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Windows 7: Why would the Login screen hang under this condition?

15 Sep 2010   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
Why would the Login screen hang under this condition?

I've discovered that only when I have an external USB drive turned on (it's fed by its own external PS), Windows 7 will hang right after the "Starting Windows" screen but before the Login screen appears. Turning off the drive after this happens doesn't help (the Login screen does not evenetually appear), but the moment I turn off the drive and reboot all is well. I can turn on this drive after Windows 7 is up and running and everything operates as it should. There are no faults with the drive.

What's interesting is that this drive is hooked up directly to one of the MB USB ports, while multiple USB drives which I have hooked up through a USB hub which is itself hooked up to the MB have no ill effects if powered up while Windows is starting.

Any ideas?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

15 Sep 2010   #2

Systems 1 and 2: Windows 7 Enterprise x64, Win 8 Developer

  • Does it freeze if you bring it up in safe mode?
  • What if you have non-critical usb items unplugged?
  • What if you plug the usb hard drive into another usb port?
  • What if you boot your computer, then plug in the usb drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Sep 2010   #3

Windows 8.1 Pro x64

It may be worth checking the BIOS for the boot order and see if USB\USB HDD is listed, it may be trying to boot into the USB hard drive but there is nothing to boot too (although if this is the case then its a bit strange that you see the windows start up, i would expect it to hang before then).
My System SpecsSystem Spec

17 Sep 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

Sorry for not getting back on this yet. I've been running some stress test routines which I will terminate tomorrow. Once done I will be able to reboot and try some of these suggestions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Sep 2010   #5

Windows 8.1 Pro x64

OK Tony, Cheers for the update.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Sep 2010   #6
Microsoft MVP


Please post back a screenshot of your full Disk Management drive map, using Snipping Tool in Start Menu. Keep external HD attached.

This could happen if the external has been bootsected for some reason.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Sep 2010   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

A couple of things I can say in the meantime.

My BIOS Boot Priority is not set to use this drive, or any USB based device. I'm pretty sure I have the BIOS managing USB, but in case I have this set to OS (I have this choice in my BIOS) is it possible that could be the issue?

Greg, excellent tip. The scenario I'm running is very controlled so the external drives are not running at the moment. I will restart when this thing is done with and take a screenshot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Sep 2010   #8

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit

I might suspect that there is a Driver problem or something.

You say it does this right after the 7 screen but prior to the login screen.
So, this will not have anything to do with BIOS exactly. It works after booting up.
If this were a BIOS issue, it would be something that would have to be fixed with an Update I think, or a re-flash of the BIOS, of which I am skeptical. Also, if it were directly related to BIOS, you should see the problem prior to the 7 screen not after.

I would start by turning the system on and Hit F8 till you get the Safe Mode menu
Select the Enable Boot Logging, it may boot into OS, or you may have to reboot with the device unplugged, and look for ntbtlog.txt
Try it and see where it stops exactly, tell us which file that is. Or post the log.

Check, just by chance, if there are any entries in Event Viewer, possibly not any there, but you don't know till you look.

Oh yeah, BTW, I just remembered, I have an External Backup Drive (pretty old) that does this also. Actually, Greg may not be far off, The drive in the case now did have windows xp on it at one time. I just formatted it and through in the caddy and started using it. Noticed that problem ever since. I don't use that drive often, which is why I just thought of it. I would consider his suggestion also.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Sep 2010   #9
Microsoft MVP


I believe you enable boot log in Windows 7 on msconfig>boot tab. That is a good idea, as is checking the PErformance log which will log the actual hangs. Rightclick Computer>Manage>Click WEI score>Advanced Tools.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Sep 2010   #10

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit

There should be an entry in the F8 menu to Enable Boot Logging also.
Which I think will only log that one boot. I do not know if enabling boot logging in msconfig will leave it enabled and log every boot or what. I would just not want the log file to get over written before being able to look at the problem log. I would hope this would not be the case, just havn't messed with it much to know if it creates several or just one


First ran Boot Logging from F8 menu.
Then ran it from MSconfig
It actually appends the C:\Windows\ntbtlog.txt file. And not in a very pretty way either.
I suggest moving the log file to another location and renaming with a date or something.

But, when enabled in MSconfig, it does stay enabled, so you must remember to disable it or no telling how large the Log file will get. I would hope not much, but I can't really find anything on a max log file size for this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Why would the Login screen hang under this condition?

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