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Solved Windows 8 Automatic Repair Loop Issue


Time4Tea

Member
Member
Posts
14
#1
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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 660
    CPU
    Intel Core i5

archer

New Member
VIP Member
Power User
India

Posts
1,034
#2
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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 7 x64/ Windows 8.1 x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Self Made
    CPU
    Intel i5 2500K @ 3.3GHz
    Motherboard
    Asus Z68 V Pro
    Memory
    16GB DDR 3
    Graphics Card(s)
    HIS 6870 ICEq edition
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 22" Display
    Screen Resolution
    1920X1080
    Hard Drives
    WD 1 TB
    Seagate 2 TB
    WD 320 GB
    PSU
    coolermaster 750 W
    Case
    Coolermaster HAF 912
    Keyboard
    TVS Gold
    Mouse
    Samsumg
    Internet Speed
    4 Mbps
    Browser
    Google Chrome
    Antivirus
    AVG 2013 IS
#3
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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Gateway
    CPU
    AMD K140 Cores 2 Threads 2 Name AMD K140 Package Socket FT1 BGA Technology 40nm
    Motherboard
    Manufacturer Gateway Model SX2110G (P0)
    Memory
    Type DDR3 Size 8192 MBytes DRAM Frequency 532.3 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI AMD Radeon HD 7310 Graphics
    Sound Card
    AMD High Definition Audio Device Realtek High Definition Audio USB Audio Device
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Name 1950W on AMD Radeon HD 7310 Graphics Current Resolution 1366x768 pixels Work Resolution 1366x76
    Screen Resolution
    Current Resolution 1366x768 pixels Work Resolution 1366x768 pixels
    Hard Drives
    AMD K140
    Cores 2
    Threads 2
    Name AMD K140
    Package Socket FT1 BGA
    Technology 40nm
    Specification AMD E1-1200 APU with Radeon HD Graphics
    Family F
    Extended Family 14
    Model 2
    Extended Model 2
    Stepping 0
    Revision ON-C0
    Instruction
    Browser
    Opera 24.0
    Antivirus
    Avast Internet Security

Time4Tea

Member
Member
Posts
14
#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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 660
    CPU
    Intel Core i5

Time4Tea

Member
Member
Posts
14
#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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 660
    CPU
    Intel Core i5
#6
Try method one that Archer posted above.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1.1 Pro with Media Center
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Gateway
    CPU
    AMD K140 Cores 2 Threads 2 Name AMD K140 Package Socket FT1 BGA Technology 40nm
    Motherboard
    Manufacturer Gateway Model SX2110G (P0)
    Memory
    Type DDR3 Size 8192 MBytes DRAM Frequency 532.3 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI AMD Radeon HD 7310 Graphics
    Sound Card
    AMD High Definition Audio Device Realtek High Definition Audio USB Audio Device
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Name 1950W on AMD Radeon HD 7310 Graphics Current Resolution 1366x768 pixels Work Resolution 1366x76
    Screen Resolution
    Current Resolution 1366x768 pixels Work Resolution 1366x768 pixels
    Hard Drives
    AMD K140
    Cores 2
    Threads 2
    Name AMD K140
    Package Socket FT1 BGA
    Technology 40nm
    Specification AMD E1-1200 APU with Radeon HD Graphics
    Family F
    Extended Family 14
    Model 2
    Extended Model 2
    Stepping 0
    Revision ON-C0
    Instruction
    Browser
    Opera 24.0
    Antivirus
    Avast Internet Security

Time4Tea

Member
Member
Posts
14
#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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 660
    CPU
    Intel Core i5

Time4Tea

Member
Member
Posts
14
#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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 660
    CPU
    Intel Core i5

XweAponX

New Member
VIP Member
Pro User
#11
When your system is cold-halted like that, it damnages the HDD. You have to run a full drive scan on the HDD.

This is where Windows 8 totally fails, because the auto repair cannot fix this kind of problem, only the full disk checking software form the HDD MFGR can do it, and you have to run it on the full drive.

You can either google for the right tools, or use my link Hirens Boot CD below, it has ALL of the MFGR repair tools in the DOS section.

