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Windows 7 won't install from USB, black screen w/ blinking cursor after POST

Last response: in Windows 7
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November 26, 2013 12:48:06 AM

Hello, I'm having issues installing windows 7. I have no optical drive, so I'm trying to install from a USB stick. I have an SSD/HDD setup, with the SSD split between linux mint and an empty NTFS partition to install windows to. The HDD is formatted to NTFS. As the thread title says, I'm having an issue where when I attempt to install windows 7 from a USB stick, all I get is a black screen and blinking cursor after POST. Setup as follows:

AMD fx-6300
8 gb DDR3
Tyan TA970 mobo
Mushkin 60GB SSD, 25 gb Linux mint 15, 35 GB empty NTFS, partitioned by GParted
WD 1TB HDD (NTFS formatted, also by GParted)
Kingston 8 gb flash drive (cheap as hell)
Radeon HD 7770

I installed linux mint, then set aside a partition to install Win7. I got an installation ISO, used WinSetupFromUSB on a windows box to prepare the USB stick as a bootable USB stick, tried a number of different BIOS settings (recognize USB as CDROM, native IDE/legacy IDE/AHCI), and whenever I tried to boot from USB, I'd get nothing. Immediately after POST, a black screen with a blinking cursor.

I tried a different ISO, no luck. The official microsoft USB download tool wouldn't recognize either ISO. Different USB stick, no luck. Different port, same. No text, no nothing. Just a cursor blinking dumbly at me out of the fathomless black of my monitor.

Any suggestions? Anyone else have this issue? The only things that I can think of revolve around the BIOS not recognizing the USB stick or its contents as bootable. WinSetupFromUSB doesn't support (U)EFI, and the official microsoft USB download tool won't recognize either ISO, so I'm at a bit of a loss. I've also heard that the windows installer doesn't play nice with pre-partitioned hard drives, though I'm not sure if I've even gotten to the point where that's an issue.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
a b $ Windows 7
November 26, 2013 6:15:35 AM

Hi, Try a different program
i.e http://rufus.akeo.ie/
Use an USB 2.0 port.
November 26, 2013 10:14:56 AM

I wrote a tutorial about installing windows 7 from a USB device, it is in my signature. If you download the .iso windows 7 file, it is not bootable simply by copying it to a flash drive, you have to make it bootable. Since you said the official windows 7 boot tool did not recognize the .iso file, I believe that is your (at least first) problem. If you can't get that .iso file correctly set up on your flash drive then it will never install on your SSD.

When you are looking through the list of files from your program (windows 7 USB/DVD boot tool?), you are looking for your windows7.iso file as you know. Ensure that you click the right file type right next to the search bar. There is a box called "File name" but to the side of that there is a "File type". Ensure that you have selected all files or else the .iso type may not be displayed.

Let us know your results.
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December 27, 2013 11:12:27 PM

rcfant89 said:
I wrote a tutorial about installing windows 7 from a USB device, it is in my signature. If you download the .iso windows 7 file, it is not bootable simply by copying it to a flash drive, you have to make it bootable. Since you said the official windows 7 boot tool did not recognize the .iso file, I believe that is your (at least first) problem. If you can't get that .iso file correctly set up on your flash drive then it will never install on your SSD.

When you are looking through the list of files from your program (windows 7 USB/DVD boot tool?), you are looking for your windows7.iso file as you know. Ensure that you click the right file type right next to the search bar. There is a box called "File name" but to the side of that there is a "File type". Ensure that you have selected all files or else the .iso type may not be displayed.

Let us know your results.


I hate to ask, but did you read the second half of my post? I tried using the windows 7 usb tool, as well as several others under both windows and linux, and none of them have yielded a working installation. I've tried all different kinds of boot settings in my motherboard's bios (UEFI, non-UEFI, boot from usb, boot USB as CD, AHCI, classic IDE), and none have worked. Different USB sticks, different computers (my roommate's laptop is windows 7, my desktop is linux mint 15).

I've even tried unplugging my SSD and trying to install to my HDD, no luck. EVERY combination of settings, usb stick, ISO, usb-stick-preparing-program (that doesn't fail to recognize the USB as a bootable device) takes me to the same black screen with a blinking white cursor and nothing else
a b $ Windows 7
December 27, 2013 11:27:19 PM

Have you tried attaching a DVD drive, inserting a bootable DVD and see if booting? Just to rule out an USB issue. I'd try borrowing one and testing.
!