How to Fix the Windows 10 Automatic Repair Loop

Get your PC working again with these easy fixes

As useful as the Windows 10 startup repair tool can be for fixing issues when it can't, it may get stuck, making it impossible to boot into Windows 10 at all. If you've run into the Windows 10 automatic repair loop, here are some ways you might be able to fix it to get your PC working again.

What Is the Windows 10 Automatic Repair Loop?

Windows 10 includes a host of different troubleshooting and repair tools designed to make the process of fixing everyday Windows problems much more accessible than in older versions of the operating system. One of those tools is Startup Repair, which can fix issues with your Windows startup. If there's a problem with a driver, service, or file that might be causing an issue when booting your PC, Startup Repair should fix it for you.

However, sometimes it can't fix the issue, and that can send you into an automatic repair loop, where Windows can't boot because of the problem at hand, but when it tries, all it can do is run startup repair over and over.

This loop may manifest in a black screen that hangs on Preparing Automatic Repair or Diagnosing Your PC. You may also get the Preparing Automatic Repair text on a blue screen, or it may complete the Startup Repair action but tell you that Automatic repair couldn't repair your PC. At that point, you can restart, but you'll just be sent back into the automatic repair loop. You will also have a button for Advanced Options, which may give you some more choices to help fix the issue, which we'll cover below.

What Causes The Windows 10 Automatic Repair Loop?

The repair loop itself is caused by Startup Repair failing to fix the Windows startup problem. A failed Windows update degraded hardware like memory or a hard drive or missing or damaged system files corrupted by malware. You may also encounter this problem due to a driver issue for a specific piece of hardware or a registry error.

It isn't easy to diagnose the cause of the automatic repair loop before fixing it. The best way to get past that Preparing Automatic Repair screen is to try a few fixes and see what works.

How to Fix the Windows 10 Automatic Repair Loop

Here are several different ways you can potentially fix the repair loop error you've encountered. After trying each one, properly reboot your PC to see if the fix has taken worked.

  1. Check you're booting to the correct drive. Although unlikely, this fix is so quick and easy it's worth trying first. There's a possibility your PC is trying to boot to the wrong drive. To check and potentially change it back to the correct one, you need to open your PC's boot menu and select your C: drive.

  2. Boot into Safe Mode. Safe Mode is a diagnostic tool, but it may be trying to load this basic Windows version that fixes your startup error, and the repair loop will no longer trigger.

  3. Run the Fixboot and Chkdsk commands. Two commands worth trying to get you out of the automatic repair loop are Fixboot and Chkdsk. They can target and repair any errors in your hard drive and your Windows boot directory. Although you can run them in Windows using the Command Prompt, since automatic repair can't repair your PC, you'll need to run them using the Advanced Startup Options.

  4. Disable early launch anti-malware protection. It's rarely advisable to disable anything related to your anti-malware software, as it's an essential component of keeping you and your data safe. However, when your PC no longer boots, and you're encountering a repair loop error, then disabling early launch anti-malware protection can help. To do so, you'll need to access the Startup
    Settings menu
    and press the corresponding number key to disable it.

    Startup Settings
  5. Run Startup Repair from USB/DVD. There's always a chance that your Startup Repair function itself is not working, but your PC is. You can get around that by running Startup Repair from the installation media you used for Windows in the first place. That can be a DVD or USB drive, depending on what you used—or you can make one from a separate PC if your system came with Windows pre-installed.

  6. Disable System Repair. As much as System Repair is a handy tool, if it's the root cause of your problem, then disabling it—at least until you can fix it—may be the best way to get back to Windows. Open the Command Prompt in the same way you have done using the startup Advanced Options, then follow
    the input commands (in the guide linked above) to turn off System Repair.

  7. Perform a System Restore. If your system creates regular system restore points, jumping back in time to when your PC worked is one of the easiest ways to fix all sorts of issues, including when automatic repair couldn't repair your PC.

  8. Reset your PC. A more dramatic way to fix the Windows 10 startup repair loop is to reset your Windows 10 installation. Doing this will effectively reinstall Windows, but keep all your files, folders, and settings—you will need to reinstall your applications, however.

    Reset Window PC


  9. Reinstall Windows. If you've exhausted all other software options, reinstalling
    Windows from scratch may be the best way to fix a Windows 10 startup repair problem. It's a good idea to backup any files and folders you can before doing so, as doing a fresh install deletes everything on your boot drive.

  10. Replace your hard drive. You could have a damaged or degraded hard drive. Replacing it and reinstalling Windows from scratch may be the best way to fix a startup repair error and prevent it from happening again in the future. Make sure to backup your data before doing so.

    How to Replace Your Hard Drive

    Maritsa Patrinos/Lifewire

  11. Replace your memory. Memory issues are hard to diagnose, but they can cause all sorts of problems. Although you should try to switch the slots your existing memory is in first and booting with just a single stick in (try both of them individually), you can also replace your memory to see if that gets your PC working again.

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