Never let Windows try to start WITHOUT he Monitor ON.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Asus M2N-MX SE Plus § DualCore AMD Athlon 64 X2, 2300 MHz (11.5 x 200) 4400+ § Corsair Value Select
    CPU
    AMD 4400+/4200+
    Motherboard
    Asus M2N-MX SE Plus/Asus A8M2N-LA (NodusM)
    Memory
    2 GB/3GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    GeForce 8400 GS/GeForce 210
    Sound Card
    nVIDIA GT218 - High Definition Audio Controller
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Hitachi 40" LCD HDTV
    Screen Resolution
    "1842 x 1036"
    Hard Drives
    WDC WD50 00AAKS-007AA SCSI Disk Device
    ST1000DL 002-9TT153 SCSI Disk Device
    WDC WD3200AAJB-00J3A0 ATA Device
    WDC WD32 WD-WCAPZ2942630 USB Device
    WD My Book 1140 USB Device
    PSU
    Works 550w
    Case
    MSI "M-Box"
    Cooling
    Water Cooled
    Keyboard
    Dell Keyboard
    Mouse
    Microsoft Intellimouse
    Internet Speed
    Cable Medium Speed
    Browser
    Chrome/IE 10
    Antivirus
    Eset NOD32 6.x/Win Defend
    Other Info
    Recently lost my Windows 8 on my main PC, had to go back to Windows 7.

Time4Tea

Member
Member
Posts
14
#12
Hi XweAponX,

When you say to do a full drive scan, you mean using something like scandisk? It's a Seagate drive, so I will check their website and see what they recommend. I didn't try to start up Windows with the monitor off - the power was accidentally cut while the system was 'asleep', with the monitor off. I've been using PCs and macs with various OSs for many years, and I've never had such a catastrophic failure just due to a sudden power loss. I mean, power cuts and system crashes happen all the time - surely a robust OS should be able to handle it?

I will definitely check out the Hiren's Boot CD link that you mention - thanks for the tip! :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 660
    CPU
    Intel Core i5

Time4Tea

Member
Member
Posts
14
#13
Hi,

Ok, so I've marked the problem as 'solved', because I've figured out what was going on. Basically, almost ALL the files on my HDD (including the Windows system files) had been crammed into a found.000 folder on the top level, so it's no wonder the OS couldn't boot up! What seems to have happened is that the HDD was damaged during the sudden power down and it must have unfortunately hit just the right part of the disk to wreck the filesystem. Then, scandisk found all the 'orphaned' files and put them into found.000.

It took me a while to figure out where all the files had gone, but it's all ok now and I've recovered 95% of my data, which is a relief! I've also re-installed Windows from the disk that Dell gave me - it was pretty straightforward.

Thanks very much to everyone who posted with advice - I really appreciate your help. Also, that HIRENs boot disk is an amazing tool - I highly recommend it for PC maintenance. I'll definitely learn my lesson and create backups and restore points from now on. :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 660
    CPU
    Intel Core i5

sktanz

New Member
Posts
5
#14
Hey Time4Tea I am experiencing the exact problem as you and I'm freaking out since all my term papers and college materials are trapped in there. I upgraded from Vista to Windows 8 but I don't have the disk for refreshing or anything and any other alternatives haven't worked so far. Could you please help me and walk me through what you did to recover your data and computer? :C I'm desperate for help
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8

XweAponX

New Member
VIP Member
Pro User
#15
I always mention in passing that Hiren's has the HDD Programs for all manufacturers, so you don't have to do 300 different downloads looking for the right tool. But what I want you guys to do, is first search for the exact Tool from the manufacturer's Website. If you can't find it, then use Hiren's as a last resort. I cannot encourage using Hiren's, except to say it's what I use if my other self-made Boot CD does not have the right tool on it. So in that regard, it is there if you need it.

Always know, always find out WHAT kind of Hard Drive you got - If you have a SSD, do NOT use any of the tools I mention, you will wreck your drive, this is HDD ONLY.

Your System BIOS will say what brand and type of HDD you have. If it does nto say, then download the free AIDA64 program, google AIDA64 - It will ID your HDDs.

By Full Drive Scan, I mean BEAAYOND what Scandisk will do, beyond what CHKDSK will and can do.

