Introduction: How to Repair Windows 10 Recovery Loop Error Without a Reinstall

Picture of How to Repair Windows 10 Recovery Loop Error Without a Reinstall

Now for the problem, sometimes, Windows 10 like Windows 8 and Windows 7 too, try to fix a startup error that doesn't exist. I managed to replicate this error on my Asus EEE PC 1015P more that one time with Windows 10. I send the nice people from Redmond, the example and all the steps to do that and perhaps to release a hotfix, sometime in the far future :))))

Now this can happen to you in Windows 7, 8 and 10 and the fix is really easy. We gonna recover the registry hive from the registry backup folder that is automatically created by Windows.

This will help you avoid a reinstall (Windows 7) or a reset (Windows 8 and 10).

This is the fix for the ominous and ubiquitous recovery loop bug aka boot loop bug aka infinite loop bug.


- ALL COMMANDS THAT NEED TO BE TYPED ARE BETWEEN " " CHARACTERS (example "C:") when typing you WILL NOT INCLUDE the " " characters


Step 1:

Hit and enter boot options see [image 2]

there choose Troubleshoot followed by Advanced options see [image 3]

there choose Command prompt see [image 4]

Step 2:

type "C:" then hit key followed by "DIR"

if you don't see Users and Windows folder then try "D:", "E:", "F:", and so on followed by "DIR" until you see the named folders.

Step 3:

Now that you found the correct drive, we go to fix the registry

type "CD \windows\system32\config" then hit

type "DIR" then hit and check that the following files are present in there:


Step 4:

All is present, now we gonna make a backup of the current registry hive before we are gonna fix it.

type "MD my_backup" then hit

type "COPY *.* my_backup" then hit

Step 5:

Now we gonna check if we can restore the registry,

type "CD RegBack" then hit

type "DIR" then hit

there need to be a DEFAULT, SAM, SECURITY, SOFTWARE and SYSTEM, and all of then need to have a size that is greater that 0. If not then you cant use this method.

Step 6:

Now that all is checked and all is OK, we gonna

type "COPY *.* .." then hit when prompted we gonna type "A"

after copy is done, we

type "EXIT" then hit

now we gonna restart the PC.


C: -> change the current drive to drive C, D: -> change the current drive to drive D, you got the idea

CD \windows\ -> change directory to the path that follows, here is windows folder

DIR -> displays the content of files and folders of the current directory

MD my_backup -> make a directory with the name that follows, here the name is my_backup

COPY *.* my_backup -> copy all from current folder to the folder that follows, in our case my_backup (all is *.*)

COPY *.* .. -> copy all from current folder to the folder above in the folder structure (if current folder is C:\windows\system32\ then it will copy all to C:\windows)

EXIT -> exits command prompt session.

UPDATE : (2.10.2016)

To be more secure and to be sure you got a working copy of the registry hive files developed a method of backup for it that always keeps the last 30 days in a folder of your choice.

Lets gets started ...

#1 - Download Cobian Backup from ( get Cobian Backup 11 (Gravity) OR Direckt Link ( and install it, choose run as a service and choose current user as user account for the service (multi user enviroment works with system account but some network services for Cobian will not work).

#2 - Open Cobian Backup 11 Gravity and choose List from left up menu. There choose import then import the configuration file i provide here (the file with LST extension)

#3 - Now you have a task on your left part of the window called RegHiveBackup, right click it and choose Edit Task , then choose Files and change Destination in the right lower part, select H:\RegystryHiveBackup (yeah i have it written with Y, i got a backup of the backup folder that is named with I), click it and choose edit from bottom, now input the new folder and path to it (i use a external drive mapped as H on my system, do not choose C drive, its better to have stuff stored on another drive). DO NOT HIT OK BUTTON YET !!!

#4 - Now choose from left panel Schedule and go to time and change it according to a time where you are sure that your PC is up and running every day, then hit OK button from lower part.

ADDENDUM: if you want a bigger backup list , or a smaller one, right now it is 30 days. go in same place and chose Dynamics and there change the value of 30 from Full copies to keep to anything you need, the backup is taken daily and that means days = number of full copies to keep, if it is taken 2 x every day then 2 x the number you write there too.


neumanngregor (author)2016-10-02

Hope my update will help you people, the recovery is the same as from the RegBack folder made by windows but this is made by you, and you got 30 chases more to fix it. BTW, the backups are zipped by Cobian Backup, unzip them before starting recovery. If needed i will add pictures to setup Cobian Backup.

