WindowsXP install stalling – Setup is starting Windows … but it never started ;)

I was installing WindowsXP on a PC the other day. Everything was supposed to work fine and it did, for a start until the installation reached “Setup is starting Windows” where it just stalled. Tried many successive reboots but to no avail, the system just hanged there.

So, had to consult Google. After going through several forums that said things like memory problem, hard disk problem, processor problem, i managed to find the solution, it’s more of a hack to me.
So the great solution was: when the installation says “press F6 to load raid…”, just press F5. After some time, a screen will appear with some options about different types of PC. I chose “standard PC with … i486” and the installation proceeded. Everything worked fine and WindowsXP is happily running on the PC.


124 responses to “WindowsXP install stalling – Setup is starting Windows … but it never started ;)

  1. this hasnt worked for me any suggestions this hard drive had vista on it so i reformatted it casue i cant stand vista and now when i go to install window xp pro it does what the top post said it hangs at Setup is starting Windows i even bought a brand new hard drive same problem ran fine with vista but i didnt own it someone gave it to me that way any help would be great

  2. i too had this problem. i too tried all other solutions. i too tried this one. this one is the only one that gave me results. now one thing i noticed, prior to running setup, i formatted the drive with another boot tool thinking that might help. it did not. but after using this solution, i got it to work. when i got to the part where you choose which partition to format, since i had done that, windows gave me an option to skip formatting since it was already done, so i choose that. then, while setup was copying files over, i had all sorts of “cannot copy” errors. i started over yet again, this time letting windows format the drive for me and it worked great. just a note so others dont make the same mistake.

  3. This totally helped & was something I had never heard of. I was re-imaging a EMachine C2280 & it definately helped Windows XP Home to install. Can;t thank you enough.

  4. Wow….how did all these people get that problem? was it on a specific kind of computer? .. Can’t understand how 7 people got same problem

    ..I mean I’ve installed Windows XP about 100 times in my life and never got that problem

  5. Yeah, just rebuilding one of these things for a friend, had the same problem…

    C2280 Emachine was about to become a C2280 throw you in the lake machine.

    Good find man!

  6. I am having the same problem on an Aspire 5100. It did not work for me. I know that my hardware is all good so I cannot understand why I am having this problem. I took the HD out and installed the setup on a different computer, when the computer went to restart to complete the installation I took it out and put it back into the Acer. Now the system says invalid boot ini. and blue screens. I am going to try to reinstall using FAT file system as that is the way most acers are setup. If that does not work, does anyone know if the Aspire 5100 has a dipswitch on it as the cmos battery is soldered to the board and it would only make scents that there is a dipswitch. If there is what are the settings, thanks in advance for anyone that can help….

  7. Thanks a lot for this wonderful advice! It took me five hours to understand that I need some Google help 😎

  8. I’m working on a friends pc and having the same problem.

    I’ll try this one and see if the magic works for me!

    Thanks for the tip!

  9. Aight! I’m back after 5 minutes πŸ˜€

    Pascal, a million thanks to you. You’re heaven sent!

    The F5 thing you suggested has worked for me.

    My friend will surely be grateful for this one.

    We’re having problems with it for 2 days now.

  10. I got the problem while trying to instal windows xp 64 bitt i tried pushing f5 i dont get the standard pc version only acpi multiproceser and uniproceser options Both dont work pls help !!!!!!

  11. Thanks, I had the same problem after creating a dual boot xp/red hat machine linux (old gateway essential) used Spotmau “PowerSuite Professional” to delete partitions & wipe the data (harddrive checked fine too)& still would got hung up at install on Win XP pro or Win 2000 pro . FYI Red Hat Linux would not launch either. So IM thinking Boat anchor here. So last ditch effort I found this blog. nothing to loose…..right. Tried it and it worked like a champ. Installed Win 200 pro with no problems…
    Thanks again Pascal.

  12. Thanks a million for posting about this. Just installed a new motherboard and it was hanging at this same spot. The F5 fixed the problem for me.