Seagate has "Seatools", Western Digital has "WDDIAG" - And Compaq's GWscan can check both Seagate and WD drives, WDDIAG also uses the same engine as GWscan.

You have to put those programs onto a Bootable CD or Flash Drive, and you must be able to start the program using a Dos Prompt, so you cannot use any kind of Linux OS, it has to be DOS. Just search the web on "How to make a bootable CD/Flash Drive"

These Programs will start by running a SMART check, if it fails, then you will not be able to repair the drive. If it passes, then it brings you to a "Short Test" - Run that, it takes up to 6 minutes.

in GWscan and WDDIAG, after the Short Test, if it finds errors, it will set you up for the FULL HD test. Seatools will do the same thing.

Hitachi and Samsung and Toshiba all have their own tools, you can either download them, or use the ones on Hiren's as a last resort.

The Full Test will scan the entire drive surface and it will correct all errors in the filesystem it finds, blocking off bad sectors if it finds any.

If there are too many errors, it will fail the full test, that's when you use another tool called "ViVard" - It is also on Hiren's but you can download Vivard from their own site.

GWscan Seatools and WDDIAG will take about an hour and a half tops to do a full scan. Vivard, however, will run a "Smart Scan with Remap" and that can take up to 4 hours, if it takes longer, then it's most likely showing "NRDY" errors, NRDY means "Not Ready", in other words, it is not seeing the drive, in which case the scan cannot continue. Sometimes, you will see occasional "NRDY" errors, but if the san continues just let it finish, what that means is you have maybe 1 or 2 days in which to buy a new HDD and then use any Partition Manager program to dupe the failing drive to a new drive. I have used ViVard to extend the life just enough to allow me to do this. But after ViVard runs, do not assume the drive is Fixed.

If Vivard shows NO "NRDY" errors, and completes the full remap, it will show you blocks of blocked off sectors, you can continue to use the drive.

I've repaired several Samsung and Toshiba drives that were "FAIL" (In Big ASCII Letters). Basically, most Repair Places will try to sell you a new drive, and they wont even try to repair the drive. But I've repaired maybe 50 "failed" hard drives, drives that Geek Squad were too stupid to fix.

Basically, you have to know when to accept that the hard drive is toast. ViVard is always my last resort- NEVER use it as your first resort, because it is very dangerous to use, by the time you try ViVard, your drive has a 50-50 chance of being fixed. I try to be optimistic though.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Asus M2N-MX SE Plus § DualCore AMD Athlon 64 X2, 2300 MHz (11.5 x 200) 4400+ § Corsair Value Select
    CPU
    AMD 4400+/4200+
    Motherboard
    Asus M2N-MX SE Plus/Asus A8M2N-LA (NodusM)
    Memory
    2 GB/3GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    GeForce 8400 GS/GeForce 210
    Sound Card
    nVIDIA GT218 - High Definition Audio Controller
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Hitachi 40" LCD HDTV
    Screen Resolution
    "1842 x 1036"
    Hard Drives
    WDC WD50 00AAKS-007AA SCSI Disk Device
    ST1000DL 002-9TT153 SCSI Disk Device
    WDC WD3200AAJB-00J3A0 ATA Device
    WDC WD32 WD-WCAPZ2942630 USB Device
    WD My Book 1140 USB Device
    PSU
    Works 550w
    Case
    MSI "M-Box"
    Cooling
    Water Cooled
    Keyboard
    Dell Keyboard
    Mouse
    Microsoft Intellimouse
    Internet Speed
    Cable Medium Speed
    Browser
    Chrome/IE 10
    Antivirus
    Eset NOD32 6.x/Win Defend
    Other Info
    Recently lost my Windows 8 on my main PC, had to go back to Windows 7.

XweAponX

New Member
VIP Member
Pro User
#16
Hi,

Ok, so I've marked the problem as 'solved', because I've figured out what was going on. Basically, almost ALL the files on my HDD (including the Windows system files) had been crammed into a found.000 folder on the top level, so it's no wonder the OS couldn't boot up! What seems to have happened is that the HDD was damaged during the sudden power down and it must have unfortunately hit just the right part of the disk to wreck the filesystem. Then, scandisk found all the 'orphaned' files and put them into found.000.

