Windows 7 installation hangs at "Completing Installation" – FIX

I have seen the following issue posted a few times now

Directly after the first restart the installer hangs on “Completing Installation”

I have installed Windows 7 on all of my machines (The RC 7100 build) ranging form Netbooks to Quad-Core powerhouses with 8gigs of RAM.  Recently I ran into this issue and figured out what I was doing wrong after 2 failed attempts.

On the “Where do you want to install Windows” page I was just formatting the partition I wanted and clicking “Next”


I did the following and it was smooth sailing from there.

DO NOT just hit “Format”

“Delete” then “Allocate”

It will then create 2 partitions.

Par 1 –  Will be called “System Allocated” and only be 100mb ( This was the key )

Par 2 –  Will be your new OS volume

( You can also just leave the area “Unallocated” and click “Next” )

Where do you want to install Windows?

Where do you want to install Windows?

105 comments to Windows 7 installation hangs at "Completing Installation" – FIX

  • EditioN-

    Thanks, it worked for me, just thought that windows could create it automatically like XP xD

  • djdat

    Of course! I thought the same as EditioN, That the installer would simply do this by itself (beta/RC bug most prob) I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to get it installed! Thank you for clearing this up! 🙂

  • This has seen a lot of traffic since the release of Windows 7.
    I hope this solution works for all of you.

    – Dan

  • I had this problem, the dots still moved but for about 20 mins no change. DVD Drive also itermitant.

    Try ejecting the DVD and try again.

  • Hey, I got past the hanging at “completing install” by pressing shift+f10 and the typing “explorer.exe”. it started loading some settings and then froze with the screen saying “restarting computer”. But when i hard reset my computer, it booted into setting up a user account! =_= might work for anyone else stuck at that point. Spread the word!

  • Eric

    If Windows 7 hangs at a black screen during installation try changing a digital power cord to an LCD monitor, for an analog one. You can swap it back after install

  • Dave

    Lazuline’s suggestion worked for me – shift+F10, start explorer.exe. It performed some initial setup like I was logging for the first time. After that finished it rebooted properly on it’s own and the install completed. Thanks!

  • Phil

    Lazuline’s suggestion worked for me, too. I turned off all USB devices in BIOS; ran W7 install from DVD with keyboard only (laptop trackpad disabled); did a custom install into the first HDD partition which moved c:\windows to c:\windows.old. Then I got the same as Dave.

  • Jules

    The Shift+F10 method worked for me too heh. Seemed weird at first but funny enough, it worked.

  • gsadfgkn

    thanks lazuline!!

  • ched

    ok so shift-f10 did not work but something else did

    at first i wanted 2 partitions so tried that and locked at ‘completing…’

    so i read this and used the option of ‘just leave unallocated’

    worked like a champ

    thanks for advice!

  • david

    thanks lazuline

  • Jeremy

    Lazuline is a national hero. Its crude but it works damnit.

  • bk1987

    k, i still got a problem!
    i do the delete option then i allocate, but still stuck at completing installation, then i press shift f11, type explorer.exe, does a lot of configuring, but after its done the explorer is still open n stuck again, doesnt wann restart by its own, so i hard restart n know i need to reinstall cauz of sum error!

  • LOL!
    Guys, you are great!!!
    I did the “disconnect USB keyboard and attach PS2 keyboard” thing. worked!
    I’m negatively impressed about M$ here, win7 works like a charm once you get it installed… 🙂 🙂

  • arul prakasam

    its working thanks for the information

  • Simon

    lazuline’s suggestion worked for me. far more likely than not unplugging stuff or needing to unplug 2gigs of memory. Most people will be coming from working PCs. there is a bug in the installer that causes the hang when it has, in fact, completed

  • where do u see format??? “Delete” then “Allocate” ??? wtf?
    I have just the options in the picture

  • plx help me ^

  • Laid,
    you have to click “drive options” to see those tools.

  • Ok, heres another one.
    Did not leave the second partinion unallocated. I had two part 1 is system and part 2 is the rest of the memory. Pressed format on part 2. This attempt(attempt number 6) I was going for the press F10 and run explorer.exe. While waiting for computer to hang I was moving the mouse constantly so I could see when it stoped running. It never stopped. I have no idea if its a possibility that the thread listener for the mouse could have something to do with it but now it is installed and I didnt do any other changes.

  • deleting partitions and reformatting them seemed to do the trick!!! AWESOME!

