How to Fix a Windows 10 Infinite Reboot Loop

Christian Cawley Updated 16-12-2019

In previous Windows versions this might have required a full reinstall or at least some messing around. Thanks to the way in which Windows 10 was designed a reboot loop can be resolved relatively quickly.


Here’s how to fix a Windows 10 boot loop and get your PC or laptop up and running in minutes.

What Is an Infinite Boot Loop?

Windows 10 isn’t particularly prone to an endless boot loop, but it isn’t unheard of.

It’s easy to spot, specifically by the failure of Windows to correctly load up after switching on your computer. Instead, the computer will fail to reach the logon screen before resetting to the boot screen and attempt to reload Windows. The is now caught in an infinite loop of booting and crashing.

The error occurs because of a problem with the Windows system registry. Unfortunately, without booting into Windows the registry cannot be fixed, leaving the operating system unreachable. It’s a Catch-22 situation.

In order to overcome this problem, use Windows 10 recovery options.


What Causes a Windows 10 Boot Loop?

A Windows 10 reboot loop can be frustrating to deal with. But what causes it? Typically, the fault can be traced to one of three things:

  1. A Windows Update
  2. An updated or new Windows driver
  3. The installation of new software (an app or game)

Something in the process goes awry. The result is a computer that is caught in an infinite reboot loop.

This is a problem that has plagued Windows for years. Further down the page, we have some tips for fixing boot loops in Windows 7 and Windows 8. If you’re using Windows 10, however, the fixes you’re looking for are in the next section.

When Automatic Repair Fixes the Windows 10 Boot Loop

If you’re lucky, the Repair Windows or Automatic Repair features might kick in without any prompting from you. Typically, this will only happen after several reboots, so give your computer time to get to this stage. Some manual interaction may be required—use the Automatic Repair option here and follow any steps.


However, if this hasn’t happened within 15 minutes, it’s probably not going to. Time to take matters into your own hands.

Access Safe Mode to Fix Windows 10 Endless Boot Loops

Three more options are available to fix an endless boot loop in Windows 10:

  • Safe Mode: this lets you access the operating system and uninstall any software, drivers, or Windows Update causing the fault
  • System Restore: a fast way of undoing recent changes
  • Reinstall Windows 10: the nuclear option, for use when nothing else works or you don’t mind losing data.

Accessing Safe Mode will depend on how the boot loop is presenting, as well as your system setup.

1. Dual Boot Windows System

If you have multiple versions of Windows installed on your computer, wait for the OS selection screen to appear. When given the choice, instead of selecting Windows 10, choose Change defaults or choose other options. Then follow the steps above to access Safe Mode.


2. Manually Access Safe Mode

In some cases, you’ll be able to access Safe Mode from within Windows 10. This will be possible if the reboot loop is triggered on the launch of a specific app or hardware connected.

Before the reboot is triggered, you have three options to reboot Windows 10 in Safe Mode:

  • Hold Shift then Start > Restart to boot Windows 10 into Advanced startup options.
  • You might also open Settings (press WIN + I) then Update & Security > Recovery > Advanced startup > Restart now.
  • In an elevated Command Prompt (search cmd in the Start menu, then right-click and select Run as administrator) enter shutdown /r /o to reboot the computer into the Advanced Boot options.

As noted, you may not have long to input your command. The first option is probably the quickest.

3. Use Installation Media to Access Safe Mode

Windows 10 users should have a recovery partition on their PC’s hard disk drive. If not, a USB or DVD recovery drive can be made by downloading the Windows 10 installation media. Note that this will need to be created with a different computer.


With Windows 10 stuck in the reboot loop, all you need to do is insert the installation media. Alternatively, access the UEFI/BIOS (tap Del, F8, or F1 when the system boots) and find the boot manager.

Select the recovery partition as the primary device then restart the computer. See our guide to creating Windows 10 installation media for more details.

Both methods should guide you through the Automatic Repair tool, or give you access to the Advanced options screen.

Fix Infinite Boot Loop in Windows 10 Safe Mode

With the computer in Safe Mode you can take steps to prevent further boot loops. This could be anything from uninstalling drivers to uninstalling Windows Updates in the Command Prompt.

Solve a Windows Update-Based Boot Loop

In Command Prompt (which you should open as Administrator on the desktop) enter

net stop wuauserv

Follow this with

net stop bits

Wait for the response, then browse to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution. Here, delete all the directory contents. If you’re using the Command Prompt, use our Windows command line guide for help using RD (remove directory).

(If you can only access the Advanced options screen, use the Command Prompt. This is also an option in Safe Mode.)

When you restart Windows 10, it should boot as normal.

Did an App or Game Cause a Boot Loop in Windows 10?

Suspect the boot loop is due to the installation of an app (perhaps one that launches at start up)? Perhaps it was a game you recently installed. Either way, this can be resolved by uninstalling the software.

