My computer is stuck in a Windows 7 Startup Repair loop
“Several days ago, my computer (running Windows 7) finished an installation update automatically. But when I started it next day, it was in startup repair. I thought it just needed to do its thing, so I left it there and went to work, but when I returned home, it was still in startup repair. So I shut it down again and thought that might help but when I booted it up next day, it displayed me a black and white screen with two options: Launch Startup Repair (recommended) and Start Windows Normally. Then I clicked the first option but it showed a loading bar and began to load files. I thought all the problems would be solved, but no! My computer has always been in the startup repair loop and I cannot open anything using the F keys, or even cancel the startup repair process. Now I am exhausted, so anyone can help me with fixing the startup repair Windows 7 loop. Any help will be appreciated.”
Causes of the infinite Windows Startup Repair loop
I believe many users will choose "Startup Repair" when the Windows fails to start. But why it did not work, and stuck in Startup Repair loop? Generally speaking, there are 2 main causes.
Damaged BCD settings
If the boot sector is infected by virus and other malware, the bootloader and booting chain will get damaged. And the virus may then prevent Startup Repair from either running or implementing its repair normally. So the infinite loop of Startup Repair occurs.
Corrupted boot partition
On Windows 7/8/8.1/10, Windows creates a separate NTFS partition at the start of the disk by default, making a reservation for the core bootloader and BCD configuration. If any improper shutdown, sudden power failure, or a blue screen of death happens when you are writing to the boot partition, there is also a chance that your system is unable to boot and infinitely cycle into the Startup Repair.
Guaranteed fixes you can try
When it comes to how to fix the Startup Repair Windows 7 loop, an OS reinstallation can be a guaranteed solution. But that will require a lot of time. So are there some other ways? Maybe you can try the following methods to solve the windows 7 Startup Repair loop instead of performing a fresh installation.
1. Disable Automatic Restart
First, you should try to disable automatic restart, although it could not solve the boot error, it can provide more information to help you find out where the actual problem lies in.
The “disable automatic restart on system failure” option can be seen in the Advanced Boot Options window. Here is how to trigger this action.
Step 1. Restart your computer
Step 2. Wait for your BIOS to complete POST (the screen with your manufacturer logo and/or system information)
Step 3. Quickly begin pressing F8 constantly, until list of boot options appears.
Step 4. Select “Disable automatic restart on system failure”, press "Enter" and wait for your computer to boot.
2. Run chkdsk on the boot volume
The command line chkdsk tool can be used to check, or even repair the drives to tackle with file system corruption. To run chkdsk, please do as follow:
Step 1. Insert your Windows 7 installation disc into the CD drive, and boot Windows from the disk.
Step 2. Press any key when you see “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD.”
Step 3. Click “Repair your computer” and wait for Startup Repair to scan your PC for Windows installations, then select your OS from the list.
Step 4. Choose “Command Prompt” from System Recovery Options menu.
Step 5. Once the command prompt window is launched, enter the command "chkdsk c: /f /r" to check your installation for corrupted, invalid, or deleted system files. (c represents the drive where Windows is installed)
Then, CHKDSK will begin scanning your drive for problems, fixing them if it can.
3. Run bootrec to fix damaged or corrupted BCD settings
If the bootloader installation or configuration comes with some errors, the Startup Repair loop could happen as well. But you can manually attempt to rebuild the BCD (boot figuration data), partition bootsectors and master boot record by running bootrec.
First open a Command Prompt window like you do in the second method, and then in the command prompt window, input the following commands and press Enter after each.
After this, your Windows 7 should not go into startup repair loop.
4. Perform a System Restore
Since the System Protection is enabled by default, you can use it to restore your computer to an earlier state. And you can run System Restore to your Windows 7 under Windows Recovery Environment.
To access System Restore, follow the same steps in the second method to reach the System Recovery Options screen, click on "System Restore" and follow the instruction to finish the operation.
5. Rebuild MBR without installation disc
As you can see, most solutions will require the use of the Windows setup CD or DVD. If your computer is not with one, or you no longer have the installation media, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant, which can help you make a bootable USB, boot your computer from it, then rebuild MBR in WinPE mode.
Part 1. Make a bootable USB via AOMEI Partition Assistant
Step 1. Connect a blank USB (over 8GB) to a working computer (since your Windows 7 computer cannot boot). Then download the freeware.
Step 2. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Click on the Make Bootable Media in the left pane. Follow the wizard to create a WinPE bootable USB. Disconnect the USB drive after it is done.
Tips: AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is pre-installed on the bootable USB drive.
Part 2. Directly rebuild MBR via AOMEI Partition Assistant
Step 1. Plug the USB to your Windows 7-based computer with startup repair loop, power up it and enter BIOS to make the bootable USB as the first boot device, then restart computer to Windows PE mode.
Step 2. Once logged in, the AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard will load and start. Right click the system disk you need to repair and select Rebuild MBR from the drop-down menu.
Step 2. A mini window will appear, choose the proper MBR type for Windows 7 and click OK.
Step 3. Click Apply->Proceed to commit the change.
Finally, remove the USB stick from your computer and restart your Windows 7 to check whether the Startup Repair loop is cancelled or not. Also, you can fix MBR for Windows 10/8/8.1/XP/Vista through this solution.
This article shows you how to get rid of Startup Repair Windows 7 loop, no matter whether you have an installation disc or not. So don’t need to worry next time when the windows 7/8/10 startup repair is taking forever and you cannot stop or cancel it. If you upgrade AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard to Professional edition, you can enjoy more amazing functions like lost partition recovery, extending system drive, quickly partitioning hard disk without formatting and more. Moreover, its Server edition can repair Windows Server 2012 R2, 2008 R2 and 2016.