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Installing Windows 7, stuck at "Expanding Windows Files" X%

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Last response: in Windows 7
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September 16, 2011 12:38:55 AM

So I just built a new desktop, and I've been trying to install 64-bit Win 7, but every time the install gets to "Expanding Windows Files" the install will hang. I've waited ~1hr without any progress, numerous times. The percentage is not always the same, it has been stuck on 0%, 1%, 5%, 10%, 13%, 20%, and more.

Based on other posts in this and other forums, I've tried a few things already:

- Ejecting and reinserting install disk to encourage install to continue.
- Bootable USB drive.
- Various amounts of RAM:
- All 2GB x 3 dimms
- 2GB x 2 dimms
- 2GB x 1 dimm
- 2GB x 1 (different) dimm
- Re-erasing target drive.
- Disabling many mobo setting:
- Intel Speedstep disabled
- CPU freq spreading disabled
- PCIe freq spreading disabled
- toggle SATA II controller AHCI/IDE

Nothing has worked. I don't suspect any hardware faults because I was able to successfully install and run 64-bit OpenSUSE 11.4 on the hardware before Windows arrived in the mail.

I'm using OEM 64-bit Win 7 install disk for system builders, so there shouldn't be any issues with write speed/corrupted ISO.

Hardware config as follows:
- Sabertooth X58 mobo
- Intel Core i7 (965 extreme edition?)
- 64GB Crucial M4 SSD, plugged into SATA III - port 2
- 3 x 2GB dimm RAM (corsair, I think)
- OEM Sony Optiarc DVD DL burner, plugged into SATA II - port 2
- evga Geforce GTX 560
- wireless logitech keyboard, and wireless offbrand mouse... can't imagine these are causing problems

When I get home I plan to do a memtest using the OpenSUSE install disk, and plugging the SSD and DVD drives into the first SATA III and SATA II ports respectively... but I'm not optimistic.

Does anyone have experience with this sort of problem? Please help!
a b $ Windows 7
September 16, 2011 12:50:50 AM

Thankyou for your detailed issue, you have said "- Re-erasing target drive. " Does this mean that you have wiped the drive completely with a program like Darik's Boot software to eliminate reg/framework conflicting issues when loading the Os, sometimes a load will fill alot of the drive with temp as it unpacks, this can create issues with other operating systems (Very Rare) but it still happens never the less.

Get your mobo settings as default again, because windows 7 will try and recognize your hardware as it load on the os, so you can use keyboard/mouse through the installation.. Because once you have gone into the installation process the mobo reads the external devices through the operating system too so that can actually be used. Devices don't work magically :) 

So if you have played with your mobo setting there is a chance that it wont be going anywhere.

By the sounds of this issue, there could be a million possibilities, and a few ways to fix this, this is not a certain fix, and it just one out of many ways you could resolve or start to troubleshoot this issue.

Reset those setting and get back to us.
September 16, 2011 10:29:19 AM

Reset motherboard to default settings... no change. I have tried many permutations of motherboard settings, and they do not seem to be the issue. Shouldn't Windows be a little more robust?

So mostly, I have just been deleting the partitions in the Windows install setup. I'm not sure if this is a full fledged disk partitioner though, since the options are limited. Tonight I hooked up the drive via a SATA-USB cable to another computer and used DISKPART to really make sure it was totally reformatted. This got me to 15% before hang, but no joy.

Suddenly, tonight, I seem to be getting an error message with my hangs... perhaps I was not waiting long enough before. It says:
Windows cannot install required files. The file does not exist. Make sure all files required for installation are available, and restart the installation. Error code: 0x80070002


Using both my OEM disk, and USB install (from a digital river ISO) I get the same error message, and install is hanging between 0% and 15%. Both my disc, and the ISO include service pack 1, so I'm downloading another ISO that does not include the service pack to try on my USB drive...

EDIT: Forgot to mention... I switched SDD and DVD drive so that they are plugged into the first SATA III and SATA II ports respectively. They were detected before, so I didn't think that was the issue, but I figured it couldn't hurt! Previously, they were just plugged into the easiest-to-plug jack.
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a b $ Windows 7
September 16, 2011 11:51:56 AM
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ahci/ide was going to be my suggestion, have you tried ssd in sataII port then transfer to III once installed (can't see it being the problem personally but worth a try)
a b $ Windows 7
September 16, 2011 1:36:11 PM

WHICH SSD!!! Marvel based SATA III SSDs less probmatic than SF22xx based SSds.
Reason I ask, I had a simular problem with the OCZ Agillity III. Problem was the Agility III was NOT compatable with my samsung SB notebook. The ssd worked fine in my I5-2500k desktop. This problem is not confined to Agility III, but may be present in other SF22xx SSDs. NOTE: I bought a M4 Sata III SSD (Infact 2 of them) and had NO problem installing in my SB notebook.

For an SSD, it may not be enough to delete partitions/reformat. Again if SF22xx SSD, you may need to do a secure erease (For OCZ sata III SSDs use the OCZ tool box). Also verify latest Firmware on SSD.

I'm pretty sure not a problem with memory, But as a precaution - I always run memtest 86 from a bootable CD BEFORE installing an operating system and when making changes to memory before booting to a existing operating system.

OCZ Sata III SSDs = PLUG & PRAY.

