Question Stuck on "Preparing automatic repair" boot- loop at startup ?

Aug 13, 2022
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I think I've really stuffed up my laptop :(

I was doing some browsing online and it froze. I waited ages and eventually had to turn it off via the power button. I tried to turn it back on and I can't remember exactly what happened, but I think it attempted some sort of recovery and ended up freezing again and I powered it off again.

Now I turn it on and get the Acer logo with "Preparing automatic repair" and it goes to a blue screen that says something went wrong and it needs to restart and a PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA error. It will then restart and do the same thing again over and over.

I've tried everything I can find online. I can't get into Windows Recovery via any means (powering on and off, Installation media on USB or DVD). Actually, using the power on off method I did get into recovery once, but I don't think it gave me all the usual options. I think there was just a couple, and one was to try and roll it back to an earlier time or something like that (which I selected), but it didn't work. I think it said something went wrong and it needs to restart or close. I haven't been able to access that again.
I had to change a few things in the BIOS so I could try some of these things. For example, a lot of the options were greyed out so I assigned some passwords in the security section. Then I disabled secure boot and also changed the boot priority order.

I'm not sure what to do now. Does anyone have any ideas on what I might have done and/or how I can fix it?

This laptop is pretty old now but really hasn't had that much use.

Acer Aspire V3-772G
Intel Core i7-4702MQ
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M
16gb DDR3 L Memory
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
So, hopefully you have everything important backed up elsewhere, right? Right? (Insert Star wars meme here) Because if not, it's probably tough titty at this point.

When repair procedures won't work there is not much else you can do other than do a clean install of Windows. What version of Windows are you running on this machine?
 
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Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
You don't ever need to reformat the drive when doing a clean install of Windows. The proper procedure is to delete the existing C: and EFI/hidden/boot partitions, during the installation when you get to the point where it asks you where you want to install Windows, anyhow, and then Windows will perform any required formatting automatically.
 
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you may need to format this drive and reinstall the OEM Windows OS.
You don't ever need to reformat the drive when doing a clean install of Windows.
anytime a fresh install of Windows is performed a reformat is performed.
whether you do it or the automated process does it, it happens...

my point is that it needs to occur.
 
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Aug 13, 2022
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So, hopefully you have everything important backed up elsewhere, right? Right? (Insert Star wars meme here) Because if not, it's probably tough titty at this point.

When repair procedures won't work there is not much else you can do other than do a clean install of Windows. What version of Windows are you running on this machine?
No :D I haven't backed up in a while. Important documents etc are safe, and I don't think I've really got anything that important on there. Most of it can be replaced, it's just a hassle. My fault for not backing up I guess.

Sorry I forgot to put the OS. It has Windows 10 now but I'm pretty sure it came with 8 installed.
 
Aug 13, 2022
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you may need to format this drive and reinstall the OEM Windows OS.
if you don't have an included copy you may need to contact the manufacturer and see what options they offer.
No I don't think it came with a copy. Just Windows 8 installed and the option to upgrade to 10....which I did.

Will the manufacturer still help me given it's quite old now and out of warranty?

You don't ever need to reformat the drive when doing a clean install of Windows. The proper procedure is to delete the existing C: and EFI/hidden/boot partitions, during the installation when you get to the point where it asks you where you want to install Windows, anyhow, and then Windows will perform any required formatting automatically.
Do you think this is something I will be able to do myself or will I need to take it to someone?
 
Aug 13, 2022
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Sorry, another few questions....
Is there anything on Hirens BootCD or WindowsPE that could help me in this situation? I could run Windows recovery from there couldn't I? Is it worthwhile trying? If it's not booting from the Windows installation disk, does that mean I won't be able to boot with them?
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Please read ALL of the information, at EACH of these links, before doing anything else. Probably your Windows 10 is legit already with a "digital entitlement" if you upgraded it from Windows 8 to Windows 10, or somebody else did, but it is usually a good idea to make sure you have a Microsoft account and that your current activation is attached to that account. If you are unable to do that because somebody else already attached that product activation previously to their own MS account, then I'd just move forward with a clean install as it will likely automatically activate as soon as you connect to the internet after installation. No need to bother with Windows 8 again if your machine was currently legitimately activated, just install 10 directly following the guide below. There will be a few minor differences in the screens you see as they have changed a few steps since I made the guide which I'm working to update.

