Get the fix for the infinite Startup Repair loop error for the following Windows versions: Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

This error prevents you from accessing anything on your computer and presents an endless loop of loading Startup Repair without end.

About “Startup Repair in Infinite Loop”

Our researchers and technicians have gathered and compiled the following information about this error.

Symptom 1: Computer attempts to enter Startup Repair continuously

Every time the PC is restarted, before Windows begins to load a message is displayed indicating that “Windows failed to start,” and offering an option to “Launch Startup Repair (recommended)” from a variation of the Advanced Boot Options menu as shown below:

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.  If Windows files have been damaged or configured incorrectly, Startup Repair  can help diagnose and fix the problem.

Windows Error Recovery

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the
cause.

If Windows files have been damaged or configured incorrectly, Startup Repair
can help diagnose and fix the problem. If power was interrupted during 
startup, choose Start Windows Normally.
(Use the arrow keys to highlight your choice.)

    Launch Startup Repair (recommended)
    Start Windows Normally

Description: Fix problems that are preventing Windows from starting

Startup Repair will then either fail to load, launch but fail to repair, or run and claim repairs have been executed — however your PC will continue to attempt to endlessly start Startup Repair each boot.

On Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 this is called Automatic Repair:

Automatic Repair Loop Screen on Windows 8

Automatic Repair

Automatic Repair couldn't repair your PC

Press "Advanced options" to try other options to repair your PC or "Shut down" to turn off your PC.
Log file: C:\Windows\System32\Logfiles\Srt\SrtTrail.txt

Shut down | Advanced options

The Log file path can be different.

Causes of this error

This error has been known to occur as a result of one or more of the following:

Cause #1: Damaged or corrupted BCD settings

Bootsector viruses and other malware that targets the bootloader or the booting chain can cause errors in the bootloader settings and state that result in an infinite loop of Startup Repair.

The virus may then block Startup Repair from either launching or carrying out its repairs successfully. A failed Windows Update or Automatic Update can also sometimes leave the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) in an inconsistent or non-working state.

Cause #2: Corrupted boot partition

On Windows 7 and above, Windows by default creates a separate 100 MiB NTFS partition at the start of the drive, reserved for core bootloader files and BCD configuration.

An unsafe shutdown, sudden power loss, hard disk failure, or a blue screen of death during writes to the boot partition can leave your system in an inconsistent state, unable to boot and infinitely cycling into the Startup Repair.

Cause #3: Blue Screen of Death on reboot

It is possible that every other time Windows attempts to boot, a BSOD occurs.

Recent versions of Windows are configured to hide this fact from the user and silently reboot.

(In the experience of the researchers at NeoSmart Technologies, there is almost never a good reason for doing this. Microsoft is hoping that a reboot will fix your PC and so Windows decides to hide the blue screen and reboot, endlessly and in vain.

A much more intelligent solution would be for Windows to keep track of whether or not this blue screen resulted in a silent and automatic reboot last time, and if so, show it so the user can see what’s going on.)

A BSOD during boot up will trigger a version of the Advanced Boot Options menu to be shown on next reboot prompting the user to select “Repair Your Computer,” ultimately causing the endless loop of Startup Repair.

Guaranteed Fix: Use Easy Recovery Essentials

Easy Recovery Essentials is guaranteed to fix the “endless repair computer loop” error automatically using its built-in Automated Repair option. EasyRE is currently available for Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and can be downloaded and created on any PC.

  1. Download Easy Recovery Essentials. Make sure to note your Windows version (XP, Vista, 7 or 8) before you download EasyRE. This guide can help you identify what version of Windows you have installed.
  2. Burn the image. Follow these instructions on how to burn the bootable ISO image very carefully, as making a bootable CD can be tricky! Alternatively, these instructions explain how to create a bootable EasyRE recovery USB stick/drive.
  3. Boot up your PC from the Easy Recovery Essentials CD or USB you created.
  4. Once EasyRE is running, choose the “Automated Repair” option and click Continue.
    EasyRE Home

    Choose “Automated Repair” in Easy Recovery Essentials

  5. After EasyRE scans 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 begin.
    EasyRE displays a list of found Windows operating systems

    Choose the drive associated with the Windows installation you’re trying to repair.

