I've been searching for an answer to this but all I find is people in a different situation. My laptop had a sudden BSOD last night, I restarted and got the failed to start message saying the file "winload.exe" was the problem. I figured i'd just reformat instead of troubleshoot. I pulled the drive out and hooked it up to my other PC to back it up, put it back in and started it up with a Win 7 install disc inside. It did the usual "Windows is loading file" once it finished it went straight back to the same screen. Finding that odd, I decided I'd just force a reformat thinking it was a nasty virus (this is where i think ive messed up). I put it in my desktop and hit format on the drive. Put it back in the laptop and STILL get the same message. Baffled by how it could still be looking for a file that shouldnt exist on the drive anymore I thought "maybe my drive is bad?" so I bought a new one, same thing. I have NO idea where to go from here. I've tried XP, Vista and 7 installs but none pass the initial file load point. How can I repair this when the drive is empty and formatted as a new drive? I can only get it to give me different start up options (safe mode, safe mode networking etc) when I use the Vista SP2 disc (which is what I think was originally installed) but NONE of those options work they all instantly return to the same screen. I'm not a total noob, I build PCs and even do some PC repair on the side but i've never seen this problem. From what I'm reading online no one has formatted the disk and still had the same problem. Does the motherboard think an OS is still installed or something?