It took me a while to figure out where all the files had gone, but it's all ok now and I've recovered 95% of my data, which is a relief! I've also re-installed Windows from the disk that Dell gave me - it was pretty straightforward.

Thanks very much to everyone who posted with advice - I really appreciate your help. Also, that HIRENs boot disk is an amazing tool - I highly recommend it for PC maintenance. I'll definitely learn my lesson and create backups and restore points from now on. :)
Just remember to try downloading the tools you need from the MFGR's site, Hiren's is there for last ditch efforts. I try not to suggest it as the ONLY way to fix things, and I have been veering away fro suggesting it at all, at least until Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, when XP is dripped from support, it will also be dropped from Microsoft's Interest, and they won't care if you use the "Mini XP" which is the only thorn in Hiren's side.

But until this happens, try to find the tools using Google, and search for any good tutorials on how to make a Bootable CD or Flash Drive, because these tools use a DOS/Comand.com environment to run. They also need some kind of CD support, but this is usually included in several Boot CD/Flash making tools.

I'm glad you got your stuff recovered, just remember, you ended up with that Found.000 folder cos you use CHKDSK - The HDD repair tools go way beyond CHKDSK, and when it fixes something, it saves it in the same place, and does not move it to "found.000" -Always run CHKDSK after you run the HDD repair tool and a full drive scan.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center/Windows 7
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Asus M2N-MX SE Plus § DualCore AMD Athlon 64 X2, 2300 MHz (11.5 x 200) 4400+ § Corsair Value Select
    CPU
    AMD 4400+/4200+
    Motherboard
    Asus M2N-MX SE Plus/Asus A8M2N-LA (NodusM)
    Memory
    2 GB/3GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    GeForce 8400 GS/GeForce 210
    Sound Card
    nVIDIA GT218 - High Definition Audio Controller
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Hitachi 40" LCD HDTV
    Screen Resolution
    "1842 x 1036"
    Hard Drives
    WDC WD50 00AAKS-007AA SCSI Disk Device
    ST1000DL 002-9TT153 SCSI Disk Device
    WDC WD3200AAJB-00J3A0 ATA Device
    WDC WD32 WD-WCAPZ2942630 USB Device
    WD My Book 1140 USB Device
    PSU
    Works 550w
    Case
    MSI "M-Box"
    Cooling
    Water Cooled
    Keyboard
    Dell Keyboard
    Mouse
    Microsoft Intellimouse
    Internet Speed
    Cable Medium Speed
    Browser
    Chrome/IE 10
    Antivirus
    Eset NOD32 6.x/Win Defend
    Other Info
    Recently lost my Windows 8 on my main PC, had to go back to Windows 7.

sktanz

New Member
Posts
5
#17
Thank you for the reply. I spent my time creating a bootable USB with Hiren's bootcd on it and I plugged it into my computer. After turning it on, I pressed ESC to enter my BIOS to boot it from the USB. I got my hopes up very high and was completely shutdown as when I press to boot it from my flashdrive, the screen automatically goes back to "automatic repair loop". My cmd prompt would not even let me enter safe mode. Is all hope lost? I was hoping to at least get to scan my hard drive.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8

sktanz

New Member
Posts
5
#18
Making changes to that*** hope restored. Surprisingly my flashdrive has 2 drives within it and I booted it up from the wrong one. Hoping to be able to scan now. Will post result in a bit.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8

Time4Tea

Member
Member
Posts
14
#19
Hi sktanz,

I'm sorry to hear that you're having a similar problem to the one I had. I think you'll do well if you follow the great advice from XweAponX above. I'd say as a first step you want to either get into the DOS command prompt or create a live CD/USB, just so you can access the drive and see what's there and what state it's in. Can you access the command prompt through the blue Windows 8 diagnostic screens?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 660
    CPU
    Intel Core i5
Posts
1
#20
Is there ANY way to extract files while in the PREAPARING TO REPAIR loop?

I have been dealing with this crap for the last five days, I have tried EVERYTHING!!!!

CMD PROMPTS, tried getting into SAFE MODE, scanning the HD, everything under the sun (internet) has not worked and keeps me in the repair loop.

Thinking about doing a FULL RESET next, but need to know if Geek Squad or anyone more tech savvy can extract some files before the full reset?


 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8

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