  • shane

    i had to shut mine off because i sat there fore ever and now when i turn it back on it goes “the computer restarted an unexpectedly or encountered an unexpected error. windows installer cannot proceed to install windows click ok to restart the computer and then restart the installation.” when i click okay it goes an resets but goes back to this message. what should i do?

  • Ernest

    I have the same thing as shane the explore.exe did not work

  • majlen

    lazuline’s suggestion worked imediatlly for me! Thanks!!!

  • Duh

    Shift and F10 worked! Thanks man!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much, Lazuline!

  • Touly

    Thanks Lazuline you are a LIFE SAVER

  • Thanks Dan, I actually had selected ‘Allocate’ on a new disk during the original failing install… but had also elected to format (or whatever the option was) the new larger partition. It was only when I went back and left the larger partition unformatted that the installer completed ok.

    Many Thanks!!!

  • shift + f10 worked like a charm, i was so frustrated not seeing any movement from the progress bar. but after running explorer.exe, the next 20 minutes it completed… thanks a lot…

  • lazuline

    I googled my handle and expected to find the usual photos and forum posts by other people who use my name, but who would have known my OCTOBER post on this blog would still be helping people in APRIL. At the time I was doing a clean install (to avoid problems when upgrading… yeah…) of Win7 via usb flashdrive on a couple of computers.

    I’m shocked that Microsoft hasn’t fixed this yet. Google “windows 7 install hang” or similar and you’ll find tons of forums with people stuck with the same problem.

    The shift+f10 is a trick for fixing borked windows installs I learned while working in IT. Running explorer.exe was just intuition based on a similar trick to bypass account creation when you get a loop installing OSX on a hackintosh.

    P.S. I wouldn’t have gotten that far if it wasn’t for Dan’s tip. How very uncharacteristically Apple-like of Microsoft to make the age-old “format” not actually perform its namesake.

  • James M.

    Lazuline. Thank you so much. I’ve been fighting with a Win 7 install for 2 days now, and your tip is what finally got me to the finish line. So simple. So elegant. Just can’t thank you enough.

  • Not impressed

    MS is becoming a total joke and we are no longer in control with this bloatware.

    if they can not even get the dam thing to install then wjat bugs are we going to get later ?

    tried 2 machinnes now, both hang on install and i’ve tried the format trick and shift +f10 but could not login later.

    Wake up people this is mikey mouse bloatware from back door bill and i’m glad i’ce tried a pirate copy before wasting money on this rubish

  • LifeBringer

    Funny thing happened to my netbook (NB100) and I. I’ve been suffering allocation errors. So when I decided to install Win7 n (European Union mandated version) my system hung up at ‘Completing Installation’. When I tried the Lazuline ‘Shift + F10’trick it gave me the actual explorer.exe! It was logged in as ‘SYSTEM’. I tried control panel, but it gave me a configured identity is incorrect/ server process … check the username and password error. ::{26EE0668-A00A-44D7-9371-BEB064C98683}

    IE didn’t launch, Calculator did, Wordpad did, no Aero, Windows PowerShell worked, hit show desktop to hide the installation window, etc…

    Anyway, restarted(shutdown /r) through cmd.exe (only way). Didn’t work, restarted and it gave me the safe mode option suggesting to repair startup through the installation disk/usb.

  • lazulinefan

    thanks lazuline!

  • billy

    Not gonna lie, that shift+f10 trick worked miracles for me… amazing, thanks!

  • Dusty-Lynn

    Thank you Lazuline!Shift-F10 worked like a charm! My computer didn’t freeze as yours did, so just so everyone knows a hard restart is not always required, it is possible for it to restart itself! =D

  • Bump! Came upon this after googling my own username lol

    Most of these problems can be solved by burning the ISO at 2x speed. I solved mine but on other machines this was the case.

    Also in the BIOS turn of EIST as this causes big problems also.

  • pjg

    I am trying about to days to install w7 on 2hd in Raid 0 mode but every time installation stop at “installing updates” step.I checked all possible drivers and I used Lazuline’s tip also, but the results was a message “windows cannot find explorer.exe.Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again”.
    Is there any way to pass over this step?

  • lazuline’s suggestion worked!

    Basicly, after it booted up. I pressed Shift and F10, then type in explorer.exe

    Then let it do it’s thing.

    Then after that, it will restart, and voila. You’ve just bypassed the Completing Setup.

  • Also, I’m using an RTM version. So this isn’t just for beta. It will also work on RTM, but I’m not sure if its going to work on the Retail version. Just give it a try.

