06-10-2020 08:15 AM
I am attempting to resurrect an older desktop Pavilion p6644y (see specs below) within which the original hard drive had died; it is completely inaccessible. I've purchased a new HDD (see specs below), installed said blank physical device, and am now caught up in the frustrating process of trying to load Windows 7 Home Premium (from disc). NOTE: Budgeting is limited. So, in trying to keep costs down on this project for now, I’m loading Win7 because I own a disc and product key. I’ll worry about a Windows upgrade later.
The setup sequence gets hung up/freezing at one of two points during the time interval within the first moments of powering up. This happens immediately following the initial driver load where the progression bar is viewed (“ Windows is loading files…”), right at the point when the logo appears (“Starting Windows”). When booting it in safe mode to view the actual file load sequence, the freeze points are revealed:
I’ve read quite a few root cause analysis along with possible fixes/solutions, e.g. limiting the RAM, BIOS tweaking (disabling secure boot/UEFI), AHCI etc. But, none have worked. For one thing, my BIOS doesn’t even have a “Security” section or an option to disable secure boot. The RAM thing (removing a stick/DDR to limit memory to 1 or 2GB) failed.
Desktop Specs: (links provided)
06-10-2020 09:50 AM
Secondary question: Would my issue have anything to do with the fact that I am attempting to load a separately purchased version of Win7 Home Premium—one with a different product key from the PC's original factory installation load?
06-10-2020 11:03 AM
From what you have written, you shouldn't be having any issues installing W7 on that PC or model hard drive.
Make sure that the drive controller setting in the BIOS is set to AHCI.
There are no legacy mode or secure boot settings in your PC, so those are N/A.
The only reason the memory would be causing W7 not to install would be due to one of the chips being bad--even if it tests good.
I've installed W7 on PC's with the same chipset as yours that have 16 GB of memory and never had an issue.
There could be a problem with the installation media too.
The version of Windows/product key are not contributing factors to your dilemma.
What I would try first would be to remove all the memory chips but one, and try installing W7 on each memory chip to rule out a memory issue. If it installs with one of the memory chips installed, then you know one of the other ones has a problem and needs to be replaced.
If the problem lies with the installation media, here is the link to the latest W7 home premium 64 bit ISO file download.
You will need to have access to another working Windows PC for this.
This link will be good for 24 hours from the time I have posted this reply.
Use the Microsoft tool that I zipped up and attached below to transfer the ISO file to a DVD or USB flash drive so that it is bootable, or you can use a different free utility such as Rufus.
06-10-2020 03:10 PM
First; I'd like to thank you for your response. I'm elated to have someone talking with me about this, and so happy to have another "set of eyes," so to speak, looking at this conundrum and offering advice. I've been dealing with it alone for a few days, and I don't mind telling you that it has me fatigued, to put it nicely.
Also; thank you for the link. I've downloaded the file and will certainly look into using it, if it becomes necessary.
As for the BIOS/AHCI settings; here is where my deepest frustration lies. I've found the suggestion/fix you've mentioned, in so words, at other forums, including Microsoft, and I've even seen it demonstrated on YouTube. However, that option just does not exist in this PC's BIOS. Unless, I am somehow missing it.
Here's what I'm seeing. Perhaps you or someone else can point out what very well be something obvious; something I'm just not knowledgeable enough to see...
Do I need to update BIOS? And if so, how is that done in the absence of an OS?
06-10-2020 03:49 PM - edited 06-10-2020 03:51 PM
You're very welcome.
OK...I had a look at your screenshots. Thanks.
In the advanced BIOS settings you have the SATA Controller set to enabled, and that is what would be equivalent to AHCI.
I think Disabled is IDE mode.
I have an old HP business notebook like that. There is no AHCI setting but there is a SATA Native mode and the setting is enabled or disabled. Enabled gives me AHCI, disabled gives me IDE.
But what I think you need to change is the boot location of your hard drive.
You should connect it to the SATA port that is listed as the 1st drive, where it currently shows as None.
Normally, drives are configured like this...
Hard drive = 1st drive - boot from
Secondary drive (for storage) = 2nd drive
DVD drive = 3rd drive - boot from
Secondary DVD drive, or third storage drive = 4th drive.
Your PC is designed to have the hard drive set as the first boot device, so hopefully, that may be the issue.
If not, I am as baffled as you are...
06-11-2020 07:24 AM
Thank you for all of your attention and sound advice, Paul. I am greatly appreciative.
Yes; "baffled" is the most suited word, and baffled I remain. Nothing has worked. I'll continue employing methodology in various combinations until I've exhausted all the common surface solutions before I start pointing the finger of blame toward the possibility of a fault (or faults) having to do with the motherboard, e.g. bad SATA terminals, bad cables, fried capacitors etc.
You know; I had a full head of hair when I started this. Now, it's time to sweep the floor under my seat, and consider shaving off the remaining six hairs and going for the shiny look.
06-11-2020 07:33 AM
You're very welcome.
I hope you are able to figure out what the problem is, because I have absolutely no idea why Windows 7 doesn't install.
Just for kicks, I would try installing W10 and see what happens. If it hangs up too, then you have a hardware issue of some kind.
Make the bootable installation media using the media creation tool at the link below.
When you get to the part of the installation that asks you to enter a product key, select the 'I don't have a product key' option and W10 will install.
If you get it to install, now that the drive has an OS on it (assuming W10 installs), try reinstalling W7.
06-12-2020 07:48 AM
Thanks again, Paul. Even though my efforts have failed up to this point, it's been a reassuring pleasure to have this conversation.
Let me run the following by you—you and anyone else who'd might want to chime in—and ask your opinion.
I had the idea of fully loading Windows 7 onto an old WD 500 GB external. To be more explicit; I have this older USB-connected WD external which can easily be disassembled. So, what I am thinking of doing is removing the HDD presently occupying the casing, physically installing the newly purchased HDD in its place, performing the Win7 installation onto the new drive via another PC—the one I'm presently using to post this, as a matter of fact— and then (if successful) reinstalling the new fully loaded drive back into the old HP Pavilion. I've found this app (WinTo USB) which can facilitated this action.
Would you or any other knowledgeable person consider, even if successfully done on another PC, that this would be a foolhardy venture because of the fact that I would be loading Windows OS onto this drive within a different PC's environment? Would this create comparability issues once installed into the new environment? And, lastly; might I, in fact, be jeopardizing the health of the PC I'm using to do the installation, or the health of the new HDD?
Forgive my naivete; I'm a novice,,,