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Windows 7: Windows hangs on startup screen, SSD related issues.

23 Sep 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Windows hangs on startup screen, SSD related issues.


I have encountered a rather unique problem and require some advice and/or help.
Earlier this week I built a machine for an office based company, everything went smoothly; the specs are below.

i5 4570
ASRock Z87-PRO4
SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB SSD <--- The problem (?)
GTX 660
Barracuda 2TB HDD
8GB G.Skill Ripjaws RAM
Running Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

I installed some software they wanted me to install- including a pirated version of Lightroom (possibly containing a virus not 100% sure). They called me back a few days later telling me that the machine was broken, I looked into it and found that the machine would not boot up and would hang on the "starting windows screen" I tried using startup repair when prompted after I had restarted the computer, but it too would hang for a seemingly indefinite amount of time (Im talking like 5+ hours).

I googled around and started troubleshooting, finally reaching a conclusion that the 256 SSD I was booting off was either corrupt or broken or somehow ridden with viruses (not likely).

I took the SSD out and reinstalled windows onto the HDD- The company ended up reasonably happy.

I removed the problematic drive and took it home to try and restore or secure erase it by using it as a slave on my own computer. Something interesting occurred, my own computer would also hang on the "starting windows" screen, even though I wasn't booting off the drive, but rather just having it connected to my machine. This puts me in a peculiar situation as I cannot startup a machine with the drive attached to format the drive that is attached! ( I have also tried attaching it to 2 other machines, same problem )

My Problem:
Pretty much, "How on earth do I fix this" I'm pretty sure I can't format through BIOS and I dont have an external case for me to connect the SSD to a machine via USB

The SSD is under warranty and if I find that there is no solution I may be able to return it.

P.S I posted this under installation and setup, but am not 100% sure where the right place for this thread is, Maybe an admin could guide me in the right path.

Also any help is greatly appreciated, but I fully understand if no one replies and this thread ends up hanging like the startup screen I so greatly dislike

Thank you all,


My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP


If a company is asking you to install expensive pirated software on its PC then it is placing itself and you at risk for prosecution. This is because vendors do target commercial pirates for prosecution. You are abetting a serious crime.

I would explain this to them and have them buy a license for the software, or you are legally obligated to report it to avoid being a party to the crime.

Once this is resolved we will help you with the other issues. This is by far the most serious and must be resolved before we can help further.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2013   #3

Windows 7 64bit

I have this same exact problem as the original poster, but without the illegitimate software circumstance. Was this ever solved?

My wife was just working on the computer today and it froze - when I got home from work (it was still frozen) - I then rebooted (hard reboot) and now it hangs on the Starting Windows screen. I try to do a Windows repair after next reboot, but it gives error messages about not being able to solve and path not found (when trying to do a system restore). So, I took the SSD out and put in machine #2 (also Windows 7)- but now the second machine just hangs when trying to boot with the attached SSD... I then put the SSD back in the original computer and rebooted with Windows 7 setup disk - Now, just as with computer #2, it just hangs on the "Starting Windows" screen...

So, stuck in a situation where unable to diagnose the SSD, because unable to put it in a working machine that boots to get to Sandisk diagnostics... In both cases, SSD is recognized in BIOS... Any ideas?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Oct 2013   #4
Microsoft MVP


It sounds like the HD is detected since you see the Starting Windows animation, but does it move? This is the driver-loading phase.

You'll need to boot the WIN7 installer or System Repair Disk to run Startup Repair a few times. Is an installation detected? It should automate SYstem Restore but if not run it from the Options list. Failure to boot the disk is 90% of the time user error: How to Boot A Computer from CD or DVD - YouTube

If this fails start working through the steps which cover everything possible for Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Start leading up to if necessary rescuiing your files to run Factory Recovery or get the vastly superior Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2013   #5

Windows 7 64bit

thanks for quick reply... BTW: This is for Windows 7 64 bit - System has been working fine for 12+ months.

Here's where things stand:
- Yes, booting to Starting Windows screens shows animation - the HDD activity light stays constantly on... It seems to just hang there...
- Soft-rebooting seems to be an issue - the BIOS hangs at the USB Keyboard, USB Mouse, USB Hub detected phase.... (points to SSD hardware failure??)
- Hard rebooting (turning power off and on) will get me to a "Startup Repair" screen - If I choose startup repair, it will eventually get to Startup Repair, but then NOT detect the installation. I'm not able to get to C: drive from command prompt (only virtual X: drive). Unable to do system restore point due to not found.
- By hitting F8 continually, was able to try to boot into safe mode - got to the classpnp.sys and then hangs... I walked away and then found it rebooting (into same hang situation). Problem here is that I'm not able to get into the C: drive to replace/repair the classpnp.sys file.
- Tried booting to Windows 7 Install disk - tried doing repair from there, but same problem...

I might next try to reinstall Windows...

Again, SSD is appearing fine in BIOS (of both machines) - Issue seems to be with the SSD - either files are messed up or the SSD is turning flaky and I'm seeing failure behavior...

What do you think?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2013   #6
Microsoft MVP


Try resetting the BIOS to defaults. Check for SSD firmware update.

Then to know for sure it's not reparable I would run Windows Defender Offline CD scan
to check for infection, then SFC /SCANNOW Command from the booted DVD Command line to see if System files need repair.

Then confirm 100mb System Reserved (if you have it) or C is Partition Marked Active and run Startup Repair - Run up to 3 Separate Times no matter what it reports. We always remain skeptical about whether these repairs are being run absolutely correctly from the disk only. Three times assures it has every chance to test and repair all parameters.

At that point I'd give up, wipe the SSD with Diskpart Clean Command and do the Clean Reinstall. Using only the tools and methods in the tutorial will assure you get and keep a perfect install based on tens of thousands of installs we've helped with here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2013   #7

Windows 7 64bit

I'm pretty sure it's a failed SSD - I tried to do a windows reinstall - and unable to proceed because it doesn't detect the disk. Given that the BIOS is having trouble (soft) booting with this SSD, it's pointing to a hardware failure... I cannot even get to the point of the drive being available to be scanned...

Strange part is that safe boot is able to proceed a bit... so it is being SOMEWHAT detected...

I am putting another SSD into the machine and installing Windows on that... will try troubleshooting the Sandisk SSD later, once I get a chance...

Thanks for the advice!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2013   #8
Microsoft MVP


Run the SSD diagnostics on it. Could be failing SSD as we see this even on newest drives.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows hangs on startup screen, SSD related issues.

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