Windows 10: How can I force Windows 10 Startup Repair to fix a non-default OS?

Discus and support How can I force Windows 10 Startup Repair to fix a non-default OS? in Windows 10 Support to solve the problem; Hi, folks! All my computers are multi-boot / multi-OS. They all can boot either Windows 7 or Windows 10, and since I always simply clone the entire... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Support' started by Thenin, Jun 29, 2018.

  1. Thenin Win User

    How can I force Windows 10 Startup Repair to fix a non-default OS?


    Hi, folks! All my computers are multi-boot / multi-OS. They all can boot either Windows 7 or Windows 10, and since I always simply clone the entire boot partition to make live backups, I usually have more than one "version" of each OS present. To avoid the inherent confusion latent in this situation, I've always used Terabyte's magnificent BootIt Bare Metal, which very, very easily allows me to boot whichever OS and "version" I choose. It also allows me to view and edit not only the main BCD stores for each OS, but also all the secondary BCD entries, such as those for the Windows Boot Manager, Resume and recovery environment, etc.

    Right now, I have one Windows 10 installation/partition that almost boots correctly: It gets all the way to the final login screen where it usually allows you to enter your login credentials, but doesn't quite get that far -- it just sits there with no prompt.

    I've already confirmed and re-confirmed that check disk reports no problems. I've also confirmed and re-confirmed that an offline SFC /SCANNOW reports no corrupt files or other errors. I've also confirmed and re-confirmed that the partition I want to boot is assigned to drive letter C: (BootIt BM does this magically, but just in case that procedure fails, it provides a powerful script to force any drive letter to any partition).

    But still, it just won't let me log in.

    Over and over, Windows tells me to boot to an installation drive (a flash drive in my case) and perform a startup repair. BUT every single time I do this it ONLY allows me to try to repair the WRONG Windows 10 partition! And I can find no way whatsoever to force it to try to fix a different installation!

    Windows 7 boot repair allows this, but not the horrifically stupid Windows 10 repair tool, which was clearly designed for the least knowledgeable user.

    But maybe I'm being too harsh: IS there any way to force it to try to fix a different Windows 10 installation / partition? From the command line, maybe?

    Please help me. Thanks!

    :)
     
    Thenin, Jun 29, 2018
    #1
  2. Kursah Win User

    Repair Windows 7/8/10

    Repairing Windows 8

    Further improving on previously deployed OS repair methods, Windows 8, 8.1, Server 2012 and 2012 R2 further allowed advanced repair where an in-place upgrade or total re-install would be required on previous operating systems. In all honesty, before Windows 10 implementation, this was arguably the easiest OS to repair for a couple of years by running more basic commands.

    This has since been advanced to more closely match Windows 10/Server 2016 repairs but with the below information I hope to guide you through performing these advanced tasks more easily!

    Spoiler: Windows 8/8.1 Repair DISM

    If CHKDSK and SFC fail to repair the issues with the system, then it this is your next option and besides restoring from a previous backup might be the second-to-last option before re-installing the operating system. We will utilize DISMfor this next repair option.
    • In some instances, you won't need the OS ISO to perform the DISM image cleanup. You can attempt this on any OS from 8-10 by using the following command in elevated CLI: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
    • In many cases now due to some changes Microsoft made, you'll need to have a copy of the OS ISO available. The ISO will need to be a standard deployment variety that contains Install.WIM in the Sources directory, otherwise the process will fail. Once you have the correct ISO, mount it in Explorer (can do this natively on Microsoft Windows 8.0+), verify the drive letter, verify Image.WIM in the Sources directory.
      • To download a Windows 8.1 ISO from Microsoft, click here.
    • Enter the following in elevated CLI: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /source:WIM:X:\Sources\Install.wim:1 /LimitAccess
      • X = drive letter of mounted ISO. Change to match the appropriate drive letter.
      • Say I had the Install.WIM located in C:\Images, I would type the following command: DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /source:WIM:C:\Images\Install.WIM:1 /LimitAccess
    The DISM scan can take a while, often times longer than an CHKDSK or SFC scan. To speed up the process, have the Image.WIM on a faster flash media or on local storage rather than disc media. This will help greatly. In many cases one or two runs of this command will repair most issues I've found with Windows 8/8.1.

    Once the DISM repair process has been found successful, or not, I will perform a reboot. If the repair was unsuccessful, this will be when I attempt a second pass. If the second pass fails, it is time to move onto the next solution.

    However, if the DISM repair passes at any point, reboot the system and then perform an SFC to confirm no further issues are found or need resolved. This step is likely overkill for those not seeking to do optional steps.

    Operating System Refresh

    It should be noted that in the event DISM fails to repair the system, then an OS refresh would be the next suggestion if the deployed that could save the user's files and OS deployment.

    This feature has been an available feature since Windows 8 launched in 2012. The biggest benefit with this option over Windows 7's in-place-upgrade is not necessarily requiring the OS installation media to perform the repair.

    If the system is an OEM, an OS refresh from the OEM partition may mean a reinstall of the OS and loss of user data but the restoration of OEM software and bloatware. But you can still choose a manual OS-only refresh without the bloatware if you take the correct steps.