Simply find the software in the Start menu, right-click, and choose Uninstall.

Uninstall problematic apps in Safe Mode

When you restart Windows 10, the boot loop should be fixed.

Stop Hardware Driver Boot Loops

If the system is in a boot loop due to hardware drivers, this can also be solved in Safe Mode.

Right-click Start and select Device Manager. Here, search for the suspect device. Typically, this will be something you’ve recently added, although not always. Right-click the device, select Properties > Drivers and choose Roll Back Driver.

If this doesn’t work, disable, and uninstall the driver. With the device selected, right-click and choose Disable Device, then Uninstall Driver.

Uninstall device drivers to fix Windows 10 reboot loop

You can then restart Windows 10.

Restore or Reinstall Windows 10 to Fix the Infinite Boot Loop

If you cannot access Safe Mode, or the fixes don’t work, the best solution is to use the refresh option. You might also reset Windows 10 back to the factory settings.

Check our detailed guide on resetting and restoring Windows 10 How to Factory Reset Windows 10 or Use System Restore Learn how System Restore and Factory Reset can help you survive any Windows 10 disasters and recover your system. Read More for more on this.

This process essentially reinstalls Windows 10 for you, leaving you with a blank slate. Just remember to back up your personal data first!

Fix Boot Loop Problems in Windows 8

Fixing a boot loop in Windows 8 and 8.1 is not dissimilar to Windows 10. Check the following video for the steps.

The real difference here is that Windows should boot to the Automatic Repair screen if there is a problem. Here you can access the Advanced Options menu, which may not be available in the boot loop conditions. As such, you’ll need to find the Startup Options as described and select Enable Safe Mode.

Recovering an Infinite Boot Loop in Windows 7

It isn’t only Windows 10 that can be stuck with an infinite reboot loop. If you’re using an older version, use these tips to overcome the reboot loop and get your system back online.

To fix the boot loop problem in Windows 7, you should have the installation media. If you don’t have the original DVD, grab the Windows 7 media installer tool from Microsoft.

You Fixed Your Windows Boot Loop!

Reboot loops have long been a problem with Windows. While previous versions offered a couple of ways out in the recovery options, these solutions were far from comprehensive. Thankfully, Windows 10 has great recovery and restore tools, which make a boot loop problem easy to deal with.

When following the steps outlined here, please take care to follow them precisely. Errors that you make while using the command line interface cannot be undone.

If you have been lucky enough to recover from the Windows 10 infinite reboot loop, it’s time to take precautions. Check our Windows 10 data backup guide The Ultimate Windows 10 Data Backup Guide We've summarized every backup, restore, recovery, and repair option we could find on Windows 10. Use our simple tips and never despair over lost data again! Read More to make sure the Windows boot loop doesn’t turn into a total disaster.

Related topics: Boot Errors, Computer Maintenance, Troubleshooting, Windows 10, Windows Tips.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. timscho
    October 2, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    You are the hero! :)
    Thanks a lot

  2. RocketFriday
    September 5, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Thank you so much man!
    For anyone with similar issue:
    I had unplugged my laptop while shutting down, with no battery. Every attempt to boot resulted in black screen with cursor endlessly rendering. Spent hours searching and scanning the PC. This fix works!

  3. Steve
    May 15, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    You are a god. One of my big wig users came in with his old ass laptop for remoting in with it stuck in a boot update loop. Ten thousand websites later I find yours. You fixed it in less than 5 minutes. My the Computer Gods of old and new smile upon your house for all eternity.

  4. Andrea
    January 21, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks so much. Everything back up and running. Life saver.

  5. Matteo
    December 12, 2017 at 3:40 pm


  6. Bhupendra
    November 6, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    I've encountered problem of default,Sam, security, software, system all being 0 bytes.... Plz help me solve this problem

  7. Kyle
    November 1, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    This worked really well. Something else happened and I'm not sure what, I left my office and came back and it was constantly restarting again. I tried to repeat this fix, and now it won't even load the repair screen! It restarts automatically no matter what startup option is selected from the F8 screen.

  8. Cyril Jacquet
    October 25, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Wonderful and thank you so much for this procedure ! I could get rid of this nightmare so easily

  9. takura munyame
    September 17, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    thanks it helped me

  10. Riyas
    July 14, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Brilliant. Thanks! It worked.

  11. Muryam Naveed
    July 4, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Its again that infinity loop. ?

  12. Abdul Mueed
    June 17, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    love you all! helped a great deal god bless!

  13. Ross G
    April 12, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Worked for me, thank you very much. I have sifted through dozens of similar articles and this was the fix I needed. My updates were stalling at 100%, thus the solution w/o too much hassle was F8 into recovery > command prompt and using this fix. Try this fix first y'all!

  14. Shan
    March 30, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Thank you so very much those still having problems,ensure that every step is followed precisely.on first attempt,it didn't work,tried again and it did.cheerz

    • Christian Cawley
      March 30, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      Good to hear it worked in the end!

