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“setup is starting windows”

July 30, 2005 by Saar Drimer

I’m leaving my PC behind and I wanted to format the hard-drives. I had dual boot with Fedora Core 1 that no one will ever use and I also wanted to make sure no residue of my personal information is left behind. I started having problems right from the get-go. I have an IWILL VD133Pro motherboard with RAID support. The windows XP setup gets stuck/hangs at the “setup is starting windows” without an explenation. Typical. You can press F6 at the beginning of the install to supply setup with the driver that came on floppies with the MB. Who the hell keeps those for 5 years? Of course, they are nowhere to be found on IWILL’s webpage and there is no answer from their tech support. Typical.

This all seemed familiar as I vaguely recall going through this fiasco once before. I searched the web for quite a while and finally found the solution. You need to press the undocumented F7 when it prompts you to press F6 (!) in order to skip the requirement of these drivers. Go figure.

Anyway, I tried to include all the appropriate keywords for this solution so it is easier for the next guy that is out of luck to find.


  1. Bjørn Mikkelsen says:

    Thanks a ton mate, that info helped me out from being unable to install winXP on my new PC system!… Much appreciated!

  2. Joey says:

    Dude, you’re the man! you saved my life.. That works..

  3. Youngman says:

    Thanks buddy you really helped me solve the “setup is starting windows” freeze problem. The only real solution out there. Thanks again.

  4. brushu says:

    hey thanks a bunch that hit the spot

  5. John Dixon says:

    I’ve had the very same problem with a K7VT4a Pro &the F7 trick sorted it for me. Thanks a million
    Pitty Mr Gate’s team is not as clever as you

  6. Mike says:

    Absolutely unbelievable. Chalk up yet another person you’ve saved from an utterly borked computer.

    You’re a legend.

  7. ZombieKillah says:

    After searching an hour on this subject – you were the only one that seemed to have a good simple answer!! You Rule!!!

  8. Marcello says:

    I pressed F7 and it didn’t do anything. I press it when it prompts “press F6…” and it doesn’t respond to F7. I tried F6 and it eventually prompts me to press Enter if I do not want to specify a mass storage device. I pressed Enter thinking it would get passed the hang up and then start Windows but…

    “Setup is Starting Windows”

  9. Teee says:

    No workable F7 is not helpful

  10. rk says:

    YOU ARE THE BEST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT SURELY WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. tlewis says:

    MS Knowledge Base article 224826 documents the “F7” keypress and why it works with newer motherboards.

  12. neuralping says:

    You are definitely the man. I was installing 2000 and 2003 server on a DL360 and the install hung on you guessed it… setup is starting windows. I ran across your F7 fix and tried it and it worked like a charm.


  13. Emre Ersin says:


    While installing xp pro sp2, you just see a blank text screen with cursor and ctrl+alt+delete doesn’t work. It happens just after NTFS driver.

  14. Emre Ersin says:

    It’s not related with sata driver. It show your PC as an old 386 style machine with no ACPI. Still I have no solution.

  15. Lester says:

    Another name to the list of the ones you saved. Thanks.

  16. Shawn says:

    Failed to work on a Compaq Presario 1250… thanks however!

  17. Larenzo says:

    Worked perfectly!! Thanks a lot! I don’t know how you figured that!? But that did the trick.

  18. rascal says:

    Bless you …Bless you…Bless you….Microsoft should try the simple solutions, dont know why it worked but it did. Ty

  19. Art says:

    Worked great (F7). Tried several things before this.
    Thanks for the post.

  20. Blitz says:

    This is a cool thread for people searching for the “Setup is Starting Windows” trouble.

    The F7 didn’t work for me (i didn’t see any reactions on my PC when I press the F7). But luckily the F5 (HAL setup choices) worked for me.

    For those of you who can’t seem to make the F7 work, try going to the microsoft site regarding the F5 help given on the link below (

    Hope this helps. ^_^

  21. napalm says:

    thank you!! your message helped me to solve problem with old 2dual cpu pc and win xp

  22. John Ga says:

    Add one more to the list of those you have helped. I used F6 then when F7 do anything I used Enter to continue. I also disabled just about everything in BIOS per the MS KB article.

  23. Paul Tk says:

    Thanks. Yet again another success with the f7 I was installing XP over Vista on a compaq presario built for vista.

  24. vladdy says:

    Thank you very much.

    Worked with HP Proliant DL360 G3 and Windows Server 2003 r2. After countless tries, I have also ran HP SmartStart diagnostics utility just to confirm that there’s nothing wrong with hard drives, I stumbled on your blog and worked instantly.

  25. Anonymous says:

    i fucking love you

  26. David says:

    Rock and ROLL! Thank you so much for posting this tip, even if it was two years ago. After days of frustration the simple F7 and the machine I’m working on is now taking XP without issue.

    Thanks again!

  27. some oneq says:


  28. Anonymous says:

    you got that woderfull man

  29. Kurly says:

    And yet again 2003 server R2 on Compaq G3.

  30. Marcelo says:

    This is the most incredible piece of information I ever have in computers. My neighbor bought a new laptop because he was unable to install windows even with a new HD.He gave up and told me that I can keep the laptop if I was able to fix it.
    Thank you so much.

  31. kiza says:

    Thanks, you saved me from trouble ;)

  32. Tycen says:

    +1 for F7 working (Win 2003 R2 on HP DL360 G3). Thanks!

  33. Olga says:

    You rock!!! Het werkt echt.

  34. Peter says:

    Thanks a lot. It worked on old laptop TopNote F. When you press F7 it appears that nothing happens, but it worked and take me to installation screen.

  35. Eric says:

    OMG! It actually worked! I was about to give up, when I found this site and tried it! Tried all sorts of other things, and was starting to think I had shotty memory, when this worked! Thank you so much for posting this!

  36. Bagowarrior says:

    Another resounding yes on dl360 g3!!! Thanks for that.

  37. Butz says:

    when i press F7,nonthing happens so i try other way and guess what, i just replaced my cd rom and it works but thanks anyway for your effort.

  38. jil says:

    thanks dude, that was really helpful.

  39. jayjay says:

    this doesn’t work for me either,’s still stuck at set up is starting windows nothing really happened ,..

    anyways perhaps i could use it in the future,..hope to find my computer a solution for this kind of problem,.. ^_^

  40. Anonymous says:

    it works also with f5 ;)

  41. Joe says:

    Incredible! Thank you very much – saved me so much time!

  42. Anonymous says:

    Hello ewerybody i have the same problems with my computer – and i fixed !!!
    First install any distribution of linux – it will be install normaly – then install window and replace systems – remove linux – its realy works!!!

  43. Druthus says:

    Damn man! I gave up my amd board for 2yrs,After seen this post,I tackled it.f7 did it! Thanx a lot

  44. karthick says:

    My company’s system using kaspersky antivirus.. that is problem. my logal connection system starup problem.. why the problem created?. how to solve?the network cable disconnect and starting the system starting.. but the cable connected my system hang in startup. how to solve.. plz

  45. Slim Jim says:

    Thanks this worked a treat. No wonder PC world makes so much money. Simple solution not documented on the Microshite site.

  46. monte says:

    thank you for the f7 trick, go figure right?! awesome of you to post that

  47. bev says:

    doesnt even work

  48. Anonymous says:

    it really works i pressed F7 while it was asking for F6 and the installation continued

  49. nkossana says:

    thanx mate f7 worked on my hp 510 u are a star.

  50. Number4 says:

    OMG It worked. Thanks a ton man

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