(Kinda long, but giving all the details) Hardware: • Gigabyte P35-DS3R • Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 7200RPM 3Gb/s SATA • Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 • G.Skill 2x2GB DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) • EVGA GeForce 8800GTS 512mb • Samsung 20X DVD+-R SATA • Corsair PSU 620HX The problem: I'm trying to install Windows 7 on my desktop. I turn the computer on, boot from CD/DVD, it prepares to run setup. I get past the first several screens where I choose a language, click "Install Now," and accept license agreements, and choose partitioning. When I get to this screen, the computer dies (by which I mean the screen goes black and I have to hard reboot): Sometimes it dies immediately when "Expanding Files" begins at 0%. Sometimes it makes it a little farther with "Expanding Files" reaching upwards of 50% or more. Sometimes it makes it all the way past that and does the 15 second countdown to reboot, but hangs (screen doesn't go off, things just freeze). Note that when this happens, I just hard reboot and am able to continue with installation (if only temporarily) instead of having to start over from the beginning. VERY rarely (only once in the 15 or so times I've tried to install), I completed the entire installation and made it to the Windows desktop. Interestingly, it would still black screen, seemingly randomly but only after I DID something. Like open IE. Open Control Panel. Etc. The common denominator in these deaths seems to be activity. More specifically, hard drive activity. It will sit, just fine, during installation until something actually starts happening. I can leave it on the language selection screen for hours for example and it sits there just fine. Things I've tried that had no success: • Removed 1 stick of RAM • Swapped position of RAM, and tried in different slots • Ran Memtest86+ for like a day, made 15 successful passes, no errors. RAM appears good. • Connected the monitor to the second DVI output on the video card. • Connected the hard drive and the DVD drive to other open SATA ports. • Swapped out the hard drive for another one that I know to be working fine. This of course proves it to not be the hard drive's fault. • Removed optical drive and installed from USB drive • Removed HDD and tried to install from USB drive to USB HDD. Setup wouldn't allow this. • With a modular PSU, I moved power cables around to different ports. I also removed the dedicated PCIe power cable, and used the old fashioned 2x 4pin power cables to power the video card. Why I suspect the SATA ports: It seems to be a hard drive issue, but it's not the hard drive. The only other thing I haven't tested is the PSU and Video Card, but the times at which the problems occur don't seem to have anything to do with power or graphics. Not to mention, months ago my computer just wouldn't power on whatsoever. I took it to the Geek Squad (don't judge me, I was too busy at the time to troubleshoot myself!), and they found a short in one of my SATA ports. Connecting the hard drive to a different SATA port solved the problem. Conclusion: So maybe the remaining SATA ports are frying now? Maybe whatever caused the short in the first place has spread to cause further mobo damage elsewhere? What do you think?