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We have a Dell R220 running Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard that has begun freezing during the boot process after doing a routine reboot. Specifically, once the Windows logo with the black background appears it freezes and won't move past that screen.

We've tried entering repair mode, safe mode, and even inserting an installation DVD and booting from that. In all modes of booting the system gets stuck at the same spot. The failure to boot from external media has me really perplexed and leads me to believe this might be a hardware issue.

What would be the next best step to narrow down the issue?

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First try removing one of the RAM sticks or pairs and see if the machine is able to boot after that. Try swapping ram around to see if the machine boots.

Try removing all the hard drives from the machine. Be careful to not enter the RAID configuration utility if prompted after rebooting the machine to prevent the controller from deleting the configuration. Then boot to the Windows CD/flash drive and see if the machine boots.

Try removing any expansion cards that may be present in the machine that are not required for booting EX, network cards.

If that does not work, you could always as a last resort run the Dell Diagnostics to see if that points you in the correct direction.

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