Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Windows Fails To Boot, Fails to Install

  1. #1


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8

    Windows Fails To Boot, Fails to Install


    Laptop: Dell Inspiron 17RSE 7720 | 3rdGEn i7 3610QM CPU | DDR3 2x4GB RAM 1600MHz | nVidia 3DVision Enabled 17-inch screen running on 2GB GDDR5 nVidia 650M GT (3D enabled with NO optimus)
    SATA Mode: AHCI
    Hard Disks:
    1. 32GB mSATA boot drive (Only windows core files and programs installed on it)
    2. 1TB Toshiba 5400rpm (for Programs and Games)
    3. 1TB Toshiba 5400rpm (for Movies, songs etc)


    This laptop had Windows 7 installed in it with Intel Rapid Storage technology enabled. Few months ago, I changed the SATA mode to AHCI and installed windows 7 on 32GB mSATA drive. I kept the C drive only for windows and didn't install anything else on it. I created an MKLINK for some folders such as Common Files/Adobe and Appdata/Adobe so that heavy applications won't eat space on the little drive.
    It was working fine for about 4-5 months, till one day the Windows 7 simply failed to boot. It was stuck on the Starting Windows screen forever. I searched on the sevenforums website and tried a lot of things such as cleaning the RAM, disabling startup programs and services etc. But it didn't help. neither did sfc /scannow nor windows repair using installation disc.
    I could boot in safe mode but not normal mode.

    So, I decided to reinstall Win7 from DVD that came with dell.
    But the installation was stuck at final step of install after first reboot.
    Again i tried several tricks described in forums, like checking for Legacy Boot in BIOS, making sure SATA is in AHCI, unplugging all USB drives as well as other two Hard Drives, and running laptop on single RAM chip. Nothing helped.
    I even tried installing Win7 from USB stick, but results were same.

    Then I decided to try Win8 Pro. I created a bootable USB from ISO and tried installing Win8. But again, after the first reboot, it was stuck at Getting Devices Ready (5%, sometimes at 2%, sometimes even before the Getting Devices Ready msg appeared)

    Here is what I have already tried:

    • Booting from DVD/USB both
    • Cleaning the SSD for install (using Diskpart before beginning the install)
    • Unplugging all USB devices (removing bootable USB / DVD at first reboot as well during the 10-second timer before auto-restart)
    • Removing both HDDs, keeping only mSATA SSD inside to install (Sometimes, I had to put in primary HDD coz removing both HDD resulted in failure of detection of any Hard Disks)
    • Keeping only one RAM chip inside
    • Updating BIOS by downloading from Dell website and flashing with bootable FreeDos USB
    • Trying both AHCI and ATA modes of SATA operation (choosing Intel RST mode was unusable coz in that mode, no drives were detected and it asked to Load Drivers. I even tried downloading SATA drivers, firmware drivers etc from Dell and Toshiba sites but they didnt work)
    • Trying both Legacy and UEFI boot modes
    • Cleaning RAM chips and putting them back in
    • Installing windows on one of the HDD instead of SSD
    • Simply waiting for 8 hours straight


    And here is what I already tried during windows 7 install:
    • Disabling all unknown and yellow-icon devices by booting in safe mode at first reboot.
    • Uninstalling all unknown and yellow-icon devices at first reboot
    • opening explorer.exe using cmd window when installation was stuck at final step. Doing so caused in occurrence of a box displaying some actions such updating destop or somethin, which disappeared after sometime. but results were same again.
    • Waiting for 10 hours. Doing so got me past the final step of install and windows rebooted for second time. But it was again stuck at "preparing computer for first use"


    I checked that everything shows up fine in BIOS. HDDs, ODD, RAM, CPU etc. and they do.

    I also ran Dell Pre-Boot Diagnostics to check for any hardware malfunction. But everything works just fine.


    Is there anything i have not tried?

    I think that the problem which caused the boot failure of my Windows 7 in first place is the same one causing installation failures of other OSes too.

    But what it is, I do not know

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1


    Your post is quite interesting but too much for me to absorb at one sitting. With that said I will voice a single concern and then ask a follow-up question:

    My concern is this:
    I changed the SATA mode to AHCI and installed windows 7 on 32GB mSATA drive
    Above seems too small for extended growth.

    Now, are you trying to do a clean install or reinstall? If that latter, could there be an issue related to the above (eg, not enough room)? I apologize for not try to absorb everything you stated; however, I made it all the way through high school using Cliff's Notes and I never had to read a single book! Guess I'm just lazy...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 5,592
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1


    •Trying both AHCI and ATA modes of SATA operation (choosing Intel RST mode was unusable coz in that mode, no drives were detected and it asked to Load Drivers. I even tried downloading SATA drivers, firmware drivers etc from Dell and Toshiba sites but they didnt work)
    SATA controller drivers not need, you need the Intel RST mode drivers.


