How To Fix Windows Startup Repair cannot repair this computer automatically

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First you want to close the front "Startup Repair" window and then click on View advanced options for system recovery and support.

On the next screen take note of the operating system drive letter. It will probably be listed as (C:) or (D:). We may need to use this drive letter later on in the repair process.

Click on Command Prompt.

Type bootrec /fixmbr and press enter.

Then type bootrec /fixboot and press enter.

If the commands were successful then close the command prompt window and click on Restart and see if Windows starts normally.

If you receive the error The system cannot find the path specified then you may need to change a setting in BIOS. Close the command prompt window and click on Restart. Repeatedly press the key to enter BIOS. Sometimes the computer will display the key while restarting. The most popular keys to repeatedly press to get into BIOS is either the F2 or Del key.

In the BIOS we need to look for the SATA Mode. In some computers it is under Main and then Storage Configuration. If the SATA Mode is set to AHCI then change it to IDE. If the SATA Mode is set to IDE then change it to AHCI. The SATA Mode setting may also be under Advanced and then Onboard Devices Configuration and then look for the mode under Controller. Again, if it is set to AHCI then change it to IDE. If it is set to IDE then change it to AHCI. Save and Exit the BIOS, usually by pressing the F10 key.

If Windows still does not start normally and startup repair is unable to repair the computer automatically then click on View advanced options for system recovery and support.

Remember to take note of the operating system drive letter and click on Command Prompt again. If you haven't tried the commands bootrec /fixmbr and pressing enter and then bootrec /fixboot pressing enter then try those now.

Now we want to check the hard drive for errors:


chkdsk C: /f /r

Replace C with the drive letter you noted before. Possibly D and press enter.

This will take a while. After it is finished, take note if their is any bad sectors. If there is then you will want to figure out a way to backup your data and either purchase a new computer or purchase a new hard drive to install Windows on. If you are purchasing a new hard drive then you will have to have made a Windows Recovery DVD or you will have to order one from Microsoft or from the manufacturer of your computer.

One way to backup your important data files is to connect an external hard drive or USB thumb drive and then type:


and press enter.

Once in notepad, click on File and then click Open. Change Files of type to All Files. Now click on Computer on the left and then go to your important data and copy and paste it to your external hard drive.   For example, to copy your pictures folder click on your computers local disk drive letter, go to the User folder then go to your username and then right click on My Pictures and click on Copy. Click on Computer again and then go to your external hard drive letter and right click and click on Paste.

If there are 0 bad sectors on the hard drive then close Command Prompt and click on Restart.

If Windows still does not start normally and Startup Repair cannot repair the computer automatically then we have one more fix to try. Go to Command Prompt and type the following:

sfc /scannow /offbootdir=d:\ /offwindir=d:\windows

Replace d with the drive letter we noted before.

If your get the message "There is a system repair pending which requires a reboot to complete. Restart windows and run sfc again." then type in the following command:

takeown /f d:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml

Remember to replace d with the letter we noted before. Now type:

ren d:\windows\winsxs\pending.xml pending.old

Remember to replace d with the letter we noted before where your Windows OS is installed and press enter.

Now retype:

sfc /scannow /offbootdir=d:\ /offwindir=d:\windows

Replace d with the drive letter we noted before and press enter.

Hopefully after running System File Checker (sfc) you get the message that it "found corrupt files and successfully repaired them". Restart widows and hopefully this time Windows starts normally. If it does not then you may need to take out your hard drive and connect it to another computer to run some of these commands on it. Or you may need to have a professional computer technician look at your computer.

Last updated on January 30, 2018
Created on June 21, 2017

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User Comments

There are 40 comments.

Displaying first 50 comments.