    The best choice in my opinion is to run an OS refresh procedure from the advanced boot menu or you can run the installation media while in Windows to perform and Upgrade installation, this will keep your files and settings but replace Windows files and components.

    To access the advanced boot menu for Windows 8, there are a several options.
    • When choosing restart from the OS GUI, hold down SHIFT and click restart. This method will work even if you cannot log into a profile on the system which makes it very useful in some situations.
    • If logged in, access PC Settings, and click Restart Now under Advanced Startup.
    • If logged in, open a command prompt window and type shutdown /r /o /t 0 which will initiate a reboot into the advanced menu right with no delay. Without /t 0, there will be a 60-second delay. The number value after the /t is delay seconds.
    Once you've reached the advanced boot menu, choose Troubleshoot. From there you can choose to Refresh your PC, Reset your PC and Advanced Options. For this repair, we want to choose Refresh your PC. It's description reads "If your PC isn't running well, you can refresh it without losing our files." That is exactly what we want to accomplish here!

    Follow the prompts and processes, and after the refresh installation and rebooting, you should be greeted with a login screen back to your profile in your stable OS environment. At this point you should be able to use the system as intended, if in doubt then re-run the SFC and DISM scans.

    In-Place Upgrade

    If CHKDSK, SFC and DISM fail to repair the issues with the system, yet you can still boot to the Windows desktop, then the next option is to perform an in-place upgrade. This is more in-depth than an Operating System Refresh. It re-installs most of the operating system's core image and critical files without losing your profiles, data or programs, but do expect to lose some settings. In many cases this process can fix some major issues and refresh an otherwise corrupt and issue-ridden OS installation back to something stable and usable.

    Time to close the CLI windows and get back into the GUI, unless you want to deploy Windows through CLI. You'll have to source a different guide for that process!

    Requirements to perform an in-place upgrade:
    • Must have installation media that matches the installed OS version and type. This applies to both Windows and Windows Server.
    • Must be able to get to the desktop on the affected system to correctly initiate this process, booting to the media will not allow an upgrade to be performed.
    That last rule is the frustrating part of this repair process if you cannot get that far, backup what you can and do a fresh installation. Otherwise proceed.
    • Start the process by using autorun or manually running setup.exe from the installation media.
    • Windows 8/Server 2012+ can mount ISO's in Windows Explorer, you can use that instead of physical media options to perform this task.
    • You'll come to the installation window, the options will be Upgrade or Custom. Choose Upgrade. This is critical as choosing custom will force you to overwrite, append or wipe out the current install rather than performing any kind of repair.
    • Follow the on-screen prompts, which should be very few for you to interact with. The overall process looks and is the Windows install GUI. Once it is completed, the system will automatically reboot (may need to more than once).
    • After the reboot(s) after the in-place upgrade you should have a fully functional Windows without issues or corruptions.
    Performing an in-place upgrade makes sense, and gives you a stable and clean running operating system when there's an issue or corruption you just can't fix but things aren't broken enough to warrant a fresh installation. The point of this process is to refresh the Windows OS files but retain your data, programs, and settings. That is precisely what the in-place upgrade procedure accomplishes.

    I should also add that this process can be accomplished remotely as well, from start to finish. I have done so with persistent LogMeIn, ScreenConnect and Teamviewer installations on various remote systems I have performed this task on, RDP should work as well. Being able to do this level of repair remotely is a huge benefit to any sysadmins out there looking to keep a client happy and perform that "remote magic" IT guys are known for.


    **If at this point your issues are not fixed, then there is something else occurring that is causing the issue be it Malware, hardware, drivers, etc. Please refer to the OP in this thread to run through some of those tests and diagnostics, or create a new thread seeking help and stating what you've tried.**
     
    Kursah, Jun 29, 2018
    #2
  3. Kursah Win User
    Repair Windows 7/8/10

    Repairing Windows 7

    Methods of advanced CLI repair were introduced with Windows 7 and Server 2008 that can allow sysadmins and end-users to attempt to resolve issues without wiping their hard drive, re-installing and either losing or restoring data.

    I will list the important repair processes I use in the field, at my bench, remotely, for family, etc. that have allowed me to keep a current Windows 7 system deployed and running smooth. Keep in mind this is not a cure-all, some issues will require what is called an in-place upgrade. In more severe cases, a system re-install may still be required. For many it is worth the time to try and avoid that process and I am hopeful that some of you will be saved that hassle with this part of the guide!

    If you're having issues with Windows 7, hopefully the below repair instructions will help you confirm OS file corruption and help resolve it.

    Spoiler: Windows 7 Repair In-Place Upgrade

    If CHKDSK and SFC fail to repair the issues with the system, then the next option is to perform an in-place upgrade. This is comparable to an Operating System Refresh in Windows 8/8.1 and 10. In that it re-installs most of the operating system's files without losing your profiles, data or programs. In many cases this process accomplishes just that.

    Time to close the CLI windows and get back into the GUI, unless you want to deploy Windows through CLI. You'll have to source a different guide for that process!