MichaelN296 (author)2017-07-01

this was a lifesaver. I was dreading reloading windows and starting over. Thank you very, very much.

Happy it helped you, use the Update of my instructable to keep your PC always safe with that method.

AndrewJ152 (author)2017-03-12

I have nearly the same problem. Only difference is, C:\ is my only drive and it's Directory says "File not found". What am I supposed to do now?

neumanngregor (author)AndrewJ1522017-03-13

Have you flowed the tutorial's steps carefully? Even if you have a single drive C: when you are in recovery environment there are more that your C: and it can be that your C: has a different drive letter in this enviroment. Try find it this way.

AndrewJ152 (author)AndrewJ1522017-03-12

I am also using a Win 10 image on a usb I used to install with (was Win 8 originally, but I have put Win 10 on it) to boot. cmd prompt starts on X:\sources>. X has all the windows stuff, and so does E. So why is it not C? That's what my pc showed was my drive before this boot loop. So which one of these do I use to follow the steps above, E or X? Alternatively, should I use diskpart to clean my drive and do a fresh install?It's been a long time since I've used commands, and things are a little fuzzy for me. I 'm not too concerned at this point about losing anything, as I've had to replace everything before, but it is a process that takes a while to remember exactly what programs I'm missing.

neumanngregor (author)AndrewJ1522017-03-13

X: is the virtual drive that is created and exist only when you are in the repair environment (is NOT permanent ), I check in sequence all the drives starting from A until I find the right system drive, then I check the files if they are present and have a size, size is different from zero. Flowing the tutorial carefully you shud be able to do it.

NatalieC48 (author)2017-02-27

I wish I could check if this would work. Unfortunately where you fix starts I can't get to. I'm not even sure what caused the BSOD. I was studying and doing an assessment and the desktop froze. I tried to re-boot but the keyboard did not respond. Eventually I had to do a switch off the desktop and when I tried turning it on the BSOD started. (1) It gets to the start up up screen and before I have a chance to select book optins etc I get the (2) BSOD. At this point all I get is bad stop code error and nothing else. No option for troubleshooting or boot options.(3) Windows defender attempts to fix offline and (4) I then go in to the loop. Any suggestions on how to fix this without getting troubleshooting or boot options I can get in to.

neumanngregor (author)NatalieC482017-02-27

You can try to boot a Windows PE environment or a Linux from CD/DVD/USB and use the above mentioned method to restore your registry hive, this is the last possible option to fix those boot errors, it works on boot loop and it can possibly, if the error isin the registry, fix your BSOD too.

EnriqueWilliam (author)2017-01-20

If someone need Windows 10 Product Key,you can go to to got.. My Windows 10 Product Key bought here. It's cheap and genuine.

don_luis (author)2016-09-29


i tried this and sadly it did not work for me, i still get the infinite loading screen. i tried everything i could think of - updated drivers in save mode, deactivated all the devices the system does not need, tried sfc and dism, tried to downgrade, applied this fix three times, ran multiple chkdsks, gave windows startup repair two tries, but nothing changed. i never had problems like this until yesterday when itunes updated and i needed to restart my computer. my laptop is up to date in terms of windows, there are no new microsoft updates. i have an hp pavilion with intel i7 and an nvidia graphics card. do you have any other ideas what i could do? reinstalling windows is not really an option, since i use my pc primarily for making music and setting everything up again would easily take me a week. thanks in advance!

neumanngregor (author)don_luis2016-09-30

This happens only if your backup files are corrupted too, sadly you can only try repairing with a install disk or install usb, if this does not work then you just need to reinstall windows and after you setup your programs use a partition backup software like Macrium Reflect Free to make a "image" of your c: drive, if your windows goes bad you just plug a usb or cd/dvd and start the Macrium Reflect recovery enviroment and from there you choose the "image" file and voila your windows is back like it was when you made the image. BE WARNED too keep your loop/sample and projects not on drive C:, they will be overwriten if stored on c and restore it from "image".