  15. James
    March 19, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Thank you very much for your expert guidance. I followed your, very concise instructions, and all is well!!
    Thanks again!

    • Christian Cawley
      March 30, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      Good news, always nice to see solutions continue to work!

  16. dekin
    February 13, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Thank you very much! That worked like a charm! Now I know a little bit more about Windows and its registry, though I'm personally a Linux guy (as opposed to my wife).

  17. Ray
    February 4, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Yes this did work. Only problem I had was that my keyboard and mouse were not recognized in repair mode. Probably because USB drivers did not load. Luckily, I always keep an old ps2 keyboard for these situations.

  18. Kit Bacus
    February 1, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    Dude your a monsterrr!!!! It really works!!

  19. Jerry
    January 28, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    So sad it is not working for me. When I tried the repair option, it says something about incompatible version of win7 which makes me unable to fix it. :(

    Using Winxp for decade or even win me was more stable than win7...

  20. Plasma
    January 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Amazing.....You PEOPLE are genius ....Really worked

  21. Dee
    January 21, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    thankss........your tutorial works for pc comes out from Infinite Reboot Loop...

    • Christian Cawley
      January 22, 2017 at 8:33 am

      Glad it worked for you, thanks!

  22. David P
    January 13, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Thank you so much! This worked! The only difference for me was that the system32 config folder was under D:/, instead of C. For those of you who were unsuccessful, perhaps give D:/ a try.

  23. Joe
    January 10, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks so much for this, it worked when nothing else I was trying was! Fully back up and running after a scary infinite 'Automatic Repair Loop'.

    One thing to note, your drive letters may not be what you expect when in command prompt, so don't dispair if your C: drive doesn't list your system files. Try all your available drives. My system drive ended up being G: for some reason.


  24. Joseluis Villavicencio
    January 7, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Great! I followed the instructions and It recovered my system.
    Thank You!!!

  25. Sid
    December 11, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Hello, same issue and i tried this when do DIR in C: it says file not found when i do TREE in C: it says no subfolder exist in C:.

  26. Alasdair
    December 8, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Tried this, followed it to the letter, no change to windows, anything else I can try?

  27. Sawan
    December 5, 2016 at 4:51 am

    I ahve tried the same, I am trying with the bootable pendrive, but it also not getting form that.

  28. Austin
    November 29, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    hi when i typ in in the cmd C: DIR it cant find the files

    • Christian Cawley
      November 29, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      what do you see instead?

      have you tried cd back to the C: first?
      C: DIR is not a command, and it's not one I've suggested in this post. But without a screen grab or cut and paste of what you've done, I can't really help :)

  29. KrayZee
    October 25, 2016 at 8:11 am

    I followed all of the steps you have provided, but once it is mentioned in your post "if any of these files display a size of zero bytes, you will have to use another method", I found a couple files with zero bytes. Whst is the alternative method for the loop fix at this point?

  30. mojo706
    October 5, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Worked partially for windows server 2008 r2 but then I got stuck at Applying Computer Settings.

  31. Cole
    September 18, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    My problem is that I will start up my computer and see see [enter password] in a white box. It didn't do that in the beginning after I pressed a button, and I don't remember what button it was, and then it shows the Toshina start up screen and ask for my HDD/SSD and I put it in and repeat. I tried a bunch of things like Shift+R but still doesn't stop the cycle. Help?

    • Christian Cawley
      September 19, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      Sounds as though you need to get back into your BIOS. Try F8, f12 or DEL when the computer first switches on.

  32. Alan R.
    September 4, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Hi Christian,

    I left a comment back on July 6, 2016. I see in the past couple of comments that you replied to them so maybe you can go back to July 6 and tell me if there is anything more I can do?!


  33. Kaelani
    August 30, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Ty it works

    • Christian Cawley
      August 31, 2016 at 10:17 am

      Glad to hear it!

      • Thon
        August 8, 2019 at 1:30 am

        In Command Prompt say's
        Are all "0" what will do next?tia

  34. ts
    August 20, 2016 at 3:50 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I was having a really bad day and came home to an infinitely looping reboot. Tried so many things but yours was what fixed it! I'm so happy that people like you exist in this world!


    • Christian Cawley
      August 31, 2016 at 10:17 am

      Happy to have helped you out.

  35. Robin Utomo
    August 12, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Hey, i have succeeded on following your instructions before. But then i tried updsting my windows, and when it is installing the pc suddenly restarts and thus started the loop. And this time i failed. Any ideas?

    • Christian Cawley
      August 31, 2016 at 10:18 am

      During a Windows update/install, things are quite different. Are you dual booting?

  36. pj
    August 11, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    you saved me! i can't thank you enough!!!! thank you thank you thank you!!!!! from the bottom of my heart! thank you!

