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I've got a 2 or 3-year old desktop that was running Windows XP Pro.

It hadn't been used for a while, so I thought I'd update it to Windows 7 and get it running again. When I fired it up it went to a black screen after showing the Windows XP logo.

I thought the drive was corrupt, so I went ahead and put in the Windows 7 upgrade disk and rebooted. It started the install program, and went ahead normally. After installing, when it was time to reboot to finish the installation, the machine just kept rebooting itself, and going to the Windows boot selection screen (safe mode, safe mode w/ networking etc.).

If I choose safe mode, it won't complete the install process and forces a reboot. If I choose boot Windows normally, it just goes to a black screen and reboots itself again (and again, and again).

I tried the system repair several times, and it's pulled a couple different errors, one that said it was a bad driver, one that said it was a corrupt partition, neither one of which windows could fix.

I also tried check disk, but again, it went all the way through the check process and died on reboot.

I tried another install, this time using the advanced options and deleting the existing partitions and formatting the drive (though I can't believe it really formatted, since it only took a few seconds!) with the same results.

I'm at the end of my rope here -- what else could be causing the problem? I've tested the memory and it came out with no errors -- could it be motherboard or I/O issues?


Thanks to the commenters below, I tried a few more things.

At one point, the install process completed, and I was able to get up and running in Win7. The system downloaded about 150MB of updates, and requested a reboot. Once I rebooted, it was back to the same behavior-- after the Windows logo loaded, the system went black, and immediately rebooted.

I tried the tip to disable automatic reboot, but it made no difference-- it rebooted just the same. I tried all the options on the boot menu in fact, and nothing made any difference. It was just a hampster wheel of reboots, over and over. I tried booting into safe mode and it hung for a long time on the driver list, then rebooted.

I'm pretty sure it has to be hardware related at this point (motherboard maybe?) but I don't know the next things to try to narrow it down.

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migrated from Feb 4 '12 at 20:53

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

I would get a Linux LiveCD and zero out the first gigabyte or so of the disk. That will nuke any partition or filesystem information and you can be sure you're installing cleanly. – Joel E Salas Feb 4 '12 at 21:21
If you disable the automatic restart on error, do you get a blue screen error instead of a reboot? If so, what's the Stop error/code? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Feb 4 '12 at 22:56
Sounds like a hardware problem to me. – Moab Feb 5 '12 at 3:12
@techie007, how would they change the setting? They cannot even boot, and I don’t booting a live-disc, mounting the registry, and finding and editing the setting is practical for them.<br /><br /> It does indeed sound like a hardware problem, with the disk to be specific. Check the cables. – Synetech Feb 8 '12 at 3:59
@Synetech If he can get into Safe Mode (as he says he did), then I would think he can get to the F8 menu, which has the option to disable the auto-reboot on error. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Feb 8 '12 at 12:54

The corrupt XP drive and your current symptoms sounds like hardware, I'm guessing memory. Get someone to burn you a copy UBCD, downloadable here. It has memory and disk checking utilities that should point you in the right direction.

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