Windows 7 imaging error: "Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause."

Article:TECH122021  |  Created: 2010-01-28  |  Updated: 2010-01-28  |  Article URL
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Technical Solution


Deployment of a Windows 7 Professional x64 image fails and returns the following error upon restart after the deployment task has completed:

> Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. . .
> File: \Windows\system32\winload.exe
> Status:0xc000000f
> Info: The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.

The computer then fails to boot into the production operating system.


Deployment Solution 6.9 Service Pack 3 (build 430).

This error has been observed across multiple hardware configurations.

Error has only been observed with Windows 7 Professional x64.

Error occurs after the imaging process has completed and during post-configuration.

Running 'chkdsk' reveals that the target drive has three partitions, including an OEM partition.


The cause of this error is currently under investigation but may be related to the OEM partition that Windows 7 installs by default.


One known work around for this issue is to install the operating system without the OEM partition (or delete the partition after installation). This will enable the image to be captured and deployed normally.  However, using the switch '/nooem' in the additional parameters field does not currently work for this situation.

It is also possible to go into Disk Management and delete the OEM partition.

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