This issue appears for me only on real PC with the following configuration:
Motherboard: Asus A7V8X-X;
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 2200+ 1.8 GHz (without SSE2 support);
GPU: ATI Radeon 9600 with 128 MB vRAM;
RAM: 1 GB Samsung + 1 GB Hynix DDR-400 MHz;
IDE HDD: WDC WD2000JB-00GVC0 200 GB;
ATAPI CD-ROM: HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-4167B;
Ethernet: VIA Rhine II Fast Ethernet Adapter;
WLAN: D-Link DWA-525 Rev A2 PCI wi-fi card.
In VirtualBox 5.1.38, initialization completes immediately and appears the system language selection.
On my PC, it takes ~2 hours before the language selection step.
This problem appeared probably since 0.4.12-dev-174-d23fa54488d5ec8b214c4c7611b97d8ef570bae8, but that build doesn't boot into 1st setup stage for me at all, so I see only black screen. I tested only msvc-win-dbg build, because there are no any gcc-lin-dbg build for that commit on the ReactOS website. Only in 0.4.12-dev-176-02e4ff8eb369fbc1a9e013186ab4cfaa0d1317e3 with gcc-lin-dbg build, the system boots successfully again in 1st setup stage, but hangs for a while when initializating setup and detecting devices.
Up to 0.4.12-dev-173-9f1c8ac02013b0742866531cf7383c168b69857c, the language selection step appeared immedately, without any checks before this.
hbelusca, how I can get debug output from 1st setup stage on real hardware without COM-port (since I don't have a null-modem cable)? Maybe it needs to add some options in freeldr for getting debug output into log file on hard disk? Thanks.