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Windows 7 x86 installs fine then hangs on "Setup is preparing your computer for first use"

    Question

  • Hi ppl,

    Just wanted to ask if anyone having similar hardware setup experienced trouble with x86 installation?

    I tried first to install W7 on second HDD (first partition) but it was usually failing (sometimes during files copy and always after a restart), i tried a few times and discovered that installer sometimes reads second SATA HDD as Disk 0 (incorrect and failing on File Copy stage) and other times as Disk 1 (correct and installing fine until restart then hangs).

    For now i removed completely primary HDD with win XP and try to install W7 on first partition of single HDD (second and third partitions are occupied by Linux Ubuntu). There is really nothing unusual in my setup, still it always hangs on screen called "Setup is preparing your computer for first use".
    I tried removing all USB devices and switched monitor from LCD to CRT, still same. Only thing that bothers me is maybe my 3Dlabs AGP video card (2x DVI ports connected with VGA monitor via adaptor).

    If anyone has suggestions how to install successfully this 8th Great Wonder of the world I will follow.

    H/W specs of test machine below.

    CPU: Intel Pentium 4HT 3GHz s. 478
    MB: Intel Bonanza D875PBZ (i875p chipset)
    RAM: 2GB (4x 512MB DDR400)
    video: 3DLabs Wildcat VP990 Pro (512MB) AGP x8
    audio: Creative SB Live PCI
    HDD: WD Caviar 70GB SATA150


    Thanks.
    • Edited by fenixus Thursday, February 12, 2009 4:45 PM updated HW specs
    Thursday, February 12, 2009 4:13 PM

Answers

  • Yes, decision is final for this testing machine (HW listed in 1st post). i tried basically everything to work around the issue with no luck. pity, i don't have another AGP video card from different vendor to see if this was the culprit or rather something like chipset driver support issue.

    it doesn't mean i give up on W7 at all hehe :)
    i will try installing it on a different testing machine (even older lol) that stays unused at work, also i will try it on my home desktop rig (nice monster, but running on nvidia chipset) if i have some more free time.

    thanks for help anyways.
    Wednesday, February 18, 2009 4:08 PM
  • Hi Ailo

    Thanks for posting.

    Unfortunately I had to delete your message since it refers to an Unauthorized version of Windows 7. We only support the official version 7000 on these forums.

    Please see the following thread for more information about the version you are using.

    Windows 7 Unauthorized Versions


    Thank you for understanding.

    Thank You for testing Windows 7 Beta

    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Forum Moderator
    Thursday, April 02, 2009 12:26 AM

All replies

  •  

    A SATA disk 0 will ALWAYS be the first disk that is connected to the lowest numbered SATA port.  On some motherboards, it is listed as SATA0 through SATA3 (for four ports), on others it is listed as SATA1 through SATA4.

     

    For example, if you have two hard drives; a 250GB connected to SATA0 and a 750GB connected to SATA1, the OS will report the 250GB as Disk0.  If you were to remove the 250GB drive and leave the 750GB drive connected to SATA1, the OS will then read the 750GB as Disk0.  If you were to reconnect your 250GB hard drive back to the SATA0 port, your 750GB drive will again become Disk1.  If you now connect your 250GB hard drive to SATA2, the 750GB drive would become Disk0 and the 250GB drive will then become Disk1.

     

    This behavior is consistent with all operating systems.  Windows will report the first drive in the lowest numbered port as Disk0 just as Linux will report it as /dev/hd0 or /dev/sd0.  Regardless of where you have your OS loaded, the disk enumeration is based on the hardware.  This behavior is part of the reason that new Linux distros—and Windows—have started to use GUIDs as a drive identifier.

     

     

    Nonetheless, I would guess that your video card may be the odd-ball out.  Very similar to your setup, I have a P4HT 3.2GHz on an Intel D865PERL MB with 3GB (2x1GB +2x512MB) and an ATI HD2600AGP Video card,  Two DVD drives connected IDE, two hard drives connected IDE and another two hard drives connected SATA.  Windows 7 loaded like a champ.  However, when I did the loaded, I disconnected all hard drives with the exception of the one I wanted to use as my Windows 7 target (connected to SATA0).  Once everything was loaded, I reconnected all other drives—including external drives w/out incident.

     

    This is what I would do with your particular when the computer reboots to do the “Setup is preparing your computer for first use”  When the computer boots, hit the <F8>  key and select “Enable low-resolution video” so that you use the standard VGA option.  See if that gets you any further.

     

    Thursday, February 12, 2009 5:40 PM
  • thanks for input.