    Dell tutorial links:
    http://dell.to/15Cz2AS
    http://dell.to/13EbJpn

    Forum tutorial link:
    Install Windows on MSATA (SSD) Drive - Windows 7 Help Forums
    Install Windows on System with MSATA and ISRT - Windows 7 Help Forums
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    A 32 GB mSATA drive is not put there to install an OS on. It is normally used to speed up a HDD or as a Hibernation file storage for a faster boot.

    But however you decide to use it, I will assume an mSATA drive might be referenced as a PCI type device in your bios.

    If it had been set up to use Intel Smart response technology, it might be part of a RAID array. If you have the Intel Rapid Storage Utility, you might check to see how it is described in that utility.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8


    Quote Originally Posted by my2cents View Post
    Now, are you trying to do a clean install or reinstall? If that latter, could there be an issue related to the above (eg, not enough room)? I apologize for not try to absorb everything you stated; however, I made it all the way through high school using Cliff's Notes and I never had to read a single book! Guess I'm just lazy...
    I'm trying to do clean install. Read my post completely.

    As for enough room issue, I've had this thing going for months and didn't face any problem. So space is not an issue.
    Besides, i had installed Windows on mSATA device before. And right now i'm just repeating same thing i did back then. Only that its not working this time.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1


    Read my post completely
    Thanks for your advisement. OK, now I see...

    So you ran the Dell pre-boot diagnostics after you wiped the hard drive clean; eh? Sounds like you covered all the bases and then some so good luck.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8


    Quote Originally Posted by theog View Post
    •Trying both AHCI and ATA modes of SATA operation (choosing Intel RST mode was unusable coz in that mode, no drives were detected and it asked to Load Drivers. I even tried downloading SATA drivers, firmware drivers etc from Dell and Toshiba sites but they didnt work)
    SATA controller drivers not need, you need the Intel RST mode drivers.


    Dell tutorial links:
    http://dell.to/15Cz2AS
    http://dell.to/13EbJpn

    Forum tutorial link:
    Install Windows on MSATA (SSD) Drive - Windows 7 Help Forums
    Install Windows on System with MSATA and ISRT - Windows 7 Help Forums
    Thanks dude. I tried both options... installing on MSATA (ACHI mode) and on HDD (IRST mode).
    But they didn't work. Install is again stuck at final step. I tried Windows 7 Home premium using both DVD and USB.

    Then I tried installing Windows 8 Pro from USB but that too is stuck at same step. "Getting Devices Ready 11%" this time.
    Please dont ask me to try installing Windows from DVD coz i know thats not gonna solve the issue.

    But thanks a lot dude.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8


    Quote Originally Posted by my2cents View Post
    So you ran the Dell pre-boot diagnostics after you wiped the hard drive clean; eh? Sounds like you covered all the bases and then some so good luck.
    When the problem occured at first, I mean when windows 7 simply got stuck at boot screen, I tried every option at that time: chkdsk, sfc /scannow, dell diagnostics, disabling devices/startup programs.. nothing helped. Only then i decided to do a reinstall of windows 7, and later windows 8.

    Both my 1TB HDDs are half full of important files. So there's no way i was gonna wipe them. I only 'cleaned' the 32GB SSD in AHCI mode.
    But after reading ur msg, and 'theog's message, I copied all the data into single 1TB HDD and took it out.
    Now my lappy has only 1TB HDD + 32GB SSD. (Thats stock configuration. I had installed another 1TB HDD later myself)
    And then restored the BIOS to default settings (which changed SATA mode to IRST). So everything went back to the way it was before, when i had purchased it.

    Then I cleaned both HDD and SSD and tried intalling windows on HDD, but same results again
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8


    I have even tried keeping only SSD inside and taking everything else out. But that doesn't work because the laptop wont recognize the SSD alone after installation reboot without the HDD. So I had to keep one HDD inside.

    Also, even in AHCI mode i tried installing windows on the HDD alone. But was met with same results. I cleaned the RAM chips, SSD, HDDs and pretty much every visible circuit on motherboard, removed dust etc. but nothing solves it.

    Dont know what the hell is causing this
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 5,592
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1


    Try running the Dell diagnostic tools to see if have hardware problem.
    Last edited by theog; 14 Oct 2013 at 15:03.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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