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How to fix Windows 8 Infinite Startup Repair/Recovery Loop bug [Troubleshooting Guide]

The problem occurs upon starting up your Windows 8 computer and prevents you from accessing anything on your device. Instead of prompting you with the usual Start-up Windows screen, what you are seeing is the Windows Error Recovery in which you are given two options to choose from, either to (1) Launch Start-up Repair or (2) Start Windows Normally.

The first option is recommended but optional. Sometimes, choosing the latter would let you get past through the Windows Error Recovery screen and boots up into the Windows main screen. But in other cases, users are able to get past the same error recovery screen but only for a short time. A few seconds from loading up the desktop, the operating system crashes, reboots, and then get stuck on an infinite start-up repair or recovery loop error.

Possible causes of Windows Start-up Repair Infinite Loop error

It does not only occur on Windows 8 but also manifests in other versions of Windows OS including Windows 7, Vista, and Window 8.1.

Sometimes the error is tied to a faulty hardware particularly with the hard drive. It is likely the case when you’ve been using your computer for several years now and that you’ve already stored a lot of complex files into your hard drive. Other cases of Windows Error Recovery happened after making some changes to some settings in the computer. The error prompt is designed to help you diagnose and fix the problem caused by Windows files that have been damaged, corrupted or configured incorrectly.

Sometimes, you’ll get to see the same Windows Error Recovery screen when the power was interrupted during the startup. What happens is that the Startup Repair might have failed to load, launched but failed to repair, or was able to run and claim repairs have been done but your computer will still continue to try to endlessly launch the Startup Repair each time it boots up.

Aside from a bad hard drive or mainboard, the Windows Recovery loop can also be triggered by other factors including the following:

Corrupted bootloader settings – which can be caused by bootsector viruses and other malware designed to damage the bootloader, triggers booting chain that can cause errors in the bootloader settings and finally results to an infinite loop of the startup repair window. Faulty updates can also result to an inconsistent or dysfunctional BCD or Boot Configuration Data, thereby causing your Windows computer to be stuck in an infinite Automatic Repair or Windows Error Recovery loop.

Corrupted boot partition – boot partition refers to a disk partition that is tasked to hold Windows files when booting up Windows OS on your computer. When this gets corrupted, it can likewise result to an infinite Automatic repair loop. A boot partition can become corrupted, inconsistent, unable to boot or stuck in an infinite cycling into Start-up repair due to unsafe shutdown, power interruption, hard disk failure, and blue screen of death (BSOD) that occur during writes to the boot partition.

BSOD or Blue Screen of Death upon restart – BSOD can occur every other time Windows attempts to boot.  Users of recent versions of Windows may not be able to notice that as they are configured to hide this occurrence from the end-user and then reboots silently. A BSOD during boot up will trigger the Advanced Boot Options menu to appear the next time it reboots, thus the user is prompted to select the option to Repair Your Computer, which ultimately causes the infinite loop of Startup Repair.

System overheating – sometimes your computer shuts down and reboots by itself and gets stuck in the same Recovery Loop when it is overheating. If the system gets abnormally hot, it can easily damage the hard drive and possibly result to a unexpected system shutdowns. The same thing can happen if the heat-sink is covered with dust. In this case, you will need to clean it up.

How to fix Windows Infinite Startup Repair Loop error?

The following methods can be considered as potential solutions you can try on your end. Before you start doing any of the suggested workarounds below, be sure to first run an extended hard drive diagnostics to check the hardware functionality of your computer. To do so, just press F12 upon start-up and then follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.

Step 1. Enter BIOS or UEFI Firmware Settings.

If the system keeps shutting down, you can try to run your computer in BIOS. In Windows 8, you can enter the BIOS configuration with the following steps:

  1. Click the Settings icon on the Taskbar. Doing so will open the Settings pop-up menu. Scroll down and then click Change PC settings located on the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  2. Click General from the PC Settings menu.
  3. Next, select Advanced start-up, then click Restart Now.

 

Note: For Windows 8.1 operating system, click Update and Recovery, select Recovery, and finally click Restart Now under Advanced Setup.

  • When prompted to choose an option, click Troubleshoot. Doing so will refresh or reset your computer using advanced tools.
  • Click Advanced options from the Troubleshoot menu.
  • From the Advanced options screen, click UEFI Firmware Settings to make changes in your computer’s UEFI firmware.

Beginner’s Hint:

  • UEFI stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. It is a standard firmware interface for newer versions of Windows computers including Windows 8 and Windows 10 platforms. It is designed to replace BIOS or basic input/output system interface in prior versions of Windows.
  • Click Restart under UEFI Firmware Settings menu. Doing so will change the UEFI firmware settings on your device.

Note: Before clicking the Restart button, be sure to connect all external devices correctly to the computer for them to be recognized.

After rebooting the system, the computer will enter the BIOS configuration. Allow your computer to stay in BIOS for about 30 to 45 minutes and then see if the recovery loop still occurs. If your computer does not shutdown in BIOS, then it’s probably the operating system that’s having an issue. In this case, you may need to re-install the Windows OS to resolve the underlying cause.

