Windows 7 stalls on startup

  DJ-Garry 10:46 04 Feb 2015

Hi guys :)

I'm using a recently installed OS as my HDD gave up. I bought a copy of a Windows 7 Home Premium Service pack 1 installation disc from a local PC shop, as my laptop didn't come with an OEM copy, and the recovery section of the HDD wasn't readable ..... and I ran the installation just fine using the OEM number from my machine. I verified the install with Windows on-line, and all has been running great for a few months now. Then, one day ....... the boot-up sequence just started hanging. It gets to the point of playing the Windows welcome music, entering the user log-on password, and displaying the welcome screen...... but it just sticks there, with the little "busy" circle thing just spinning round and round constantly. I've left it for hours to see if it's trying to fix some kind of error in this time, but no success.

I've tried to go back to different System Restore points that were created when software was installed etc, but this didn't help at all. I've tried booting into Safe Mode with networking, and everything "seems" fine like this, although the sound doesn't seem to work. It says "Audio Service Not Running" when I hover the mouse over the speaker with an X though it in the notification tray. I'm not sure if this is normal though in Safe Mode, is it?

It would appear (to my limited knowledge) that there may be a hardware problem causing the hang, but Windows is not offering up any clues at to what it could be at all. No beeps at POST, and Device Manager is not showing up ANY issues with any devices at all in Safe Mode, but ........ When I attempt to play an .mp3 music file with Winamp in Safe mode, I get an on-screen error flag of "Bad DirectSound Driver. Please install proper drivers or select another device in configuration. Error Code: 88780078. When I attempt to play an .mp4 video file with Windows Media Player, I get an on-screen error flag of: Server execution failed. Is all this normal in Safe Mode, or indicative of my main issue?

I've tried booting from the Windows Installation CD to see if it offers me the option of running a Windows Repair procedure, but I only get offered the Update/Upgrade Operation System option (to Windows 8, I guess), or a Clean Install of Windows 7 option, neither of which I think is appropriate here, is it? The Advanced Recovery Methods section of Windows itself in Safe Mode, only offers the options of re-installing, in which case I will lose all my apps and have to re-install them all from scratch, and all my data would have to be backed up somewhere too ...... or the option of using a System Image backup disc, which I do not have.

Any clues as to what could be causing this boot-up hang would be very much appreciated, and/or the most non-invasive way of correcting the issue, without having to lose all my installed apps and data hopefully too please, Ideally a different Windows Repair option I think.

Thanks to all in advance :-) Garry.

  xania 11:12 04 Feb 2015

You may well have answered your own question. The install DVD you used may not have had the necessary audio drivers so you may need to go to the manufacturers web site and download the drivers - not only for audio but for everything else. Why it worked for so long and stopped is anyone's guess, but the drivers you did install may well have worked but become corrupt. So you might want to try this first:

click here

  alanrwood 11:20 04 Feb 2015

Another possibility is that it is trying to load some program/driver which is corrupt and just hangs the boot process.

If I understand you correctly it works fine in Safe Mode so it is not a hardware problem.

I had a similar problem with a friends computer and it turned out to be an unwelcome install of Vosteran which pointed to a file which was non-existant. I eventually used Safe Mode to get to msconfig and removed all the start ups.

  northumbria61 11:22 04 Feb 2015

xania - I think the main problem that has been described is the boot up sequence not working correctly.

SupaGaz - Safe Mode runs with limited drivers so Audio Service not running would be normal. Try safe mode with command prompt and see if you can run sfc /scannow

  onthelimit1 11:24 04 Feb 2015

I had something similar with a w7 install which turned out to be the basic windows graphics driver. Best to go to the PC/laptop manufacturer's, and/or the motherboard manufacturer's websites - most have all the necessary drivers for free download.

  robin_x 14:24 04 Feb 2015

Try the above first.

If you do want to do a Repair Install (now known as In-place Upgrade), you don't boot from the DVD.

Rather, you boot Windows as normal, then run (double-click) Setup.exe on the DVD.

Select Install and then select option to keep files, apps and settings.

  alanrwood 19:49 04 Feb 2015

The OP is trying to install Win 7 so the repair option is normally available by booting from the DVD. It is usually on the first screen at bottom left, not very prominent.

  DJ-Garry 18:08 05 Feb 2015

Thanks for the input guys ....... but,

running the Command prompt from the desktop in safe mode, I got this response to the system scan: "Windows Resource Protection did not find any integrity violations." ..... and when trying to do the repair option booting from the Windows 7 installation disc and running the Repair Windows Start-up/Boot Problems, it said it found nothing wrong either. The machine will still only boot into Safe Mode, as it was before :-(

Help ????

  robin_x 23:32 05 Feb 2015

Chkdsk hasn't been mentioned. Although I'm not sure it will help. Try it anyway:

Boot to Safe Mode.

Press Windows Key and R and type chkdsk c: /F /R

You'll be asked to reboot and it will take a while.

When it is done, and if Windows hangs again, try pressing Shift F10, while it is hanging, and see if it opens a Command Prompt.

If it does, type compmgmtlauncher and have a look in Device Manager for any dodgy devices highlighted.

Right-click and disable any listed.

If still hanging, and no Command Prompt, reboot to Safe Mode.

Press Windows key and R and type msconfig.exe

Select Diagnostic Startup on the General Tab and Apply.

Select Base Video on the Boot Tab and click OK and restart computer.

If W7 doesn't hang you'll need to find which Startup Item or Service or Video was causing the problem (trial and error, one by one or in groups)

If it's still hanging, need to get at Device Manager while it is trying to load drivers.


So back to In-place upgrade time.

Boot to Safe Mode.

Run the setup.exe file on the DVD and Install.

Choose option to keep files, settings and programs if asked. This 'Repair Install' will be to C: again.

At some point, Windows will put a dialogue box up saying it can't continue in Safe Mode.

Do not OK or close the box, now Shift + F10 will allow Command Prompt and compmgmtlauncher to get to Device Manager.

Disable any suspect devices and continue.

THe Second Half of this link (not the First Half) explains.

click here


If you still have problems, I'd recommend backing up your data (from Safe Mode)and doing a proper Clean Install (and format C:)

  DJ-Garry 07:58 12 Feb 2015

Well......... unbelievably, robintheumpteenth's very first suggestion of running chkdsk from Safe Mode actually seems to have worked :-) I'm not sure exactly what it found and fixed as I left it running for an hour or so, while it did it's thing. One person in the household noticed a message that said "operation complete" at some point. After entering my Windows log-in password following the re-boot, I'm back into regular Windows and all seems well. I'm a little bemused with this resolution as it's a brand new Hard Drive freshly formatted for the recent install only a few months ago.

I guess it begs the question, would I be able to find a log of what chkdsk did saved anywhere maybe?

In the mean time, many thanks to all that offered suggestions, and a special thank you to robintheumpteenth of course. Legend.

Garry :-)

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