Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Win8 lost boot, won't reset or refresh

  1. #1


    Posts : 23
    Windows 8 Pro

    Win8 lost boot, won't reset or refresh


    New Win8 Pro with WMC install to a new Intel SSD on an old Dell Inspiron 530. I got everything activated and working fine, and then I swapped the SSD for the old HDD to finish getting all my data. But when I swapped the SSD back in, I can no longer get Windows 8 to boot--it goes into automatic repair, but none of the options are available to me. Refresh won't work, reset won't work, I can't even get system restore to work (it shows me two restore points available, but it won't let me select them.) I'm lost and seeking help.

    This was a clean install, so it has the 350MB recovery partition. I believe the RAID is set properly (I have no straight up AHCI option in BIOS, but I installed Win8 under RAID [it shows "AHCI Bios enabled!" during POST], and remembered to change to IDE mode to boot the HDD, and back to RAID before trying to boot the SSD).

    I've always been able to troubleshoot these sorts of problems under XP or 7 thanks to Google, but I'm just not familiar with these Win8 processes (or SSDs/AHCI/RAID stuff) yet. I've got all the linux tools, Hirens, etc. available, and can verify that the files on the SSD appear to be fine, but no idea what to try to fix. I could reinstall if necessary, but really don't want to have to deal with the upgrade and re-activating--and even if I do have to reinstall, it'd help to know what went wrong to avoid/be able to fix it in the future.

    Appreciate any help--happy to provide more info if needed, just lemme know. Will be checking back regularly today. Thanks!!

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    When you start your system and use the Boot Device Menu, what does it show for options?

    There may be some setting in the bios you need to check to make sure the new drive is being seen as primary.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 2,156
    Win7 Ult on DIY; Win8 Pro on MBP/Parallels; Win7 Ult on MBP/Boot Camp; Win7 Ult/Win8 Pro on HP


    Quote Originally Posted by 6forty View Post
    I believe the RAID is set properly (I have no straight up AHCI option in BIOS, but I installed Windows 8 under RAID [it shows "AHCI Bios enabled!" during POST],

    Appreciate any help--happy to provide more info if needed, just lemme know. Will be checking back regularly today. Thanks!!
    RAID and ACHI either can be used on a single drive. And, you say you installed under RAID. Seems like RAID should be selected in the BIOS. Is it? Don't understand why AHCI BIOS enabled shown at post--if there is no such option in the BIOS. Anyway, if you can, try setting your BIOS specifically to RAID.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 23
    Windows 8 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by znod View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 6forty View Post
    I believe the RAID is set properly (I have no straight up AHCI option in BIOS, but I installed Windows 8 under RAID [it shows "AHCI Bios enabled!" during POST],

    Appreciate any help--happy to provide more info if needed, just lemme know. Will be checking back regularly today. Thanks!!
    RAID and ACHI either can be used on a single drive. And, you say you installed under RAID. Seems like RAID should be selected in the BIOS. Is it? Don't understand why AHCI BIOS enabled shown at post--if there is no such option in the BIOS. Anyway, if you can, try setting your BIOS specifically to RAID.
    Thanks, znod. Yes, it's set specifically to RAID. The AHCI message it shows during post is (by my guess) a quirk of the restrictive Dell OEM locked-down BIOS. I'm probably guilty of clouding the issue with too many/irrelevant details here. All I know is I had it working properly after installation, and everything like TRIM was enabled and working.

    The only options provided are either IDE or RAID. The important detail, I think, is that it's set the same as it was before, when it worked. Now it doesn't. All I did was swap the drives, change RAID to IDE to boot the old spinner, then swap drives back to the SSD and change BIOS back to RAID. And haven't been able to boot since.

    I'm thinking something has to be corrupted--like the bootloader, or something in that 350MB recovery partition. It can somehow boot the recovery environment to try an automated repair, but I'm perplexed why it can run that far, and then not let me refresh or reset...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 23
    Windows 8 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by Saltgrass View Post
    When you start your system and use the Boot Device Menu, what does it show for options?

