Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


New Win8 Pro install hangs at the OS selector screen

  1. #1


    Posts : 6
    Win8

    New Win8 Pro install hangs at the OS selector screen


    The short story: I've got two Windows 8's on a machine: one OEM and one retail Pro which I just installed. The light-blue "OS Selector" screen which it boots to will hang after about 10 seconds. Within those 10 seconds, I can click to boot the OEM Windows 8, and it will boot fine. If I select the new retail Pro, it'll start booting that and then hang.

    The longer story: I've got a Samsung Chronos7 laptop which has an OEM Windows 8 installed on it. For reasons which I won't go into, I got it into a strange state such that I can't use it for development work. So, I decided to install a fresh Win8 Pro retail next to the existing OEM version.

    The install went fine. I could boot into the new Win8, and I started installing my development tools, mail client, Dropbox, etc. etc... and installed about Windows 48 updates (and I noticed that a few items in Device Manager which had, when I first looked, were unidentified, had disappeared from "Unidentified Hardware" and, presumably, were in their proper categories and without yellow problem flags).

    Then, when I rebooted, I got the light-blue OS selector screen where I got to choose between the two Win8's (and then I heard an interesting "thump" from the speakers)... and the 30-second timer started counting down... until it got to 20 seconds, and then the machine just locked up. No mouse cursor movement, no hard-drive activity... nothing. Every time I boot it, it does that same thing: Thump from the speakers, clock ticks down to about 20 seconds, and then hangs.

    Now, within those 10 seconds, I can click on either of the Win8 icons and get them booting. If I click on the OEM one, it'll launch fine (but it's still unusable for my development work, mind you). If I click on the new retail one, then it will hang at the little circling dots. If I start launching the new Win8 before the "speaker thump", I'll still hear it while Windows 8 is launching (before it hangs).

    So... I'm figuring that something about the stock Win8 drivers is different from the OEM-packaged drivers, or something about the Windows updates on the new version has altered the boot loader, of all things. But now I'm kinda stuck, because I can't figure out how to boot into any sort of "Safe Mode" in the new Win8 install (I tried pressing F8 at just about every step of the boot process), so I'm not sure how I'm supposed to disable any hardware or roll back some drivers or restore to a previous restore point.


    1. Has anybody heard of this kind of problem (hanging at the light-blue OS selector) before? Any suggestions? Is there a way for me to, perhaps, replace the Win8 boot files in the EFI System Partition with the "working" ones from the OEM install?
    2. At what point of the boot process am I supposed to be able to switch to Safe Mode?
    3. Is there a way to roll back driver or restore to a restore point if I have a Windows 8 Recovery CD or USB?


    - Joe

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Hello and welcome!

    Nope, I have never seen a dual boot of Windows 8 with another OS lock up like that at all.

    So I have to question, why are you dual booting the preinstalled OS of 8 with a new retail copy of 8?

    The easiest way out of this mess would just be to install over the preexisting OS clean. New Windows 8 PCs have Windows license keys cooked into the BIOS, so activation isn't a problem.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 6
    Win8


    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    So I have to question, why are you dual booting the preinstalled OS of 8 with a new retail copy of 8?
    Well, I'm dual-booting because I need to gradually move my installed apps and data over to the new installation.

    The reason I'm dual-booting between OEM and retail versions is because Samsung didn't provide me with re-installation media. So, I had to use a regular Windows 8 install DVD. However, when one does this, I get the dreaded "The product key entered does not match any of the Windows images available for installation. Enter a different product key" message (explained here: Solve Windows 8 Clean Installation Product Key Do Not Match Problem | INFOSOFTone) because Windows was automatically finding my OEM key in UEFI and deciding that it didn't like it. So, I had to get a retail key and put that key into the PID.txt file... only after prepping a USB with the Win8 installer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    The easiest way out of this mess would just be to install over the preexisting OS clean.
    Not an option. All of my data and other installed apps are on the pre-existing OS. I gradually move my apps from the old OS to the new. As I install each app on the new OS, and verify that it's working properly, then I can go back to the old OS and uninstall it and delete it's configuration stuff from AppData. Besides, this wouldn't have solved anything. The fresh install would have had the generic Win8 drivers, which would hang the machine. The only difference would be that I wouldn't have a working old installation. Sure, I wouldn't have an OS selector screen, but the generic Win8 would have still hung on loading.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    New Windows 8 PCs have Windows license keys cooked into the BIOS, so activation isn't a problem.
    Oh, if only that were true. Yet, activation is a problem, because, as much as Microsoft would like for you to believe that one installation media can install any of the different flavors of Win8, and it all just hinges upon the key you've got, that simply is not the case... and they know it (otherwise, they wouldn't have put "The product key entered does not match and of the Windows images available for installation" message into the installer).

    For what it's worth, I was never able to get it to boot into Safe Mode (even though I did figure out where it could be done, I couldn't click through the series of options in the 10 seconds I had before the machine booted). But, I re-installed the fresh retail Win8 again and, before rebooting, I checked the sound drivers and noticed that they were set to the generic "HD Audio" device. So, I installed the Realtek sound drivers from the PC vendor and that seems to have fixed the issue.

    This provides an interesting clue about what Win8 is doing, behind the scenes. I suspect that it's pre-loading a bunch of drivers for the default OS selection when it shows you the OS selector screen (it might be why it reboots the PC if you choose an OS other than the default). Thus, if you select the default OS from the light-blue selector screen, it's able to boot a little faster.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by jemenake View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    So I have to question, why are you dual booting the preinstalled OS of 8 with a new retail copy of 8?
    Well, I'm dual-booting because I need to gradually move my installed apps and data over to the new installation.