  6. Easy Recovery Essentials will start analyzing the selected drive for problems. EasyRE will test for and attempt to automatically correct errors with the disk, partition, bootsector, filesystem, bootloader, and registry. No intervention is required, as EasyRE’s repair is fully automated:
    EasyRE: Automated Repair

    Easy Recovery Essentials searches for errors and makes corrections to the selected Windows installation.

  7. Once the process is complete, EasyRE will report its findings. Click on the Restart button to reboot your PC and test the changes.
  8. The “endless repair computer loop” error should now be fixed as your PC begins to load:
    EasyRE: Automated Repair

    Windows, booting up successfully.

You can download Easy Recovery Essentials from here.

Fixes for Infinite Loop of Startup Repair on Windows Vista, 7

Windows Setup CD/DVD Required!
Some of the solutions below require the use of the Microsoft Windows setup CD or DVD. If your PC did not come with a Windows installation disc or if you no longer have your Windows setup media, you can use Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows instead. EasyRE will automatically find and fix many problems, and can also be used to solve this problem with the directions below.

Fix #1: Run chkdsk on the boot volume

The command line chkdsk tool ships with Windows and can be used to check (and sometimes repair) your drives for filesystem corruption. More information about how chkdsk operates and how it works can be found in our knowledgebase. The following steps will launch the command line option from Startup Repair on the Windows setup disc and use the chkdsk utility.

Unable to boot into the Windows setup CD?
See our guide on setting up a PC to boot from the CD or DVD for troubleshooting and more detailed instructions.

  1. Insert your Windows installation DVD into your PC’s CD-ROM drive,
  2. Fully power down your PC, and make sure it has fully shut off,
  3. Power up your PC,
  4. Press any key when you see “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD..”
  5. Click the link titled “Repair your computer” in the bottom-lefthand corner, after first selecting your language and keyboard options.
    Windows 7 setup Install Now dialog, with repair your computer link
  6. Wait for Startup Repair to scan your PC for Windows installations, then select your install from the list it shows:
    Startup repair lists available operating systems to repair.
  7. Choose “Command Prompt” from the list of available recovery options to begin:
    Startup Repair lists all available recovery options, choose a recovery tool

Once the command prompt is launched, enter the following to use the System File Checker to check your installation for corrupted, invalid, or deleted system files. If the previous page showed that your Windows installation has a drive letter other than C:\, make sure to use that below!

chkdsk C: /f

chkdsk will begin scanning your drive for problems, fixing them if it is able to, and reporting its progress when done.

Checking file system on C:
The type of the file system is NTFS.
Volume label is Windows 7.

CHKDSK is verifying files (stage 1 of 5)...
259072 file records processed. 
....
Windows has finished checking your disk.

Fix #2: Disable Automatic Restart

This option lets you get the exact and complete error message accompanying the Blue Screen of Death by disabling the Automatic Restart option of Windows. Note: this will not fix the boot error you are experiencing in and of itself, but should provide more information that may prove critical in solving the underlying problem.

The option to disable automatic restart on system failure is available from the Advanced Boot Options menu at startup. The instructions below will trigger this behavior, more detailed instructions on disabling automatic restart on system failure are also available in our knowledgebase.

  1. Restart your computer
  2. Wait for your BIOS to complete POST (the screen with your manufacturer logo and/or system information)
  3. Quickly begin tapping F8 repeatedly, until you see the list of boot options
  4. Choose “Disable automatic restart on system failure”
  5. Press Enter and wait for your PC to boot.

Fix #3: Manually attempt to rebuild the BCD

Problems booting up Windows can often be traced back to errors in the bootloader installation or configuration. Rebuilding your PC’s master boot record (MBR), partition bootsectors, and boot configuration data (BCD) can fix various problems with the BOOTMGR bootloader.