  • Kilian

    GOD DAMNED IT WOKRS!!!! Windows sucks men.

  • Pecmoney

    Hey Ive tried all the suggestions here .. im on a hp dv1000 laptop.. still hangs on completion. Shift F10 doesn’t bring anything up. Just locks. Also do you do the Shift F10 after the screens refreshes or immediately after the restart?

  • DjHigh

    my screen still freezes T.T any other comments?

  • daniel2k10

    it works!!!!
    just press SHIFT F10 when completing installation takes place and type in “explorer.exe”

  • warby

    I could kick myself. I had 2 monitors plugged in so it was going to the tv on original start up. just waisted 2 hours but it was the shift and f10 that made me realise.

  • søren

    On my screen I don’t have the drive options, can anyone explain to me why? ( shift and f10 did not worked either)

  • HVH

    Thank you so much for the tip. Been trying to install for ages. I did find out that I had to delete the recovery portion of the hard disk as well before Windows 7 would install.

  • Jamal

    my screen still freezes guys , any help

  • BigGrrr

    Thanks, this fix is it! What is Micro$oft thinking… if the 100MB partition is needed for Windoze than why do they let the install start without it! Duh.

  • the shift + f10 fix works a charm lazuline, thanks for the suggestion you beautiful man

  • Dave

    Shift f10 worked a treat! Thanks dude !

  • hey guys, shift f10 worked even after the freeze. but now i am stuch with the window that says something was wrong during installation.

    any idea how to remove that? from where?

  • once again, i canot get rid of the failed installaton warning and i canot use the windows because no identity configured. sucks badly_)

  • Jon

    Sadly it is now 2011 and this is still happening. I had to do a shift f-10 and then run devmgmt.cfg.

    From there I disabled my video adapter and rebooted. Then it worked.

    It is utterly sad that Microsoft still has this issue. Luckily I got he student edition, if I had paid full price for ultimate and this happened I would be very angry.

    My wife paid 30 bucks to upgrade os x and it works without a flaw. This upgrade retails for almost 200 bucks and won;t even install. What a joke.

  • Andrew

    Unfortunately I could not get the shift F10 trick to work… however I did remove a PCI USB card as well as 4GB of RAM to make it a total of just 4GB… but I think it was the PCI card.

  • Lazulinefan#2

    LAZULINE! I worship you – your a god!

  • Had the same problem. froze at “completing inst.” Removed all unnecessary hardware connected to the motherboard like memorycard reader, extra usb slots..normally have 4gb of ram, removed two so I had 1gb in each slot. works!

  • fepc

    in my case the allocate and the f10 tricks didnt work, but using a sp2 keyboard only, works!!!

  • Rich

    Hope you’re still checking this, Lazuline, because Shift+F10 is still helping people a year and a half later. 🙂

  • phill

    hey im having a lot of problems as well and tried 10 odd installs including zero filling hard drive and formatting everything i could think of. I’ve tried the f10 thing amongst other things but the thing that has got me is the one with the black screen and swapping from a digital to an analog cord. That would be fine except my motherboard or graphics card don’t support analog styled cords.

  • Wrzip

    Lazuline’s fix worked perfectly until i got to the point where it says “Preparing Computer for First Use”

    When that screen comes up the computer seems like it is going to boot the restarts unexpectedly.

    Upon restart the screen pops up that says windows did not properly shut down and it comes up with the choices:

    Start in Safe Mode
    Start Windows Normally
    Start Windows from Last Know Good Boot

    I tried normally and last known good boot but both result in getting back to the first use screen and resetting the same way. Has anyone else encountered this?

    Any suggestions?

  • We’re now in April 2011! Nearly Two year with Windows 7 and this is still a problem. How ridiculous. I remember hearing somewhere that if you install Windows 7 this would be a problem anyway I’m working on reinstalling it using the methods pointed out here I’m hoping it will work.

  • Bori

    wow!!shift + f10 works….

  • Jimmy

    Alright Lazuline, this is insane. I’ve honestly been trying to install Windows 7 for 2 days now, and this is the first thing that actually works. Everyone says to unplug all usb devices, pci cards, etc. Well, i did all of that, and none if it worked. I waited until the completing install part of the installation, pressed Shift and F10 (Which opens up CMD) and typed in Explorer.exe. And sure enough it started running all of the processes, then, it hung up..froze again. But i decided to be patient. About 5 minutes later, the computer restarted, and now i’m on the Login screen. This is great. Thanks.

