Most of us have had to reinstall Windows at some point and the worst nightmare you can come across is a seemingly random hang. It can be one of the most frustrating problems computer users face as it usually means your computer is completely unusable but never fear, this article will take you through common problems and solutions. It will also give you places to get more information if your computer defies all logic.
I would always advise backing up everything from your existing Operating System and doing a clean install so if it has hung during an upgrade try and do a clean install. If for some reason you have “lost” your backups, first use a Linux LiveCD to retrieve your files then try a clean installation.
If things are still moving on the screen at the “Completing Installation” section, it is likely that it is still running just taking its time about it all. My computer took 20 minutes on this stage of the installation.
“Turn it off and on again”
The most common sentence to ever come from a tech support department and usually refers to the early days of personal computing, but it does hold some truth if your Windows installation has suddenly hung as it could just be a random error, besides, who says computers are logical things?
When you get to the partitioning stage the second time round, you will want to wipe all partitions and make it “Unallocated Space” again by clicking “Advance” then selecting each partition and clicking “Delete”. This will ensure that Windows is not trying to write to a corrupted file system. Make sure you unplug any USB devices (apart from your keyboard and mouse) as these can sometimes cause a hang during installation.
Click continue and pray to the computing gods that all goes well this time around.
Some hardware can cause Windows to hang during installation, graphics cards and TV tuners and other expansion cards can cause this. If your computer has an integrated graphics card try and use that and unplug your graphics card. You will also want to remove any unnecessary expansions for the installation such as TV tuners and WiFi cards, you can plug these back in one-by-one and install them once Windows is running.
You will also want to reset your BIOS to its defaults if you have done any overclocking in your system, if this doesn’t work you may want to try an IDE hard disk instead of a SATA one or set SATA to AHCI in your BIOS settings.
Finally you may want to try and perform a BIOS update if there is a newer version available, click here for more information.
If it still doesn’t work after all this it may just be the DVD drive or the DVD itself and you could try and install Windows 7 from USB.
A random hang with no error or warning could be any number of possible faults to do with any amount of hardware, firmware or even Windows problems. This guide should have shown you a few methods you can use to make Windows go ahead with its install or at least throw an error at you. The most common problem when this happens is a simple “random error” which requires a reboot and it is seemingly on its way to completing the installation, the more complex but less common problem is a hardware problem.
If neither of these seem to be the case, I would start by searching Google for your manufacturer and model number and see if anyone else is having the same issues.