PC Buyer Beware!

My PC was overclocked when I bought it. Did a forced clean reinstallation of Windows 7 undo the overclocking of my PC’s processor?

PROBLEM: When I bought a PC, according to its specifications, it was overclocked by the manufacturer. It has a Gigabyte Z77-DH3 motherboard and an Intel Core i53750L processor. According to the manufacturer, the processor has been overclocked from 3.4GHz to 4.5GHz. Unfortunately, the PC crashed while loading a program and entered Windows Restore, which didn’t restore anything. I couldn’t get it running again, so I formatted the hard drive and reinstalled Windows 7 from its installation disc. I got to thinking that doing this might have caused the processor’s clock speed, overclocked to 4.5GHz, to return to its default speed of 3.5GHz, which is a whole GHz slower. How can I find out if the processor is still overclocked?

ANSWER: No version of Windows has a recovery program called Windows Restore that engages automatically after a system failure, but there is a virus infection called Windows Restore that makes it look as if a PC has failed irretrievably and asks the user to buy software that will restore it. There is nothing wrong with the PC other than the virus infection. Your PC may have been infected with it. Every version of Windows since XP provides a recovery system called System Restore, but that has to be run manually by the user in normal mode or from Safe Mode; it never kicks in automatically.

Remove Windows Restore (Uninstall Guide) –

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/virus-removal/remove-windows-restore

If that was not the case and the failure was real, the processor’s overclocking is set by the  PC’s BIOS setup program and it is unheard of that a software failure or a reinstallation of Windows could change settings in the BIOS. Even if Windows 7 could change the BIOS settings, it would ask for permission to do so by bringing up a User Account Control (UAC) dialog box.

If the BIOS itself detected that the PC has become unstable, it could have adjusted itself to set a more stable processor clock speed so that the PC could boot.

The processor’s speed is often displayed on the startup screen. You would have to press the Pause key to stop the boot process in order to be able to read that information, which is only presented for a few seconds. Pressing the Enter key usually makes the PC resume the boot process. If the computer manufacturer’s splash screen is displayed instead of the memory account, BIOS version and processor speed, the BIOS itself probably has a setting that disables the splash screen, allowing that information to be seen instead.

The 3D EFI BIOS of the Gigabyte Z77-DH3 motherboard shows a graphical display of the board’s components, so at startup press the Del key that enters the BIOS and move the mouse over the CPU (processor). (The mouse works in an EFI BIOS; keys have to be used to navigate an earlier standard BIOS.) The processor’s current speed should be provided.

If the speed isn’t 4.5GHz, contact the PC’s manufacturer and ask it’s support which BIOS settings have to be set to restore the overclocking. The processor is overclocked quite a bit at 4.5GHz, so, if the PC becomes unstable again, it could be that the processor’s cooling is inadequate. When you overclock the CPU by that much, you usually have to use a more powerful cooler or maybe even use water cooling if no heatsink and fan unit is up to the job.

Alternatively, you can research overclocking yourself and apply the settings in the motherboard’s 3D EFI BIOS.

Here is a video that shows how to use the the 2D and 3D EFI BIOS of a Gigabyte motherboard and overclock the Intel i5 3570K processor:

Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H Ivy Bridge i5 3570K Overclocking Tutorial + UEFI Demo