 
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Please read ALL of the information, at EACH of these links, before doing anything else. Probably your Windows 10 is legit already with a "digital entitlement" if you upgraded it from Windows 8 to Windows 10, or somebody else did, but it is usually a good idea to make sure you have a Microsoft account and that your current activation is attached to that account.
I just realised it might have even come with Windows 7. I remember updating the OS twice, but I'm not sure if it was different versions of 8 or 10, or if it's had 3 different versions of Windows on it. Would it make a difference if it was 7?

Also, I have already tried a clean install via both USB and CD (made with the Windows media creation tool) and nothing happens. I can hear it reading the CD but it doesn't do anything else. From memory it just continues on that loop.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Are you saying that if you go into the BIOS and set the boot order to USB that it will not boot to the Windows installer at all? Have you tried removing the hard drive and then see if it will begin the installer? Obviously you can't install without a drive installed but it should at least get to the point where it tells you there is no place to install Windows.
 
Aug 13, 2022
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Are you saying that if you go into the BIOS and set the boot order to USB that it will not boot to the Windows installer at all? Have you tried removing the hard drive and then see if it will begin the installer? Obviously you can't install without a drive installed but it should at least get to the point where it tells you there is no place to install Windows.
Yep :(

I just tried again and I made a video of what happens to show you....

I haven't done anything with the hard drive. I really don't know what I'm doing when it comes to that.
 
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So while I was stuffing around on my phone and posting that video I just left the disk in and let it keep looping. When I looked up there was the select language screen. I couldn't believe it. I did all the steps in the post you linked (deleting all the partitions etc) and thought I was home free......of course I'm not that lucky. I'm pretty sure it finished the 'getting files ready for installation' part, and I got this screen....

When I close out of that small window everything on the one behind is greyed out and I can't get out of it.
 
Aug 13, 2022
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You're probably right. I probably should have mentioned this wasn't the first time it froze. It was doing it quite regularly but usually I would just have to wait a while and it would sort itself out.

I have some appointments this morning so I'll test the drive a bit later and post the results.
 
Aug 13, 2022
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So I've been trying to run that HD Sentinel and I'm not having much luck. The USB doesn't boot at all. Actually, I don't think it even registers. If I press F12 there's no options to boot from. I tried multiple USB's.

I tried installing Windows again and this time it got all the way through those check points (preparing files etc) before I got that error message. I really thought it was going to work this time.

I read online that a solution to this problem is to change the boot mode from UEFI to Legacy and then installing Windows. Do you think it's worth trying? I'm not sure of the implications of doing that, so I thought I better run it by you first 🙂
 
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I've also had a couple of different errors come up tonight. The first one is what I now get when I turn my laptop on, and I can't remember what I did to get the second.....it's been a long night 😀



 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I think you need to open up the hard drive cover on the bottom of the laptop and find the CMOS battery. See if it is the replaceable type. Given the age of that laptop I think it will be and if you don't have any luck let me know and I'll look into it. This kind of acts like systems do when the CMOS battery goes dead. Given it's age, it wouldn't be terribly surprising. It could also simply be a faulty drive, but certainly it might be a mainboard issue as well although I think in the case of laptops it's less common than with older desktops.
 
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Can we just watch this and say that it is 😂 You've seen how well my memory works.....I'd never get that thing back together again. It's a shame it's so hard to get to because I do have a multimeter and I could test it.

FWIW I've been checking the time and date every time I go into the BIOS because I know that can be a sign the battery is dying. It hasn't missed a beat.

 

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