    After 72 hours of efforts it W O R K E D !!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. This really saved my night! I’m reinstalling Win XP Home in a Toshiba Satellite which I had to replace the hard drive. It was hanging on Setup is Starting Windows. Tried the F5 thing, and got through!


  16. If ACPI or Standard PC does not work, install SP3. I had SP2 on my laptop and it would freeze at “Setup is starting Windows”. It is now working…Good Luck.

  17. installing 64-bit XP Pro on AMD Dual Core 6000+ chip w 4Gb RAM on XFX 8200 MB. F5 doesnt work for me. removed a DIMM of RAM, disabled power mgmt, disabled various USB ports, disabled ACPI APIC support(which you need for a 64-bit install as I found the hard way) to no avail….any other ideas?

  18. Hello. I`m having the same problem. I`ve been fixing my mom`s Dell Vostro with Intel Centrino (I know its DELL lol). So I have tried pressing F5 and nothing had work for me. I want to try different options other than `standard PC` but im not sure if it will do good to my brand new replaced HD.


  19. unbelievable, my laptop crahsed 5 days ago and I been trying to reformat the thing since then as well as look after a new born baby and get ready for a new job start!

    Sorry about the spelling –tired!

    Thanks for solution, you have just saved me Β£2000 on a new laptop!

  20. Hi, i did what u said.. press F5 instead of F6 when shown.. and it only had 2 options.. either x86 or OTHER.. and it was in OTHER.. so i just choose x86 and started to load all the setup files but when came up to “setup is starting windows” it froze all over again.. i tryed pressin ctrl+alt+supr but didnt restart so i had to restart manually…

    I have already winXP installed on my PC , but it doesnt start in normal mode.. it wont even start in safe mode.. so i tough maybe formating and installing windows from scratch would do.. well it didn’t do tha trick.. so now i can’t even format cuz it wont read any windowsXP installation disk dunno why.. i’ll try with an ubuntu 64– but i dont think it will work cuz the processor is for 32b only :S

  21. Hey, I was having the same exact trouble with the “Setup is starting Windows” hangup. I tried the F5 thing, and selected what you told me to, but the same thing happened. I may try OTHER now tho…

    BTW, for the one who thinks it’s all the same computer model, it isn’t. Mine is a used DELL I bought through craigslist, so I don’t know the model number…

  22. Thank you!

    I had wasted hours and hours before I found this.
    So weird though why it has happened. I installed if fine a few months ago without the F5 trick.

  23. It has been stated 40 some times before me, but I cannot leave this site without thanking you for the hours you have saved me. I have been building and fixing computers for about 10 years now, and have NEVER ran into this problem until today, now I will know how to fix it next time (although, now that I know how to fix it, it won’t happen again).

    Thank you, so very much.

  24. Some precisions :
    1.Pressing F5 worked, but when windows gives you only 2 choices (Standard PC and Other), you are in fact able to select MORE options using up arrow, there more ‘hidden’ possibilities (i chose ACPI Multiprocessor myself)
    2. this did not help me anyway, but i found something else on the internet : in the BIOS you have to make the AHCI option COMPATIBLE when you install an XP on a Vista-native computer, because of a Hard Disk compatibility story

    hope it helps, and thank you anyway πŸ™‚

  25. Loads of people have already said it.. but this worked perfectly! I’ve never even heard of pressing F5 at that window and I’ve been building computers for around 6 years!!

    Can’t thank you enough, I can finally have my home storage machine up and running again πŸ˜€

  26. hmmm…nowdays computers come with ahci(i think its that…forgot about the name… anywayz) and i think that windows xp vista dont load the drivers to be able to readd the hard disk in ahci mode…anywayz go in bios and put it bak to ide mode..basic mode for most os.

  27. I just wanted to thank you so much man!

    I was really pissed of with this error and now, after 2 days, this is working again!