    SATA port numbering you describe is not quite true for W7 at least in my case.... I know how it works for all other Windows and Linux systems. i tried both SATA ribbons (0 and 1) with a single drive (always detected as disk 0), but when having 2 of them plugged in it's different for W7. seems like Windows 7 installer treats the disk as O or 1 depending on which one its MBR is located (if none then it reads the disk numbers correctly like it should).

    Meaning, if I keep my XP disk as disk0 (primary sata) and connect second SATA disk with empty first partition for future W7 and last 2 partitions assigned to Linux, then during clean install W7 will detect it correctly as Disk1. However when I install W7 onto this disk and reboot (not touching sata ribbon cables) and run the installer again the same SECOND sata disk will be detected by W7 installer as Disk 0 this time. funny.

    Also as installer always hardlocks on "setup is preparing..." i restarted it a few times from there and twice i saw like it tried to proceed (Starting Windows) and then hardlocked on a black blank screen with white mouse cursor in the middle.

    I lean towards video card driver incompatibility. well it means this machine will not run W7 beta properly ever unless video card support will get fixed. I wil try your suggestion to boot it into Low-res VGA to see what happens next.

    EDIT:
    no luck. after enabling Low-Res VGA it hardlocked again with mouse cursor in the middle of black screen displayed right after "Starting Windows", seems like preparing computer for first use stage was omitted. I can try re-installing it for the last time, but seems my v-card is a no go for this beta.

    EDIT2:
    going through clean re-install again. this time i deleted first primary partition (used for former unsuccessful installs of W7) on single sata HDD detected every tim eas Disk0 (keeping 2 other partitions for linux intact, second primery and third logical) from within the installer.
    Now the bummer. I wanted to re-create that Primary partition for W7 and... installer creates 2 of them instead, 200MB for "System" and rest (51GB) for Primary pre-selected for install.
    Why does W7 needs additional 200MB primary partition explained by installer as "To ensure that all Windows features work correctly, Windows might create additional partitions for system files". such message pops up when user hits Apply in order to create single Primary partition on Unallocated space. weird. can someone explain?
    • Edited by fenixus Thursday, February 12, 2009 6:55 PM new facts & typos
    Thursday, February 12, 2009 5:54 PM
  •  

    Just for thoroughness, have you done a memory check recently?  This of course is not to say this is an issue, but it will eliminate another possible component.

    Thursday, February 12, 2009 6:53 PM
  • hardware by itself works flawlessly in this machine under XP SP3 and Ubuntu linux 8.04. I run this system for 24/7 for weeks with no restarts and never have trouble (except for burned video card once and faulty PSU the other time about 2 years ago).
    All possible memory checks (MemTest86+ and some windows testers and benchmarks) pass OK and this system also passes extreme stability testing with Prime95 and Intel Burn Test stress-testing software.
    Hardware itself is definitely not an issue in this machine. rather it's some compatibility problem with W7.
    Thursday, February 12, 2009 7:00 PM
  • another fact very weird for me. this one is related to w7 installer and creating partitions.

    This time I tried to do a complete clean install, so i booted into installer and deleted its primary partition (instead of only formatting it as before). it resulted in Free Unallocated Space (normal).
    Now i hit New button to create fresh primary system partition and allocate all free space to it. Once i clicked Apply installer shows a message that it might need to create additional partitions for some Windows features to work correctly... and I get 200MB primary partition and the second one (53GB) primary partition pre-selected for OS installation.
    anyone can explain why installer forces me to have an additional 200MB partition when creating a new one? what's up with this?
    Thursday, February 12, 2009 7:06 PM
  •  

    This is normal behavior for Windows 7 when loading to a fresh drive, unpartitioned, unformatted drive.  Even in cases where you declare a specific size for the partition, if it is unformatted and left for Windows 7 to format during its installation routine, you will get the same thing.  The behavior is very similar to Linux’s 100MB boot partition.

     

    I believe; however not sure, you can prevent this action by declaring the partition and formatting prior to proceeding on with the rest of the installation.  I have not tested this myself as I am not bothered by the 200MB partition.

     

    Thursday, February 12, 2009 7:14 PM
  • ok, thanks. that explains things a bit, however it's something new in comparison to former windows flavors.

    as for linux it is not a "boot partition" that it creates. Linuxes create a "swap partition" used for memory paging files using windows terminology. they do not need any boot partitions as all boot files are stored by default on linux native partition (Ext3 usually) including boot loader configuration (e.g. GRUB files).

    Formerly i was using a pre-created partition for W7 and it didn't scream for any additional 200MB partition "for windows features..." so i don't think this is even necesary, only annoying.

    anyways, i just completed a fresh initial install (files copy and expanding and the rest of steps until first restart) and problem stays same.
    "Setup is preparing your computer for first use" and instant freeze, just like it was before when i was using different install methods. Last thing I try is hitting reset and allowing it to load Low-res VGA mode. if it doesn't help i give up on this.

