Windows 10 fails to boot; Automatic Startup Repair, Refresh, Reset PC also fails

If your Windows 10/8 fails to boot, it will launch Automatic Startup 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 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 Startup 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.

This procedure will also help you if you receive a There was a problem resetting your PC error message when you use the Reset This PC option.

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.

Automatic Startup Repair couldn’t repair your PC

If Automatic repair fails, and you get an error message Automatic Repair couldn’t repair your PC, you may need to check the log file at:


This post will help you if your Windows is stuck in an endless reboot loop.

TIP: Read about the Advanced Startup options and how to boot Windows 10 directly to Advanced Startup Settings screen.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.