  37. Alan R.
    July 6, 2016 at 3:51 am

    DEFAULT, SAM, SECURITY, SOFTWARE, SYSTEM all show up with 0 bytes.

    What is this other "method of restoring Windows 7"?

    Can I copy DEFAULT, SAM, SECURITY, SOFTWARE, SYSTEM from another computer with Windows 7?

    • Alan R.
      July 6, 2016 at 4:57 am

      UPDATE: I copied the DEFAULT, SAM, SECURITY, SOFTWARE, SYSTEM from another computer, restarted, and it STILL loops infinitely!

      I previously already did a FULL reinstall of Windows 7, which also formatted the HDD, so this should run as if it is fresh out the box. It doesn't. It just loops.

      The laptop (Toshiba Satellite L655-S5161x) is old, slow, and has essentially been replaced already, and ALL of my important files were manually removed using CMD prior to the reinstall... but that's not the point! The point is to get this thing to work!


      • Thon
        August 8, 2019 at 1:34 am

        Same problem here,did you solve it?

  38. Help!
    June 21, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    What if we do not have a Windows 7 disc?

  39. Denys
    June 3, 2016 at 3:49 am

    I did this correctly but still when I restart it puts me back to the reboot screen

    • Anonymous
      June 4, 2016 at 10:54 am

      I guess it means the error in registry was propagated into the backup. that's not fun then. but i don't really know when windows decides to replace the registry backup with another backup

  40. Anonymous
    May 31, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    Your article was my last chance to recover my win7 on my mac! You are indeed a savior ! :D I love you man !

  41. abhimanyu
    May 26, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    thanks a lot Christian Cawley, you are a savior, love u.

  42. abhimanyu
    May 26, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Thnaks Christian Cawley, love are a savior

  43. Ronan Cahill
    May 26, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Fair Play, I'd tries a lot of other earlier google results but to no result. This worked a treat and very clearly explained. Many Thanks. Ronan, Cahill Computers

  44. ruki
    May 3, 2016 at 6:42 am

    Dear Christian, you helped us a lot! This is the only working "solution" that we found in the net. There was nothing left we didn't try desperately, until we found your solution instruction, Thanks a lot, you are great! :)

    • Christian Cawley
      May 3, 2016 at 7:06 am

      Always good to see someone else has got results from a solution. :)

      I wonder if you have any plans to upgrade to Windows 10? Windows 7 is now 7 years old!

  45. Vicky
    April 27, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Hi Christian Cawley,You have Really Done a Great Job My Writing this article and helping out tons of People,I'm Glad to say that it Works like a charm,Keep Rocking?

    • Christian Cawley
      April 27, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks Vicky, happy it helped you!

  46. dan
    March 28, 2016 at 2:31 am

    Thank you I have been up all might fixing my pc and this was the final step and it worked

    • Christian Cawley
      March 28, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Great - glad it has worked for you!

  47. Adnan Habib
    March 11, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    I thank you so much bro. I was stuck and nothing could help me and finally this post came to my rescue.

  48. nelson
    March 5, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    I'm a computer technician and this article makes me look like a pro. thanks. works like a charm

    • Christian Cawley
      March 5, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Great to read this works for you!

  49. Manjit Kaur Aujla
    January 23, 2016 at 5:10 am

    my system is stuck with loop. i followed your steps but after clicking on repair your computer top up menu is not opening. PLz help me.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 5, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      Hi, can you recall how the problem started?

  50. Regina Mize
    December 29, 2015 at 12:44 am

    I am on an Alienware I-7 machine with Windows 7 and am stuck in an update failure loop with the message, "failure configuring windows updates, reverting changes, do not turn computer off" for 24 hours now. I finally tried rebooting, but it just goes back into the same loop unless I tap F8 upon restart, then I can get to the Safe Mode Screen.

    I am in safe mode with networking now and followed the instructions above but when I try to use the 'copy *.*' command I get the message that all 5 folders (SAM, SECURITY, DEFAULT, SOFTWARE, & SYSTEM) are in use by another process. So I can't continue. Any ideas why I am getting this message and what I need to do next?

    Just FYI, I also tried to repair my computer from the Startup Repair prompt but it said it could find no problems. Then I tried to do a System Restore. There were three restore point dates, but the restore failed on all of them. I also tried resetting my computer to the last known good configuration but that did not work either.

    I am now at a total loss and am wondering if I need to just restore the computer to factory settings. I don't have a disc drive, but there is an Alienspawn Restore option under the system recovery menu.

      January 22, 2016 at 2:33 am

      You have to boot in start up repair. Not in safe mode.

      • Regina Mize
        January 22, 2016 at 5:37 pm

        Thanks for the reply, but You must have missed where I stated that I already tried to boot up in start up repair and that didn't work.

        Since my comment was over a month ago, I did eventually find a solution. Here is what I finally had to do after all other attempts to repair and restore failed, and after spending 4 hours on the phone with Microsoft tech support.

