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How to Recover from a Windows 7 Installation Failure

written by: Mark Muller•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/20/2011

Not everything goes according to plan. Murphy's Law says if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. Don't let a failed Windows 7 install get you down. Read this article and learn how to recover the system from an incomplete or failed install.

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    As straightforward as the Windows 7 install process is, it isn’t infallible. Sometimes it may fail. It may be due to a power failure while installing or a hardware issue that prevented it. Whatever the reason, it can be restarted and made to complete with a little help.

    There are a couple of hardware issues that have been known to trouble the install of Windows 7, one of them is RAID (implemented at the hardware level). This is a hard drive configuration becoming more and more popular now that disk drives are cheap to buy and large in size.

    If you perform a clean install and have a RAID setup, enter the BIOS of your computer and make sure the RAID mode is configured correctly. If you upgrade your system from a previous version of Windows with a working RAID configuration then you can skip this step.

    The first thing to try is to rebooting the machine with it set to boot from the DVD drive. Press a key when prompted and launch the installer again. Let it go through the motions for a bit until you should be presented with a black Boot Manager screen.

    What you see next is dependent on how far into the installation process you were. If it was at the beginning you should see the option in the Boot Manager to resume Windows 7 Setup. If you were further into the install you should see the Windows 7 option.

    Windows 7 Boot Manager 

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    Either way, select the option for the failed install or Windows 7 depending on what you see.

    The install might grind a bit as it recreates the install files and finds its place, but it should resume within a few minutes. Even if nothing happens on screen, the hard drive should be thrashing.

    Should you have a hardware RAID setup and see a message stating that a required driver is missing then Browse to the location with the RAID driver, e.g. a USB stick, select the driver to be installed, and hit Next. Else, skip this step.

    In an ideal world, the installation should now proceed without an issue, but this isn’t an ideal world and it may not.

    If the install fails again, have a look at your hardware configuration. Do you have anything exotic or rare connected to it? If you have a pretty standard system, then consider removing things like webcams and printers, as these can cause an issue.

    Try the install again after removing all the peripherals you can. Follow the same steps as before to re-initialize the setup program and see if it progresses. If it fails again, then look inside your PC case and remove everything except the hard drive you’re trying to install onto, the DVD drive with the install disk and the graphics card. Strip the system down to the bare bones and repeat the steps above.

    The install really should work now, but if it doesn’t, reboot, and boot from disk again. This time select Repair from the Install screen and then select Startup Repair. This will try and reassemble the install files in order to allow you to boot back into the loader.

    If this doesn’t work, the last resort is to format the disk and begin again. Reboot the machine, choose to boot from DVD, let the setup load and select Install again. Choose the Custom install option and then follow the instructions to format the disk before starting a new install.

    This time if it doesn’t work you can be pretty sure it’s a hardware issue, and that’s a whole other story!

    InstallNow 

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    Reference

    Author's experience

    Images by original author






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