Stuck At The Windows 10 Preparing Automatic Repair

Hello! I would appreciate if someone could help. This began after I ran the check disk utility chkdsk /r . After some 4 hours my laptop froze, and I restarted it. Then I got into the Preparing Automatic Repair loop with the message “Repairing disk errors. This might take over an hour to complete.” I cannot enter the safe mode even after repeatedly force-shutting the computer, and I don’t have a Windows boot disk or any way of creating it (I’m writing this in an ipad). Is there anything I can do to solve this issue?

Hey @multivariable - welcome to Computer Forums :wave:

This does sound like a tricky situation. When you have tried to force restart the laptop have you done this three times?

If you are unable to get beyond here then you may be stuck without access to a second machine to create a boot disk.

However your computer’s manufacturer may have set up a recovery partition somewhere on the machine usually accessed by one of the F keys on startup. Is it a prebuilt PC? What make and model?

Thanks for the swift reply. It’s a Dell laptop. I bought it some 5 years ago, and have no idea what the model is as all the stickers are gone.

You may be in luck here - an older machine is more likely to feature a recovery partition. Note that using this will wipe any data.

For a Dell try repeatedly hitting F12 as soon as you turn it on from cold. It should give you a boot menu.

From here, look for anything mentioning ‘recovery’, ‘restore’ or ‘support’ - I’ve not owned Dell hardware myself for a while now so couldn’t tell you exactly what it would be but hopefully one of these options will lead you to factory recovery.

This is assuming the hard disk isn’t failing - but certainly worth a try. If the hard disk has gone you will be back to square one and will need to make a boot USB. This is quite easy but you may need to call on a friend or family member who has an internet connection.

F12 worked!

I have now:

Bios setup
Bios flash update
Diagnostics
Dell backup and recovery
Change boot mode settings

What’s next?

I would go for Dell backup and recovery here.

I’m not too familiar with the tool but you are essentially looking for a recovery option which will reinstall Windows - possibly Windows 8 or 7 depending on the exact age of the machine but at least you will be able to boot it with any luck.

I have found a guide on Dell’s website on the process - follow the steps ‘from a recovery partition’

https://www.dell.com/support/kbdoc/en-uk/000132006/dell-backup-and-recovery-1-8-recovery

Thanks a lot! I’ll give it a go.

So, I ran the diagnostics and it told me the hard drives was OK. Then I ran the system restore and it gave error 0x4001001300001002. The issue persists.

It’s a good sign the hard drive is reading okay. Does the program give you an option for a Factory Reset? Looking at the guide this is hidden under Dell backup and recovery > Advanced.

Now, when I click the Backup and Recovery option I get:

Your PC needs to be repaired.
Error code: 0xc000000f

This doesn’t look good.

Are you able to get as far as the screens that look like this:

Is this where the factory reset then fails?

I managed to get that far after several attempts, but since I have some important data that I still hope to retrieve, I can’t proceed with the factory reset.

Actually, I just tried Factory Reset here and it failed too. Nothing seems to be working.

Sadly in this case you may be stuck if the recovery process is failing: To get the unit functional you will need to get some sort of USB boot media.

If you need to recover data I’d suggest using a Rescue disk (you can often just use a ‘live boot’ of Ubuntu to access the hard drive) to get the data off before wiping the disk and reinstalling Windows.

Alternatively Dell may be able to supply recovery media for the machine; but they would probably charge for it as it is unlikely to be under warranty now.

Unfortunately, I do not quite understand this. Are there step-by-step instructions on how to access the hard drive and copy the files (to an external hard drive?) if it’s impossible to boot the computer?

So the way I would do this. You will require another computer, a USB drive and another USB or hard drive to copy your data to.

  1. Using another PC - create a Ubuntu disk. Instructions for this here.
  2. Boot the USB on the faulty computer and plug the second disk in.
  3. Access the faulty computer’s hard drive and copy over what you need.

Once you’re done, if you want to reinstall Windows 10, you can use the Windows Media Creation Tool here.
Boot the Windows media creation tool and reinstall Windows 10, choosing to delete the existing partitons. Just delete them all, then click Next, Windows will create the right partitions for you.

Thanks! That will require some time and effort, but it looks like the only way out. I’ll try.

It might be a bit of a learning curve but if you have any issues do come back! :slight_smile:

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Hi again! I have managed to create the windows boot usb, and now I am trying to install Windows on the faulty computer. But I am at loss here: which partitions do I delete and where do I install Windows?

So this is only something to do if you have managed to recover your data: the next step will wipe the disk but allow you to reinstall Windows.

If you click each partition and click delete until there is one option called ‘I formatted’ left and then click next. Windows will create the partitions it needs and then proceed to the installation.