Unable to refresh or reset PC after Automatic Repair fails in Windows 8

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Article ID: 2823223 - View products that this article applies to.
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Symptoms

Consider the following scenario:
  • You have Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro installed on your PC.
  • Your PC fails to boot into Windows and launches Automatic Repair to attempt to repair Windows.
  • Automatic Repair is unable to repair your PC and you select "Advanced options".
  • After selecting "Troubleshoot", you choose to either "Refresh your PC" or "Reset your PC".

In this scenario, recovery may fail and you are returned back to the main WinRE screen.


Cause

This issue may occur if the System or Software registry hives have become damaged or corrupted.


Resolution

To attempt to resolve this issue, follow the steps below.

NOTE: Following these steps should only be used if you are attempting to use the "Refresh your PC" or "Reset your PC" options in Windows RE because your system is in a non-bootable state.
  1. After Automatic Repair fails to repair your PC, select "Advanced options" and then "Troubleshoot".
  2. Select "Advanced options" and then select "Command Prompt".
  3. If prompted, enter in the password for the user name.
  4. At the Command Prompt, go to the \windows\system32\config folder by typing the following command: cd %windir%\system32\config.
  5. Rename the System and Software registry hives to System.001 and Software.001 by using the following commands:
    ren system system.001
    ren software software.001

    NOTE: Renaming the Software hive will not allow you to use the "Refresh your PC" option. If you want to use the "Refresh your PC" option, only rename the System hive. If the Software hive is also corrupt, you may not be able to use the "Refresh your PC" option.
  6. Type "exit" without the quotes to exit the Command Prompt and reboot the PC back to the Automatic Repair screen.
  7. After selecting "Advanced options" and then "Troubleshoot", select either "Refresh your PC" or "Reset your PC".

More information

Using the "Reset your PC" option will remove all of the files on your hard drive and resets your PC back to the version of Windows 8 that was preinstalled by the OEM on your PC. All new applications that were installed on your PC after you purchased it will need to be reinstalled.


Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use for other considerations.

Properties

Article ID: 2823223 - Last Review: March 11, 2013 - Revision: 4.0
Applies to
  • Windows 8 Pro
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows 8
Keywords: 
KB2823223

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