Software & Operating Systems

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Windows 7 Install on New Hard Drive - Windows failed to load because a critical system driver is missing, or corrupt

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I have a Dell Inspiron 1720. Bought a new hard drive (Hitachi Travelstar 320GB SATA 7200 RPM) and Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit.  

The Inspiron was previously running Vista 32-bit.  Had lots of problems with the hard drive (was replaced once already) and with Vista, so wanted to scrap it all and start fresh with a new drive and Windows 7.

I went through the installation just fine. When the laptop rebooted, I am taking to a Windows Boot Manager screen. It advises to restart the computer and run the "repair your computer" from the Windows 7 DVD.  The error given is "Windows failed to load because a critical system driver is missing, or corrupt."   The files in question are: \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\DRIVERS\NTFS.SYS  and \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM and \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\NTOSKRNL.EXE

One other thing I noticed was that Windows 7 seems to have loaded onto D:\ instead of C:\. I don't know if that matters. 

I've tried repairing from the DVD and it says that it cannot automatically repair.  The "root cause" seems to be Failure while setup in progress.

Any help would be appreciated. Nothing is ever easy...



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  • BIOS version is A02

    HDD is:

    Disk0 Partition 1: System Reserved  Size  100 MB  Type = System

    Disk0 Partition 2: TRVLSTR320  Size 298 GB Type = Primary

  • Well, believe it or not, here was my problem. And yes, I agree it is weird and does not seem to make sense.

    I had the laptop plugged into my router via a network cable the entire time.  Then I moved to the kitchen, and unplugged the cable. As soon as I unplugged the cable, Windows 7 booted right up.  For some reason, the LAN port being active caused Windows not to load properly.

    It really makes no sense to me. But I wanted to post in case others had this issue.

    Good luck.