to the recovery point the computer stated that it couldn't find any restore points at all, similar to the error it showed with steam earlier. I had no idea what the problem was or how to solve it, so instead I simply tried restarting again to see if it fixed it. Per the usual, the disk usage stayed high until about an hour, and it went back down to zero for a little while. I thought it might have reverted to the somewhat usable state, so I tried to run Minecraft to see if it works. Sadly, another error now appeared after waiting for Minecraft to start just to have it crash. According to the log, there was a SYSTEM_FILE_EXCEPTION or some such error, with the error code 0xc0000006. Google tells me that it is a hardware issue, but I highly doubt that since his hardware isn't even half a year old. I thought it might be some sort of file retrieval or index error, so I disabled indexing to see if that fixed the issue. It didn't so I turned it back on. Other pages suggest the problem might be Windows Defender, so I disabled that to see if that was the problem. It wasn't. Apparently changing the power plan from balanced to high performance can also solve the issue. I tried that too, and it did nothing.
I'm out of options and out of ideas at this point. The computer is relatively new, and there isn't a reason it should be having so much issues. I built my own computer (the one I'm typing this on), and the only difference was a slightly higher budget. My computer has been relatively fine from the beginning, and I've never even seen problems such as this one before. I could really use some help from you guys, so any advice you can give me would be welcome. He'd rather not refresh his computer if it can be avoided, and I definitely don't want to get a new hard drive. Money is tight right now, and anything we can do to save the hardware would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance for any help,
EDIT: I don't know how prevelant this is, but when I started up his computer to get the file, it booted to the image I am going to attach. It might just be the computer being weird, but it also might mean something, so I'm posting it here. (Sorry for quality, I'm using my phone camera).
EDIT2: I managed to get his computer working long enough to (hopefully) upload the file requested from the posting rules. I got an error while running it, the picture of which is attached, but I still was able to get a ZIP file, so maybe it still worked.
EDIT3: I was reading some more posts, and many recommended checking the SMART level of the hard drive to make sure it isn't failing. I downloaded and ran Speccy, and it resulted in a Good SMART check. Picture below:
EDIT4: For whatever reason (probably the windows error) the ZIP file I originally attached above was useless. As I posted further down, I managed to manually retrieve some files, which I am posting here as well for easier access.