        First, since my Alienware laptop has no CD/DVD drive, I had to get on another computer and download the operating system onto a blank flash drive. This took almost an hour. Then I had to go into the advanced boot drive screen in System BIOS (how you access this is different depending on your computer, but on my system you hit repeatedly upon powering up) and change the boot option to external drive. Then you save and exit and turn off the system. Next you put in the USB flash drive and restart. This allows the computer to boot up from the USB drive, bypass the failure loop, and reinstall the operating system. However, this does completely wipe your computer to factory settings and does require that all software be reinstalled.

        I ended up installing Windows 10 and have not had any problems since. Hope this helps someone else who is having the same issue where start up repair and system restore does not work.

        • Regina Mize
          January 22, 2016 at 5:40 pm

          The key you hit repeatedly to get into BIOS on my system was F2.

        • Regina Mize
          January 22, 2016 at 5:43 pm

          I also forgot to mention that after the new operating system is installed you have to rremove the USB drive, and restart the computer and go back into the System BIOS and change the boot drive back to what it was before. Then again save and exit and restart.

  51. Dude
    December 7, 2015 at 8:06 am

    works a treat, thanks muchly.

  52. Sidfro
    December 6, 2015 at 5:56 am

    When I enter CD \windows\system32\config and then DIR it doesn't show the files you have listed
    out of these only it shows SAM and Security nothing else and after that I can't proceed further plz help me out plzzzzzzz !!!!!!!!!

  53. Loloe
    November 17, 2015 at 6:46 am

    had been trying to fix my laptop for weeks. thanx a lot for this article. worked like a charm

  54. David
    November 12, 2015 at 1:13 am

    I had resorted to reinstalling Windows due to this issue. When my computer continued with the infinite loop cycle after trying to boot from cd to reinstall..... I was prepared to buy a new HDD. One final web search produced this article.

    And it worked perfectly!!

  55. Dave
    November 11, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks a lot - worked perfectly.

  56. Anonymous
    November 5, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Is there anything I can do if I don't have enough space on my drive?

    • Christian Cawley
      November 5, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Delete files you don't need. Naturally, this will involve removing the HDD and installing it in a second PC.

  57. Anonymous
    October 23, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    Great job.. a life savior.

  58. Anonymous
    October 10, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Couldn't find the various folders in the C: Drive, found them in the F: Drive though, and when I copied them over and checked the DIR they all had 0 bytes. Have tried reinstalling windows but when restarting the reboot loop continues.

  59. Anonymous
    September 25, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Thank you my friend, it worked great, I saved time and money thanks to you. You are my saver.

  60. Anonymous
    September 14, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Hi there, it worked fantastically, and the description is wonderful to understand even for me as a german. Thank you very much for posting such solutions and go on like that.!!!

  61. Anonymous
    September 1, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Awesome article! Worked like a champ!

  62. Anonymous
    August 11, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    in the last stage files display a size of zero bytes, what to do? how to resort to normal installation in this situation, my windows are being installed in the D drive

  63. Anonymous
    July 31, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Worked for me. Thanks!

  64. Anonymous
    July 23, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    for Rinaldo. Look in your installed updates and uninstall the Windows WAT update KB971033 is you see it. Paste the KB # into the search bar and if you see it, uninstall it. This causes the fake Windows not genuine error. MSFT got sneaky and tries to always offer it with automatic update. You don't want it and it doesn't do anything good for you if you go get it. They will say its for a security issue but it's really just to try and catch people with non genuine Windows. If you have a genuine Windows that starts up with that message or see that not genuine thing in bottom rt corner of desktop get rid of that update. Do not try to install the so called WAT removers utilities as they almost all contain malware and viruses and don't do anything to fix the initial issue. Actually even having a Windows serial keygen or crack or windows activator/WAT remover somewhere and Windows detects it, and you have the WAT update installed you will get that fake "not genuine" message even if your windows is genuine. If you are doing a clean install and don't have that update yet, keep a close eye for it if you use Windows update as soon as you see it offered you need to hide that update or they will keep trying to make you install it. They will offer it every time until you hide it.

  65. Anonymous
    July 23, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    This doesn't work. So what is the repair option for when this doesn't work? No matter what option selected from Advanced boot menu (f8) still just boots to the recovery environ. Please no replies about using System Restore or clean installing Windows. That is not acceptable answers to how to repair anything. Windows 7 sp 1 64 bit

  66. Anonymous
    June 28, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    it didnt work,when i followed the instructions and restarted my computer it always take me to a start up repair window.

  67. Nick
    May 24, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    I'd specifically note where there are spaces in the command inputs. It was pretty hard for me to tell this the first time around. But the fix works great! Now I just have to figure out why windows keeps messing up the registry periodically even when I haven't changed anything from one boot to the next...

  68. Rinaldo
    May 20, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Chris, works for me!! But when I login windows displays "this copy of windows is not genuine"
    Can you help please?