    Requirements to perform a Windows 7 and Server 2008 in-place upgrade:
    • Must have installation media that matches the installed OS version and type. You can download that media click here.
    • Must be able to get to the desktop on the affected system to correctly initiate this process, booting to the media will not allow an upgrade to be performed.
    That last rule is the frustrating part of this repair process if you cannot get that far, backup what you can and do a fresh installation. Otherwise proceed.
    • Start the process by using autorun or manually running setup.exe from the installation media.
    • You'll come to the installation window, the options will be Upgrade or Custom. Choose Upgrade. This is critical as choosing custom will force you to overwrite, append or wipe out the current install rather than performing any kind of repair.
    • Follow the on-screen prompts, which should be very few for you to interact with. The overall process looks and is the Windows 7 install GUI. Once it is completed, the system will automatically reboot (may need to more than once).
    • After the reboot(s) after the in-place upgrade you should have a fully functional Windows 7 without issues or corruptions.
    Performing an in-place upgrade makes sense, and gives you a stable and clean running operating system when there's an issue or corruption you just can't fix but things aren't broken enough to warrant a fresh installation. The point of this process is to refresh the Windows 7 OS files but retain your data, programs, and settings. That is precisely what the in-place upgrade procedure accomplishes.

    I should also add that this process can be accomplished remotely as well, from start to finish. I have done so with persistent LogMeIn, ScreenConnect and Teamviewer installations on various remote systems I have performed this task on, RDP should work as well. Being able to do this level of repair remotely is a huge benefit to any sysadmins out there looking to keep a client happy and perform that "remote magic" IT guys are known for.

    **If at this point your issues are not fixed, then there is something else occurring that is causing the issue be it Malware, hardware, drivers, etc. Please refer to the OP in this thread to run through some of those tests and diagnostics, or create a new thread seeking help and stating what you've tried.**
    Spoiler: Update Windows 7 Successfully Update Windows 7 Successfully

    Many of us have or will run into it, the endless hours of waiting for the Windows Update process to actually update or fail trying to update a Windows 7 install. Could be a fresh install, or a years-old install. This will eventually happen to you, unless you run a WSUS server, and even then the OS can get held up. Microsoft has been changing how all supported versions of Windows update, trending towards the cumulative monthly releases. This transition seems to be one of the tipping points on the matter.

    Regardless, there are some excellent solutions available to help you keep up your Windows 7 installation.

    • Solaris17's Windows Update Utility
      • Recommended method for most users that simply want their Windows 7 installation updated. Run as admin, follow directions, be patient.
      • Please comment in that thread if you need assistance or run into issues. Solaris has made many useful changes and revisions due to good feedback.
    • Update Windows 7 Manually
      • Manually perform the tasks that Solaris's utility does if you prefer.
    • Update Windows 7 Manually
      • Another source.
    • Update Windows 7 Manually
      • One last source for good measure!
    • Windows 7 Refreshed Media Creation
      • Creating a Windows Image file (WIM) that contains the necessary updates can make future deployments boatloads easier. This is well worth a read for the more technical types and sys admins.
    Those links should provide you with some very useful ways to handle updating Windows 7. If you run into any issues updating Windows 7, please start a thread or post in a relevant linked thread if its kept current.
     
    Kursah, Jun 29, 2018
    #3
  4. Kursah Win User

    How can I force Windows 10 Startup Repair to fix a non-default OS?

    Repair Windows 7/8/10

    Hello! Sorry for the delayed response... I would recommend you start a new thread dedicated to your issue, but while we're here I'm glad to try and help.

    Manually restarting VSS writers may help but only temporarily...if after a system reboot the issues have still been occurring then manually restarting VSS writers will not fix anything as they get reset when the OS restarts. Manually restarting them is how I get around rebooting servers when a backup or shadow copy issue occurs.

    Did you read the Windows 7 in-place upgrade section of this thread? If not, I suggest you read through that and try it. It is different from the Windows Repair Disc option, and if you can get to the desktop it is absolutely worth a shot. The in-place upgrade will replace OS files while keeping your profile, data and programs intact.

    Another option is to read the SFC section in the OP, the link to Microsoft's SFC page also has a section on how to repair/restore files that fail, so you said that SFC /Scannow displayed a few errors that could not be fixed...did you read the log to find out what could not be fixed? I bet they could be repaired with more specific commands. SFC /Scannow is a very generalized command, and while it can fix a lot of things, there's also a lot it cannot.

    Again, I would suggest you start a thread dedicated to your issue, especially if my suggestions fail to help. Lastly, you start your post with stating you'll probably format the HDD and reinstall Windows, depending on the data on the Dell laptop that might be the quick and easy solution, especially with Solaris17's Win7 update batch file (or manually if you like it that way). But if you're willing to reinstall, I would challenge you to trying an in-place upgrade first to see if that fixes it. Seeing it takes about the same amount of time as a fresh OS install and you don't have to re-install drivers, programs, etc. At least in the cases I've used the repair on.

    *Toast :toast:
     
    Kursah, Jun 29, 2018
    #4
Thema:

How can I force Windows 10 Startup Repair to fix a non-default OS?

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