Win7 Hangs on Completing Installation
Win7 installation. I couldn't get past the last step of "completing Installation." It just hung. It seems there are many, many people having this problem in some form or another, and there seems to be more than one fix.
I solved my problem, by unplugged all of my drives except the boot drive. The problem was that one of my drives other than the boot drive I was trying to install to was marked Active, Bootable. It was first in line before the actual boot drive I was installing to. So, windows would begin its installation on the correct drive, but on reboot, when it finishes installing, it would revert to the first drive it found with an active bootable partition. There it would hang because Windows could not find the installation files it thought it just installed.
How's this possible? Well, Windows will boot from the first active and bootable drive, and then it will find the windows installation on the drive it was installed, if it was installed beforehand, that is, has a full, working install. So you could have a bootable drive with no files on it, and a drive that has all of the files on it. This might happen if you changed drives on the motherboard and the new drive is active and bootable and is before the original boot drive in the boot sequence (as the BIOS reads the drive connectors on the motherboard).
So then, as described above, Windows will boot from the first available drive, and then run the system files and programs from the original drive. So for example, for simplicity, let's say you have only one drive in your system, and on that drive Windows is installed (C:\). You add another drive, and it is plugged into your motherboard in such an order that it is first to be read by the BIOS, before the original disk with Windows installed. This new drive just happens to have an old MBR of an old Windows install, and is marked as Active, Bootable. Once you start your rig, since the new drive is first read by the BIOS, you will boot from the stale MBR on the new drive. After you boot, Windows goes looking for system files on drive C:/, the original install disk.
So you are now booting from a different drive and running Windows on yet another. The reason Windows hangs on install in this scenario is because Windows isn't completely loaded and can't find the original disk where the new files are location. So it boots from the stale MBR, then tries to finish the installation, and hangs because it can't find the installation.
The best thing to do when installing Windows is to simply unplug all of your drives except the installation drive. After Installation, plug in your other drives. Then make sure you only have one Active, Bootable disk in your system. This problem is deceptive in that if the stale drive comes after the original Windows install, you'll never see any problems. On the other hand, in the scenario above, you won't notice it, but it can cause all sorts of performance problems.
Hope this helps someone.
Edit explanation: I took out reference to True Image in my original post since that was a diversion. But as Olin said below, a great alternative to True Image is simply the Window's system backup. I can't believe I didn't try it before. It's much faster too. And free.
Last edited by Doug Dallam : 23rd August 2011 at 04:43 PM.
Reason: I took out reference to True Image