1. Posted By: jay - - April 29, 2018, 5:21 am
hello sir, thanks for uploading the video, sir when i type chkdsk command msg pops up your volume is in use.
please help me

2. Posted By: jay - - April 29, 2018, 5:24 am
after opening notepad and my computer form cmd i used to find my usb drive but now its not appearing, pls help me out.
i have some important doc which i want to copy before formating it

3. Posted By: Jeff - - April 30, 2018, 12:35 am
Hi jay,

It looks like you are trying the wrong drive letter. It might be C, D or E. But it might be different in Startup Repair than it is in normal Windows. Take note of the Operating System drive letter at the beginning step of of Startup Repair "View advanced options for system recovery and support"

If your USB thumb drive is not showing up in notepad then try plugging it into a different USB port. Try a port near the top of the back of the computer, or try one in the front of the computer.


4. Posted By: jay - - May 1, 2018, 4:11 am
hello sir, thanks for reply
i have try chkdsk command now its working but sfc not working
and i am using command and drive letter accurately.
usb drive still not working i have try all usb ports,
please help me

5. Posted By: Jeff - - May 1, 2018, 6:12 pm
Hi jay,

You might try a different usb drive. If that doesn't work then you can take the hard drive out of the computer and connect it to a working computer to copy the files.


6. Posted By: Md gulfam - - May 13, 2018, 3:23 pm
Hello sir,
My computer is unable to restart after a manual upgrade then going for repair using installation CD. But still it is not giving any operation disc name.
It is giving name as 'unknown'.
What to do?
Please help me sir.

7. Posted By: Md gulfam - - May 13, 2018, 3:27 pm
If I am going for disk repair or any kind of such operation it's giving me 'unknown path' dialog.
Please help me sir

8. Posted By: Md gulfam - - May 13, 2018, 3:31 pm
As you gave to copy the important file through notepad in Camand prompt but it's not showing my local disc e,f.
And also in bios setting it is showing that my disc is frozen.
Plz help me sir

9. Posted By: Jeff - - May 14, 2018, 4:38 am
Hello Md gulfam,

I'm sorry about the problems you are having. It sounds like serious problems. It looks like you will probably need a computer tech to look at it. To try and copy any important data look for the Users folder in any of the drive letters shown.


10. Posted By: Dave - - August 14, 2018, 6:16 am
I've tried moving some pictures using the notepad method but my flash drive give me the "please insert a disk into usb drive" error despite working on my other laptop. I've tried formatting it on the computer with the files but formatting just fails, any ideas?

11. Posted By: Jeff - - August 14, 2018, 7:02 am
Hi Dave,

Sorry, I don't have very many ideas except to try different USB ports. Maybe try a port on the front of the computer or at the top of the back. If that doesn't work you might need to try a different flash drive.


12. Posted By: Dave - - August 14, 2018, 4:55 pm
I have tried switching to different USB ports to no avail, it is strange though, the flash drives seems to be fine on my laptop.

13. Posted By: Jeff - - August 14, 2018, 5:42 pm
Hi Dave,

I'm not sure why it is not working. What comes to mind is possibly the capacity of the drive is too large for Windows in Startup Repair mode and it needs full Windows drivers to be loaded to work with the size of the drive.

14. Posted By: Dave - - August 14, 2018, 7:44 pm
I have actually found a solution, by booting from a flash drive with ubuntu I was able to recover the files I needed. Thanks for trying to help.

15. Posted By: Jeff - - August 14, 2018, 9:55 pm
Hi Dave,

You are welcome. I'm glad you were able to save your files.


16. Posted By: martin - - October 19, 2018, 9:55 am
Hi Jeff,
I have tried to follow your steps as mine is currently stock in the loop too.

Everything worked on step one. but when I wanted to check my harddisk chkdsk d: /f /r
it is now stuck on
chkdsk is verifying file data (stage 4 of5)...
52 percent complete. (400 of 509680 files processed)

and its been stuck here for a very long time (more than 1 hour)
Can you please advise me how to proceed.

Thank you in advance and I look forward to hear from you.

17. Posted By: Jeff - - October 19, 2018, 10:31 am
Hi Martin,

chkdsk can take a very long time. Let it run, possibly for 8 hours or more. Do not interrupt it. You need to see if there are any bad sectors on the hard drive.