  69. Anonymous
    May 18, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Thank's for this

  70. Rimvydas
    May 17, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Works like magic!!! After hours of try/fail this fix worked! Thanks a lot. Keep doing great job.

  71. Nauman
    May 2, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Thanks brother! It worked!

  72. Lui Calibre
    March 22, 2015 at 4:35 am

    Where do u get the cd

  73. Helder
    March 17, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Thanks! Saved me windows install after the KB3033929 botch...

  74. Cata P.
    March 16, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Thank you so much for this, it worked perfectly! You saved me today :) Thank you!

    • Christian Cawley
      March 16, 2015 at 7:16 pm

      Always good to hear we've helped someone!

  75. Nikhil
    January 22, 2015 at 1:58 am

    Note that these figures are approximate, but recognise that if any of these files display a size of zero bytes then you will have to resort to another method of restoring Windows 7. I'm asking about this apparently i'm stuck here. And the windows is now not reading any USB devices or DVD ROM. HELP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  76. Nikhil
    January 22, 2015 at 1:55 am

    What is the other alternate way you are talking about? Can you please help me with that one.

  77. Tony
    January 5, 2015 at 2:08 am

    I don't ever leave comments like these but I felt I needed to for this one because your solution worked perfectly.
    I use cmd.exe as my shell, although recently I changed it back to explorer - and the problems came rolling in. After following this guide, not only was the boot loop broken but I was returned to my usual cmd shell. Thank you.

  78. Anonymous
    January 3, 2015 at 6:35 am

    That works finally! Thank you!!!!

  79. Anonymous
    January 1, 2015 at 5:29 am

    Thanks mate. Worked out for me :)

  80. harsha
    December 24, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    After i press CD windowssystem32config says that the path will not exist .What i have to do if path does not exist

    • Tony
      January 5, 2015 at 2:09 am

      You must seperate each directory with forward slash or backshlash.
      So the command is "cd c:/windows/system32/config/"

  81. oliverh
    December 11, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    im having this issue with an infinite reboot loop. but a bit different. its windows 8, and when i select to boot from cd drive, it doesnt do that, like it doesnt recognize the setting.

    computer reboots on black screen right before OS logon screen.

    anyone got any ideas

  82. Billy
    January 19, 2013 at 8:26 pm


    When I run dir on the C: drive I get "File Not Found".

    I know C: is my system drive and I have tried ever other letter just to be sure.

    Any ideas?



  83. Lisa
    January 15, 2013 at 5:43 am

    Thank you so much for your simple and easy explanation on how to solve the Windows 7 looping problem on startup. My work laptop went into a loop and although I was delayed for half a day, I was able to repair it and get everything working again without having to send it off to our IT guy who charges a fortune and was talking about a full system wipe. Thanks again your help was invaluable!

  84. Lashana
    December 20, 2012 at 2:32 am

    Did nothing keeps saying cannot find the path so thanks for nothing

    • Christian Cawley
      December 20, 2012 at 8:19 am

      From the conclusion: "Note also that these steps don’t guarantee success – you should be prepared to reinstall Windows in the event that fixing the reboot loop fails."

      Sorry that you didn't manage to fix your problem, Lashana. Don't forget to let us know how you resolve it.

  85. Brenden Barlow
    December 12, 2012 at 8:30 am

    i had this happen to me the other day....not fun....your article would have helped a lot then lol

  86. billy
    November 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    thanks mate...good save...i got stuck at copy *.* .. for all those stuck there its actually
    (copy [space] *.* [space] ..

    Note: the 2 spaces and the 2 dots..

  87. venkatesh
    November 17, 2012 at 4:45 am

    i used windows7/windows8 os on my pc before ,now i format it and i'm using windows7 only but when i start my pc it will ask chose your os windows7 or windows 8,
    how to clear this problem?

    • Christian Cawley
      November 17, 2012 at 8:56 am

      This isn't really a reboot loop problem of course - your will need a boot menu editing tool to remove Windows 8 and thereby end the OS choice menu

  88. Will
    November 3, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Christian, thanks for your article.

    I've not been able to start windows7 for about a week since the last Windows update and my kids installed latest iTunes. I've tried repair and reverting back to previous save points incrementally until I'm pretty much back to the original win7 configuration (which for this machine was early 2012). I then tried your fix above but no luck. Still fails on Starting Windows -> bluescreen of death -> startup repair.

    Can still get to cmd prompt.

    Feels like the next option is reinstalling Win7.

    Any other suggestions?

    Thanx Will

    • Christian Cawley
      November 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Hi Will

      Sadly as mentioned, this isn't a universal fix. There are times when these steps won't work, at which point the only option is to reinstall 7

      • Will
        November 3, 2012 at 7:38 pm

        Thanks Christian anyway - worth a try.

