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Windows 7 Hangs on "Starting Windows..."

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Last response: in Windows 7
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April 5, 2010 4:53:23 AM

My brother's computer has been running fine for at least 2-3 months since we replaced a damaged motherboard. Just today I happened to walk into his room while he was streaming a TV show to his PC when it did a hard freeze: video stopped playing, audio completely stopped, and no keyboard/mouse response.

We powered it off, unplugged all non-essentials, powered on and Windows 7 hangs on the "Starting Windows..." screen. In safe mode, it hangs on loading disk.sys. Tried loading the Windows 7 DVD and it was hanging on the same "Starting Windows..." screen thus we couldn't do the startup repair.

The OS is installed in a RAID-0 configuration and it's showing up as "healthy". All temperatures look normal as well.

I searched around and saw that the PSU can be the problem. We're going to try swapping the PSU tomorrow and see if that works. We will also try another Windows 7 DVD although the one we tried was successfully used recently.

I was wondering if anyone has any other suggestions. Thanks in advance. :) 
April 5, 2010 2:44:17 PM

I wouldnt swap the PSU just yet... do what the poster above suggests. Change your BIOS to boot from CD/DVD and see if you can check or repair that drive.

You can have a fully functional RAID set but have a corrupted file, directory or even sector (has happened to me).
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April 5, 2010 3:37:50 PM

Thanks for the replies!

By default, we always boot from the CD/DVD drive first. If there's nothing there, then it will proceed to the RAID. We checked the BIOS settings just to make sure it didn't change on us for some reason. But I'll try removing the RAID from the list of available boot devices to ensure the RAID doesn't get touched at all during boot. Doubt it would work since I'm pretty sure the DVD booted the last time I tried (it just hangs on "Starting Windows...").

I also tried a PSU swap and unfortunately no go (still hangs at the same places mentioned in my original post) which is not very good at this point.

Will report back after I try a few more things.

Keep the suggestions coming. Much appreciated! :) 

UPDATE: Removing the RAID from the boot device list didn't work. A different Windows 7 DVD didn't work. Unplugged the power to the RAID hard drives and the Windows 7 DVD booted to the Windows install screen. There's something wrong with the RAID-0 setup that is causing all startup scenarios to hang.

The on-board RAID controller has an option to clear the MBR which we decided to do. And NOW the Windows 7 DVD booted all the way to the install/repair screen with the RAID still plugged in. Unfortunately, the repair tool didn't see an existing Windows 7 installation. Possible reasons could be: 1) We cleared the MBR so we must repair/rebuild it or 2) We need load the drivers for the RAID. We tried running the startup repair tool anyway to see if it could still repair it but it was taking over 20 minutes.

We both have to head out now but we're gonna try loading RAID drivers and running bootrec.exe via the System Recovery command prompt later tonight.

UPDATE #2: Sorry for not updating here. We were able to figure out the problem. Long story short, bad hard drive.

Even though the RAID status was healthy, we tried moving the RAID to a different PC (at this point we stopped caring about the data on the drives). We re-created the RAID and the process seemed much longer than usual. We still couldn't install Windows on this new RAID on a different PC. Another thing we noticed at that point is that one of the drives was creating a very faint mechanical clicking sound (very very faint, not the usual loud ones). We replaced the drive, and everything was working again.

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