18. Posted By: martin - - October 19, 2018, 10:36 am
Hi Jeff.

Thanks for getting back to me so fast - I really appreciate it!

And you were right I was too impatient. its still running I haven't interrupted it.
and it started saying
"windows replaced bad clusters in file 10761"
and also in another file.
so like you said I've connected it to the power plug and will let it do its part.

Once its done I will try following your steps and let you know.

Thanks again

19. Posted By: Jeff - - October 19, 2018, 11:03 am
Hi Martin,

Since it is finding bad clusters on files I would recommend backing up important files as shown in the video when chkdsk is complete.

I would then recommend purchasing a new hard drive. You can try copying the old hard drive to the new one using a utility from the manufacturer of either hard drive. But sometimes copying does not work when their are bad clusters. So you may need to install Windows on the new hard drive and then install any software from disks or from downloading and then copy your important data over that you backed up.


20. Posted By: Martin - - October 19, 2018, 10:27 pm
Hi Jeff,

It now finished and actually it found 0 bad sectors. Only bad clusters which were replaced.
I then tried to restart the computer and it didn't go into the infinity loop of startup repair.
It came up with the windows loading screen and once that disappears it normally starts up In the sense it shows the different users, you pick one and log in.
However this time there is just the mouse and a black screen. No available users to choose and it seems they are not showing up.
Is this something you have encountered before and maybe have an advise to?

Alternative is it still somehow possible to access Command Prompt. and make a backup?
The main thing for me is not saving the computer, but certain files on the computer.

21. Posted By: Jeff - - October 20, 2018, 10:39 am
Hi Martin,

There is a trick to have Windows display a menu with an option for startup repair. Turn on the computer and when the Windows logo and "starting Windows" appears turn off the computer. You can turn it off by holding the power button. Then turn the computer on and turn it off again when it is "starting Windows" again. Do this two or three times and then the menu should come up or startup repair.


22. Posted By: Martin - - October 29, 2018, 6:34 am
Hi Jeff,

unfortunately none of the things worked in my case but I did however manage to backup my most important files thanks to your advise via notepad.

If I reinstall windows will it work normally or is the laptop damaged due to this?

Once again thank you for your help, im really glad I came by your homepage and was able to save most of my files to external harddisks.

23. Posted By: Jeff - - October 29, 2018, 9:43 am
Hi Martin,

If when you ran chkdsk there were no bad sectors on the hard drive then Windows should work again after reinstalling. You may have to reinstall some of your programs as well before they will work. If there were bad sectors on the hard drive then you need to replace the hard drive.


24. Posted By: Nagaprad. Pradeep - - March 12, 2019, 11:29 pm
Hi sir
My system automatic startup repair problem. How can identify this problem.
Please sugges booting repair software.

25. Posted By: Jeff - - March 13, 2019, 10:16 am
I'm sorry. I don't understand what you are asking. Follow the steps on the website or in this video:


26. Posted By: Mary - - November 16, 2019, 10:26 am
Thank you so much Jeff for your expertise! I had tried all that I could but I kept getting that annoying restore did not work loop. Fortunately, I found your tutorial. I followed every step you suggested. My last step was "chkdsk..." Then after 3+ hours [I was afraid that it was taking too long and I had ruined my computer] everything was back to normal and I could log on!!! You are the Best! Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. We appreciate you!

27. Posted By: Jeff - - November 16, 2019, 11:17 am
Hello Mary,

You're welcome! Thank you for the comment and letting us know which step worked for your computer.


28. Posted By: Caroline - - December 29, 2019, 11:40 am
Yes hello Jake as I am on the 5th way of restarting my other pc and it just keeps on telling me that thedisks are full what should I do

29. Posted By: Jeff - - December 29, 2019, 6:23 pm
Hi Caroline,

I'm not sure how to help with that. You might need to do an Internet search on the exact error message. Or you might need help from a computer repair technician. If the disks are full then it sounds like you need to delete some personal files like large videos or music files. But if you don't know of a reason why the disks are full then there might be some other serious issues. So I would recommend having a technician look at it.


