Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Windows could not set the offline locale information error during install

Problem

You are performing a clean installation of Windows 7 (any version) and experience the following error at some point during the installation:
Windows could not set the offline locale information. Error code 0x80FF0000
You then attempt to repeat the installation, but experience the same error, though it may occur at somewhat different points during the installation process.  You were able to re-partition and even format the target drive during the installation process without issue.  Other possible experiences you may have had with this machine prior to this error include:
  • Suddenly displayed a blue screen, without warning. On restart, BIOS would load fine, but then became stuck during Windows loading.
  • Suddenly loaded extremely slowly or even remained stuck in the Windows loading phase of the boot process.
You would like to recover the system, but in the least costly manner possible.

Discussion

All of these issues point to a possible problem with the hard disk and likely involves the failure of one or more sectors on the disk.  While the hard disk is likely the culprit, and it may degrade further, it is still possible to recover the use of your machine without the purchase of any new software or hardware.  This article shows you how.

You will need your system recovery disk.

The primary method for accomplishing this is to isolate the problem.  Most of the hard drive is likely still functional.  You just need to configure the hard drive in such a way that the operating system will neither be installed to nor operate using those sectors.  You accomplish this through appropriate partitioning.

Rather than trying to re-install your system to the drive configured as a single partition, you will instead create multiple partitions on the hard drive with the intent of capturing those bad sectors within one of those partitions and using the other partition as your system partition.

The Windows 7 installation enables you to create and delete partitions during the installation process.  You don't know where the bad sectors may lie, whether they are towards the outer rim of the disk or inner portions, so you'll need to progressively work your way inwards with partitions of varying sizes, until you create a partition set that isolates the problem and allows you to perform the installation without issue.

Take, for example, a 3-year old (just out of warranty) laptop having a 450 GB hard disk. Try creating two partitions, each 225 GB.  Format the partitions.  Now, install the system to the first partition.  If the installation proceeds without issue, you have successfully isolated the sector failure to the second partition.  If it doesn't, try to repeat the installation attempt to the second partition.  If this succeeds, you've successfully isolated the issue to the first partition.  Otherwise, you may have found the issue midway on the disk.

Continue this process, trying different partition sizes, until you can get the installation to proceed without issue.  Once the system is installed, you can perform a disk check using Windows tools in order to recover the bad partition. 
NOTE: Given the fact that this hard disk has likely evidenced sector failure once, it is even more likely to do so again in the future.  Thus, the recovery procedure discussed here is a temporary measure.
Summary

This article has discussed one method for possibly recoverying from Error code 0x80FF0000, if experienced during clean installation.  It provides a least-cost method of recovery, enabling you to regain the use of the system, if temporarily, without the purchase of new software or hardware.

References

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I had tried everything to get a clean install of 7, with no luck. Then I read your post, tried it, and it worked like a charm. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Great!! I spend one day ( not full time) trying to install w7 or xp whith no luck. After read this, finally i could install it.!! I didnt think that it could be a damage sector in the hd. Thanks a lot!

Simon J said...

Awesome tip! I had this error as well.
In my case the problem began with the computer suddenly after working fine, got stuck and froze for a few seconds also disconnecting my internet connection for those seconds, this happened a couple of times and my computer seemed quite unstable. I then tried to reboot and got a sudden blue screen. It was stuck there for a while without action and I rebooted again and it wouldn't start, it got stuck at Starting Windows screen for more than 10 minutes. I rebooted again with no real change.

I looked in BIOS and all components seemed to be recognized, including 100% of my RAM memory. I then rebooted with a windows disc and tried to do a system restore, with no success, there were no restore points available. No other recovery solution worked, I ran the Windows memory test and it said no failures.
I then tried to re-install Windows, deleting my old partition, formatting and made a new one. Then I got this error "0x80FF0000" after the installation had completed "copying windows files", expanding windows files" and "installing features". It was stuck for about 10-15 minutes on "installing updates" before this error showed.


After this I saw this awesome Tech Tip. This worked for me as well! Now my computer runs well again with a fresh Windows installed!

I can add that I originally had two partitions on a 700 GB hard drive. The first one C: with Windows and all programs at 200 GB and the second one D: at 500 GB. I didn't touch the D: and was able to access all my files there.
My first test using your method I split the C: partition in half, with 97,5 GB on the first one and 102,5 GB on the second one. I installed Windows on the second one (thinking that I had already tried to install Win on "the first 25 GBs" of the drive so I now tried from 97,5 GB in from "the disk beginning", I don't know if this makes sense =)) and this worked instantly.

Thank you very much for solving this error for me.
Sorry for making such a long comment but my intention is to contribute to increased knowledge of this error.

Anonymous said...

Hats off to you..
thank you so much..!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm jumping here because this is obviously not always the problem. I put in a brand new hard drive and doing a clean install this error showed up.

Did full testing of hard drive to be sure it was not a lemon and nothing came up as bad.

Tried your technique. No go.

Any other ideas?

Al said...

I'm not sure, based upon what you've provided thus far. Here are some steps I would consider performing to help further bound the scope of the problem: 1) if I had another Win7 disk handy, I would using it to perform the installation - if I still get the problem, it's most likely not related to the media itself; 2) while performing the installation, and at the moment that I experience the error message, I would go to the command prompt and review the install and error logs - one of the references below shows you how; 3) I would change BIOS settings to default; 4) check the firmware for the machine BIOS and disk drives and update if needed; 5) swap out the DVD drive; 6) swap out the hard disk drive for a different one; and 7) try installing from a USB portable drive, to name just a few steps I would attempt.

References
1) How to Use a Command Prompt During GUI-Mode Setup: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/242380
2) Can't Install Windows 7: Windows could not set the offline locale information. Error Code: 0x80FE0000: http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_7/Q_25738787.html.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant.. after days of trying just about everything your suggestion re the partition worked like a charm.. Thank you..

Anonymous said...

Brilliant indeed...