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Windows 7: Fresh Win7 install randomly won't start/new HDD

03 May 2015   #1
MrsWho

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Fresh Win7 install randomly won't start/new HDD

I recently had to replace the HDD in my Alienware M14X R1 (went from a Samsung 500GB 7200 to a WD Black 500GB 7200). This was due to frequent and increasing BSoD's. Did a fresh install of Win 7 Home Premium x64 using an ISO on a DVD and it went well. Installed drivers from the Resource disk provided and updated via Dell's website. I've slowly worked away at installing my programs the past week and running Windows Update.

Off and on (more on than off), I have had Windows unable to start. It will show the Alienhead screen, go to the black screen and say "Starting Windows" but it doesn't start and I have to hard shutdown. When I restart, I am then prompted to run the Startup Repair tool. It usually doesn't complete and gives me an Unexpected I/O error. The enter and escape keys do not work and I have to hard shutdown again. I will then reboot and ask Windows to start normally and it usually does (9/10). The computer functions normally at this point. I have run the ePSA included and everything passes. In EventViewer, there is 4 errors after this last boot (1 Event ID 10 WMI and 3 Event ID 1001 DHCP-client). I also got a "Disk Read Error - Press Ctl-Alt-Del to reboot" error a day or two ago. When I hit ctl-alt-del, the computer booted normally.

What can I do to try and flush out what is causing this? Other than this, the computer runs like a dream and when it boots up normally, it boots quickly. Thank you!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 May 2015   #2
gregrocker

 

Compare the install you did with the perfect install compiled in Clean Reinstall Windows 7.

In the final step it explains how to determine which Dell partitions to keep - essentially all should be deleted during the booted install except the utility partition if it will still run Dell Hardware Diagnostics from F12 Menu which I would run now to test and check the hardware. Sometimes there are diagnostics in two places on F12 menu: Diagnostics and in the Utility Partition itself.

If hard drive test passes then also run a full Disk Check
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 May 2015   #3
MrsWho

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I don't think I did the clean install the way it was explained. I just chose the Recommended settings and then installed the drivers in the order I found in another forum post. It did not prompt me to format the drive (it is new). I'm not sure that there is any recovery partition on the drive, as the ISO I used did not come with the computer (it came with no disks other than a resource disk of drivers). It was an ISO I found on Reddit via the microsoft software swap subreddit.

I will run another diagnostics (ePSA is the same as the Dell diagnostics, just reskinned for Alienware), though when I ran them a couple days ago, everything passed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 May 2015   #4
gregrocker

 

You can confirm the Dell hard drive diagnosis with the suggested Disk Check and the actual HD maker's HD Diagnostic extended CD scan if there is further indication of HD problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2015   #5
MrsWho

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

After doing Startup Repair, I got this today:

Problem signature: Problem Event Name: StartupRepairOffline
Problem Signature 01: 6.1.7600.16385
Problem Signature 02: 6.1.7600.16385
Problem Signature 03: unknown
Problem Signature 04: 2
Problem Signature 05: AutoFailover
Problem Signature 06: 1
Problem Signature 07: Bad driver
OS Version: 6.1.7601.2.1.0.256.1

I am going to continue with doing hard drive checks and haven't done check disk as of yet but it is on the schedule today. I just wasn't sure if this would shed any light on the issue?

ETA: I ran SeaTools for Windows and the Short DST passed. CheckDisk came back fine as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2015   #6
gregrocker

 

As suspected you have a bad driver that has caused Startup failure. This is because Win7 is not XP but is a driver-complete OS in the installer and via Windows Update after install. The only drivers which should be imported are those still missing after you Enable hardware auto-updating via Windows Update (Step 3) and install all rounds of Important and Updates, with reboots.

What I would do is wipe the drive and reinstall, this time following Clean Reinstall Windows 7 and in particular the driver steps which are printed in red.

To prepare the drive run the Diskpart Commands in Troubleshoot Windows 7 Installation Failures - Windows 7 Help Forums to get it cleanest and do a full format of an Active partition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2015   #7
MrsWho

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

One final question before I do this (I just got time this weekend, been a busy week!) Do I allow Windows Update to run and install everything, including drivers? Or should I download them and back them up from Dell's site beforehand?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2015   #8
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

If it's a Dell machine, I'd go to Dell's site and find the support area for your model. I'd download the Ethernet (NIC) driver. It's typically supplied by Windows during installation, but the Dell download is a precaution in case Windows does not supply it. You could also download other Dell drivers, but I personally wouldn't bother.

I'd go to Windows update and get all critical updates in stages. I'd probably get all of the updates labeled "important". Opinions differ on whether you should let Windows install all updates down to the "recommended" and "optional" levels. I am a bit reluctant to let Windows update drivers as I had a bad experience with an updated video driver a few years ago.

There's no urgency to update drivers. You can complete your Windows install and run it a few weeks or months to see if you have any performance or functionality issues. If not, maybe you say no to new drivers. Take a look in Device Manager after you've done installed the critical and important updates to see where you stand.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2015   #9
MrsWho

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
If it's a Dell machine, I'd go to Dell's site and find the support area for your model. I'd download the Ethernet (NIC) driver. It's typically supplied by Windows during installation, but the Dell download is a precaution in case Windows does not supply it. You could also download other Dell drivers, but I personally wouldn't bother.

I'd go to Windows update and get all critical updates in stages. I'd probably get all of the updates labeled "important". Opinions differ on whether you should let Windows install all updates down to the "recommended" and "optional" levels. I am a bit reluctant to let Windows update drivers as I had a bad experience with an updated video driver a few years ago.

There's no urgency to update drivers. You can complete your Windows install and run it a few weeks or months to see if you have any performance or functionality issues. If not, maybe you say no to new drivers. Take a look in Device Manager after you've done installed the critical and important updates to see where you stand.
OK, thank you. The error I've gotten is a bad driver, so I'm assuming I did something wrong when installing the drivers/updating them when I installed on the new hard drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2015   #10
gregrocker

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MrsWho View Post
One final question before I do this (I just got time this weekend, been a busy week!) Do I allow Windows Update to run and install everything, including drivers? Or should I download them and back them up from Dell's site beforehand?
Hello? Did you read what I just took the time to write out for you above and specifically said it applied to drivers??

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
As suspected you have a bad driver that has caused Startup failure. This is because Win7 is not XP but is a driver-complete OS in the installer and via Windows Update after install. The only drivers which should be imported are those still missing after you Enable hardware auto-updating via Windows Update (Step 3) and install all rounds of Important and Updates, with reboots.

What I would do is wipe the drive and reinstall, this time following Clean Reinstall Windows 7 and in particular the driver steps which are printed in red.

To prepare the drive run the Diskpart Commands in Troubleshoot Windows 7 Installation Failures - Windows 7 Help Forums to get it cleanest and do a full format of an Active partition.
If there was ever any dispute about whether one should install all Important and Optional Updates
it is settled by over 1.5 million consumers using Clean Reinstall Windows 7 without a single complaint. They have the best installs of Win7 one can have, and not a one has come back here with problems. Once again, the steps pertaining to drivers are important enough they are printed in red so you won't miss them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Fresh Win7 install randomly won't start/new HDD




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