30. Posted By: Caroline - - December 29, 2019, 8:11 pm
Okai Im gonna repeat all the methods you set out once more thank you very much

31. Posted By: Caroline but I perfer Carol - - January 2, 2020, 10:19 pm
I would like to say thank you cause I finally got my laptop working it took sometime but it is working I did everything you discribed to do Thank you very much

32. Posted By: Jeff - - January 3, 2020, 5:59 pm
Hi Caroline,

You're welcome! Thank you for the comment!


33. Posted By: Spiros - - January 7, 2020, 11:30 pm
I did everything, no bad sectors or anything but when i tried sfc it gave me back the "windows resource protection could not start the repair service". Is there a way to overpass that?

34. Posted By: Jeff - - January 8, 2020, 1:00 pm
Hi Spiros,
In the Command Prompt window, Type "ICACLS C:Windowswinsxs" and press Enter. Replace C: with the drive letter you noted in the video with the Windows installation. Possibly D:
Then try the sfc command again.

If that doesn't work then try typing these lines with enter key after each one. Replace c: with the drive letter you noted in the beginning:
cd windows
cd system32
sc config trustedinstaller start=auto

Then try the sfc command again. If it still does not work then you may need to backup important data and reinstall Windows.

You can also try this command:
bootrec /rebuildbcd


35. Posted By: Maria - - January 24, 2020, 6:18 am
Hi sir,

I clicked the x in the upper and click the view advanced options for system recovery and support and its asking for a username and a password. And i dont even know the username to put.

Please help me. Thank you

36. Posted By: Jeff - - January 25, 2020, 2:12 pm
Hi Maria,

Try leaving it blank if you can't remember your username or password. If that doesn't work then check out this video that shows alternative ways of getting to Command Prompt:


37. Posted By: Yasser - - May 18, 2020, 10:45 am
Hi Jeff, thank for that great video and guide, I have that problem with a Windows 7 PC. I'm using command prompt as you explained in the video (doing the advanced recovery) and in there i saw that windows is running on d:

Commands bootrec /fixmbr and bootrec/fixboot were successfully, chkdsk d: shows that the disk is 0 bad sector and sfc /scannow /offbootdir=d: /offwindir=d:windows inform that file integrity is ok. No matter of that the windows is not booting up yet.

Using notepad I saw a total of 77 pending.xml.###### files inside d:windowswinsxs that are date 2018. I'm curious if this could be related with my situation, thank you for your help.

38. Posted By: Jeff - - May 18, 2020, 12:53 pm
Hi Yasser,

The pending.xml files don't mean much. They are just a buggy way that Microsoft used for Windows to delay file updates and do them later. It looks like you have done everything you can. Two more things you can try:
You can try Last Known Good Configuration by pressing F8 over and over as soon as you turn on the computer and then select "Last Known Good Configuration" when the menu comes up.

You can also try this command : Bootrec /rebuildbcd

Select Yes if it finds an installation. Reboot afterward.

But if that doesn't work then you may need to backup important files and reinstall Windows with Windows Installation Media.  If you don't have Windows Installation Media then you can download it and create it from a working PC at:


39. Posted By: Yasser - - May 18, 2020, 4:02 pm
Jeff, thank you for your quickly answer, the bootrec /bcdbuild help us and to apply it was required to rename the bcd file:

After that the computer start to boot up giving us the option to run safe mode, last good configuration and another option. With last good configuration it just reboot and get back to the booting options, then I try safe mode with the same result but with the different that it was verbose mode and i was able to see that it was stopping when trying to load the driver for ClassPnP.sys, following this:

I went to BIOS an noted that my SATA was configure as a RAID and put back as a AHCI, after that windows start to boot, I also noted that the BIOS battery measure 0.3vdc, I will replace it tomorrow.

Thank you for your help and support.

40. Posted By: Jeff - - May 18, 2020, 5:11 pm
Hi Yasser,

Thank you for letting us know what steps you took to get it working again! I'm glad it is working now.