Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

/rant/ I lose faith in Windows on occasions....

  1. #1

    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    Stuck at login screen with "Preparing Windows"

    Today, I probably did something a little reckless and accidentally wiped out all my partitions on my main Windows 8 /Windows 7/Linux Mint laptop. Now I've been with Windows for yonks, but this has me a little stumped.

    Before I realised I had no functional hard drive I didn't worry, I booted up a Windows 8 repair disk, which informed me in diskpart that I had a completely unallocated hard disk. No repair possible.

    I dug out a Windows-to-go Usb, downloaded the Minitools partition recovery utility and lo: all my partitions reappeared.

    On rebooting, only an old Windows 7 boot menu appeared, without my windows 8.1 option.

    I found my windows 8.1 DVD, and booted up until I got to the first install screen where I could press Shift F10 to get a WinPE command prompt, and did a diskpart to check that I could see the boot and system volumes for Windows 8.1 and then issued a bcdboot command to include the windows 8.1 location in the boot menu.

    Simple, and on the next boot the graphical Windows 8.1 boot menu appeared with all the options - I haven't used this for years, since there is a bug, anyways preferring the text-based one, for this very reason - the boot screen would not recognize my touchpad. It was not always so - the WTG I had used earlier had no difficulties with a mouse on its graphical boot menu.

    So I had to let the menu time out to Windows 8.1 default, and the login screen recognizes my user default, forgets my Picture and sticks on Preparing Windows for 20 minutes before going to a black screen which after an hour I switched off - it repeated this the next time I tried to boot, so after waiting what I considered to be a reasonable time I switched off again, rebooted and interrupted boot-up a couple of times by switching off, since F8 does not work, eventually I had the option to use F9 to boot to Windows 7.

    I'm in the middle of a long chkdsk now as Windows 7 boots, and all the disks that I have left dirty by closing down ungraciously are being checked. /rant/

    Would anyone like to suggest my next course of action to get windows 8.1 working again, assuming I can boot into Windows 7, or indeed my WTG usb (which is rather slow and is limited to 1 h only since it is a release preview WTG!). I'm knackered, and annoyed, and likely to do something silly on my own. I guess that I should edit the boot menu to default to text based, not Windows 8.1 and to offer safe mode command prompt or some other troubleshooting options. Please point me to the right tutorial.

    In a nutshell:

    the Immersive boot menu does not find my touchpad pointer, so I cannot navigate away from the default boot entry, and

    Windows sticks at the login screen "Preparing Windows" until my screen blanks out - presumably because power saving clicks in - I really don't know what is going on.

    Windows 7 does still work! Windows 8 upgraded to 8.1 never had any problems, and the Windows *.1 volume appears healthy from Win7 Explorer.
    Last edited by fafhrd; 29 Aug 2014 at 14:27.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Posts : 145
    Windows 8 Pro

    In Command Prompt type "bcdboot %windir%" to get the boot menu GUI...without the commas.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    I've managed from Windows 7 to change the default boot OS and the boot menu to legacy text rather than GUI, but I cannot access Windows 8.1 - and I can't get to command prompt - not even safe mode - it's stuck at the Login screen, and from the squashed shape of the default login screen image (faceless head in square box), it has lost the resolution settings too.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Posts : 145
    Windows 8 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by fafhrd View Post
    I've managed from Windows 7 to change the default boot OS and the boot menu to legacy text rather than GUI, but I cannot access Windows 8.1 - and I can't get to command prompt - not even safe mode - it's stuck at the Login screen, and from the squashed shape of the default login screen image (faceless head in square box), it has lost the resolution settings too.
    Can you "Restart" on the login screen?.....If so important this...Hold Shift and restart computer....This should bring up Troubleshooting options, including System Image Recovery.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Forever West
    Posts : 592
    WinVista, Win7, Win8.1, Win10, Mac OS X 10.10, Linux Mint 17.1

    I think it was the Quote mark to not copy or type, not commas. And be sure to right-click the Command Prompt to Run as administrator, without that it says the files can't be found.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    I can do nothing on the login screen - it looks just like this:

    Click image for larger version

    Just as if I had just installed Windows 8 - but I haven't, and then after 20 minutes the screen goes black. No keyboard or mouse at this time.

