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Updated GPU drivers, restarted PC, now I'm stuck in an "Automatic Repair" loop.


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#1 dankwizzard

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 04:58 AM

Preface: This is my first time forum, and I did my due diligence in looking around for the past two days, and in the pinned and tutorial pages. I apologize if I could've fixed this without needing to make a post.

 

Specs: Windows 8.1 Industry Pro, i5 6600k, Nvidia EVGA GTX 970sc, Asus Z170-A, Corsair 750i, 16GB(2x8GB) Corsair RAM, Samsung 250gb SSD boot drive, 3TB HGST Red HDD

 

The problem is as the title states, but has a bit of prelude. Yesterday I wanted to update my drivers for my GPU straight from the Nvidia control panel (I've done it this way in the past without a hitch). I couldn't open the Nvidia control panel, said something about OpenGL if I remember right. So I downloaded the latest driver for my CPU straight from the Intel download center website, I opened it and was loading, then the Nvidia program started working all of a sudden. When it finished it said it wasn't compatible. So I look up the right one, again on the Intel website, and instead of opening up a window, it's a RAR file, so I unzip it, and forget about it to update the drivers. I feel as if this somehow could have been the key factor.

 

I restarted my computer. My fans spin up, The mobo power light comes on, but I get nothing on my monitor. I've had this problem in the past, and I know it's probably because I just updated the drivers, so I'm not scared so much as annoyed. I turn off and unplug my PSU, take out both drives, turn it on, and nothing. Turn off and unplug the PSU, put the drives back in, turn it on, and nothing. I put the HDMI cord into my mobo, try again, and nothing. I take out the cmos battery, for 20min, turn it on, still get nothing. I reseat my 970 out of desperation, and for whatever reason that works. But that's where the good news ends.

 

Now Windows 8.1 has me stuck in an automatic repair loop. I got the license free from dream spark about two years ago, but I think I grabbed the wrong boot file, because mine is an Industry Pro edition, which means I'm stuck at 8.1 and couldn't get the free windows 10 upgrade. I mention this because I tried downloading a Windows 10 boot drive from my laptop on flash drive, and refresh my PC, but it just kept saying it's invalid media. That's to be expected. I believe I can't create an 8.1 recovery drive to refresh because I cant use my 8.1 desktop to make it. I only have my windows 10 laptop; but perhaps there is another way.

 

I thought of making a windows 10 boot drive off of my 1TB portable HDD, loading into the bios, see if that boots and fixes the problem, pull all my media from my SSD (which isn't backed up God forgive me), format it, then somehow transfer it back. But I haven't pulled the trigger on that just yet, because I don't know if that'll lock out or somehow make my SSD C: drive inaccessible, and I need to look and see that even if it dose work if transferring  over an external C: HDD's data to an internal blank SSD is even possible.

 

All I wanted to do was take 10min to update my drivers! I'm my wit's end, and any help would be appreciated. Sorry for the wall of text.



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 08:43 AM

Download the Windows 8.1 Media Creation Tool on another computer and create a DVD or USB. Boot the install media. Follow the below video. It references replacing the backed up registry hives in the Regback folder to the config folder. The registry hives in the Regback folder must be at a date before the problem and not be zero bytes. This may get you back to a bootable state.

 

The video is for Windows 10 but the steps are the same for Windows 8.1 using the command prompt on the install disk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=2f-GorXWkoc

Edit: The following steps can also be used to get a command prompt.

 

  • Hold the Power Button for 5 seconds or until the computer completely shuts off.
  • Press the Power Button to turn the computer on.
  • As soon as you see the rotating loading circle, press and hold the Power Button until the computer shuts off.
  • Repeat this process 2 or 3 times until you see the Preparing Automatic Repair screen.
  • Let the computer boot to the Automatic Repair screen.
  • Click Advanced Options, and then select Troubleshoot.

This will also give you the System Restore Option which may work for you. You can attempt this before trying the steps in the video. 


Edited by JohnC_21, 11 March 2018 - 08:50 AM.


#3 dankwizzard

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 06:15 PM

Thanks for the info! I'll be sure to try it tonight, as I'm sick at the moment.

#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 06:18 PM

Fingers Crossed.  Hope you get better soon.



#5 dankwizzard

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 07:48 PM

Thanks, not feeling as bad as before, but still not feeling 100%.  When you say boot the install media, and using the command prompt on the install disk, do you mean go into my bios and boot from the windows 8.1 drive, then go to the "repair your computer", then go to Troubleshoot>AdvancedOptions>CommandPrompt  and follow the video from there?

