Sunday, December 11, 2011

Windows 7 32 bit install freeze while "Completing installation..."

On a Macbook Pro, installing Windows 7 32 bits on the boot camp partition may freeze after the first successful reboot at the "Completing installation..." phase. Also, when you kill the computer to unfreeze it, your installation is trashed and you have to start over again. There are a multitude of suggestions on how to deal with this problem on the web. This is a summary of what I figured out.

After the first reboot, I told the installer to boot into safe mode. This stops the installation from proceeding and trashing the install when it crashes. With e.g.: shift+f10, open a command prompt and then execute compmgmtlauncher. This brings up the computer management console. Look under the device manager and browse through the devices. In my case, I could freeze the computer just by looking at the ethernet controller. Interesting...

But how to work around it? Disabling the device didn't help because the installer crashed anyway. So I took out memory from the machine and left it with 2 gb of RAM (and no, the memory is not bad). At this point, the device manager didn't hang anymore after browsing the ethernet controller. When I rebooted and let the installation proceed, this time it completed successfully. Note that the installer recognized and installed the ethernet controller drivers correctly. Once Windows 7 was installed, I restored the memory back to what it was before. Everything seems to work fine so far.

From this experience, it looks like device recognition during the installation may induce failures when you have more than 2 gb of RAM. How bothersome :(.


Anonymous said...

With 2GB of RAM do you still need to access the computer management console?

Andrés said...

I used the 2gb setup to be able to boot and get some hints about what was going on. You may want to use the console to make sure the 2gb workaround actually helps.