You can rebuild the BCD using bootrec.exe, a tool built found in the Windows Recovery Environment. Follow these steps:

  1. Insert your Windows installation DVD into your PC’s CD-ROM drive,
  2. Fully power down your PC, and make sure it has fully shut off,
  3. Power up your PC,
  4. Press any key when you see “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD..”
  5. Click the link titled “Repair your computer” in the bottom-lefthand corner, after first selecting your language and keyboard options.
    Windows 7 setup Install Now dialog, with repair your computer link
  6. Wait for Startup Repair to scan your PC for Windows installations, then select your install from the list it shows:
    Startup repair lists available operating systems to repair.
  7. Choose “Command Prompt” from the list of available recovery options to begin:
    Startup Repair lists all available recovery options, choose a recovery tool
  8. Once the command line has launched, type in the following commands in the Command Prompt and hit Enter after each command:
    bootrec /fixmbr
    bootrec /fixboot
    bootrec /rebuildbcd

Unable to boot into the Windows setup CD?
See our guide on setting up a PC to boot from the CD or DVD for troubleshooting and more detailed instructions.

BCD not getting rebuilt?
There is an entire entry in our wiki dedicated to advanced manual repair of the bootloader that can also be followed, if necessary.

Fixes for Automatic Repair Loop in Windows 8

Windows Setup CD/DVD Required!
Some of the solutions below require the use of the Microsoft Windows setup CD or DVD. If your PC did not come with a Windows installation disc or if you no longer have your Windows setup media, you can use Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows instead. EasyRE will automatically find and fix many problems, and can also be used to solve this problem with the directions below.

Fix #1: Boot into Safe Mode

Often booting into Safe Mode and uninstall recently install device drivers or software may fix the Automatic Repair loop error.

To boot into Safe Mode of a Windows 8 or 8.1 system, you need to have the original DVD or USB. If you don’t have it, go to Fix with Easy Recovery Essentials.

  1. Insert the disc and reboot the system
  2. Press any key to boot from the DVD
  3. Choose your keyboard layout
  4. Click Repair your computer at the Install now screen

    Windows 8 Install Screen

  5. Click Troubleshoot
  6. Click Advanced options
  7. Click Startup Settings
  8. Click Restart
  9. Press F4 to boot into Safe Mode

If booting your system in Safe Mode doesn’t solve the error, go to Fix #2: Run bootrec.

Fix #2: Run bootrec

Running the bootrec utility to rebuild the BCD might fix the error. To run bootrec.exe on Windows 8 or 8.1, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the original Windows 8/8.1 install DVD or USB

    If you don’t have the installation DVD or USB, go to Fix Automatic Repair Loop with Easy Recovery Essentials.

  2. Click Repair your computer

    Windows 8 Install Screen

  3. Click Troubleshoot and then Advanced options
  4. Click Command Prompt
  5. When Command Prompt loads, type these commands:
    bootrec /fixmbr
    bootrec /fixboot
    bootrec /rebuildbcd
  6. Press Enter after each command
  7. When the last command – bootrec /rebuildbcd – finished the process, type exit and restart your computer

Fix #3: Run chkdsk

The chkdsk utility might fix the Automatic Repair Loop on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 systems

To access it, follow the same steps as the Fix #2: Run bootrec to reach Command Prompt:

  1. Click Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt
  2. When Command Prompt loads, type these commands:
    chkdsk /r
  3. Press Enter

Fix #4: System Restore

To access System Restore, follow the same steps as Fix #2: Run bootrec to reach the Advanced Options screen:

  1. Click Troubleshoot
    Troubleshoot in Windows 8 recovery options screen

    Troubleshoot in Windows 8 recovery options screen

  2. Click System Restore
  3. Follow the wizard instructions to continue the process. Choose a restore point before the date when the Automatic Repair loop error appeared.

More Information

Linked Entries

Support Links

Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows Vista (all editions)
  • Windows 7 (all editions)
  • Windows 8 (all editions)
  • Windows 8.1 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2008 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2012 (all editions)