 

I tried to do it in the wee hours and forgot about the boot drive, doing the tutorial on my SSD drive. For some reason, when I typed in "C:" "dir" it returned this. When I did the same for "d" it returned the contents of my 3TB drive, as it should since it's assigned letter is d. I only got the system files here when I typed in "e:" "dir". Could this be a part of the issue if my OS drive is suppose to be labels c? I went through the tutorial and nothing changed, still stuck in the loop. Is that because I was suppose to load the boot drive, access the command prompt from there? When I do that, the drive with the stuff I need (see last attached photo), is now bumped down to "f:". I just want to ceck if you can make sense of this or correct any of my wrong doings before my likely screwing things up.


Edited by dankwizzard, 12 March 2018 - 08:07 PM.


#6 JohnC_21

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 08:16 PM

When booting outside of Windows it's normal for the drive letters to get twisted. You can use either E: or F: depending on how to get a command prompt.

 

The main point is you want the Drive letter that contains your Windows directory because this is were your regback folder resides. You want to change the directory to the config folder and back up the files in the config folder to the new folder created then copy the files in regback to config. 

 

By boot media I meant the DVD or USB you created using the Media Creation Tool. If you can access the command prompt by the method where you get a F: drive letter that is fine to.



#7 dankwizzard

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 08:37 PM

Ok, I did the tutorial from the boot drive, but now when I try to install windows, it wants my product key, which I don't have. Is it possible to create a windows 10 boot drive, and redo the steps in the tutorial on that drive, and still retain all my files on my SSD?



#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 08:45 PM

You should not have been asked for a key by just replacing the registry files. Why do you want to reinstall Windows? I was hoping replacing the registry files would allow you to boot into Windows. 



#9 dankwizzard

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 08:59 PM

I downloaded the media creation tool from here. I'm confused on how that comes into play here. Am I to boot from my SSD where it goes to automatic repair, go to the command prompt, then access my SSD, or the boot drive?



#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 09:03 PM

You want to get to a command prompt. You can access a command prompt using the install disk by selecting Repair Computer or you can access the command prompt where you get the letter F: for your Windows drive. If you can access a command prompt without using the boot disk that is fine. Sorry if I caused confusion.

 

The below link shows how to get to the Recovery Environment using the boot disk if you should ever need to. 

 

https://www.winhelp.us/repair-your-computer-in-windows-8.html#repairdvd



#11 dankwizzard

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 10:06 PM

That didn't work, I'm still stuck in the loop. I tried system refresh and after it hits 100%, it just says "There was a problem refreshing your PC, no changes were made". I tried a restore point but it just keeps saying it did not restore completely and nothing was changed with the error (0x800703f1). Do I have any other options that don't involved wiping the drive and reinstalling windows? If it has to come to that, can I get a 2.5 enclosure to access my SSD from my laptop, or will it be locked out because I would be trying to access a C: drive from a C: drive


Edited by dankwizzard, 12 March 2018 - 10:12 PM.


#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:34 AM

If you have an external drive you can boot a live linux disk and recover your data. 

 

It's not looking good. You may need to reinstall the OS. If you do get an enclosure there may be a way to get the drive to boot again.

 

With the drive attached to another computer download and run AutoRuns. AutoRuns has an offline feature that will load the registry from the offline drive. Do a search for Nvidia and uncheck the boxes on all items found. Reattach the SSD and see if you can boot to Windows. Otherwise you are looking at a clean install.

 

https://www.howtogeek.com/school/sysinternals-pro/lesson6/

 

You can also pull the Windows key using Produkey when the drive is in the enclosure.

 

http://www.winhelponline.com/blog/recover-product-keys-unbootable-windows-pc/



#13 dankwizzard

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 11:13 PM

Just thought I'd update you. I got a 2.5in external drive enclosure for my SSD, pulled all my important crap, wiped it, and installed Windows 10. What a needless debacle this has been, but my baby is back up and running again. Gonna buy a backup drive when I have the money. Thanks you for your time and suggestions!



#14 JohnC_21

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 08:25 AM

Your Welcome, and thanks for the update.

 

In the future I would recommend you create a complete disk image of your disk using one of the following programs. Easeus being the easiest to use.

 

Easeus Todo Backup Free

Aomei Backupper Standard

Macrium Free

 

All allow you to create bootable media to allow you to recover the image from a USB external drive should the drive fail or the computer no longer boot.


Edited by JohnC_21, 16 March 2018 - 08:25 AM.





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