Windows 7 Install Freezing at “Starting Windows” Animation

Windows 7 was very troublesome to install on my system. My system specifications:

  • Motherboard: Biostar TF8200 A2+ (nVidia chipset)
  • Processor: AMD 4080e Athlon 64 x2 (45W version)
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Optical: Sony/NEC SATA DVD-RW
  • Hard Disk: Seagate SATA 320GB, 7200RPM

Installation would hang at the "Starting Windows" logo. By pressing F8 when the installer first loaded, and selecting "Safe Mode With Command Prompt", I was able to see that it was hanging after loading DISK.SYS.

I experimented with SATA and AHCPI modes. I replaced the old PATA/IDE DVD-ROM drive with a new SATA one. I tried removing one of my 2GB memory sticks. I tried both the x64 and x86 versions. None of these changes made any difference whatsoever

In the end, the only thing that worked was to turn off all motherboard accessories. I believe I only needed to turn off the USB 2.0 controller, but to be safe I turned off all USB, audio, parallel port, floppy drive, etc.

Now that Windows 7 is fully installed, I'm still unable to use the USB 2.0 functionality.

As an aside, I reinstalled the OS two more times because I kept getting a black screen with the "Windows Release Candidate Build 7100" in the lower, right corner. After several frustrating hours, I realized that the problem was simply that I had both the VGA and DVI connectors plugged into my monitor! The installation had been continuing just fine, but on the other monitor input!

About Jeff Fitzsimons

Jeff Fitzsimons is a software engineer in the California Bay Area. Technical specialties include C++, Win32, and multithreading. Personal interests include rock climbing, cycling, motorcycles, and photography.
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10 Responses to Windows 7 Install Freezing at “Starting Windows” Animation

  1. Brett says:

    Nice work, Jeff.
    I had been struggling for ages trying to get my Windows 7 to boot after initial install, and it was freezing on the logo startup screen. I couldn’t even get past it in safe mode with command prompt, it stopped at disk.sys. I Bing’ed the problem (“windows 7” startup hang disk.sys)and found your post.
    To confirm your suspicion, I went into the bios and disabled USB2.0 only – nothing else. It’s now completing the installation.



  2. Brett says:

    This has caused it’s own problems though. My wireless card is USB2.0 and so I have no connectivity! Worse still, every time W7 has an issue with something, it tries to tell Microsoft about it. “There is a problem with your network adapter” + “tell microsoft about it (via the network adapter)” = FAIL.

  3. Thomas says:

    Great post Jeff!

    I had the similar problem when trying to install Windows 7 RC (build 7100) 32-bit on my brother’s computer, while the installation went fine on my own.

    He hasn’t kept any info regarding his hardware, only thing I know for sure is that he’s got a nVidia GeForce 7300 GT GPU…

    I’m hoping this issue gets fixed by public release! ;)

  4. Viktor says:

    Just great!

    I replaced the memory, hard drives (IDE, SATA), removed floppy and different OS versions before I stumbled to this site by googling.

    Thanks Jeff!

  5. Joshua says:

    well disabling my usb controllers does not fix this problem. I plugged my harddrive into my other computer to install windows 7 but now it still freezes on the start up screen when i try to boot. going into safe mode lets me get into the OS because it skips the startup animation, however i can’t fix the problem in there.

  6. Drew Noakes says:

    Seeing the same issue performing a fresh install of Win7 64 bit (RTM). Booting animation freezes early on with just two small dots visible (one of the first frames of the animation.) I presume its a particular driver that’s failing to load, but I can’t see which one. If I use the ‘advanced boot options’ (F8) and choose ‘enable boot logging’ then the system boots just fine! How’s that for strange? A sort of uncertainty principle in action.

  7. I think I’ve heard of similar issues which turned out to be timing related.

    I would first check for any BIOS update. Then I’d disable everything I could in BIOS and see if that fixes it. If so, enable one-by-one until the culprit is found. If that doesn’t fix it, I’d look for anything else I could possibly disable in the Windows Device Manager. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d already tried all of these approaches.

  8. Drew Noakes says:

    I managed to fix this issue on my machine. There’s a Win7 utility that lets you configure startup options. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name or how to launch it exactly, but I found it by going into the problem solver/diagnostics and running the performance checker which pointed out that programs run at startup, and would I like to see them?

    In that utility there’s a tab called ‘Boot’ in which you can specify that boot logging should be enabled, and you can check another box to say that this change should be permanent. In this way, boot logging is enabled at every startup without having to go through the F8 menu.

    There were also some options that turned off the startup animation in exchange for the screen listing drivers as they load which, although less glamorous, gives a better idea of what’s going on.

    Hope that helps someone else.

  9. sigmacid says:

    Pc was looping the starting windows screen. Disabling controller for usb 2.0 allowed install.

    Thanks so much for the help!

  10. Dimas Wardana says:

    Thanks a lot Jeff! Been working for the same problem for 6 hours and your site answered it!! I owe you

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