    Not sure what causes it, but i bet it may be my unpopular video card with 2 DVI outputs. I read that this may cause similar behavior (not same though) during install (sounds like only VGA mode is suported now in this beta).

    TBH, I got tired with this W7 install riddle lol.

    EDIT:
    no luck. same problem. i give up. any other ideas welcome.
    • Edited by fenixus Thursday, February 12, 2009 7:49 PM typos
    Thursday, February 12, 2009 7:26 PM
  •  

    Here is a suggestion that is available to you.  Set up Windows 7 in a virtual machine and have the VM use the one partition as its disk.  I know this is possible with VMware Workstation 6.5.1.  Even if your VM solution does not allow for that, you can still format the partition in XP, create the Windows 7 virtual machine in your preferred VM solution and create the virtual disk file on the formatted, target partition.  You will, however, lose the ability to experience the Aero desktop effects—which you probably would have lost anyway since you have an odd-ball, unsupported video card.

     

    This is what I meant by the boot partition in Linux.  Traditionally, you would set up a system using the following partition scheme:

     

    100MB = /boot

    1024 = swap

    8192 = /

    20460 = /home

    Etc

     

    Yes, it is not necessary to have a separate /boot partition, but it is highly recommended as it provides a certain level of protection.  You could easily get away with:

     

    1024 = swap

    Remainder = / (with /home, /usr, /boot, /var . . .)

     

    Now with LVM (Logical Volume Manager), the line is blurred further; however, it is still suggested that /boot is placed on a separate partition to ease recovery operations (it is no fun trying to mount an LVM from a recovery, command line environment).

     

    Typing about paths, if you notice—I guess you haven’t since Windows 7 is not playing well with your system—you can now opt to have Windows 7 hide drive letters so that the paths seems similar to how they are incorporated into *nix.  The option is under Folder Option > Advanced Settings > Show drive letters.  Of course the default value, for now, is checked.

     

    What we, as users, believe to be an unnecessary feature sometimes has a real purposeful value that we just cannot see on the surface.  A very good place to read about some of these features and characteristics—and the reasoning behind them—is the Engineering Windows 7 blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/.

     

     

    Thursday, February 12, 2009 8:27 PM
  • Hi

    Disable HT, LAN. audio and try to load
    • Marked as answer by fenixus Friday, February 13, 2009 5:15 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by fenixus Friday, February 13, 2009 5:26 PM
    Thursday, February 12, 2009 9:07 PM
  • DarienHawk, I get your point.
    I agree with your partition scheme for safe recovery of linux. it sounds more like a server scenario setup which is good also for a desktop. what i meant was a simple desktop setup recommended for linux home users by installer default settings.

    I don't have time to play with W7 via VM, anyways as you said v-card in this system is not playing well under W7 and that marks this beta with a huge minus (it works great for all former windows flavors).

    Ventislav, thanks for input.
    I will try disabling all suggested peripherals and HT on cpu to see what comes up as the last resort. honestly I'm already tired with W7 beta. I hope official release will support more hardware, also the older one, as this system is supposed to work on all boxes that were running 2000/XP and Vista before.

    what a bummer that it barely supports many older (still strong for some purposes) video cards and may have trouble with drivers compatibility (wasn't this supposed to be the advantage of W7 over Vista?). hopefully it will all get fixed in RC1.

    will post back soon with results of last install test.
    • Edited by fenixus Friday, February 13, 2009 5:03 PM typos
    Friday, February 13, 2009 4:47 PM
  • unfortunately after Setup restarts it comes back to damn "setup is preparing your computer for first use" and hangs (hard lock) there again.

    I give up. W7 needs much more improvements in compatibility field until it reaches the status of a "not bad" system. I give up for good on this one. thanks for those who tried helping me. returning to XP/Ubuntu dual boot that works for me with all peripherals, full video capabilities, a scanner and UPS battery monitor.
    Friday, February 13, 2009 5:15 PM
  • Do you want other suggestions or this is your final decision?

    Saturday, February 14, 2009 1:30 AM
  • fenixus said:

    thanks for input.

    SATA port numbering you describe is not quite true for W7 at least in my case.... I know how it works for all other Windows and Linux systems. i tried both SATA ribbons (0 and 1) with a single drive (always detected as disk 0), but when having 2 of them plugged in it's different for W7. seems like Windows 7 installer treats the disk as O or 1 depending on which one its MBR is located (if none then it reads the disk numbers correctly like it should).




