Windows freezes during setup...really need advice, please

This is a discussion on Windows freezes during setup...really need advice, please within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; What does this sound like – hardware issue? Software issue? Here are my system (laptop) specs. It's an MSI 1039, ...

  1. #1
    Chad Johnson
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    Windows freezes during setup...really need advice, please

    What does this sound like – hardware issue? Software issue?

    Here are my system (laptop) specs. It's an MSI 1039, and I purchased this less than one month ago.

    Turion 64 MT-40 2.2GHz
    1GB single-channel Crucial RAM
    100GB Toshiba 5400RPM 16MB cache hard disk
    ATI Radeon x1600 256 MB PCI Express video card
    Microstar MP54G4 Wireless-G Adapter, IEEE 802.11 b/g MiniPCI

    When I try to reinstall Windows from my (legitimate) Windows XP Pro, it gets to “Setup is starting Windows,” and then it just sits there. I cannot press ctrl+alt+delete to restart at this point. I let it sit there for 20 minutes, and it still does nothing. I disabled every setting in the BIOS I could find, which was only AMD PowerNow and Legacy USB support. There was not option to disable anything else, like Plug and Play.

    HOWEVER, the strange things is that if I press F5 when the Windows setup starts (booting off the CD), I can install Windows just fine using the i486 C-Step setup. But I do not want to do this because then I have to configure everything manually.

    I thought it may be a RAM issue, so I ran memtest from GRUB which was included with Ubuntu 6.06. I let memtest make two passes through the RAM, and it found no errors. Maybe I need to run it more than twice?

    I then booted into the Windows XP recovery console from CD (isungin the i486 setup), and then I ran chkdsk /R, and it said it found some bad sectors. I then proceeded to run HDD Regenerator (demo version) to double check this, but strangely that program found no bad sectors. Maybe Windows repaired the bad sectors, or maybe it remapped them...

    Another strange thing is that I can boot into Ubuntu (which is on another partition) with no problems. But, if I try to boot into Knoppix 4, it simply freezes – every time – it tries to run autodetection on eth0.

    I've even tried removing the WLAN card, and I also tried swapping the RAM stick to the other slot.

    So I have tried everything, but nothing has fixed the problem of booting into the (normal) Windows setup. I would just use Linux, but unfortunately I have to be able to run Windows for school and work.

    Please post something if you have any ideas. Thanks in advance.

    *EDIT*
    Let me add that when I first got the computer, I was able to install Windows from (the same) CD just fine. Although, the black and gray cables were attached incorrectly to the wireless card.

    I've also tried resetting the BIOS to its optimal settings.
    Last edited by ChadJohnson; 07-16-2006 at 01:22 PM.

  2. #2
    pwns nooblars
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    This is the same thing that happens on my desktop which doesn't have a CPU fan at the moment. I can run and install Fedora, but I can't install Windows, since it has a safe gaurd against that. Just a thought.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    If your drive has enough bad sectors, the OS will not properly install. There is a point at which the OS must use certain sectors. What is happening is the good old IBM way of attempting 3 reads/writes per sector if an error occurs. If any of the reads succeed, the operation continues. If not, the operation stops. It is probably doing 3 reads and/or writes per sector because it is finding problems. In fact even though the operation is successful, I would not count on the integrity of the data.

    Solution: buy a new hard drive.

  4. #4
    Chad Johnson
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    Thanks.

    So you feel that it is most likely the harddrive that is causing the problems rather than any other hardware?

  5. #5
    User
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    Do you have a spare hard drive that you can test to make sure?

  6. #6
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    If Windows reports that it has bad sectors on it, then yes, your hard drive is failing and/or about to completely fail.

    Even if it does get through the install process, I would not trust any of my data on that drive.

    Once they start to die, they die fast. I've not had any instances in 20 years where the OS reported bad sectors incorrectly. I'm not saying it's not possible, but it is highly unlikely. And given the evidence that the install program is running 100 times slower than it should, gives credence to what Windows is reporting for the drive.

    A bad sector is really not indicated by Windows, but moreso by the BIOS. It is returning an error code to the Windows hard drive device driver indicating it cannot read from the sector(s). Windows then translates this information using it's file format specs into something meaningful to the end user. In FAT32 it would translate so many sectors to clusters being bad, and in NTFS it would probably translate sectors into indexes or something like that. Either way, you need a new drive.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 07-16-2006 at 05:52 PM.

  7. #7
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    As an emergency solution you can see where these bad sectors are and isolate them.

    Partition the hardrive so that you have a good partition (without any bad sectors) and a bad one with the bad sectors. This HD is to go to the garbage, so be wasteful on how you create the bad partition. Make it big.

    At least this way you can install windows on the good partition until you get yourself a new HD. Jut don't look at this as a solution. And don't store anything important on your HD without backups. Your HD is most probably going to die soon or later. But at least you get yourself a working system for some time.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  8. #8
    Chad Johnson
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    Thanks guys. Yea I have a file server where I keep all my files, so at any point I can wipe out any of my OSes with no loss whatsoever.

    I will get an RMA on the drive.

  9. #9
    Chad Johnson
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    Think I got it worked out. I was actually able to reimage the drive using an image of the Windows partition I made before the problems started. But I did use Active Kill DIsk to zero out the entire drive. I then used GParted to create the partitions, and then after reimaging the drive using ntfsclone I had to change hte Windows partition type from ext3 to NTFS and make sure itw as bootable (not sure why it was marked as ext3).

  10. #10
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    I think it's because gparted can't actually create NTFS partitions, being linux based. Ext3 also being the default choice of partition.

    Glad you got it to work. Now go and buy a new drive
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  11. #11
    Chad Johnson
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    That may be true, but I did mark the Windows partition as unformatted with no file system when I created it with GParted.

    The drive is under warranty, so I am going to hav them send me a new drive.

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