  • Osman Inegol

    Many thanks to Laz, after all months the same problem occurs. Shame on Microsoft, still keeps on sending these faulty installer DVDs, wasting consumers’ valuable time. I can hardly believe this experience.

  • Koolir

    Omg thank you so much for the shift+ f10, it works!

  • ScottScott

    Thanks for the shift+F10 cmd explorer.exe trick. What I also found on my machine HP S3220N Bios 5.18, Win 7 no service pack, fresh install was to remove the TV tuner card. Other install notes: x32bit shift+f10 worked. Removed tv card x64bit went right in no problem. I want to lean on the TV card as the whole problem. Dan and all the other posters thank you for have a dot com that helps us out.

  • mike

    shift and f10 worked for me too thanx

  • mike

    just wanted to add if anyone gets stuck on the humming bird blue screen you have to disable the floopy drive in bios…even if u dont physically have one installed it still looks for it

  • Sheila

    If this still doesn’t help for you, try this step below. It worked for me. You will still need to delete partitions etc as stated in this post

    Make sure you have a “PS2 keyboard” and mouse connected to your computer. NOTHING ELSE!

    Brief Summary
    What you going to do is load your installation window 7 files during safe mode, reboot and during safe mode disable all the driver that has the yellow exclamation via CMD. Below are the step by step instruction (found this wonderful fix via a forum).


    Step 1, With the Windows 7 DVD in your DVD drive, press any key when prompted ‘Press any key to boot from CD / DVD…’, as soon as the message is gone, quickly press F8 to show the boot options list. Select Safe Mode and install 7. It will allow the initial stages & file copying.

    Step 2, When the Window 7 installation has done all the stages, such as copying, expanding, installing features, and then installing updates, it going to restart. REMOVED THE DVD.

    Step 2, When 7 restarts for the first time, press F8 and select ‘safe mode’. When you boot to SAFE MODE and after waiting for a few minutes at the “SETUP IS STARTING WINDOWS FOR THE FIRST TIME” screen, then you’ll get the popup that states “WINDOWS CANNOT CONTINUE SETUP IN SAFE MODE, CLICK OK TO RESTART”

    NOTE: DO NOT restart, AND DO NOT click on the ‘X’ (close button) in the upper-right of the pop-up. You going to do step 3 first before clicking to restart!!!!!

    Step 3, Simply press SHIFT+F10 – that will bring up a COMMAND PROMPT after a few seconds.

    Step 4 From there you can enter COMPMGMTLAUNCHER

    Step 5: Go to your device manager and disable all your driver that display the YELLOW TRIANGLE.

    If you DO NOT know which driver is causing the problem AND you CANNOT see an obvious driver with a YELLOW TRIANGLE or EXCLAMATION POINT in Device Manager then try disabling any drivers and changing any services from automatic to disabled for any that you don’t recognize or that seem VENDOR (software or hardware) specific.

    –> Also keep in mind that Video is always a huge culprit… I found some “unknown video device” under “other devices” in device manager. I disabled that as well. Be sure to disable any devices that show up as “unknown” or “other devices” either in a the OTHER DEVICES category in Device Manager or in some other category.

    Step 6: Once you have disable all of your drivers. Close command window and click ok on the dialog box. Windows will use a standard driver (with less functionality) when it restarts. Once installation has finished & you actually have a screen up & running you should be able to install your original drivers as well as re-enable these drivers and devices

    Note: If this fix install window 7, then you have a driver that is either missing or corrupted. I would suggest enable only the internet driver and re-download all your drivers from the manufacture site. Turn out my SM Bus Controller was stopping window from finishing installing, as well as the upgrading. Once I install that from intel, that completely stop the window 7 “starting window” from hanging as well.

    Please share this information if it has help you. Thanks!!!!

  • Adam

    Thanks Sheila! The run explorer.exe trick Lazuline suggested was on the right path, but it was Sheila’s detailed instructions that finally got it for me.

  • Mitz

    Hey everyone, I tried installing w7 got stuck at competing installation, did the shift f10 but then it loaded up like a classic windows while it was still completing installation.username was system.could not open computer out documents, tried clicking restart but nothing happened. As its on laptop I can’t hard restart so had to force power down.when powering up I got an error and now I can’t even boot from cd or continue installing! Can someone please help me! Thanks

  • Jon

    THANK YOU!! Sheila …. friend brought his machine over trying to update from Vista to Win 7; tried numerous things and nothing worked except Sheila’s post.