    Thank you again =)

  28. I was experiencing same problem. Took laptop to a technician – said the hard drive was dead. Bought a new hard drive – same problem. Took laptop to another technician – said I needed a new motherboard. He said to throw the laptop away. Thought I would buy another motherboard through ebay and have a go at fixing it up myself (since I had a new hard drive!!). But then I found this site!! Thanks big heaps – it worked – now debating whether to ask for my money back from technicians. What do you think?

  29. F5 β€œstandard PC with … i486β€³ WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!! Toshiba Satellite after a complete wipe of the hdd. THANK YOU!

  30. I just wanted to thank you so much guy! its wonderful….my pc started copying setup files…….thanks once again.

  31. Hello there! πŸ™‚ THank you for sharing! Just bought an Acer eMachine and makes my wondering why Win XP Home installation will get stuck while a Linux OS can get through. Good we have Google to goof around before sending my unit back to the shop where I bought it.

    Thanks again! πŸ™‚


  32. This worked… I think… however I’m still alarmed as to why it happened.

    There has to be more to this than just somehow “rigging” it to work.

    This intermittently happened and it has been installed on many times without these issues.

    Very odd

  33. Thank you so much
    it worked for me tooooooooooo
    I thought that is not working but that F6 asking is just at the begining moment and after pressing it take around 20 sec to take action.
    again thank you
    I was removing the windows of my frined pc and i couldn’t fix it

  34. Thanks a bunch. Its really work with my notebook, Toshiba Satellite L100. Really2 appriciate coz share the solution.

  35. i love you ! πŸ˜€ i was about to throw my pc away and then i met the greatest windows support site in the internet , this site ! πŸ˜€

  36. Thanks so much! I was prowling Google for quite awhile and all the stuff about replacing my graphics card etc etc was annoying me.

  37. wow, this worked for me too…ONLY after hours and hours of trying everything else, bio update, hardrive etc et.

    Thanks THANKYOU!

  38. I tried this trick on 2 PCs. None of them worked. F5 worked, selected Standard PC with C-Step i486. No fix. Help me.

  39. Thanks for sharing!
    Did not work for me on a Toshiba satellite (I guess there are other issues in my case).
    I know there are some ACPI issues, so I press F7 and afterwards F5.
    Also please add also the note about the “hidden” entries (as totem said) in the main post.

    As people might skip the rest of the ~100 comments.

  40. Thanks Guys – was stuck on it for about 2 days tried every possible thing – but F5 worked – first time thank again rush

  41. Thankyou thankyou a lot u made ma day i have tried changing ram,hdd, cablel’s finally i found the solution f5 is worked for me…. once again thanku…

  42. You my friend, have helped me immensely…..My computer was doing the same thing. My computer crashed an I needed to install windows and “said error” occurred. I have to start classes for Devry University in 5 days, I don’t have the funds right now to purchase a new HDD. You really helped me out man… SO MUCH STRESS OFF MY SHOULDERS……GREAT FIND FRIEND.

  43. So I did that earlier and there is an issue with this. The OS only recognizes one of the processor cores. Its a core 2 Duo. The 486 standard setup only allows for a single core.

    I have been trying to figure out a way to change it to a ACPI multicore computer type – And I came across this page. Any ideas anyone ?

    PS: To check how many cores are recognized – check performance tab in Task Manager.
    You could also check out Device Manager and the Computer sub menu in the device manager will show Standard Computer. Its not supposed to be like that if the correct computer type is selected during initial install.

    Its just an old computer lying around. I know this is like 5 years too late lol

  44. i thought this was bs but i tryed it and now my hard drive is have win xp install thanks alot man i spent 2 days and went through 6 hd 8 sticks of ram and i just read this and boom it works thanks

  45. thank you so much…especially to sholihin sidi,”please try F5 and choose up (hidden) with advanced configuration and power intercface (ACPI)PC” mboard biostar G31M+

  46. Damn good man.
    Me too was have the same problem, it worked perfectly for me.
    But i would like to know the reason why the PC was responding like that “that is freezes at Set is starting windows”.
    Thanks load man

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