Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.

Windows 7: Can a failing hard drive mess with booting from a CD?

24 Mar 2014   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
Can a failing hard drive mess with booting from a CD?

TL;DR below, though the text explains the problem more specifically.

Recently I had to troubleshoot my brother's computer as it would not boot up anymore; even safe mode would hang at loading files. We ran a start-up repair and after 2 hours it didn't work so we decided (like we usually do when booting up becomes a problem) to boot from the installation CD and reformat the drive.

This is where things got strange; upon booting it would load the windows files like normal, then show the windows logo. After that it goes to a black screen with a cursor... and stays on that screen for 5 or so minutes (much longer than it should be) until finally popping up to the start up screen (sometimes it would not pop up). We then hit the "Install Now" button and it goes to the "Setup is Starting" screen. Once here it just hangs (though the cursor is spinning); we waited about 15 minutes before shutting down.

At first I thought maybe the disc can't be read correctly, so after trying my other disc and even an external disc drive (thinking his internal one is shot), I still had the same problems. So as a last attempt I unplugged the problem HDD and booted from the CD; black screen lasted less than a minute and upon clicking "Install Now" the setup screen showed up for a few seconds and then it finally proceeded to the rest of the installation. I now know the HDD is obviously gone so I bought a new one and Windows 7 is currently installing as I type this, but my question is why would the hard drive make booting from the CD impossible, and I haven't even got to the part where I choose which drive to format? I have fixed a few computers and did plenty of installs and this was the first time where it was the HDD preventing me from even being able to reformat it.

TL;DR - How can a hard drive prevent me from booting from a CD when I haven't got to the part to choose a drive to format?

Thanks in advanced!

P.S. I wasn't sure if this was the correct sub-forum, but it had something to do with the installation disc. Sorry if I posted in the wrong place.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2014   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
Similar Issue

I have similar issue as well. Not only booting from HDD give me diskread error message, when I booted from external USB drive to reinstall my Windows, the "Setup is Starting" screen hangs for a few hours. I tried to check my disk status via diskpart, it hangs after I executed diskpart command. I tried several suggestions with bootrec.exe/fixmbr and fixboot, but then it hangs at bootrec.exe/scanOS and/or bootrec.exe/rebuildBCD.

My theory is, the installation screen will freeze when it is trying to detect which hard drive in the PC to install the Windows into, in case your hard drive is failing. Same problem with diskpart command, I think it freezes because of trying to detect a failing hard drive. Booting from CD/DVD and/or external USB drive works normally, only the part when it is trying to detect your failing internal hard drive it will hang.

If replacing a new HDD solves your problem, then I guess I have to replace mine too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Mar 2014   #3
Microsoft MVP


The answer is yes. Bad code on the HD can block the PC from booting at all. To test this unplug the HD to see if a disk will boot and run. You can use a Linux disk to test hardware or the boot disks from Troubleshooting Windows 7 Failure to Start .

If so slave the HD to another PC to run Disk Check and HD Diagnostic. But this may not resolve the problem which sometimes requires rescuiing your files off of it to wipe it with Diskpart Clean Command.

The reason it will still allow the other PC to start is because it isn't set first HDD to boot so doesn't interfere by being queried. However it's conceivable that it could block both PC's from booting so as a last resort you can try a self-booting disk like Paragon Rescue Kit Free Edition 11.0 Free to rescue files followed by Partition Wizard bootable CD to Quick Wipe the HD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Can a failing hard drive mess with booting from a CD?

Thread Tools

Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Recovered Hard Drive Mess
My mother had a hard drive go bad swiftly. I tried to do what I could, but as incredibly bad luck would have it, I ended up having a RAID failure while I was copying files for her. Anyway, I ended up paying a recovery expert to recover the drive because I couldn't get the drive to stay connected...
General Discussion
Hard Drive failing?
Ok guys so I own a Dell Inspiron 17R N7110 (2011) and I it was freezing and running slow so I did a Dell diagnostics. When I did that it said my hard drive might be failing with the error code of . I would say the laptop has been running slow and does take time to boot up and log in. I also did a...
Hardware & Devices
Windows has detected a hard disk problem. Hard drive failing?
Hey there guys, about six months ago I started receiving an error every few days on my computer on boot, and it was something along the lines of: 'pxe-rom: Check cable connection!'. To fix it I just used my Windows 7 install CD and it was fine, until whenever it'd happen again. Now, just about...
Hardware & Devices
Hard drive failing?
First off i have a Seagate sshd hybrid 2tb. So if im using applications or playing games etc. i hear a little 2 second noise coming from my hard drive then game will freeze for 20-30 seconds then return and play fine. My mouse still moves just everything is unresponsive. Like i opened...
Hardware & Devices
Computer Not Booting Hard Drive/Unresponsive Hard Drive
Hey guys, I have a HP Touchsmart IQ500. Turning my computer PC on today, all I got was a blue HP invent screen with setup, boot menu, system recovery, and system diagnosis, and I could not get past it. I entered the BIOS and figured out that the hard drive was listed as "not installed."...
Hardware & Devices

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:43.
Twitter Facebook Google+