    There have been reported/confirmed observances elsewhere of this unexpected behavior. There's no official workaround as of now, but the obvious one is to disconnect all but the intended target drive to be certain.
    Lawrence Garvin, M.S., MCITP(x2), MCTS(x5), MCP(x7), MCBMSP
    Principal/CTO, Onsite Technology Solutions, Houston, Texas
    Microsoft MVP - Software Distribution (2005-2009)
    Monday, February 16, 2009 11:54 PM
  • Yes, decision is final for this testing machine (HW listed in 1st post). i tried basically everything to work around the issue with no luck. pity, i don't have another AGP video card from different vendor to see if this was the culprit or rather something like chipset driver support issue.

    it doesn't mean i give up on W7 at all hehe :)
    i will try installing it on a different testing machine (even older lol) that stays unused at work, also i will try it on my home desktop rig (nice monster, but running on nvidia chipset) if i have some more free time.

    thanks for help anyways.
    Wednesday, February 18, 2009 4:08 PM
  • Lawrence Garvin said:

    fenixus said:

    thanks for input.

    SATA port numbering you describe is not quite true for W7 at least in my case.... I know how it works for all other Windows and Linux systems. i tried both SATA ribbons (0 and 1) with a single drive (always detected as disk 0), but when having 2 of them plugged in it's different for W7. seems like Windows 7 installer treats the disk as O or 1 depending on which one its MBR is located (if none then it reads the disk numbers correctly like it should).




    There have been reported/confirmed observances elsewhere of this unexpected behavior. There's no official workaround as of now, but the obvious one is to disconnect all but the intended target drive to be certain.
    Lawrence Garvin, M.S., MCITP(x2), MCTS(x5), MCP(x7), MCBMSP
    Principal/CTO, Onsite Technology Solutions, Houston, Texas
    Microsoft MVP - Software Distribution (2005-2009)


    Thanks for chiming in and also i am grateful for pointing this one out from official stand. I noted this W7 beta installer behavior was odd and very unusual in comparison to other OS flavors.
    Wednesday, February 18, 2009 4:10 PM
  • fenixus said:

    Lawrence Garvin said:

    fenixus said:

    thanks for input.

    SATA port numbering you describe is not quite true for W7 at least in my case.... I know how it works for all other Windows and Linux systems. i tried both SATA ribbons (0 and 1) with a single drive (always detected as disk 0), but when having 2 of them plugged in it's different for W7. seems like Windows 7 installer treats the disk as O or 1 depending on which one its MBR is located (if none then it reads the disk numbers correctly like it should).




    There have been reported/confirmed observances elsewhere of this unexpected behavior. There's no official workaround as of now, but the obvious one is to disconnect all but the intended target drive to be certain.
    Lawrence Garvin, M.S., MCITP(x2), MCTS(x5), MCP(x7), MCBMSP
    Principal/CTO, Onsite Technology Solutions, Houston, Texas
    Microsoft MVP - Software Distribution (2005-2009)


    Thanks for chiming in and also i am grateful for pointing this one out from official stand. I noted this W7 beta installer behavior was odd and very unusual in comparison to other OS flavors.



    The MBR location may be part of the answer to the question as to why some have observed this behavior, and others have not.

    Lawrence Garvin, M.S., MCITP(x2), MCTS(x5), MCP(x7), MCBMSP
    Principal/CTO, Onsite Technology Solutions, Houston, Texas
    Microsoft MVP - Software Distribution (2005-2009)
    Wednesday, February 18, 2009 10:51 PM
  • Hi Ailo

    Thanks for posting.

    Unfortunately I had to delete your message since it refers to an Unauthorized version of Windows 7. We only support the official version 7000 on these forums.

    Please see the following thread for more information about the version you are using.

    Windows 7 Unauthorized Versions


    Thank you for understanding.

    Thank You for testing Windows 7 Beta

    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Forum Moderator
    Thursday, April 02, 2009 12:26 AM
  • Hi Ronnie.

    Very well, then. I will play along the "authorised" spin... I have a legit version 7000 (aka "public beta" release) and have tried to install it on my lounge HTPC.  The problem still exists and cannot not be overcome with any of the "suggested" solutions.  First things first, these are my specs:

    Mobo: Asus A8R-32MVP Deluxe (BIOS 0701 which is the latest avail)
    Chipset: ATi CrossFire Xpress 3200 + ULi M1575
    CPU: AMD Opteron 180 (x64) Dual Core @ 2400Mhz
    RAM: Corsair 3GB DDR Dual Channel
    VC: Gigabyte 9600GSO 768MB PCI-E (single)
    HDD SATA1: 1 x WD Raptor 80GB (10K RPM) in two partitions
    Part 0 has MBR and Win XP x64 - Part 1 is where I am trying to install W7
    HDD SATA 2+3 2 x Seagate Barracuda 250GB in non-RAID config
    OPT: Pioneer DVR-118 on the Silicon Image additional SATA port


    That's it, nothing else, a pretty straight forward setup, me thinks.

