Dealing with Windows errors can be incredibly frustrating. One of the most common issues that Windows users face is getting stuck in the Windows Error Recovery loop. This prevents you from booting into Windows normally. When Windows detects a critical system file error, it will automatically enter Startup Repair mode and try to fix the problem. If it’s unable to repair the issue, you’ll be presented with the “Startup Repair couldn’t repair your PC” message and get stuck in a loop. Thankfully, there are a few different methods you can use to get around this and boot back into Windows.
What Causes the Windows Error Recovery Loop?
There are a few common causes of the Windows Error Recovery loop:
- Corrupted system files – Critical Windows system files like winload.exe or bootmgr may have become corrupted. This prevents Windows from starting up properly.
- Missing system files – Important system files may have been accidentally deleted or went missing. Windows needs these files to function.
- Hard drive errors – Problems with your hard drive like bad sectors can lead to system file corruption and cause startup issues.
- Incorrect boot configuration – Errors in the BCD (Boot Configuration Data) store can prevent booting and cause automatic repair.
- Hardware malfunctions – Faulty RAM, storage drives, motherboard issues, etc can result in critical errors.
- Recent Windows updates – Buggy Windows updates have been known to damage system files and cause boot problems.
When Startup Repair is unable to automatically fix these types of issues, you end up in the recovery loop. Windows will continually try to launch Startup Repair, fail to fix the problem, and then try again in an endless loop.
How to Bypass Windows Error Recovery
If you find yourself stuck in the Windows Error Recovery loop, there are a few things you can try to bypass it and load Windows. Here are some troubleshooting methods to get around automatic repair:
Boot into Safe Mode
The first thing to try is booting into Windows Safe Mode. Safe Mode loads a minimal version of Windows with just the essential drivers and services. This allows you to bypass software issues and troubleshoot problems.
To enter Safe Mode on Windows 10 and 11:
- Repeatedly press the F8 key as your computer is booting. Keep tapping it until you see the Advanced Boot Options menu.
- Select Safe Mode from the menu using the arrow keys and press Enter.
Once in Safe Mode, you can try system file checker tools like DISM and SFC to scan for corruption and replace damaged files. This may resolve the errors that are causing Startup Repair to fail.
Use the Command Prompt
If Safe Mode isn’t working, you can use the Command Prompt from the Advanced Boot Options menu to troubleshoot and apply fixes. Here are some commands to try:
- bootrec /fixmbr – This will rebuild the master boot record, which may fix boot issues.
- bootrec /fixboot – Writing a new boot sector may resolve problems launching Windows.
- bootrec /scanos – Scans for Windows installations that can be recovered.
- bootrec /rebuildbcd – Reconstructs the BCD to fix potential corruption issues.
Run these commands one by one and restart to see if your PC will boot normally after each attempt. The bootrec fixes can repair the boot files, system registry hives, and BCD store.
Start Windows System Restore
If your computer previously had a Windows system restore point created, you may be able to load Windows by reverting your system files and settings back to that earlier restore point.
To launch System Restore from the Advanced Boot Options menu:
- Select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options.
- Go to System Restore and choose your Windows installation.
- Pick a restore point prior to when you had boot issues and restart.
This will roll back your system files, registry, drivers, etc to undo recent changes that may be preventing Windows from starting properly.
Reset Your PC
If none of those options have allowed you to bypass the error recovery, you may need to reset your Windows installation. This gives your computer a clean slate by reinstalling Windows and removing programs/drivers.
To reset Windows 10 or 11 from the Troubleshoot menu:
- Go to Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.
- Choose “Keep my files” or “Remove everything” depending on your preference.
- Follow the prompts to reinstall Windows.
Resetting your PC will reinstall all the system files and registry hives, resolving any corruption issues. It’s the most definitive fix for errors causing automatic repair problems.
Clean Install Windows
If you’ve exhausted all other options, the last resort is to do a clean install of Windows. This process completely erases your hard drive’s contents and installs a fresh copy of Windows.
To clean install Windows 10 or 11:
- Boot from a Windows installation media USB or DVD.
- Delete all existing partitions during setup until the drive is unallocated space.
- Install Windows on the blank unpartitioned drive.
A clean install gives you a completely new Windows environment removing any corrupted files. It’s a surefire way to eliminate startup errors causing repair issues.
Advanced Startup Options
Apart from the Advanced Boot Options menu, there are also some Advanced Startup Settings you can configure to troubleshoot the error recovery loop:
Disable Automatic Restart
This will prevent Windows from continually restarting into the repair loop allowing you to access Advanced Options.
To disable automatic restart on Windows 10/11:
- Go to Settings > System > Recovery.
- Uncheck “Automatically restart” under Advanced startup.
Change Startup Settings
You can access the full Advanced Startup menu by going to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery and selecting “Restart now” under Advanced startup. This gives you additional troubleshooting tools.
From this menu you can:
- Enable debugging/logging to diagnose problems.
- Boot to a USB drive or recovery tools.
- Modify Windows boot configuration.
- Access Startup Settings for safe boot options.
These advanced settings allow you to change how Windows starts up to bypass error recovery.
Getting trapped in the Windows Error Recovery loop can be incredibly annoying. Thankfully, there are a variety of troubleshooting options you can use to get around it and load Windows normally again:
- Boot into Safe Mode.
- Use Command Prompt recovery tools.
- Start System Restore.
- Reset or clean install Windows.
- Configure Advanced Startup Settings.
Following the steps outlined in this article should get your PC running again so you can bypass the repair loop. Be sure to backup important data first. Determining and fixing the underlying problem causing the automatic repair will help prevent issues going forward.
|Method||How to Do It||What It Does|
|Safe Mode||Tap F8 during boot to access menu, then select Safe Mode||Loads minimal Windows to troubleshoot problems|
|Command Prompt||Run bootrec, rebuildbcd, etc from Advanced Boot Options||Repairs boot files, BCD store, and MBR|
|System Restore||Go to Advanced Options > System Restore and choose a restore point||Reverts system files and settings to undo changes|
|Reset PC||Go to Troubleshoot > Reset this PC and reinstall Windows||Refreshes Windows system files and registry|
|Clean Install||Boot from media, delete all partitions and do a fresh install||Completely new Windows environment|
Following one or a combination of these steps will allow you to work around the recovery loop and load Windows. Be sure to backup data first and identify the root cause to prevent future issues.
If you found yourself stuck in the Windows Error Recovery loop, don’t panic. Use the troubleshooting tips outlined here to bypass automatic repair and get your system back up and running again. Let us know in the comments if you have any other methods for solving this problem!