  89. Karandeep Ajmani
    November 2, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I want to buy you a beer man. You just saved my ass. Thanks a lot for this

  90. Fernando
    October 30, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Hello and thanks for this great article, it is incredibly clear and easy to follow.

    However, I still have a problem.
    My "loop" started after installing Windows Updates a few nights ago.

    Following your article, everything went well up until the copy function 'copy *.* ..' from the regback folder.
    Everything but Software gets copied and gives me an error message indicating that it is not able copy it due to an I/O error; but it copied the rest, a total of 6 files.

    The Software file is about twice as large as mentioned in the article, displaying 47mil bytes; yet it still fails to be copied.

    Booting up results in the same loop as before; Startup repair starts and then mentions that it can't be automatically fixed.

    Anything I can do?


  91. Derek
    October 26, 2012 at 12:52 am

    You sir have made my night, like hell I would have figured out the registry trick on my own.... and here I was worried my SSD was dead.
    many many <3's

  92. Travis
    October 19, 2012 at 1:37 am

    I tried doing these steps but there is a problem. First, when the first screen comes up to select a driver, it comes up with Windows 7, Partion size 0 location unknown. I still click next and follow the steps and the list of things that should come up do not. I dont know what to do

    • Christian Cawley
      October 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      What is displayed when you click Next?

  93. AG
    October 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Im still having trouble with this. Its once i opened command prompt to attempt to fix my computer. What happend was i did what i was supposed to do in the first steps which was, type in "C:" and then dir. However it wasn't intill it came to the next step
    CD \windows\system32\config that it would say "the system cannot find the path specified. I don't know what that means and im afraid to say that im a noob to computers. My computer is stuck in a infinite system restore cycle and i can't even get close to the login screen. can someone help me i really need my computer to work soon.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 18, 2012 at 6:43 pm

      Hi AG - did you use the full path, i.e. cd c:\windows\system32\config or just as you described above?

      • alex
        October 24, 2012 at 11:04 am

        I have the same problem and I have just tried cd c:\windows\system32\config

        I don't know what else to do. I, also am a novice PC user. Really lost on this.

      • Katerina Hartmanova
        October 29, 2012 at 11:52 am

        I'm having the same trouble, the path cannot be found and I used the full path. Any ideas? Is there still way how to fix this without having to format my harddisc?

        • Christian Cawley
          October 29, 2012 at 12:53 pm

          Unfortunately, these steps aren't a catch all, get-out-of-jail-free solution to Windows reboot loops.

          Sometimes, a reinstall simply has to be performed.

        • Katerina Hartmanova
          October 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm

          I wish I had found this tutorial few days ago, I guess the problem is that they tried to fix this at Best Buy by installing a Windows 8 at the top of it. So I guess that's why it will have to be formated now. Anyways, is it possible that my personal files have been overwriten by the instalation of Windows 8? I'd like to at least save my files but I can't find them in the Windows.old folder, the User folder there is empty. Is my data lost for good? Thanks for reply

  94. Emily
    October 16, 2012 at 2:16 am

    What is an "I/O device error?" I get to the command prompt line and try to get to the C: drive, but it just takes a few minutes of doing nothing and says it cannot find the drive due to an I/O device error.

  95. Vijay
    October 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    How to Fix Windows Explorer Has Stopped Working Problem
    Sometimes, just when you thought your computer is in a perfect condition, your windows explorer stops working, freezes up, and restarts. You get error messages like “windows explorer has stopped working” followed by “windows explorer is restarting”. You have done nothing wrong but the machine keeps stressing you out. Worry no more as this article will you show you how to solve the problem.

    You do NOT need to perform a system restore to solve this problem. Nothing is wrong with your computer either. Inserting your OS installation disc and booting off the disc cannot fix the problem. The solution to the problem is very simple and only involves changing your thumbnails to icons. Follow the steps below to fix the problem and your computer will return to stability.

    1. Click on the “Start Menu” and go to “Network”

    Start Network

    2. Click on “Organize” at the upper right corner of the window. A drop down window will pop up. Click on “folder” and “search options”.

    search options

    3. On the folder option window, you will see three tabs at the upper right-hand corner. Click on “view” and SELECT “always show Icons, never thumbnail”. Next, DESELECT “display files Icon on thumbnails” as illustrated below.

    Display Files Icon on Thumbnails

    4. Click OK and you should be good to go.

  96. Bill
    October 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Thank you so MUCH! You really saved my computer! I was trying to get it to stop the reboot loop and was to the point of thinking I might need a new mobo.

  97. dolemitey
    September 25, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Great article helped me solve the problem quickly. Thanks for the time it took to put together. Great job and thanks a ton.

  98. Usman Mubashir
    September 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I figured this out by monkeying into some options there, but this article sure gave me some insights as well.

  99. nilesh
    September 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    what if, the above all steps does'nt work??

    Is der any way to replace some files via application (which is already installed inside windows say linux or ubuntu) to avoid such start up repair loop ... i.e.infinite loop ??

