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Windows 7: Installation Problems / Reboot Loop

08 Mar 2010   #1

Installation Problems / Reboot Loop

Hi all,

Hoping someone can help me with this one. I've read through a couple of other threads here but haven't found a solution to my issue. I’m trying to do a clean install of Windows 7 Home Premium (store bought - full version, not an upgrade) and I’m having difficulty. Here’s some system specs to start off with:

Operating System: Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3
BIOS: Award Modular BIOS v6.00PG
HDD: SATA 260GB (180GB free)
Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5000+, MMX, 3DNow (2 CPUs), ~2.6GHz
Memory: 3006MB RAM
ATI Radeon HD 4770 512MB
Realtek HD Audio

(If I should post more specs than this then please let me know)

I’ve also got an external burner and external hard drive, but (from reading this and other forums) I’ve kept them unplugged while trying to install Windows 7. You’ll see I’ve got XP at the moment. When I put the Windows 7 CD in at the XP desktop, it advises a clean (custom) install of 7, with my files being stored under “Windows.old”. This is fine since I’ve backed everything up onto my (now unplugged) external HD anyway. So I opt for the custom install and it begins to copy files across for installation, then hangs at about 30% of the “Expanding Files” process and enters a reboot loop where I briefly see the light blue “sky” screen and a message that says Windows couldn’t install properly before it boots and starts again. I’ve left this going for several hours to no avail. When I set BIOS to boot from CD I get the option of “Windows Rollback” or “Previous Version Of Windows”. So for the time being I’m having to do that every time I boot the machine so I can continue to use XP while I figure this out.

I bought a brand new SATA HDD yesterday thinking this might solve the problem, but when I installed that and booted from the Windows 7 CD, and this time it got a little further in the process, seemingly expanding files to 100% but then entering into the same type of reboot loop as described above. A few other things I’ve tried after reading advice have been to disable the system reboot on error function (or something similar) in BIOS, pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del on the “blue sky” screen, removing the CD, and upgrading my BIOS to the latest version. A couple of those ‘tips’ sounded rather desperate and unlikely to help but I tried them anyway!

I should add that I did run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor prior to taking any of this on. It advised that a custom installation was required. No problem there. Everything seemed to pass except for a question mark beside the entry “NVIDIA nForce PCI System Management”. Under the “Status” column it says “unknown” and under the “Details” column it says “We don’t have compatibility information about this device”. I’ve trawled the web for info on this and how it might affect a Windows 7 install. It seems that the advisor quite often flags it but users who see this are able to install nonetheless, and I can’t imagine it would be an issue when installing onto a brand new hard drive, would it? Since I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to things like this I’m wondering if the hard drive I purchased may have been pre-formatted with the wrong sort of file structure. Is that possible? Does Windows 7 use FAT32 or NTFS? The last time I formatted my current HDD it was with the NTFS file structure. Would that be a problem? Also I’ve read that Windows 7 installation doesn’t like SATA drives? I find that somewhat hard to believe. Anyway, I’m somewhat at a loss as to where to go from here. If anyone out there has any info at all that might help me with this, I’d be eternally grateful!

My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Mar 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP


Reset the BIOS CMOS: Clear CMOS - 3 Ways to Clear the CMOS - Reset BIOS

Check your SATA controller in BIOS. Try ACHI, then IDE if necessary.

Remove all but 2 gb of RAM, then swap sticks. Test your Memory with memtest86.

Next test your HD with full diag/repair scan: Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities (Storage) - TACKtech Corp.

Use free Partition Wizard CD or other manager to zero HD, then format using Windows 7 sDVD Custom>Drive Tools.

Try install from USB flash drive: Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool

As a last resort, move the HD to another PC to do install, then return to problem machine before activating.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Mar 2010   #3


Hmmmm.... interesting side-note regarding this. I’m just collating and printing off various bits of advice so I can have a go at installing Windows 7 again this weekend. I went into my BIOS again briefly this morning. When I select “Serial-ATA RAID Config” it says “OnChip SATA mode” is already set to IDE. I have the option of changing it to either AHCI or RAID. Might that be worth a go? Just a thought.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


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