Why won’t my Windows 7 PC boot reliably?
Question by Bloke-on-a-spoke /

When I boot my computer, Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 rarely boots and the “Windows failed to start” message appears with options to “Launch Startup Repair” or to “Start Windows Normally.” Choosing “Starting Windows normally” will sometimes result in Windows booting. Startup repair never works. I also sometimes receive a hang cursor in the top left corner of a black screen when I boot the computer, or a hanging “Starting Windows” screen. The system sometimes hangs before POST is achieved.

When Windows 7 is running the “sleep key” works and “wake from sleep key” works every time. Rebooting to perform Windows updates works fine. I’ve had the same problems with two different mobos. The current on is an ASRock P5B-DE is. I suppose this gives the mobos a clean bill of health. All other components have been unchanged. Memtest found no issues, and neither did Disk Checker. Here’s my hardware.

Q6600 Core 2 Quad
4 x 2048@400Mhz DDR2 800
Nvidia PCI Express GeForce 9500GT with 1024Mb ram. 3 sata hard drives.
Disk Management “Snap in” gives
Disk 0 Hitachi….E System,Active,Primary Partition.
Disk 1 Hitachi….D Active,Primary Partition
Disk 2 WDC….C Boot,Pagefile,Active,Crash Dump,Primary Partition.

I tried ACPI HPET in BIOS enabled and disabled but no change – didn’t know what I was doing really.

By the way, thanks to all you guys who replied to my post about improving search engine hits and respect to whoever posts a reply to my question.

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Answers (9)
  • Jeff Fabish

    Did you recently make any hardware or (critical) software changes?

    Boot into safe mode and try to restore Windows.

  • FIDELIS

    Hello, with regards to HPET, you can read about it on the following link:

    http://www.techarp.com/showfreebog.aspx?lang=0&bogno=415

    If you run 7 Ultimate 64 bits you can set the setting to 64, if not leave it at 32.  I do not think changing the setting for HPET caused any damage to your startup, unless your system is only able to run 32 bits.  Have you tried using safemode to see if windows starts up ok?  To enter safemode press the f8, and select safemode.  If regular safemode does not work you can try the safemode with networking mode or safemode with command prompt.

    Do you have a windows 7 installation disk?  Or,  Does you computer have a partition with an image on it from the manufacturer?  Having the installation disk would be better to try and fix your startup.  If you do not have the installation disk and your system has a partition with an image you can use that too, as long as you can access it.  Depending on the manufacturer, there are combination keys to access the recovery partition.  Ok, if you have installation disk, can you try the following? 

    —  Insert installation disk on your cd/dvd drive

    —  Start computer from disk.  You can either go into BIOS to change boot order or depending on your BIOS, you can press a key on startup.  I can not tell you what key/keys you need to press because I do not know what  BIOS you have on your system.   To enter BIOS it could be the delete key, f2, etc., and for changing startup could be F10, F11, etc.

    —  Once computer is started and disk is loaded, select Repair computer, click on next

    —  Choose the operating system you want to repair.  If there is more than one, make sure to select the windows 7 ultimate installation and click on next.

    —  In the system recovery options, select command prompt.

    —  In command prompt type the following commands and press enter after each one.  Make sure to leave a space between .exe and /:

    bootrec.exe /FixMbr
    bootrec.exe /FixBoot

    Once commands run successfully, exit command prompt.  If you change boot order, make sure to set it back to boot up from the harddrive where your windows 7 is installed.  If you only change the boot up for this instance, just let the computer restart.  Hopefully doing this, will fix your startup problems. 

    If computer restarts normally after this, make sure to download tdsskiller and scan your computer.

    http://support.kaspersky.com/faq/?qid=208283363

    If the steps above, do not solve your problem, you have to start troubleshooting hardware.  Did any new hardware get installed before this started happening?  Any new software? 