  100. Aseal
    August 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    I tried this and never worked my computer goes to starting windows does the animation but does not go to login screen instead it just restarts. Has been doing this since 2days ago. Any suggestions on how to fix this irritating problem. My computer is not even a year old. I would really appreciate your help

    • Christian Cawley
      August 31, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      Hi - can you get the boot selection screen up? Press F8 (repeatedly) after the BIOS and select safe mode - does you computer boot then?

  101. Christian Smith
    August 28, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I realized c: went to d: under cmd. Went through the steps & worked like a chram, 100% fixed!!! Thnx so much!

  102. Christian
    August 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I get "Volume in c is System Reserved" and can't view dir or any fldrs in cmd. Other drives open up fine, is there another way to open c:?

  103. Alex Livingstone
    August 7, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    This has happened to a number of my clients and its a relatively easy fix once you do it once or twice.

  104. pahaysaz
    August 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Never experienced this issue. Hope I don't, but it's nice to be prepared. Thanks!

  105. Andrei
    August 5, 2012 at 11:25 am

    It's Windows. Just reinstall on top of the old one, or use an Ubuntu live disk to transfer important files and reformat the system partition

  106. Eric Wardowski
    August 5, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Excellent article. Especially on how to handle the registry when all you have is the command prompt.

  107. moni
    August 4, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    I hope this never happens to my laptop!! The only problem is that it's not shuting down!! the only way to turn it off is to keep the ON button pressed ... :(

  108. Elijah Swartz
    August 4, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    It would also be good to note that if you do not have the Windows 7 install disc, whether from losing it not not being given one, you can download the .iso image for free from Microsoft's Digital River storefront. You can find the links listed over in this wiki. Just download the image, burn it to a dvd with a program such as ImgBurn, and boot to it.

    Alternatively, if your laptop doesn't come with a dvd drive, you can use a usb drive just as well. Microsoft has a little program to put it on a flash drive for you. You can find it here.

  109. VS Vishnu
    August 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm


  110. Trevor Lenten
    August 4, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Infinite reboot loop... I thought that was called windows update? ;P

  111. Sahil Dave
    August 4, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Will this method be the same for Windows XP sp2 or a little bit different?

    • Christian Cawley
      August 4, 2012 at 8:38 am

      Windows XP SP2 is a quite different process as the repair console isn't as advanced as with W7

  112. Ashwin Ramesh
    August 4, 2012 at 4:09 am

    Safe mode rebooting?

  113. Jcanman
    August 4, 2012 at 12:05 am

    How about rebooting in safe mode?

  114. Gideon Pioneer
    August 3, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    "Begin by entering copy *.* .. – not the two trailing dots. These indicate that the contents should be pasted to the level above – the Config folder."

    I think you meant to say "note", not "not" :)

    • Christian Cawley
      August 4, 2012 at 8:39 am

      Thanks Gideon, not sure how that got through!

  115. Igor Rizvi?
    August 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Im having a rpoblem,when i installed win/7 win8 and ubuntu linux,i deleted win8 an win7,now when i want to restart my pc it doesnt respond at all,so i have to shut it down and turn on again.Is this the same issue regarding thsi article or?

    • Christian Cawley
      August 4, 2012 at 8:40 am

      Your problem is quite different Igor. The culprit is probably a setting on your boot manager, although it might be worth reinstalling Ubuntu

      • Igor Rizvi?
        August 4, 2012 at 9:04 am

        Oh gosh,i posted a wrong question,uninstalled ubuntu (installed trough wubi),and deleted win8 that was o nthe separate partition.I used a progrma (cant remember the name of it) trough wich i setup the bio load menu on the default.So i think that program messed something up.Thansk for the response:)

  116. Richard Steven Hack
    August 3, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    The fun part comes when this part...

    "...then click Repair your computer. A list of installed operating systems should be displayed – select Windows 7 and click Next."

    ...does not work as advertised.

    I've had Windows 7 boot process hose itself so bad that even though it displays the installed OS, it cannot SELECT that OS...and thus never brings up the System Recovery Options - which you need in order to get to a command line.

    In other words, Microsoft made it impossible to get to the command line a la the previous forms of Recovery Consoles in this situation! A MAJOR PITA!

    The only thing you can do then is boot a live CD which has had some sort of Windows 7 boot database editor installed - which is hard because most of them rely on .NET which usually isn't installed on a Live CD - although it is possible. If you don't have something like that, you are totally SOL - the only recourse AFAIK is a complete re-install...

    It's almost as if Microsoft really wanted to make it much harder for PC support techs to fix these sorts of problems. They tried to automate the process but at the same time did not allow for the possibility of their "automated repair process" to itself fail miserably.

    Fortunately I only saw this occur on two Windows 7 machines shortly after installation. Subsequently they ran for a year with no problems. But it happened twice on one machine early in its history, both times requiring a full re-install.