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Automatic Repair Loop...on to clean install..no product key!

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#1 heathermariela


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Posted 06 October 2015 - 09:23 AM

Tried helping a friend with some issues after she upgraded to Windows 10 (was being plagued by the slow startup bug) so I disabled some non critical startup items in hopes that would help. It didn't make any difference, still hung up for a while before signing in. But, once she got back in several issues popped up and she was unable to scan from her printer. I know this would not have anything to do with what I did but to give her peace of mind I suggested she go back to a restore point (directing her one what to do via text as I was unable to get to her while at work).


Order of events:

Clicked restore point...got message that disk was corrupted and needed to be repaired.

Run Check disk..errors found

Clicked 'Repair Now', proceeded to reboot and gets the Automatic Repair screen.. Your PC did not start correctly

Went to advanced options...tried EVERYTHING possible..

..Cannot get in to safe mode, goes back to Auto Repair screen

...Cannot do a reset (says something went wrong and cannot reset)

....Cannot find a restore point

.....cannot find a system recovery image

.......Cannot go back to previous build

Basically the dreaded Automatic Repair Loop


Tried everything I could find googling and arrived at the conclusion that Microsoft (and everyone else for that matter) says all you can do is download Windows 10 and try to install from a USB. Did that and it asks for a Product Key..which we cannot obtain since we cannot get into the computer and even running key finders on her backup drive turns up nothing.


Read that you can 'skip' the activation and it should activate anyway once it starts up. When I finally left late late last night it was sitting at the 'Getting Ready' screen with the spinning dots. Told her to just let it do its thing and put in her sign on info once it asked for it. Now this morning it's asking for the activation key again. How do we get that??


I'm really wishing I had just did a fresh install of Windows 8 since 10 appears to be as problematic as I knew it would be (why can't Microsoft stuff just WORK????). No going back now unless I want to spend 5 more hours with her which I don't have time for.


Anyone have this same issue? Everything I read said you must get your product key first but what do you do when you can't do that? Am I going to have to reinstall windows 8 then upgrade to 10 to get her back there? (though honestly she might rather go back to 8 now!)


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#2 britechguy


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Posted 06 October 2015 - 12:08 PM

Did you do a full backup, including system image, of the Win8.1 instance before you tried to upgrade?   If so I would suggest that you make sure that the backup drive on which that was taken is plugged in with the hope that the repair process might find it.


I've not had any issues with upgrading to Windows 10 and it's been working quite well.  The machine I'm typing on now was Win8.1 until last Saturday, when I used the Windows Media Creation Tool with the Upgrade this PC now option, which does not require you to have a separate product key.


My guess is that you will have to go back to Win8.1 and upgrade again.  If you do this, definitely use the Media Creation Tool method with the Upgrade this PC now option.


I wish I had something more soothing to tell you, but alas . . .

Edited by britechguy, 06 October 2015 - 12:10 PM.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

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    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story






#3 CKing123


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Posted 06 October 2015 - 07:33 PM

Hello and :welcome: to Bleeping Computer

If you upgraded to Windows 10, then you can click the small Skip during installation when it asks for product key, and it will come again, and you can click Skip again.


After that, Windows 10 should be activated, but you can check that:


Click on Start

Click on Settings

Go to Update & security

Click on Activation on the left

It should say 

Activation       Windows is activated



Edited by CKing123, 06 October 2015 - 07:34 PM.

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#4 usasma


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Posted 07 October 2015 - 07:00 AM

I'm running build 10547 now, and have only had one problem (way back before the RTM 10240 came out).


As long as the system has been activated on Microsoft's servers (W7SP1, W8, or W10), you won't need the product key.

You skip the first product key request, and then the second (it says something like "Not now" I think), then when it gets into Windows you check and see that it's activated.

Obviously, if it can't get into Windows, then you can't check the activation (but that's the least of your problems at that point).


The more the system has been "used", the more likely you are to have problems with the update to W10.

If updating to W10 because of problems with the previous OS - there's a good chance that the update won't fix it either.

Basically, the best chance of a good update is a clean install of W10 on a system that's already been activated using Microsoft's servers (W7SP1, W8, W8.1, W10)

Next most likely is a fresh install of W7SP1 or W8.1


If you can't get back into Windows, then there's limited choices available to you.

On some systems, the recovery partition is left alone and you can revert to the original OS that way (on HP's it by pressing F11).  I've only seen this on HP's, but really haven't had an opportunity to see it on other OEM systems.


If it's not recoverable that way then:

- then you'll need to backup your stuff first

- then wipe the system and try the clean install of W10 (nothing to lose by trying it)

- if it won't activate, then you'll have to try a clean install of W7SP1 or W8.1 and then update to W10


There's some other things that you can try (if you get into W10) - but don't expect a "cure-all":


There's a couple of things to try:
1)  Run the following command in a Powershell window that's run as an Administrator in order to re-register the Windows Store apps:

Get-AppXPackage | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}
From this article:  http://www.thewindowsclub.com/re-register-windows-store-apps
Be sure that Edge is closed (in Task Manager).  Cortana will spit an error as it's still running - don't worry about that for now.

2)  Uninstall your antivirus, then use the removal tool for it (there's a list of most of them here:  http://www.carrona.org/avuninst.html ), then install a freshly downloaded, W10 compatible version.  Some A/V have difficulties with the upgrade, so removing them and then reinstalling them will help how they run.

3)  Download fresh copies of the latest, W10 compatible audio and video drivers for your system.  Then uninstall the current versions from your system.  Then install the freshly downloaded versions.

4)  Get ALL available Windows Updates

5)  Get ALL available, W10 compatible drivers/programs from the manufacturer's website.  If some aren't compatible w/W10, check here about uninstalling them.

6)  Get ALL available, W10 compatible drivers/programs for any add-on hardware and any software that you installed previously.  If they aren't compatible, please uninstall them.

If this doesn't fix things, then post back so we can discuss the following options:
- continuing to attempt to fix this copy of the OS
- Reset of the OS (considering both the "Keep My Files" and the "Remove Everything" options)
- revert to the previous OS
- revert to the previous OS with another attempt at installing W10 (I don't recommend this)
- clean install of the previous OS
- clean install of the previous OS, then update to W10
- W10 clean install

My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

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