Then, after reinstalling windows all of my data will be wiped out. Can macrium reflect still backup or recover the wiped out data before reinstalling Windows?

Sabzer0 (author)2016-10-03

Instead of listing the DEFAULT, SYSTEM, SAM etc, my RegBack folder is empty. What should I do?

neumanngregor (author)Sabzer02016-10-03

Then you can't recover the registry hive and you will need to reinstall, after reinstall use the method i described in my update at the bottom of this instructable to backup the registry every day and always have the last 30 days snapshots recovable when you will need it.

Cowboyfan (author)2016-09-14

thanks for posting these instructions.

I followed them very diligently.

Initially it seemed to work for me but I am back in the loop.

As I have had this problem a couple of times before (and I cannot recall how I got past it before) I regularly backup my files and have created a repair disk. The repair disk does not help right now. I am now trying another reset to see if that works.

I have been on the phone with both Windows and Lenovo all night. Since I bought my laptop in 2009/2010 with Windows 7 Pro preinstalled and used the free upgrade to Windows 10 I do not have a OS disk to reinstall. I do still have my Windows 7 Pro OEM product key. Any ideas on how I can get a Windows 7 Pro OEM OS (after using it for more than 6 months I think I give up on Windows 10)

neumanngregor (author)Cowboyfan2016-09-25

Registry files get corrupted by not closing diwn correctly windows or by bad harddisk. Mostly from not closeing windows with schutdown or by not waiting for schutdown cimpletly and pulling the plug, powersurges, sometimes even viruses or bad made softwrare ..., backups are the best optiin or use somthing like macrium reflect (the freeware version is good enough for this) to backup your c partition tigheder with recovery and boot partition (win10).

neumanngregor (author)Cowboyfan2016-09-25

Just download the iso from microsoft or from any torrent site that says oem or clean or untouched, input your own serial key and you are done, still the boot loop "curse" is from vista up, sometimes happens to 7 too, the problem is when the registry hive gets corrupted, i will make a script that makes a backup of the registry every dayand keeps a history of the last 30 days in a FILO list with a recovery script. This way even unexperienced users will usr this method easly.

Cowboyfan (author)neumanngregor2016-09-25

Thanks. I had to get someone to help me with the Windows 7 reinstall. I could not find it on Microsoft's site. I guess there were also many drivers to reinstall after we started from scratch. Now I am sifting through multiple versions of my backup files (better than loosing everything I guess); but, it would help me to know what I need to know to make sure I do not get in the loop, again.

Some of the details you provided, so far, are too complicated for me to understand (and I usually understand better that the average person but a computer person, I am not).

The loop did reoccurr the other day, as well. A couple of reboots seemed to correct the issue. I have backed up to an external drive again with an image included. I am not sure I am capable of doing much more.

MartinR150 (author)2016-09-24

Hello, on step 3 first line of code I get an error message "the system cannot find the path specified." What is the solution to this?

neumanngregor (author)MartinR1502016-09-25

You did not do step 2 correctly, you need to find the drive with your windows and users folders, follow carefully the step 2 instructions and be carefull when you type the commands

RickeyK (author)2016-09-14

What if the are all zeros?

Beatsolos (author)2016-09-10

hello. how can i tell if the size is greater than 0? this is what i see. i just want to make sure everything is correct thus far so i dont completely destroy my computer

neumanngregor (author)Beatsolos2016-09-10

The size is displayed before name, 57,344 / 40,960 / 94,868,128 are sizes and are all greater that 0.You can replace the old ones.

Btw you are in wrong drive, x is frim recovery enviroment, you need to chk c: d: e: and so on , fillow carefully the steps from instructable, you jumped over the syep of finding your windows drive

Beatsolos (author)neumanngregor2016-09-11

the thing is, my error is 0xc000021a, and i cant get past the blue screen. I have tried everything possible, but nothing has worked. I can't even boot safe mode. So I went to troubleshoot -> advanced settings-> command prompt. that's the only thing i can access pretty much.

neumanngregor (author)Beatsolos2016-09-11

Then follow the tutorial and try fix it that way, but follow it carefully.

egidijus_lee (author)2016-08-30

What if I made RegBack copy *.* .. while Default Sam Security Software system all where with 0?

