If your Windows 10/8 fails to boot, it will launch Automatic Repair, in order to attempt to repair Windows. If Automatic Repair also fails, you will want to use the Refresh your PC or Reset your PC option. To do so, you will select Advanced options > Troubleshoot > Reset or Refresh.
Windows 10/8 fails to boot
Now even if Refresh your PC or Reset your PC options fail, you will be returned to the WinRE screen. Such a situation could arise if your Windows Registry hive has been badly damaged or corrupted.
Refresh or Reset PC fails after Automatic Repair fails
In such a case, KB2823223 recommends that you try the following:
From the WinRE screen, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options.
Under Advanced options > Command Prompt.
Use the CD command and change the directory to \Windows\System32\config folder as follows:
- Type cd %windir%\system32\config and hit Enter.
Now you should rename the System and Software registry hives to System.001 and Software.001. To do so type the following command one after the other and hit Enter:
- ren system system.001
- ren software software.001
If you want to use Refresh your PC, rename ONLY the System hive. But in such a case, if your Software hive is also corrupt, you may not be able to use the Refresh your PC option. In such a case you may have to rename the Software hive too. When you rename the Software hive, you will not be able to use Refresh your PC, but only the Reset your PC option.
Finally, type Exit to close the Command Prompt.
Reboot the PC back to the Automatic Repair screen.
Select > Advanced options > Troubleshoot > “Reset your PC” or “Reset your PC”, as you wish.
It should work!
UPDATE: If the commands to rename the software hives fail and you receive The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process error then I suggest that you boot from your Installation media and run the commands. Once you reach the Repair your computer screen, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt and then run the commands.