    I also have to reiterate that I cannot navigate around the boot menu - no touchpad or keyboard clicks seem to move away from the selected default. It is a known problem for some laptops with windows 8.1 - I have never sought a solution because the workaround of a text-based boot menu suits a multiboot system better IMO.

    When I have had a nights rest I shall do an in place repair install:

    Repair Install Windows 8

    But I don't want to start this tonight.

    3 days later, and I have not got a working Windows 8.1 installation yet! So many obstacles in the way.

    Well, after several "Preparing Windows" false starts and allowing all disk activity to cease and a few CHKDSKs I've decided that the Windows 8.1 installation is borked, and an in-place repair is out of the question, since I cannot get beyond the inaccessible login screen.

    Making, then booting from a Windows 8.1 install USB was fine, but Windows restore just would not work. It would not attempt to use the custom backup image I made a while back for some reason. The boot menu also balked at a refresh, and I really don't want to do a reset, yet. Serves me right for relying on Windows, and not having a 3rd party backup image, I suppose.

    Still, I have access to all my PC volumes due to the dual boot - except the Linux mint wubi bootloader was also corrupted, but that is easy enough to reinstall. For a quick solution I downloaded the windows installer for Puppy linux - I want to be able to find the restore point files easily and check them out. Puppy is so small and runs in RAM, but the Windows installer is not compatible with Fast boot, Secure boot or UEFI in Windows 8.

    Last night I created an image of my Windows 8 130GB volume with Imagex - it took over 5 hours, and resulted in a 23GB wim file, which I have backed up. It is annoying that 7-Zip always seems to report an "incorrect reference count" when opening .wim files, these days Everything seems in place. When I have looked at the restore point files, I'll wipe the old 8.1 installation, and reapply the system image. It might just be that the hiberfile and swapfiles are confused at boot time. Are'nt I optimistic?
    Last edited by fafhrd; 01 Sep 2014 at 04:49.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

/rant/ I lose faith in Windows on occasions....

Similar Threads
Thread Forum
Windows XP, 8.1, and 8 All Lose Users in July 2014
Windows 8 News
Win 8.1 BSOD at random occasions with Bugcheck 0x124
Hi there, Even since I build this new computer last year in September I am plagued by irregular bluescreens, but was able to solve them, as I though, by replacing the RAM after memtest86 deemed 2 sticks faulty (I bought the RAM 2nd-hand, how stupid of me) So here I was with brand new RAM,...
BSOD Crashes and Debugging
External monitor blinking on certain occasions
External monitor shows an odd behavior: When no apps are present, it works perfectly fine Opera, VLC and some others seem to run fine However, screen blacks out sometimes, as if it was changing resolution. This happens on certain occasions, for example when I press CTRL (!) in Powerpoint (if...
Graphic Cards
when I reinstall windows 8, will I LOSE ALL MY DATA?
Hello everyone, First off, Thanks for the instruction. Second - I'm planning to reinstall my windows 8 in my laptop, which was pre-installed with a recovery drive. I'm doing this because the either my memory usage or disk is running way too high than what I actually used. I've tried googling...
Installation & Setup
Another Rant - Sorry Windows 8 lovers - I need to vent.
I have been using Windows 8 since before Launch, roughly probably a year to the day. It is not a bad OS, but there are numerous things about that, to this day, still really tick me off. I will start by saying, that other vendors are no better. I had a iPhone forced on me by the company I work...
Chillout Room
Will Windows 8.1 Upgrade Lose Your Calendar Settings?
I'm currently running Windows 8 that my laptop came with. I decided to wait for the official 8.1 release in October instead of the Preview. I have a lot of Calendar reminders on my Windows 8 Stock Calendar and I was wondering when I upgrade to 8.1, will those reminders disappear? I'm asking...
Installation & Setup
Fps drop on random occasions while gaming
Hi there. I really hope that you guys can help me, because this has been going on for some while now, and it is really starting to annoy me: When I play certain games, like for example Assassin's Creed III, my computer runs the game smoothly and with no problems on the highest settings. Then,...

Eight Forums Android App Eight Forums IOS App Follow us on Facebook