Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Unable to refresh or reset PC after Automatic Repair fails

  1. #1


    Posts : 3
    Windows 8

    Unable to refresh or reset PC after Automatic Repair fails


    I will quote from an article on the Microsoft site, Article ID: 2823223

    Quote:
    Consider the following scenario:
    You have Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro installed on your PC.
    Your PC fails to boot into Windows and launches Automatic Repair to attempt to repair Windows.
    Automatic Repair is unable to repair your PC and you select "Advanced options".
    After selecting "Troubleshoot", you choose to either "Refresh your PC" or "Reset your PC".

    In this scenario, recovery may fail and you are returned back to the main WinRE screen.

    This issue may occur if the System or Software registry hives have become damaged or corrupted.

    To attempt to resolve this issue, follow the steps below.

    NOTE: Following these steps should only be used if you are attempting to use the "Refresh your PC" or "Reset your PC" options in Windows RE because your system is in a non-bootable state.
    After Automatic Repair fails to repair your PC, select "Advanced options" and then "Troubleshoot".
    Select "Advanced options" and then select "Command Prompt".
    If prompted, enter in the password for the user name.
    At the Command Prompt, go to the \windows\system32\config folder by typing the following command: cd %windir%\system32\config.
    Rename the System and Software registry hives to System.001 and Software.001 by using the following commands:
    ren system system.001
    ren software software.001

    I did all that but when I tried to rename the Software.001 file the system responds:
    "The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process"

    I tried to create a Ubuntu start up usb key so that i could maybe get in and rename the file but that presented more problems that I couldn't understand so I came here for more advice.
    Any ideas about how to get past this cycle would be much appreciated.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    Ok, I'll bite...

    If the message is correct, it appears something still has control of the file. I suppose two questions come to mind. Have you done a cold boot prior to trying the procedure, and how and with what media exactly did you boot into command prompt?

    If you are doing the boot correctly, all I might think is that a recovery drive might not allow you to boot completely offline, or the recovery/restore process still has some type of control of the files.

    Depending on your reply, I will try to see what mine does.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    I have been going over the article and the process expected. I am at a disadvantage, because I am not in the Repair process, but just booting to a Recovery drive. Exactly where you are when you open the Command Prompt, Drive Letter wise, might make a difference.

    For instance, if you boot to a Recovery drive, you will enter the Command Prompt in the Directory X: \Windows\System32. If you type the command they show, you will end up in the X: \Windows\System32\config directory. If you try to rename the Software and System hives there, it will give the indications you encountered.

    If you were to be in the same folder on the Windows 8, C: , partition, you could rename the Software file. I guess I will admit to being a little uncertain as to which directory you need to be in to complete the process. But I would guess
    C: \Windows\System32\config. Maybe someone else will know for sure.

    It should be noted, the drive letters in the Command Prompt may not always be the same as the Windows drive letters, so it is probably best to check. Also, the note below should be kept in mind. And since you do seem to be able to change one file name with your current process, you might try that first.

    NOTE: Renaming the Software hive will not allow you to use the "Refresh your PC" option. If you want to use the "Refresh your PC" option, only rename the System hive. If the Software hive is also corrupt, you may not be able to use the "Refresh your PC" option.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 3
    Windows 8


    Thank you for your attention to this problem, Saltgrass. I will try your suggestion and post the results here later.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 1,121
    Windows 8.1 x64


    I decided to go ahead and try renaming both the files in the C: \Windows\System32\config directory. The reboot resulted in a Repairing your Computer scenario and ended with a Cannot Repair, would you like to Restore. I chose to cancel instead of Restoring and the Computer rebooted back into Windows. The System and Software files were back along with the renamed versions.

    To me, this seems like what Windows 7 did when you selected the "Last Known Good" option. But the Windows 8 Recovery/Repair system continues to mystify me. I did submit feedback on the Microsoft article you referenced, asking them to clarify which files they really wanted to change the name on. We will see if anything is done in that direction.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 3
    Windows 8


    Wow, thanks for your persistence. I will be back at the computer in about 8 hrs. from now.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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