  • Kugle

    Well for me it says explorer.exe is not a recognized internal or external command :/

    What to do? shit is still stuck

  • Patryk

    big big big Thanks:) worked thansk a lot!!!!

  • kim

    Ive been trying hit shift f10 without sucess. im on a laptop, the mouse is lagging when i try to move it(touchpad) any idea? I format the partition so I dont have anything on hdd.

  • Ian

    Wow. Sheila thanks so much it worked for me too.

    What a POC bloatware. Time to move to Mac.

  • Ian

    BTW forgot to mention, for me it was happening in SP1.

    MS look like incompetent buffoons. Its Sept 2011 and this is still a problem in SP1.

  • 399

    for all of you who after the shift+f10 trick got the “classic windows” view and the password error message, if by any chance when you selected your partition it said that it was going to fail soon.. well, it did. just had my HDD replaced by the manufacturer’s warranty.

  • Richard Wilson

    Spent days trying to get a broken W7 box to work,
    The product can’t identify itself on an existing set of drives…. How bad is that!

    so I gave in and started a reinstall

    On an empty disk the damn stuff still can’t install itself cleanly – more time goes by as I have to research pages like this which state that it wants an empty disk to partition.

    Such basic checking not in the product. And NO meaningful feedback to the user of whats going on, whats causing problems, or anything.

    My Macs just turn on and work. Microsoft really hold back the entire industry..

  • ceejoe89

    I unplugged my pci modem, pci tv card which where the ones that caused installation hang. After unplugging them vroom there went the installation, it completed. Replugged them after that and i’m gud 2 go nw. Try this if the above mentioned solutions didnt work 4 u.

  • Ervin

    You will be happy to know that even in 2012 this issue is still present. Shift F10 seems to work. Thanks to the original person who suggested using Shift F10.

  • Cornholio

    you saved my life 😛 thank you so much! 😀

  • I’m a MCSA and NEVER thought of Shift F10. Perfect fix for a terrible issue. While I have only came across this issue once, I am sure I will continue to use this advise for many installs to come. Thanks to Laz & I guess we can always learn something, no matter our level of expertise.

  • Thanks lazuline. Shft F10 worked for me as well. After waiting for 30 minutes, I decided to Google this and came upon this forum. M$ should have fixed this problem by now. It is 2012 after all.

  • Ayman Safwat

    Hey lazuline thank you man very much, it worked with me.

  • Snutshi

    Hi! i also have the problem with getting stuck at completing installation, but when i tried shift f10 and wrote explorer.exe a white window named setup came up and it was stuck there overnight…dont know what i should do pls help 😛

  • Caleb

    Thank you Shelia my windows 7 is finally installed thanks alot 😀

  • BigW

    Lazuline, 2/3 years on and this worked a treat. Unbelievable M$ you bunch of douches

  • lisa

    this worked for me, thank you!

  • Jun

    I solve the problem by using Lazuline’s suggestion. Thanks Lazuline. I love you. 🙂

  • gill

    Lazuline’s you are my hero dudes..

  • The Meerkat

    In my case the solution for hanging on completing installation was to open the case and disconnect the front panel card reader from the motherboard.

  • PeteMK

    3 and a bit years later, lazuline, you’re a lifesaver

  • Frank

    Tried all the solutions and still didn’t work. Finally took out my ram and left one stick in to find out i had a bad expansion slot and windows installed normally after about 10 hours of trying

  • hi av used the shift+f10 trick bt it says explorer.exe is not recognised as an internal…… what am i doin wrong

  • hi, i tried the shift + f10 trick but after typing explorer.exe it says not recognised….what am i doin wrong?

  • Edy

    Typing explorer.exe it says not recognised here too, i mention my laptop hungs at complete instalation but before first restart, not after. Mouse is respondable, numpad keyboard works, everything seems to work, laptop is not freezed but windows instalation is stuck by 3 hours at the same point after 20 tryes…

  • lee

    The shift +f10 method worked for me..thanks for this site i’ve read very useful thanks a lot:)

  • Adam

    Rather than try the unplugging and delete /allocate methods already mentioned I went straight to the Shift/F10 method and it worked first time for me – big thanks for sharing that

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  • Stuart Wilson

    Thank you. After days of messing about with it I followed your advice. It didn’t work first time when I deleted, but it created the two partitions. Second time I formatted the big one and it completed. Micro$oft needs to hire you to give proper support, because their idea of support is just to advertise win 10 as the answer to every question.

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