    Well, I have tried disconnecting ALL other drives, including disabling the Silicon Image SATA port, I have clean installed W7 on the pre-formatted partition 1, or deleting said partition completely and letting W7 create a new partition and formatting it.

    Yet, I cannot get past the "Setup is preparing your computer for first use ", no matter what I try!

    Short of changing the video card I have run out of ideas; the setup is really quick and smooth, no complaints there, even when I  tried launching the installer from within Windows XP x64, everything worked well.

    Setup downloads the updated installation files, copies the files, expands the files, downloads updates, completes installation; then it preapares the system registry and starts services.

    It is then, upon final restart, setup goes onto the damn black screen with the attractive shiny line, with a sunny spot spinning on it... all very good, eye catching and all, but I cannot move on from there.

    I do not believe I should change the video card: it has been said that would be the next stage, when setup installs the video settings.  As suggested, I have even tried starting up in "low res" to see if that would get me over the "preparing for first use" hurdle, but no luck.

    Yet today I will pop out and purchase a cheap ATi video card (4550) to see if it makes a difference.  Personally, I do not think it is the problem... but then what do I know?

    Do you know?  Does anyone have any "other" suggestions to actually get into Windows 7 and be finally able to give some feedback?  Thanks in advance to anyone willing to help.

    Marki
    • Edited by MarkiMeerkat Monday, April 20, 2009 2:09 AM grammar
    Monday, April 20, 2009 2:05 AM
  • Hi Ronnie.

    Very well, then. I will play along the "authorised" spin... I have a legit version 7000 (aka "public beta" release) and have tried to install it on my lounge HTPC.  The problem still exists and cannot not be overcome with any of the "suggested" solutions.  First things first, these are my specs:

    Mobo: Asus A8R-32MVP Deluxe (BIOS 0701 which is the latest avail)
    Chipset: ATi CrossFire Xpress 3200 + ULi M1575
    CPU: AMD Opteron 180 (x64) Dual Core @ 2400Mhz
    RAM: Corsair 3GB DDR Dual Channel
    VC: Gigabyte 9600GSO 768MB PCI-E (single)
    HDD SATA1: 1 x WD Raptor 80GB (10K RPM) in two partitions
    Part 0 has MBR and Win XP x64 - Part 1 is where I am trying to install W7
    HDD SATA 2+3 2 x Seagate Barracuda 250GB in non-RAID config
    OPT: Pioneer DVR-118 on the Silicon Image additional SATA port


    That's it, nothing else, a pretty straight forward setup, me thinks.

    Well, I have tried disconnecting ALL other drives, including disabling the Silicon Image SATA port, I have clean installed W7 on the pre-formatted partition 1, or deleting said partition completely and letting W7 create a new partition and formatting it.

    Yet, I cannot get past the "Setup is preparing your computer for first use ", no matter what I try!

    Short of changing the video card I have run out of ideas; the setup is really quick and smooth, no complaints there, even when I  tried launching the installer from within Windows XP x64, everything worked well.

    Setup downloads the updated installation files, copies the files, expands the files, downloads updates, completes installation; then it preapares the system registry and starts services.

    It is then, upon final restart, setup goes onto the damn black screen with the attractive shiny line, with a sunny spot spinning on it... all very good, eye catching and all, but I cannot move on from there.

    I do not believe I should change the video card: it has been said that would be the next stage, when setup installs the video settings.  As suggested, I have even tried starting up in "low res" to see if that would get me over the "preparing for first use" hurdle, but no luck.

    Yet today I will pop out and purchase a cheap ATi video card (4550) to see if it makes a difference.  Personally, I do not think it is the problem... but then what do I know?

    Do you know?  Does anyone have any "other" suggestions to actually get into Windows 7 and be finally able to give some feedback?  Thanks in advance to anyone willing to help.

    Marki


    Hi,

    on my setup (P4HT 3GHz, Intel Bonanza D875PBZ board, Intel Canterwood i875P chipset, BIOS P34, 2GB RAM (4x512 DDR 400), AGP video card 3Dlabs Wildcat VP990 Pro) I have exact same issue and cannot install W7 no matter what. I also tried W7 7100 RC1 and still the problem is same.

    Wednesday, May 20, 2009 4:19 PM