    • Mjevolve

      Hello Fidelis ,
      he says the Windows does start some time .
      at other times it just gets stuck and doesnt move forward .

      if there is an error in the Boot Record/Table ,
      it would be a serious error and then the Windows would not start at any moment .

      the moment you power on and after going forward from the BIOS set up and the OEM logo , it would stop and unable to find any Boot Data it would end up  display some error like ” windows was unable to start . Please insert the installation disc or contact the System manufacturer or administrator ” …
      some thing like this ….

      so i doubt if there is an error in the Boot Table ..

      and these commands of fixing the Boot Record should be used carefully esp only when the start up is unable to find the path – where to boot .

      these commands will rewrite the boot table and if not done correctly , you might even damage the previous recoverable table or end up damaging the hard drive ….

      i hope it makes sense ..  :)

  • FIDELIS

    Hello, with regards to HPET, you can read about it on the following link:

    http://www.techarp.com/showfreebog.aspx?lang=0&bogno=415

    If you run 7 Ultimate 64 bits you can set the setting to 64, if not leave it at 32.  I do not think changing the setting for HPET caused any damage to your startup, unless your system is only able to run 32 bits.  Have you tried using safemode to see if windows starts up ok?  To enter safemode press the f8, and select safemode.  If regular safemode does not work you can try the safemode with networking mode or safemode with command prompt.

    Do you have a windows 7 installation disk?  Or,  Does you computer have a partition with an image on it from the manufacturer?  Having the installation disk would be better to try and fix your startup.  If you do not have the installation disk and your system has a partition with an image you can use that too, as long as you can access it.  Depending on the manufacturer, there are combination keys to access the recovery partition.  Ok, if you have installation disk, can you try the following? 

    —  Insert installation disk on your cd/dvd drive

    —  Start computer from disk.  You can either go into BIOS to change boot order or depending on your BIOS, you can press a key on startup.  I can not tell you what key/keys you need to press because I do not know what  BIOS you have on your system.   To enter BIOS it could be the delete key, f2, etc., and for changing startup could be F10, F11, etc.

    —  Once computer is started and disk is loaded, select Repair computer, click on next

    —  Choose the operating system you want to repair.  If there is more than one, make sure to select the windows 7 ultimate installation and click on next.

    —  In the system recovery options, select command prompt.

    —  In command prompt type the following commands and press enter after each one.  Make sure to leave a space between .exe and /:

    bootrec.exe /FixMbr
    bootrec.exe /FixBoot

    Once commands run successfully, exit command prompt.  If you change boot order, make sure to set it back to boot up from the harddrive where your windows 7 is installed.  If you only change the boot up for this instance, just let the computer restart.  Hopefully doing this, will fix your startup problems. 

    If computer restarts normally after this, make sure to download tdsskiller and scan your computer.

    http://support.kaspersky.com/faq/?qid=208283363

    If the steps above, do not solve your problem, you have to start troubleshooting hardware.  Did any new hardware get installed before this started happening?  Any new software? 

  • Mjevolve

    i had such a issue once on my desktop running Win7 , not exactly the same , but it did get stuck on the windows logo and then started with the windows repair , which also failed .

    try these steps —
    > boot into your BIOS and go to Advanced Set up and look for an option which says ” Last Known Good Configuration . ” . and hit Enter .
    see if it works ..

    >instead of going into the system repair from the hardrive , boot into a Windows Installation Disc and go to System Repair from there .
    ( you can insert your Windows Original DVD if you have one , or download one from the net via torrents and create a bootable disc out of it or the fastest way is create a bootable USB and then boot into it … )

    >after booting , the first you can try is the ” Repair Windows ” option .
    or
    >open the Command Prompt and run the commands
    -sfc/scannow
    -chkdsk/r
    -chkdsk/f

    on my system , running the disk commands resolved the error .

    see if it works for you .

    and as a confirmatory and diagnostic means you can check your hard disk for any physical damage or bad sectors with HDD regenerator (  http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html  ) .
    download the trial version , make a bootable disc or usb and boot your PC with it , and let it scan your Drives for any errors .
    it would report the errors if found but not fix them . ( fixing is in pro .. )

    hope it helps …
    ( and do tell when the issue is resolved …  :)  )

  • Stivinn Aura

    Looks as if there is a faulty memory in your computer.
    I’d try testing all RAM modules for possible errors ( http://memtest86.com ) and booting up the computer with each individual module one at a time to see if one of them is faulty.

    • Bloke-on-a-spoke

      Right . . . gonna give this a go next week as I’m away ’til Monday.  Thanks!