Then you are doomed, now for real you just killed your registry, windows need to be reinstalled, there is no other way.

SaiW2 (author)2016-08-27

HI there, I just made it to step 6 but said it could not copy onto itself, does this mean it's been copied already? thanks

neumanngregor (author)SaiW22016-08-27

You seem to be skiped step 5, do it again more carefully.

AndreaG155 (author)2016-08-23

I have a problem:there arent default sam security software and system,but the drive (c:) is correct because have users and can i solve this problem?

neumanngregor (author)AndreaG1552016-08-23

in the path for backup or in the path where there shud be ? If it is the first case then its bad, without them you cant restore the registry hive, backup all stuff you need from drive c and reinstall or just factory restore, like by android phones, option is in the same place where you entered command prompt. Feel free to ask more info if you need to know more for the reset.

Mr_question (author)2016-08-08

Well, my problem was resolved by these two ways:

1. Fix Driver Issues to Solve the Infinite Reboot Loop after Windows 10 Update

2. Get Rid of Bad Registry Entry to Fix Startup Repair Bootloop during Windows 10 Upgrade

David McWhite (author)2016-07-16

Thanks for the 'ible. What should I do if the DEFAULT, SAM, SECURITY, SOFTWARE and SYSTEM are all 0? I've tried a clean install booting from USB with a copy of Windows 10 from the Microsoft website and I'm still getting stuck in the advanced repair loop. 10 will work for a few hours, let me install a few programs, and then restart and go the blue repair screen. Super annoying. (And if it helps I think it's the result of the power going out during an update.) Thanks

If the backups are all 0 size at reboot, after a fresh instal of win10, it seems to me as a file system error or a hard disk error (if the cables are ok). I can tell you a emergency fix, after installing and before rebooting copy DEFAULT, SAM, SECURITY, SOFTWARE and SYSTEM To the backup folder and , just to be sure create another folder with a custom name, like "1BACKUP", and put another copy of them inside there too. Then reboot and check if it happens again, if yes try the normal procedure as described. If the backups are again 0 size go in the custom folder you created and try to restore from there. Hope this will help you.

Thanks so much for the reply. Just got done setting up a new desktop so now I'll try this to see if this will fix the repair loop on the laptop. Computers are great...I really appreciate the feedback!

DebrajR (author)2016-07-15

Thanks dude! You are a life saver

BasH8 (author)2016-06-09

This process did nothing! The reason i did this process is because i got a bluescreen, theen my pc restarted and got stuck in a automatic repair loop. Cane some one help me? I dont want to reinstall windows...

neumanngregor (author)BasH82016-06-09

This process is only for fixing boot loop not for fixing blue screen error, for that go to boot options and choose reset my pc, this will make it like fresh installed with drivers already installed. This process DOES only what it says, is not some magic trick that fixes ANY error.

conorporter (author)2016-05-27

This process didn't help or hurt. I used the built-in Microsoft Windows 10 to Windows 7 downgrade tool and could no longer boot windows. Error 0xc000000f.

The downgrade tool is not really a fix, it just put your old windows 7 back on rail, if you look in your c:\ you will see a folder called "Windows.old", that is your windows before upgrade to 10. My fix is only for the boot loop, your problem is with the way windows 10 puts windows 7 back, it is not like it was before the upgrade, there are some flaws that can , like in your case, mess up things. I recommend you to make a windows 10 installation media (USB is better that DVD in terms of speed) and install 10 on the clean (yes it will activate after connecting to Microsoft servers).

FadlullahA (author)2016-04-19

seriously man this worked 100 percent I'm very grateful I don't know how you figured this out, I've had this problem several times (nothing less than 10 times), seen several fixes but none of them worked, and had to reinstall my O.S loosing several data every time I did that, but here I am almost at the point of reinstalling my O.S once again and I stumbled on your site with the ultimate Fix. I'm Impressed thank you very much

neumanngregor (author)FadlullahA2016-04-20

I'm happy it helped you fix the problem, this method works from Windows Vista up to Windows 10. I had it a lot with Vista and and had it some time with 10 but strangely happened only one time on 7.

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