A little time consuming, but to check that your installation disk are OK you could install to a HDD.
September 16, 2011 3:47:23 PM

First off, I ditched the wireless keyboard and mouse, just to be sure. Now I am just using a wired USB keyboard and no mouse.

Last night I finished downloading the second ISO from digital river... Win 7 64-bit without SP 1, but when I tried to put it on my USB drive using the Windows USB download tool, it tells me that it is not a valid ISO. (I got the same message when I ripped an ISO from my OEM disk and tried to use the USB download tool to put it on USB). It was late so I went to bed. Tonight, I will try burning the ISO to disk, (4x or slower, of course) and using that to install.

13thmonkey said:
ahci/ide was going to be my suggestion, have you tried ssd in sataII port then transfer to III once installed (can't see it being the problem personally but worth a try)


Yeah I was hoping for the ahci/ide issue to be the problem as well, but no go. I was also thinking I would try the SATA II port when I got home this evening...

RetiredChief said:
WHICH SSD!!! Marvel based SATA III SSDs less probmatic than SF22xx based SSds.
Reason I ask, I had a simular problem with the OCZ Agillity III. Problem was the Agility III was NOT compatable with my samsung SB notebook. The ssd worked fine in my I5-2500k desktop. This problem is not confined to Agility III, but may be present in other SF22xx SSDs. NOTE: I bought a M4 Sata III SSD 9Infact 2 of them) and had NO problem installing in my SB notebook.

For an SSD, it may not be enough to delete partitions/reformat. Again if SF22xx SSD, you may need to do a secure erease (For OCZ sata III SSDs use the OCZ tool box). Also verify latest Firmware on SSD.

I'm pretty sure not a problem with memory, But as a precaution - I always run memtest 86 from a bootable CD BEFORE installing an operating system and when making changes to memory before booting to a existing operating system.

OCZ Sata III SSDs = PLUG & PRAY.

A little time consuming, but to check that your installation disk are OK you could install to a HDD.


When I bought the SSD, I saw a lot of problematic reviews on the OCZ drives, which is why I ended up going for the Crucial M4 (hardware specs in first post), which I believe is NOT sandforce. Secure erase is worth a shot though.

Will update when I've tried all these things...

Edit 1: reply to 2 messages
Edit 2: extra details about yesterdays attempts
Edit 3: some more details
a b $ Windows 7
September 16, 2011 4:08:49 PM

You are correct, the M4 uses the marvel controller.
I did update the firmware to Version 9, But had no problems with the older version. Ver 9 did some bug fixes but also improved performance.
a b $ Windows 7
September 16, 2011 5:57:15 PM

Incorrect dimm voltage could cause a windows install to hang or get stop errors. I've experienced it myself with both AMD and Intel systems.

Check dimm sticker and set bios according to the timings, speed and voltage on the sticker.
September 16, 2011 6:34:33 PM

geekapproved said:
Incorrect dimm voltage could cause a windows install to hang or get stop errors. I've experienced it myself with both AMD and Intel systems.

Check dimm sticker and set bios according to the timings, speed and voltage on the sticker.



I think these setting are all "auto" in the BIOS, but I'll check it out. Thanks.
a b $ Windows 7
September 17, 2011 6:17:22 PM

chrysaetos13 said:
I think these setting are all "auto" in the BIOS, but I'll check it out. Thanks.


That's what I'm saying, "auto" is not always right and can cause all kinds of issues if it's not.
September 18, 2011 5:43:49 AM

Best answer selected by chrysaetos13.
September 18, 2011 6:01:29 AM

So it eventually turned out to be the Marvell SATA III controllers.

When prepping for a memtest, I ended up accidentally plugging in a DIMM while the mobo still had standby power. After that, fans would spin half a turn and then no power at all. I was afraid I broke something there, but after pulling out half the computer, I fixed it by resetting CMOS. Then managed to install onto a regular HDD plugged into SATA II. Partial success! After a few more subsequent test installs, I figured out that I was able to install when plugged into SATA II, but not SATA III.

So now, I installed Windows via SATA II, and then switched the drive over to SATA III, but I'm still having some problems. Hooked up through SATA III ports, the system is unstable. I'm getting a lot of hangs, non responsive programs (IE, Chrome, Win Explorer, Start Menu, driver installations via CD). Also had a crash followed by reset. Whole system is generally slow/unresponsive, which is not what I would expect from this kind of hardware and a fresh OS.

Again, no problems if I switch back to the SATA II. I'd hate to think I can't take advantage of the SATA III capabilities of this SSD drive. Is there any good way to troubleshoot this?
a b $ Windows 7
September 19, 2011 6:32:08 AM

should you not be loading drivers for the marvel III controllers?
September 19, 2011 3:54:04 PM

13thmonkey said:
should you not be loading drivers for the marvel III controllers?


Right. I installed the Marvell drivers that came on the disk with the motherboard, but they didn't seem to help.

I tried to boot up connected to SATA III and was installing drivers when experiencing the hangs/crashes. I did manage to install the Marvell drivers and restart, and was still having problems, but maybe the install didn't finish completely. After that I rehooked up the SATA II and reinstalled all the drivers, and have left it hooked up to SATA II to install windows updates and software etc without problems.

I'll double check that SATA III is still problematic...
a c 371 $ Windows 7
September 19, 2011 7:24:33 PM

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