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I'm having trouble installing Windows 7 on a HP d1160 (maybe 5-7 years old).

I've already done this one time when the harddrive died. Now I'm doing once again because of a second harddrive failure. I've tried installing from several DVDs (maybe there's a problem with the disc..?) and several different DVD readers and also from a bootable USB with Windows 7, but no luck. I eventually wind up with an error saying it can't load winload.exe or something with \boot\bcd missing...

I've finally turned to the motherboard and tried to flash the BIOS, but I found it's very hard to flash it without and OS. HP only supplies the BIOS update as an exe-file and since I can't execute it, I couldn't upgrade it.

I also tried to make a bootable USB with a DOS system files on, but that bios upgrade won't run in that environment. Any ideas or hints on the next step?

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I suggest you reset your bios to defaults, then make sure your boot settings have the CD drive at the top.. Finally, reformat your hard drive and try yet again.

If you still are having problems, then setup (sadly) another version of Windows, use that to update your BIOS. Try again.

If you're STILL having problems, I'd try installing to another hard drive (Seems far fetched, but could be it).

You can use the Super Grub Disk to help with booting systems with messed up boot configurations. Play with that a bunch.

If you're STILL STILL a creature of woe, go get a beer and play some good music.

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Thanks for the suggestion. I will try to reset the bios settings and see it helps. Right now I doubt that anything will help, I was pretty much into your last option last night after a couple of hours fighting with the computer... – cuj74 Jul 5 '11 at 6:32
There's always perfectly viable options, like learning to play a guitar or something. That doesn't strictly require booting of any kind. Actually, it's possible your problem could have something to do with using a build of Windows 7 that requires EFI to boot? Do you have an XP install disc you can try? Or perhaps Ubuntu Linux? Can you boot anything else off CD? – Doc Jul 5 '11 at 15:22

I would run a memory tester

Download the prebuilt ISO, burn it to CD as an Image (not data), boot from that CD and run the memory test for a couple of hours or overnight to stress test the memory. If you get errors with this test you have a bad memory module, if you have more than one memory module installed remove all but one and re-run the test, test each module individually until you find the bad one.

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You might also check the HP site for drivers and for that matter to make sure your system will support Windows 7. Unless you system was sold in the last year or two it may not even support Windows 7, especially with systems build by major manufactures like Dell, HP, Acer, etc... they make more money this way.

Even my home built Intel 975bx2 Q6600 four year old system has issues with Windows 7 due to the lack of support by Intel for Windows 7 drivers. My solution is to run Fedora, Ubuntu, Centos, and then if I need to run Windows I fire up Xen and create a virtual machine.

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I'm pretty sure that Windows 7 will work on this computer since I've already installed with Windows 7 once. But I totally agree with the part that they try to make more money this way... – cuj74 Jul 5 '11 at 6:29

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