I am trying to figure out what would cause issues when installing an Operating System and Software in general. Is it most likely RAM or the harddrive or some other component?
Installing Windows7 on old dell with new HDD and used ram was troublesome. Causing me to attempt to installing the OS 5 times before having a good install. When updating windows it freezes during either the downloading portion or installation portion. I once left the computer overnight to perform an update and it was stuck at installing 7 out of 107 updates. Installing software is weird it is never smooth for example it will go to some percentage and just stop and then finish off. For example installing Office 2010 took an hour, this might not be related.
I have an old Dell Optiplex GX270 and wanted to bring it back to life to donate it. I bought some used RAM, a gfx card and a 'new' harddrive from ebay. The harddrive was sealed and was decently packaged. In BIOS I can see the RAM running in dual channel.
From the beginning I have had issues installing any sort of software. When installing the OS the windows posted an error about the computer unexpectedly restarting. Which was weird because it posted that it was going to restart the computer. Installing the OS took longer than usual. I want to also note that I installed the OS twice because the first time I did it I was surprised I was getting so many issues when updating windows. This is the third dell I am fixing back up and it is the only one giving issues.
Updating windows has been a disaster, I have had windows update fail over 5 times where I have to clear temp files and installed two different hotfixes to try and resolve the issues.
Sounds more like a HDD issue to me. Still, best way to go about it is to run some diagnostic software. What brand is the HDD? Usually all major brands have diagnostic software that can tell you whether the HDD is bad or not.
Also, download and run Memtest86+ for several hours, testing one stick of RAM at a time. If there are any errors that come back, then that stick is likely bad.
If it is the HDD, keep in mind that even brand new HDDs can fail, so the seller may have unknowingly sold you a bad HDD.