(NOTE: I am using the term 'forever' in this post in its literal sense, not the hyperbolic sense.)
A few days ago my < 1 year old P8Z68 gaming rig began to take a long time to shut down, maybe 10 minutes or so. Then it started taking just as long to start up. These startup/shutdown times began to increase until it was taking at LEAST an HOUR to load up Windows. It would simply stall at the "Starting Windows" screen animation for an hour or more. I usually just lose patience after that long and try to tweak something.
Right before the startup time became so long I made a clone of my C drive and reinstalled Windows 7 fresh to try to fix it. The initial startup after that installation was the last time I have been in Windows on that machine since yesterday. It now takes an indefinite amount of time to load windows (an hour is the longest I have waited for it.)
So I restarted and tried to use startup repair but THAT takes forever too. Then I tried to install Windows again and even THAT stalls for forever at the "Starting Windows" screen. Its like my system has become sentient and now has a deep hatred for all things Windows.
I am baffled by this, and the only significant change in my system that I can think of before this happened was updating my WLAN card drivers. The system runs through POST and initial startup just as fast as normal, and as far as I can tell there are no hardware problems. It seems to be Windows.
While I wait for help I am going to try using a linux live CD to see if that will start. Sorry for the long post =S
so can you get on to do tests or will windows not load up for you at all
I cannot get into windows at all. I have left it running since this morning and it has not yet loaded.
It could be my hard drive, but that wouldn't explain why the windows installation DVD won't start. Doesn't it load and run from RAM exclusively? I hope not, it's an expensive Intel SSD. I checked the SMART readings of the drive just this week and it showed close to 100%, maybe 98%.
jamessneed: it loads up some of the system files but stalls at 'CLASSPNP.SYS', so no.
still downloading KNOPPIX, i will do a hard drive test when (if) I get it running.
Since it stalls on CLASSPNP.SYS during safe mode boot, which is doing some hardware validation, I agree with the prior posters that it is very likely you have a failing hard drive. I can't say with 100% certainty but If this was my own machine I would be getting a new hard drive asap. At least you have a recent clone so this should be easy to validate.
It definitely wasn't a drive failure. SMART and tests and everything indicate both drives are in peak condition.
Best I can figure it was a partition error. I ran some tests and things in linux most based around fixing the MBR or partition errors, and after all that everything is up and running again and I haven't had the problem for a couple weeks so far.