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Windows 7: Stuck on Startup Repair Loop (Windows is Loading Files ; no safe mode)

17 Aug 2015   #1
Sierra Oscar

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
Stuck on Startup Repair Loop (Windows is Loading Files ; no safe mode)

Hi guys,

I'm having an issue with my system that I hope someone will be able to help me with.

Basically I am stuck on a 'Startup Repair' loop. I am running Windows 7 64bit and did not have any startup / booting issues up until a few days ago.

When I was last using my system it was working perfectly. I left it for an hour or so and when I returned I was bemused to be greeted with a message from Startup Repair saying that it could not fix problems with my computer. Obviously it had crashed in my absence and upon automatically restarting began the startup repair process.

So I restarted it myself, and before having the option to hit F8 and open Advanced Startup Options (such as safe mode, I usually suspect dodgy drivers in such circumstances) I was instead greeted by "Windows is Loading Files ... " followed by Windows immediately attempting a startup repair that it fails. It said it was 'Attempting Repairs' but ultimately was unsuccessful in the end.

So I read up on the following threads here ...

Windows stuck at loading files, can`t run repair
Windows 7 crashes on startup. Can't restore, repair or repair install

... along with some other similar ones and tried the solutions.

I tried using my Windows 7 installation disc to use CMD to run bootrec /FixMBR /FixBoot /FixBCD. When I used /ScanOS it said "0 Windows installation found". After trying this a few times I was eventually presented with the "The Windows Boot Configuration Data file is missing required information" error message upon startup. Trying to re-create the BCD through command prompt failed for some reason that I still can't explain even though I followed the guidelines outlined on these forums step by step to re-create the BCD.

I was able to use the "Load Drivers" option while using the Windows Installation disc to tell that my hard drive contents were still in place, so I eventually just resorted to reinstalling Windows - which all went perfectly fine. I did not reformat the hard drive.

After reinstalling Windows 7 I noticed that it was much slower to boot, and much slower for the first couple of minutes after startup. Prior to the first system crash I had not noticed any performance issues.

So after reinstalling Windows 7 my system worked perfectly for 24 hours or so. I installed the 100's of Windows updates and was able to play some online games perfectly. I shut it down as normal last night.

However this morning I was back to square one as when I started up the system it went straight to "Windows is loading files ... " followed by the Startup Repair loop failure. No options to open Advanced Windows Boot Options.

I suspected that the disk was dying so I used the Windows 7 installation disc to run CHKDSK (chkdsk c: /v /f /r /h /x). It ran for a good 8 hours but did not detect any significant problems, apart from finding some free space marked as allocated. Screenshots of the CHKDSK report are attached.

I ran the Windows Memory Diagnostics Tool and it found no issues.

Interestingly, the first time after running CHKDSK Startup Repair attempted repairs and said it had identified issues and needed to restart to complete the repair. When it restarted Startup Repair then reported it cannot repair the computer automatically. I have attached the latest error message, which states "StartupRepairOffline" as the event signature with an ominous "CorruptFile" entry accompanying it.

So I am pretty stumped at this stage. The contents of the hard drive are still intact as I can see them when I use "Load Drivers", and following the first reinstallation of windows the files were all still there. I don't want to reinstall windows again just for the sake of it considering the problem has already reappeared less than 24 hours after doing so.

TL ; DR - stuck in a startup repair loop. Tried the usual bootrec.exe repairs to no avail. Tried reinstalling windows but the problem reappeared. CHKDSK is not finding any HDD issues. Doesn't seem to be any memory issues. No recent hardware or software changes.

Any help is really appreciated.

EDIT: Just noticed that after CHKDSK / Startup Repair attempted its last fix I can now open the Advanced Boot Options menu. However trying to open Safe Mode just leads to "Windows is loading files ..." followed by the same Starup Repair loop.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2015   #2
Sierra Oscar

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

The more I think about it, the more I suspect this could be related to a dodgy Windows update having installed itself on my system.

A - when I left the system the system prior to the first crash it was scheduled to install a group of updates, which I suspect it did followed by an automatic restart which led to the Startup Repair loop that I arrived back to.

B - when I shut down the system last night it was installing the latest updates again (after installing a few hundred during the day) to bring it back up to date - and when I restarted the system this morning I was greeted by the Startup Repair loop. I have a feeling that a Windows update released in the last week or so is causing the issue.

Does anyone know how I can go about finding a list of Windows updates and uninstall them via command prompt?

(EDIT: In the meantime I have run sfc /ScanNow twice via command prompt. Both times it reports that it found and fixed issues, but the Startup Repair loop continues upon restart.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2015   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

If you have restore points, I would do that, restore to an earlier time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

17 Aug 2015   #4
Sierra Oscar

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by sdowney717 View Post
If you have restore points, I would do that, restore to an earlier time.
Thanks for that. I went through the System Restore process to no avail unfortunately.

I have two restore points, one Automatic Restore Point and the latest one for a Windows Update (Critical). I tried to restore both options but was presented with the following error message each time:

System Restore did not complete successfully. Your computer's system files and settings were not changed.

Details: An unspecificed error occurred during System Restore (0x8000ffff)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2015   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

How about doing a system refresh, or if that fails a system reset. You will need an install disk.
If you dont have one, you can download a copy of your OS from MS.

I just did this on win8.1, if win7 has that dont know.

I just went through it myself, I shrunk the drive to make space.
It worked on a reboot, but windows still saw the same size.
So I did a chkdsisk, windows said it could not scan the drive. Said had to repair drive on next boot.
So ok, then the repair failed and I was in an endless startup fail loop.
Bummer cause I thought a resize would be an easy job.

For reset you need your product key.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Stuck on Startup Repair Loop (Windows is Loading Files ; no safe mode)

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