Sunday, 26 September 2010

Installing Windows 7, 64 bit and it's going insanely slow? Check your BIOS settings!

Today I was at friends' house to help one build a new computer for the other. It's a pretty impressive PC, but when it came to installing Windows 7 after we built it, things seemed to be going very slowly!

After having had issues with trying to dual boot a few operating systems at once, I've found that newer operating systems seem to prefer AHCI over IDE mode on the disk controllers, so I'd set that. I also loaded the "optimized defaults". Everything connected, I turned on the system and saw it boot from the Windows 7 install disc... and then kinda hang.. then load a bit... then hang.. then load a bit more.. SOOOOO SLOOOOOOOW.

After watching it crawl for a little bit, both myself and friend building PC determined that something was very much amiss. Windows 7 on the particular beast should fly!

After googling for a good 10-15 minutes or so, I came across a discussion on Whirlpool of all places. In short, the default settings of the BIOS are to expect that a 3.5" 1.44MB floppy disk drive is connected and, for some reason, the Windows install process will repeatedly try to access it if it's configured.

Go into the BIOS, go into the basic settings, set the floppy drive type to "None", reboot into Windows setup... it flies!

In short, if your Windows 7 install is running very slowly - disable floppy drive support in the BIOS unless you have an actual floppy drive connected via floppy drive controller bus (should still say no if you're using a USB connected floppy drive).

Update: You may be interested in my next post which details the other problem I had during this install. How the motherboard driver disc killed windows update!

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