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Windows 8(.1?) repair/refresh/reset loop

Discussion in 'Windows 8' started by bconnerly, Feb 13, 2015.

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  1. bconnerly

    bconnerly Thread Starter

    Aug 2, 2011
    Laptop: Gateway NE56R49U
    I'm not sure if it's running Win 8 or 8.1.

    So I got this laptop from my employer to use as a work computer. It had belonged to someone else and I wanted all the files wiped and basically I wanted it back to an out-of-the-box state before I started working on it.
    EDIT: Let me get this out of the way: The company I work for is a very small company with very few established systems or processes and no actual IT guy. This laptop was just lying around and basically thrown to me with a "If you can use it, it's yours." So going to my IT dept is not a thing here. I'm on my own with this. Besides I know more about this kind of stuff than anyone else at the office (I work in the oilfield industry so my company is filled with a bunch of older guys who have no clue about this kind of stuff), so no help here.

    Going through the RESET option, I chose to "Fully clean the drive"

    Well about 40% of the way through this, it reported an error and booted me back to the repair menu.

    Now I cannot boot back to Windows. I get stuck in a repair loop. Reset doesn't work. Refresh doesn't work.

    I can get to the command prompt via the Advanced Options.

    I attempted a couple of things as seen on Microsoft's website.
    So I tried this option, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2823223/en-us which is to:
    "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 not realize at the time that I was in the X: so after following the instructions, I renamed system.001 but when I attempted to rename Software to Software.001 it gives me the "this is being used in another program" error.
    So I tried to do the reset/refresh at this point. Still got the "There was an error fixing your..." whatever option I choose.

    Finally I read other people were getting that "this is being used by another program" error when trying to rename their Software file, and found that you are supposed to do that in C:, not X:

    When I got back to the command prompt and tried to change the dir to c: the command prompt looks like this:
    x:\windows\system32>cd c:


    So it doesn't switch over to C:.. I thought maybe this whole process may have rendered my c: empty or useless so I started looking around the options for another solution.

    Now when I go to Troubleshoot>Advanced Options>System Image Recovery, the computer doesn't find any system images to recover from. When I choose to "Select a system image" manually, nothing comes up in the list but I am given two new buttons. Advanced and Refresh.

    Advanced will let me search for an image on the network or install a driver. The Installing a driver option brings up a windows explorer! Now I can see all my drives and files! Progress!!
    Or so I thought..

    "Local Disk C:" is 448 GB free of 449 GB. yet it still seems to have all of the typical Program Files, Program Files (x86), Users, and Windows folders in it.

    "Boot X:" is 27.2 MB free of 29.6 MB and it seems to have the same setup of folders as listed above.

    Finally there is "Push Button Reset Z:" drive which is 3.35 GB free of 15.7 GB. Inside are several files and 2 folders: "Recovery Image" and "RyTools". In the Recovery Image folder, I see an OEM folder and a few other files, including install.wim
    As I understand it, install.wim is the recovery image. But I cannot get it to pop up in the list of available images back in the "Re-Image your computer" window because it seems to only be searching the current drive which I assume is X:

    That's just about every shred of information I can give you at this point. If I could just figure out how to recover from that image, or if I could figure out how to get the normal Reset/Refresh options to work, I feel like this would all be over.

    Thanks for any help you can give me!

    EDIT2: Also, before I did any of this, I used the Jellybean Keyfinder to get any necessary product keys from the computer and came out with a windows key and one for microsoft office. I figure I could probably download a Windows 8 installation disk .iso and go the route of just formatting everything and trying from there but I feel like that's not the "intended way" of fixing this problem. If it's my last option though, I will gladly do it.
  2. Tabvla


    Apr 10, 2006
    Actually the solution to your problem is quite simple... ;)

    The amount of time and effort involved in attempting to fix Windows on the laptop would be completely wasted. So ..... the answer is to start right from the beginning.

    To do that you need to download an ISO of the W8.1 OS from Microsoft and do a completely fresh install from the ISO - and "Yes" it is perfectly legal and fully endorsed by MS. You don't need a Product Key. The Product Key for W8.1 is encoded into the BIOS, which is OK, because if it wasn't OK then you would not be able to do anything.

    If you want additional help with regards to downloading the W8.1 ISO and reinstalling then come back to the Forum. Or you may want to first do a little research on the process and see how far you get.

    Whatever the outcome, please post back to this Thread so that we know what progress you have made.

  3. bconnerly

    bconnerly Thread Starter

    Aug 2, 2011
    Awesome. I can do that and I will get back to you when I'm done.

    Do you know if this will, in any way, affect my Microsoft Office license? I have the key written down that Jelly Bean Keyfinder gave me off the the original Win8 install.
  4. Tabvla


    Apr 10, 2006
    No, it won't affect your MS Office. You will of course have to reinstall Office, but providing you have a legit copy and the Product Key then you are good-to-go.. :)

  5. bribro


    Mar 7, 2015
    How do you do this ISO deal if your computer won't boot up due to bad hard drive?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. bbearren


    Jul 14, 2006
    To change drives in a Command Prompt just type the drive letter followed by : like C: Don't use CD, that's just for changing directories/folders.

    Also, when you are in the RAM drive (X), C: may not necessarily be C: When you change drives, use a DIR command to see what is on the drive.
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