    The reason I'm dual-booting between OEM and retail versions is because Samsung didn't provide me with re-installation media. So, I had to use a regular Windows 8 install DVD. However, when one does this, I get the dreaded "The product key entered does not match any of the Windows images available for installation. Enter a different product key" message (explained here: Solve Windows 8 Clean Installation Product Key Do Not Match Problem | INFOSOFTone) because Windows was automatically finding my OEM key in UEFI and deciding that it didn't like it. So, I had to get a retail key and put that key into the PID.txt file... only after prepping a USB with the Win8 installer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    The easiest way out of this mess would just be to install over the preexisting OS clean.
    Not an option. All of my data and other installed apps are on the pre-existing OS. I gradually move my apps from the old OS to the new. As I install each app on the new OS, and verify that it's working properly, then I can go back to the old OS and uninstall it and delete it's configuration stuff from AppData. Besides, this wouldn't have solved anything. The fresh install would have had the generic Win8 drivers, which would hang the machine. The only difference would be that I wouldn't have a working old installation. Sure, I wouldn't have an OS selector screen, but the generic Win8 would have still hung on loading.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    New Windows 8 PCs have Windows license keys cooked into the BIOS, so activation isn't a problem.
    Oh, if only that were true. Yet, activation is a problem, because, as much as Microsoft would like for you to believe that one installation media can install any of the different flavors of Win8, and it all just hinges upon the key you've got, that simply is not the case... and they know it (otherwise, they wouldn't have put "The product key entered does not match and of the Windows images available for installation" message into the installer).

    For what it's worth, I was never able to get it to boot into Safe Mode (even though I did figure out where it could be done, I couldn't click through the series of options in the 10 seconds I had before the machine booted). But, I re-installed the fresh retail Win8 again and, before rebooting, I checked the sound drivers and noticed that they were set to the generic "HD Audio" device. So, I installed the Realtek sound drivers from the PC vendor and that seems to have fixed the issue.

    This provides an interesting clue about what Win8 is doing, behind the scenes. I suspect that it's pre-loading a bunch of drivers for the default OS selection when it shows you the OS selector screen (it might be why it reboots the PC if you choose an OS other than the default). Thus, if you select the default OS from the light-blue selector screen, it's able to boot a little faster.
    Interesting way to mitigate OS's. You see, personally, I just install a clean copy of Windows, go through the Windows.old folder into the Program Files and find what I need to reinstall if I don't remember what I need to reinstall.

    IF, you have the proper reinstall media WITHOUT a product key in the copy, it is a pleasant charm to reinstall Windows 8 on new PCs. If you have a retail copy, I can see problems with that. I have an .iso image I believe is the MSDN copy.

    This is a difference with the boot options in 8 versus 7. In Windows 8, it already loads the OS by the time you get to that screen, so you're basically correct about that. So theoretically, you're going to hit the default OS that is already loaded ready to go, and Windows will just finish up loading things. But if you go to the other OS, you are basically restarting; as if you were at the lock screen of the default OS and hit restart.

    Also, how do you know if the core Windows 8 drivers would cause issues on your PC? That's something I've never seen happen so far with 8. Even then, Windows actually will start tracking down appropriate drivers and install them during the Maintenance periods, or manually if you wish.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 6
    Win8


    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    Interesting way to mitigate OS's. You see, personally, I just install a clean copy of Windows, go through the Windows.old folder into the Program Files and find what I need to reinstall if I don't remember what I need to reinstall.
    Because:
    • I don't trust Windows Installer to completely nuke everything in the user and system registries and Program Files and Users folders and to also store all of that into some folder where I can get to it. I have some apps which put a lot of hand-configured stuff into AppData, and it would be handy to be able to just copy their AppData folders over from the old install. So, I need the old AppData folders. I also have some apps where I've had to modify files in "C:\Program Files" by hand, and I'd like to be able to get to those files and copy them over without having to hand-edit them again. Now, maybe the installer copies the entire existing contents of C:\ and puts it into C:\Windows.old, but that's not how it used to do it. It used to just rename C:\Windows, and that isn't going to cut it for me.
    • I also might need to get to some stuff in the old registries, and I don't know of a way of loading other hives from regedit.


    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    IF, you have the proper reinstall media...
    But I don't. So, does that mean that you no longer question the sanity of my methods?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coke Robot View Post
    Also, how do you know if the core Windows 8 drivers would cause issues on your PC?
    Well, I don't know that they were causing issues. It was a testable hunch. When Windows was booting, after I installed the plain retail version, I'd hear a "thump" from the speakers which I didn't hear when booting the old. This told me that the audio hardware was being initialized (if not an improper way, then, at the least) in a different way than it was under the installed image from Samsung. Now, there was also the argument to be made against it being the audio drivers, since I'd expect the machine to lock up right when I heard the thump. Instead, I'd hear a thump and then, several seconds later, the machine would lock. So, it could very well have been drivers which it tried to load afterward.

    So, for what it's worth, I reinstalled and loaded the audio drivers from Samsung and now, the problem has vanished. So.. go figure.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 20
    Windows 8.1 & W10 Tech Priview


    Hey Joe,

    Your problem is way above my pay grade. But have you tried disabling "Fast Boot" in the UEFI setup?

    Maybe the OEM system loads files that interfere with with 8 Pro.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Sloe Deth, Californicatia
    Posts : 3,908
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7


    That makes sense - But since Windows 8 totally controls the Boot Sequence, maybe it is something in the other OS- Something that would have loaded as early as the Boot Options Menu in Windows 7, something like Raxco's "Perfect Disk" or another 3rd party Hard Disk Optimizer? Because those would load as early as that. But I like Bumpkin's Suggestion.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

New Win8 Pro install hangs at the OS selector screen
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