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Windows 7: Windows 7 freezes turn into inability to boot into anything

19 Jan 2012   #41

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider

Since you have already run the clean all once, In order to speed it up for you, just run the clean command, just type clean instead of clean all.It will take almost no time. Also, when you get to the formatting stage of diskpart run format fs=ntfs quick. That will do a quick format and is what the installer would do anyway. When you get to the installation phase, just install, don't format. You won't get the 100MB partition.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2012   #42

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Status Update:

With one stick (only) of 4 GB RAM installed, my 2 external hard drives disconnected and using my USB stick with the Windows 7 SP1 ISO here is my latest series of attempts to install Windows 7:

- My last "Clean all" attempt (see previous post) hung up. I gave up around 5:45 and found out the screen was frozen.

- Re-booted and decided to skip "clean all" and went to create the partition (successful) and format (successful) and activate the partition (successful). Exited out of Disk Part and began installation. It got to "Expanding Windows Files" (EWF for future use) and hung almost immediately.

- Noticing that I might have a pattern going on here (each time I re-boot I get a little further), I re-boot, go straight to Windows install, get to EWF which starts the "..." animation and then hangs.

- Re-boot, into Windows install, get to WEF which gets all the way to 18%. I do a little googling on Windows install hanging at this step and find several directions to remove as much as possible (all USB drives, 1 stick of RAM, etc.) The only USB attachment I still had was my Wireless Adapter, which I then disconnected.

- Re-boot, into Windows install, get WEF which actually FINISHES!!! Woo Hoo!! Computer re-boots itself, gets past the Window's start screen to the "finishing Windows install" screen where it appears to have hung almost immediately (I can't speak for the exact timing, I stepped away from the computer for a moment).

- Re-boot, starts Windows, get an error message that the install is bad and I need to re-start it.

- Re-boot, I let it go right to Windows (I thought this was the way to re-start the installation once it had started), and get the error message again.

- Re-boot into Windows install off of the USB stick, get to EWF where it hangs at 16%. I'm really getting discouraged now and am ready to throw the computer out the window. I remember some other notes about Windows hanging at this point wherein the ISO is questioned. While I would love to avoid all the lengthy updates, I decide to try installing from my OEM (pre SP1) DVD.

- Re-boot to Windows install off of the DVD, get to EWF where it hangs at 0% after starting the "..." animation.

I really don't know what to do now. I really thought this (re-installing) would be the easy part. I'm just stubborn enough to continue to re-boot (as long as I keep getting a little further each time), but I don't know why that would work (and wonder if I could/would trust my installation after this).

I can't get to a store today, but I'm just about locked in to go and buy a new hard drive tomorrow.

But, again, I'm not totally sure that would solve the problem.

So, again, any/all help/advice is greatly appreciated.

Using Essenbe's "shortened" DiskPart instructions, I successfully completed them and am installing (got past EWF and the computer just re-booted itself and starting Windows). I'll update as events warrant.

Essenbe, any thoughts on those BIOS settings?
If/when I get Windows installed, can I, SHOULD I reinstall the second stick of RAM?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2012   #43
Microsoft MVP


We've had users run it thousands of times here and the only time I've heard of Diskpart faiilng is with a failing HD. I dont' know why else it would fail repeatedly.

You said Disk Check has found dozens of errors but none recently. This makes the HD doubly suspect.

I would try another HD before beating up myself and hardware any further.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Jan 2012   #44

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider

I think I would use tonight to run memtest86. Let it run for 7 passes or until you get an error. here is the tutorial on it. Just boot into the CD or USB whichever you have and let it run as long as you can. Remember you are not only testing the ram sticks, but also the motherboard dimm slots. It is very possible that you have a ram problem. As I remember, yesterday you couldn't boot into windows until you removed 2 of the sticks. If you suspect the Hard drive, you could disconnect the power cable from it. That way if you BSOD, you will know it is not the hard drive.
That's just a suggestion. We are really trying to tell which piece of hardware is causing you issues. hard drives are rather expensive right now. If you have another or know someone you could borrow a hard drive from temporarily, you could try to install on it, and not have to buy something unnecessarily.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2012   #45

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

My install attempt (see my update on my previous post) hung (again) on the "Completing Installation" screen.

So, I re-inserted my USB Windows install ISO and re-booted. Again used the "shortened" Disk part instructions, exited out and it again hung on the EWF (0% but it had started the animation).

I am going to take Greg's advice and pick up a new hard drive tomorrow (any suggestions for a good SATA internal HD?)

(Hopefully) final thoughts for tonight:
- I'm sold that the HD is bad. Any explanation, though, on why it passed the Life Guard test 3 times? Again, I'm not questioning the need for a new HD, I just don't know what to make of a diagnostic test not working (or being trustworthy)

- Any comments/suggestions on those BIOS settings?

- Should I put the other RAM stick in or wait until the new HD is installed and Windows successfully installed?

Again, thanks SO much for all your help (especially Greg and Essenbe). You always hope (and even think!) that you can solve it yourself (and that there is only one problem to fix!). It's nice to have experts there to help you, though, when you can't.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2012   #46

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by essenbe View Post
I think I would use tonight to run memtest86. Let it run for 7 passes or until you get an error.
I currently have only 1 stick of RAM installed.

Should I install 1 more or 3 more before I run memtest?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2012   #47

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider

Conventional wisdom, I think is run 1 stick at a time, but I believe I would run 2. If those pass, I would run the other 2. The only problem with that is if you get an error, you won't know which stick it is. But, if you don't really think it is ram, run 2 and if they pass, install with them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2012   #48

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

I put one stick back in and started running Memtest about 12 minutes ago (a little after 8:00 PM EST). I usually go to be close to 11, so it should get through a couple of passes before that. I'll update this post with that info. Essenbe, I'm not saying that it ISN'T the RAM (I suspect a bad DIMM, in fact), but I also have a problem believing that I just bought 4 bad sticks of Crucial memory. That said, this entire experience has been maddening for me. There have been numerous clues (many that have been inconsistent in their appearance) that have pointed to several different things. Was it a virus? The RAM? The HD? Right now the answer looks like "Yes, a little of all of the above." BUT... ...I will continue my diagnosing. Hopefully I can trust Memtest more than Life Guard.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2012   #49

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider

That's what makes it very difficult to work on a computer with more than 1 problrm. You never know what is causing which problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2012   #50
Microsoft MVP


Jonathan sorts out the way to test RAM sticks and slots with multiple sticks here: RAM - Test with Memtest86+

Dave also had some important steps for you to consider earlier.

I regret the clean reinstall didn't get you past the problem. As I mainly specialize in Installation I'll leave you in Essenbe's capable hands.

My comment to change HD's is what I would do in this situation to eliminate it as the possible problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows 7 freezes turn into inability to boot into anything

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