Hint:

  • Re-installing of the operating system will erase all your data including photos, audio files, videos, documents and applications. Be sure to back up your data before you start.

The steps or Windows OS restore process may vary depending on the type and model of computer or laptop you are using.

Step 2. Boot into Safe Mode.

You will need to have the original DVD or USB for your Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 system, to boot into Safe Mode using the following steps.

  1. Insert the disc or USB and reboot your computer.
  2. To boot from the DVD or USB, press any key.
  3. Select your keyboard layout.
  4. On the Windows 8 Install Now screen, click Repair your computer located on the bottom left corner.
  5. Click Troubleshoot to continue.
  6. Click Advanced options.
  7. Click Startup Settings.
  8. Click Restart.
  9. Press F4 on your keyboard. Doing so will boot the system into Safe Mode.

Step 3. Run bootrec and chkdsk utility.

Running the bootrec utility will rebuild the boot configuration data (BCD) and can possibly fix the error. You will need the installation DVD or USB in order to proceed with the following steps.

Here’s how to run bootrec.exe on Windows 8 or 8.1:

  1. Insert the original Windows 8/8.1 install DVD or USB.
  2. On the Windows 8 Install Now screen, click Repair your computer at the bottom-left corner.
  3. Next, click Troubleshoot.
  4. Select Advanced options.
  5. Click Command Prompt. Doing so will load the command prompt.
  6. On the command prompt, type in the following commands: bootrec /fixmbr, bootrec /fixboot, bootrec /rebuildbcd
  7. Press the Enter/Return key after typing each command.
  8. Wait until the last command -bootrec /rebuildbcd completes the process.
  9. Type exit on the command prompt.
  10. Restart your computer and see what happens afterwards.

If the problem persists after the restart, open the command prompt again and then try to run the chkdsk utility. Some cases of Automatic Repair Loop on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have been fixed using chkdsk.

Here’s how it works.

 

  • Open the Command Prompt by following the same steps above (Navigate to Troubleshoot-> Advanced options-> Command Prompt.)

 

  • On the command prompt, type chkdsk /r
  • Press the Enter or Return key.

Exit the command prompt and then restart your computer. If that won’t work either, then try the next method.

Step 4. Perform a System Restore or restore your computer to an earlier point in time.

You can restore your computer to its previous normal state before the Automatic Repair Loop error occurs. Please note that all your recent data and settings will be erased in the process. So make sure you back up everything before you start. Once everything is backed up, you may then proceed with the following steps:

  1. Follow the same steps illustrated above to reach the Advanced Option screen.
  2. On the Advanced Options screen, click Troubleshoot.
  3. Next, click System Restore.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the process.
  5. Select a restore point before the date when the Automatic Repair loop error started to show up.

Step 5. Use alternative solutions or Windows Recovery software.

There is a lot of Windows recovery software you can use should you opt to repair the infinite Automatic Repair or Recovery loop bug without losing any of data stored in your device. These tools are primarily designed with guaranteed automatic fix using built-in Automated Repair option. Among the widely used recovery tool for Windows 8 is the Easy Recovery Essentials. Here’s how to use it:

  • Download the Easy Recovery Essentials program for your Windows 8 computer.
  • Create a bootable Windows Recovery USB or copy the ISO image to the USB.
  • Boot up your computer from the Easy Recovery Essentials CD or USB you created.
  • When the EasyRE program is running, select the Automated Repair option and then click Continue.
  • Wait until EasyRE is done scanning your computer’s drives, identify and select the drive letter for your Windows installation from the list and then click on the Automated Repair button to start the repair process.
  • Easy Recovery Essentials will then start to analyze the selected drive for any problems. It will test for and automatically tries to fix errors with the disk, partition, bootsector, bootloader, file system, and registry.
  • Just wait until everything is finished and you should then see the findings from the EasyRE report.
  • Click the Restart button to reboot your computer and test the current changes.

Last Resort: Wipe everything and re-install Windows 8 OS on your computer

If none of these recommended solutions worked and you still end up being stuck on Windows 8 Automatic Repair or Recovery Loop error, then you should now consider wiping out your data and re-install Windows. Doing so will reset your computer completely and then start over with it. All your personal files and apps will be removed. Stock apps will be reinstalled. Your settings will be reset.

Follow these steps to reset your Windows 8 computer:

  1. Start by swiping in from the right of the edge of the Windows screen.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Change PC settings.
  4. Click Update and recovery.
  5. Click Recovery.
  6. Select the option to Remove everything and reinstall Windows.
  7. Click Get started.
  8. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the Windows setup process.

You will then be prompted with two options as to how you would like to erase your computer data — either quickly or thoroughly. If you opt to erase data quickly, then you might be able to recover some data using special software. Meanwhile, choosing the option to erase data thoroughly will take longer and you will less likely to recover data.

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