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ASUS P5QL-CM V2 locks at “Loading ASUS Express Gate”

Star I
I have a ‘custom built’ PC based on an ASUS P5QL-CM V2 motherboard, much modified and formatted as ‘dual boot’ with Windows 10 Home and Windows 7 Home (So I can run older accessories such as an expensive slide scanner with no drivers available for Windows 10) PC was built by local shop, long gone out of business.
Problem started with PC stopping at Express Gate stage when restarting after normal shutdown. Cured by turning off power and turning on again.
I decided to replace main hard drive with an SSD, but before I could do so, problem got worse and it now no longer gets past ‘Express Gate loading’ in any circumstances. So I cannot clone system drive to SSD.
Question – Is there any way of bypassing the “Loading ASUS Express Gate” stage, preferably permanently, so I can clone hard drive?
I have a (fairly) recent Acronis True Image system backup I could revert to if necessary, but even a DVD based Acronis programme will not boot!
Old drive is 320GB. I have a blank new one of same size and a 250GB SSD which I want to install instead (Adjusting for smaller capacity)
Can anyone help me recover a once very useful ‘brick’ and avoid a very long attempt to rebuild?