If you’ve ever faced that fearful moment when your copy of Windows won’t start correctly, don’t panic. Your Advent PC is packed full of useful recovery and repair tools that can help you get things going again. In this step-by-step guide we’ll discuss the different options you have and how they can restore your computer to working order again.
Note: this guide is written for Windows 8 users – if you’re running Windows 7, check out our step-by-step guide to restoring or reinstalling Windows here.
1. Automatic Repair
Should Windows 8 fail to start successfully more than twice in a row, it will automatically launch the ‘Automatic Repair’ tool – look for messages appearing underneath the Windows logo talking about diagnosing your PC and attempting to make repairs. If you’re lucky this will find the problem and fix it. After a reboot, your computer will successfully load Windows once more. If it doesn’t work, read on.
2. Try System Restore
If the Automatic Repair tool isn’t able to fix the problem on its own, it may suggest using System Restore, which can roll your PC’s key system and program files back to an earlier, working state. If this is the case, click the ‘Restore’ button and ‘Automatic Repair’ will automatically restore your PC to the last Restore point taken, then try to restart. If this works you may need to reinstall programs or updates that were added since the Restore point was taken. Of course, these may have been responsible for your start-up problems, so proceed with caution.
3. Try Advanced options
If no restore option appears, click the ‘Advanced’ options button when prompted. Five more options will appear, including ‘System Restore’ – selecting this should allow you to manually pick a Restore point to roll your computer back to, hopefully fixing the problem.
After clicking ‘System Restore’, wait for the tool to start. When prompted, select your user account and enter your account password then click ‘Continue’. When System Restore appears, click ‘Next’. A list of available Restore points will be displayed. Pick the first one and click ‘Scan for affected programs’ to see what effects choosing this Restore point will have. Click ‘Close’ then click ‘Next’, review your choice and click ‘Finish’. Windows will try to restore your computer to this point in time, which should let it to boot successfully again. If this doesn’t work, try an earlier Restore point following the same steps as before.
4. Perform a disk repair
If your computer still won’t boot and you think the hard disk might be the problem, choose the ‘Command Prompt’ option. When it appears, type the following and press [Enter] to check what drive Windows is installed on:
bcdedit | find “osdevice”
Make a note of the drive letter listed next to ‘partition=’. Now type the following and press [Enter] again, changing c: to the letter listed:
Chkdsk c: /r
Wait while the disk-checking tool looks for errors – it will try to fix any it finds. Once complete, note the results – if it finds and fixes any errors, you may now be able to boot Windows. Click the red close button, then click the back button twice before choosing ‘Shut down’. Once your PC shuts down, switch it back on to see if Windows 8 will now load.
5. Refresh your PC
If Automatic Repair keeps attempting to run unsuccessfully or you’re still unable to reboot into Windows, try performing a repair installation of Windows that keeps all your personal files intact. To do this, click the back button next to ‘Advanced Options’, choose ‘Refresh your PC’ and follow the prompts.
6. Reset your PC
If refreshing your PC has no effect – or fails – and you have no data you need to preserve, try the ‘Reset your PC’ option from the repair screen instead. This should wipe everything and restore Windows 8 to its original factory settings.
7. Use the Windows 8 DVD
If refreshing or resetting your PC doesn’t fix the problem, and you have a copy of the Windows 8 installation DVD , you can perform a clean installation using that. Restart your computer with the disc in the drive, and press a key when prompted to start from DVD . Follow the prompts to install Windows 8 – when prompted for the type of installation, choose ‘Custom’ to perform a clean installation. For a complete step-by-step guide, see our tutorial on performing a clean installation of Windows 8.