Windows 7 system recovery problems/hangs/stalls

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Hello tom's hardware community,

I need help. The past 2 months my computer has been giving me read/write errors and i was due for a fresh OS install. So recently my hard drive crapped out and i could not get windows 7 OS to boot from the hard drive. (my assumption is that some of the bad sectors are located with some of the system files causing boot failure) So i thought to myself, all i need to do is reformat hard drive, run check-disk, isolate bad sectors, and reinstall windows.

So far this is what i have done... created Ubuntu live CD and backed up all my music, videos, browser settings, etc

This is where i start to have problems... when i get the boot failure, windows automatically goes to the system recovery partition and begins to boot. i get the white windows loading progress bar at the bottom, the windows starting logo, then it goes to the windows 7 theme picture (bluish background with the little bird) and it just stays there. i can move the mouse around, but nothing prompts

so i dug up my system recovery disk and tried a recovery from those. Same thing happened. disk drive spins up, white loading progress bar, windows starting logo, then windows bluish background, and then nothing happens. So i thought to myself, okay maybe my recovery disk are old and damaged. so ill make a repair boot disk...

....(attempt number 3) i have another computer running windows 7 and i made a windows 7 repair boot disk. I figured i could use this repair disk to boot windows and access the recovery partition and restore the factory image. I burn the disk, load the disk, restart the computer, repair disk begins to spin up, white loading bars, windows starting logo, windows blue background, and theeeeennnn... it prompts me to select language. YESSS its working. i select US and click next. .... .... (sigh) nothing happens, no prompts come up, just windows theme background...

(attempt 4) i have a windows 7 usb installation, surely this has to work. i stick the usb in, restart, computer starts to boot from usb, usb activity light flashing, white loading bar, windows starting logo, windows theme background, and then the windows 7 installation comes up. I select my language, time zone, keyboard and click next. on the next screen my options are Install now, what to know, or Repair you computer. I select Install Now. the dialog box disappears and then it displays "Setup is starting".... and then it just stays there. windows background with the words "setup is starting". i look back at the usb activity light and it is indicating no activity.


what are the chances that my recovery partition, recovery disks, repair disk, and usb installation are all defective/corrupt? Something else is happening here and i don't know what to do. even tho there are bad sectors on the hard-drive it should still be useable because i was able to read and write information using Ubuntu live CD.

Please help, i don't know what to do.

-pat
 
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alright, i'll try one at a time and pick up some new RAM, ill update in a couple of hours
 
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no success with the factory RAM. I have 3 2gig RAM cards and i tried all three individually in slot 1 with the usb installation disk and repair disk. i gave all 6 test ample time. no success. same problem... boot from media, white loading bar, windows starting logo, windows theme background and then nothing. heading out to best buy to "borrow" some RAM.
 
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so i went to best buy and i spoke to geek squad. they told me that even if i had 64 gig of RAM and nothing was being read or written to the hard drive, the Recovery process is still communicating with the hard drive. The example they gave me was that the recovery process is calling out "hey hard drive are you there? hello hard drive, anyone home?" and the process is being hung up/stalled because it is waiting on a reply from the HDD. This make sense because i was able to fully load Ubuntu live CD onto the RAM and backup files. Geek squad told me that the failing hard drive will not be able to be used as a boot drive, but could probably be used as an external drive until it completely dies.

nehoo... thanks ronintexas, for the suggestion that lead me to the answer.

Diagnosis - Failing hard drive stalling Windows Recovery Process
Solution - Replace hard drive, reinstall windows
 
Windows has many safeguards in place in the installation process. Many times I have installed Ubuntu (or other flavor Unix) without issues, but Windows won't install. Bad RAM, bad HDD, settings in BIOS, even a bad GPU has caused Windows not to install. I hope the hard drive replacement fixed the problem.
 

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