Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Windows 8 Automatic Repair Loop Issue

  1. #1

    Windows 8 Automatic Repair Loop Issue


    Hi,

    I seem to be having some problems with my Windows 8 installation and was wondering if anyone might be able to help? A couple of days ago, I cut the power to the base station suddenly (by accident), so Windows didn't shut down properly. My monitor was off at the time, so I don't know what state the system was in. After powering back on, the OS doesn't boot up and I'm getting this 'automatic repair message' with a black screen, then getting kicked into the blue builtin diagnostics tool.

    I tried to refresh the system from there and that failed. I then ran the hardware diagnostics in the BIOS and it looks like the hardware is all ok, so I'm assuming this is a Windows issue. I hunted around a bit on several forums and it sounds like a few people have had similar issues; however, i wasn't having much luck with the Windows diagnostics, so I created a bootable USB with Ubuntu and I've managed to boot up using that ok (thinking that might at least give me access to the hard disk).

    The machine is a Dell Inspiron 660 desktop with Windows 8, which I bought just over a year ago. It has an Intel Core i5 processor and about 8GB RAM. I confess that I didn't get round to creating a recovery disk or make any system backups (I know, my bad ...). I know there is an option in the Windows diagnostics to reset the system back to 'factory settings'; however, I haven't tried that yet as I'm still hopeful of being able to recover my files.

    However, after booting up into Ubuntu, the Windows hard disk partitions seem to be mounted, but all I can see is the top-level folders (Windows, Users, Program Files, etc.), but they appear to be empty - all the files are missing. Thinking it might be some Windows/Linux compatibility thing, I opened up the Windows command prompt (via the diagnostics) and checked there too, but it looks the same - the top-level folders on the C: drive are there, but appear empty.

    So, are all my files gone and am I basically screwed? I would have thought if they were there I'd be able to see them from the Windows command prompt. As a next step I'm going to try downloading a hard disk recovery utility and see if I have any luck with that.

    Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated!

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    India
    Posts : 1,034
    Windows 7 x64/ Windows 8.1 x64


    Hi Time4Tea, Welcome to 8 forums.

    Insert the Windows 8 installation DVD in the DVD ROM and restart your computer.

    a) After you boot your computer using Windows DVD or System Repair Disc, a black screen appears with gray text "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD". Press any key.
    b) Select the correct time and Keyboard type.
    c) Click Repair your computer in the lower left corner.
    d) Select Troubleshoot from Choose an option screen.
    e) Click Advanced options in Troubleshoot screen.
    f) Click Automatic Repair from Advanced Options screen.
    g) Next, choose the operating system by clicking on its button.
    h) Windows 8 will then looks for problems on hard drive(s) and verify that all required files are intact.

    Please move to the next method if the issue is unresolved.

    Method 2: Perform System Restore from Advanced Options screen.

    System Restore allows you to restore your computer to a previous state quickly and easily without losing any of your files or personal settings. Sometimes when you install programs or drivers, they may affect some of the system settings and prevent other programs from working correctly. You can use System Restore to revert these settings back to their previous state

    Follow the steps:

    a) After you boot your computer using Windows DVD or System Repair Disc, a black screen appears with gray text "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD". Press any key.
    b) Select the correct time and Keyboard type.
    c) Click Repair your computer in the lower left corner.
    d) Select Troubleshoot from Choose an option screen.
    e) Click Advanced options in Troubleshoot screen.
    f) Select System Restore.

    After you perform System Restore your documents and files will always remain to their previous state.


    I hope this resolves your issue,
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    Also, if you have access to RUN or a command prompt type in rstrui.exe & press Enter & system restore will open with options to use restore points.
    (if you have any made, that is)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Hi archer and David,

    Thanks for responding to my post. The Windows 8 was factory-installed on the Dell tower unit and I wasn't provided with an installation disk. Unwisely, I also didn't create a recovery disk or make any restore points, which seems to be leaving me in a difficult position. I went into the built-in diagnostics (blue-screen menus) and tried the automatic repair and system refresh, but those didn't work. I haven't yet tried to reset the system to factory settings as I'm still hoping to be able to recover data, but I may try that if nothing else works.

    I'm going to call Dell this morning and see if they can provide an installation disk. I will also probably order a new internal hard disk; install Ubuntu on it and see if I can use a 'disk recovery' program to access my data. A spare hard disk would probably come in handy anyway ...

    I'll report back if I make any progress and thanks again!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Ok, so I've now received a Windows 8 recovery disk from Dell (they sent it to me free-of-charge, even though I'm 2 months out of warranty, which was good of them). It looks like I can use this to try to 'refresh' the system, which apparently *should* avoid deleting any of my pre-existing data.

    So, any thoughts on what would be my best chance of avoiding data loss? Should I go ahead and try the refresh with the Windows DVD, or would it be worth trying some sort of hard disk recovery software first (if so, any recommendations?)?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Harrisonburg, Va.
    Posts : 10,488
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center


    Try method one that Archer posted above.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 5,592
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1


    From the Repair CD/USB:
    How to do a Auto Repair:
    Automatic Repair - Run in Windows 8
    Note: You may need to do startup repair 3 to 4 times.
    Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times - Windows 7 Help Forums
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Thanks for your comments David Bailey and theog. However, I tried the automatic sytem repair using the recovery disk several times (at least 5-6) and it didn't work - just keeps on saying 'Automatic Repair couldn't repair your PC'. I'm going to try fully installing Ubuntu on a second hard disk that I've purchased and see if I can download some sort of hard disk recovery software. If anyone could recommend a good one, I'd be grateful!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 5,592
    ME, XP,Vista,Win7,Win8,Win8.1


    Try a System Restore.

    How to do a System Restore:
    System Restore - How to Do in Windows 8
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    I tried that as well, but it also didn't work - it just said it couldn't find any restore points. I'm starting to suspect that the filesystem has been compromised, as it doesn't seem to be able to find any of the files.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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