I am trying to fix someone's computer. They have Windows 7, and my plan was to just reinstall. However it appears the computer will not boot from any disc. I have tried

  • Hiren boot CD
  • Lucid Puppy Linux
  • Windows 64-bit
  • Windows 32-bit
  • Parted magic

In each case it reads the disc, and starts the boot process, but does not finish. For example with Lucid Puppy Linux Live CD, I will see

Loading vmlinuz.....
Loading initrd.gz...

Then the screen will turn black and stay that way forever. If you boot the computer without any discs the computer will stop at

Starting Windows

same with Safe Mode.

I ran one Pass of MemTest86, with no Errors

I tried booting from CD and flash drive, same problem.

I tried unplugging SATA hard drive and just booting from CD/USB, same problem.

  • 2
    Have you validated that the boot CDs work on another computer? If you come as far as loading the kernel + initial ramdisk, the boot loader worked and the partition is accessible. Can you rule out a hardware defect? (RAM module fault? IDE device/controller fault?) – Chaos_99 Aug 15 '13 at 21:12
  • 1
    @ott-- Obviously the BIOS settings are fine as he said the CD starts to boot and doesn't finish, and he already said he tried using a rescue disk and it didn't work. Did you even read the question?----- If cleaning the CD drive as suggested below doesn't work, I would try picking up a different CD drive to test. – Moses Aug 16 '13 at 12:48
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    So, does this computer still boot into windows 7 - but you are running into an issue where you just want to re install the OS and be done with it? I have noticed that if you leave the HDD in the boot list in BIOS and it has a bootable OS - sometimes it helps to remove that drive from the list of drives to look at on boot. Alternatively, you could just unplug the SATA cable temporarily at boot, see if you can get the computer to load from CD/USB and when the windows installer finally loads you can plug the SATA cable back in and windows should see it in the available drives menu at install. – Richie086 Aug 16 '13 at 16:56
  • Another thing to try is if you have a spare 2nd hard drive, temporarily replace the primary drive with your spare disk and see what the results are when you try to boot from CD. If the computer is a pre-built - the manufacturer could have made it so you need to use the supplied restore disk in order to properly reinstall the OS or something similarly stupid. – Richie086 Aug 16 '13 at 16:59

It sounds like a RAM issue to me, try making a Memtest Boot CD, and checking that the ram is all ok, http://www.memtest.org/. if it's the RAM try removing a stick, or if theres only one stick it may be a trip to the computer store.

  • 2
    I think no RAM issues, see question edit. – Steven Penny Aug 15 '13 at 22:22
  • I'm confused, in the question you say there's no RAM issues but you accepted this answer as right? – Celeritas Nov 29 '13 at 3:46

I believe a good cleaning on the drive can solve the problem. Here are some methods to do this.

If cleaning does not work, you can try replacing the drive CD/DVD. Is also possible to install windows 7 from usb.(See here).


Good Luck. :)

  • See question edit, it appears CD drive is not the issue – Steven Penny Aug 16 '13 at 16:42

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