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I recently bought new parts to build a computer. According to the manufacturers, all parts are compatible, and I have 2 HDs - 1 new (currently empty), and 1 old (with data, including Vista 32-bit). I attempted to boot up the old HD in the new computer, and received this message:

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.

I installed Vista 32-bit onto my new HD, and my computer was able to boot up correctly. Once I attempted to upgrade to Windows 7 64-bit, I received this message again. I did a custom upgrade and reformatted the HD (which are the instructions from Microsoft).

After reformatting again, and trying to reinstall Vista 32-bit using a custom install, I receive this error message, and the new computer will not boot up. My old computer will run with the old HD using Vista, so the problem is not my old HD.

The only hardware plugged into my new computer on bootup are the essentials (power cord, monitor, mouse, and keyboard). I will attempt to unplug some hardware (optical drives) and see if these are the problem. I will also see if I can install Vista 32-bit on my new HD using my old computer, then upgrade to 7 64-bit to see if the install disks are the problem. Right now the boot priority for my new computer is 1) DVD ROM with OS install disk inside, and 2) HD currently installed.

I have booted up using repair mode, which does not work with any of these errors. My motherboard may be the problem, but I do not want to replace it until I have no other options and have narrowed down that it is faulty.

Any suggestions are appreciated, thanks in advance.

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closed as too localized by studiohack Mar 13 '12 at 14:35

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I have another option I am going to try tonight. I will try to install Vista 32-bit (then upgrade to 7 64-bit) on my new HD using my old computer. The problem may be caused by the fact that I currently have 8 GB (2 4 GB sticks) of DDR3 RAM installed in my new computer, and the technical limitations for Vista 32-bit are 4 GB (I am still not sure how it was able to install and boot up correctly at one point). I could also try to take out one of the 4 GB sticks from my new HD and see if that works. Any other suggestions? – Ryan Mar 30 '11 at 20:57
Edit: take out one of the 4 GB sticks from my new computer, not new HD. – Ryan Mar 30 '11 at 21:23

Just found this post again, and I figured I would give an update in case anyone has this same problem (since I am the original poster). The most logical answer that I can come up with is that when I originally booted up Vista 32-bit on my new computer with 8 GB of RAM, it fried the motherboard (normally if there is too much RAM for a 32-bit system, it shouldn't boot at all, but as we can see here, it did). This might have caused the motherboard to not boot up at all in other steps.

Long story short, I got a replacement for the motherboard, and everything has worked great since the first boot.

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