    There may be some setting in the bios you need to check to make sure the new drive is being seen as primary.
    Thanks for your reply too, Saltgrass. Covered in my reply to znod. Sorry for not being more clear, I tend to be verbose, and I'm not a tech pro.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 2,156
    Win7 Ult on DIY; Win8 Pro on MBP/Parallels; Win7 Ult on MBP/Boot Camp; Win7 Ult/Win8 Pro on HP


    When you say it goes to automatic repair, do you mean it starts running the automatic repair option? If yes, do you get any messages while it's running. For example, are you told something like "your installation cannot be repaired? I assume you have an upgrade disc/flash drive. Try using it to repair/select options. And, you probably are familiar with the effects of these options:

    Refresh your PC—Attempts to solve system problems by replacing system files without affecting user data files. Such files still should be backed up. Installed programs will have to be reinstalled except those from the Windows Store. A list of uninstalled programs is provided on desktop. You personalization settings will be maintained. System settings will be set to defaults. A Windows.old folder will be created at C:. You can delete it once you have everything you want from it--Windows.old Folder - Delete in Windows 8.

    Reset your PC—Formats, removes everything, and reinstalls Win8. Not even any settings maintained. Be well backed up.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 23
    Windows 8 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by znod View Post
    When you say it goes to automatic repair, do you mean it starts running the automatic repair option? If yes, do you get any messages while it's running. For example, are you told something like "your installation cannot be repaired? I assume you have an upgrade disc/flash drive. Try using it to repair/select options. And, you probably are familiar with the effects of these options:<snip>
    Thanks znod. Yes, when I boot, it goes right into Windows 8 automatic repair option. Soon after, it does tell me it can't be repaired, and I get three options (iirc): continue to Win8 (which results in going back into automated repair), advanced options, or shut down. I've tried both refresh and reset. It takes less than two seconds to tell me that refresh/reset failed. Under advanced, my only option is system restore--no Win8 images made yet--and I have two restore points that are selectable, but on the next page to confirm the restore, the radio button is greyed out and it says "you have to enable system restore for this drive." Its just... bizarre.

    I also tried with the original installation media as you suggest (USB flash drive created from the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant.) I select the repair option, and once I get to the menu refresh/etc options, the behavior is identical. Which, now that I think about it, would indicate that the problem is not something corrupted on the recovery partition, but something borked on the RAID/BIOS side. I just can't for the life of me see what would have changed. And if something's not set properly, attempting a reinstall may be pointless anyway. Anything else I can try? Being an off-the-shelf Dell, there are very few settings to play around with, I'm not sure what other options I have to change anything.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 23
    Windows 8 Pro


    Just for the hell of it, I popped the old spinner in there again. Switched the BIOS to IDE mode, and it booted up without issue. SSD back in, switch to RAID, same old automated repair deal. Trying google for answers again.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 2,156
    Win7 Ult on DIY; Win8 Pro on MBP/Parallels; Win7 Ult on MBP/Boot Camp; Win7 Ult/Win8 Pro on HP


    [QUOTE=6forty;193368]
    Quote Originally Posted by znod View Post
    Which, now that I think about it, would indicate that the problem is not something corrupted on the recovery partition, but something borked on the RAID/BIOS side. I just can't for the life of me see what would have changed. And if something's not set properly, attempting a reinstall may be pointless anyway. Anything else I can try? Being an off-the-shelf Dell, there are very few settings to play around with, I'm not sure what other options I have to change anything.
    Agreed on the "borked" idea; that's what I was thinking/wondering about. I assume all your files are backed up. And, apparently you are willing to do a reset or refresh. So, why not try another clean install at this point?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 23
    Windows 8 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by znod View Post
    Agreed on the "borked" idea; that's what I was thinking/wondering about. I assume all your files are backed up. And, apparently you are willing to do a reset or refresh. So, why not try another clean install at this point?
    I did exactly that, not long after my last post last night. Reinstalled and it seems to be working fine now.

    A few reasons why I didn't want to reinstall:
    1. In my layman's mind, there could have been some serious problem on the system, and I didn't want to ignore it.
    2. If it happened once, it could happen again, and I wanted to learn how to fix it. Maybe learn a bit about this stuff in the process. Like I said, I'm not a tech person, but I build and tinker, and I enjoy the learning experience.
    3. Just the tediousness of having to upgrade/activate/install new drivers/etc. I hadn't really put the SSD into full service yet, I was rushing to get everything activated before MS's Jan 31 deadline (had to activate WMC)... so I didn't have any data or many programs installed yet, but I also hadn't made my system image to restore later. I'll be doing that today for sure.

    I really appreciate your taking the time to help me troubleshoot, it's unfortunate I couldn't ID the root cause, but hopefully it was an isolated thing. Thanks again.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Win8 lost boot, won't reset or refresh
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