The Looping of Windows or Boot-Looping as it is sometimes called is a problem that can be related to a variety of issues.¬†¬†¬† It could be new hardware, a virus or other infection, a corrupted boot file, a bad sector on the hard drive itself.¬†¬†¬† Fixing the problem is sometimes very easy or could require a Repair or Full Install of the Operating System¬† (XP, Vista, Windows 7).
The first thing you should do is try to figure out what is causing the problem.¬†¬† Were you infected with a virus before it happened?¬†¬† Did you recently add a new piece of hardware such as a camera or other device to the PC?¬†¬†¬†¬† Has your Hard Drive been making strange sounds?¬†¬† Have you been getting any other strange or weird messages recently.¬†¬† Your answers to these questions should help you diagnose the problem.
The first easy fixes to try are booting the machine into Safe Mode or Last Known Good Configuration.¬†¬†¬† To get to these options, Press the F8 key repeatedly when you first turn on the PC.¬† You have to be quick as you only get about 7-10 seconds at the most to do it. ¬† When it works it will take you to a different menu called Windows Advanced Start Up Options.¬† (terminology will be different depending on your OS).¬† From this menu use the Arrow Keys on your keyboard to highlight Safe mode or Last known Good Config.¬† ¬†¬† If the machine boots into Safe Mode but not normal mode, it could be the sign of an infection present.¬† It could also mean something that is causing the loop doesn't run in Safe Mode.¬† Safe mode runs a bare bones version of Windows, with minimal drivers.¬†¬†¬† If Last known Good Config works and you can get into Windows, you should immediately scan your machines for infections or errors.¬† Run¬† your Security Software and run a Chkdsk on Windows itself.¬†¬†¬† If your system continues to loop, you can check the easy fixes off of your list and move on to the more involved fixes.
The following fixes listed are probably for more technical savvy users as the average home user may find this a bit difficult to follow. ¬† If you are not sure what you are doing after the easy fixes, Do Not Attempt these other fixes unless you are sure you know what you are doing. ¬† This is something you don't want to try to do unless you are very confident in your skills. ¬† Vista and Windows 7 have additional Repair features that are accessible on this screen as well.¬†¬† Once you choose them, read very carefully or you could restore your system to the Factory Defaults wiping out everything.¬†¬† Within the Repair features, there should a line for Start up Repair.¬†¬† This is what you would want to try for Vista or Windows 7.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† There are additional Options to run commands in Vista and Windows 7 via a Command Prompt.¬†¬†¬† Going into Command Prompt on Vista and Windows 7 , you want to run a ChkDsk on Windows, this can scan your system for errors that could be preventing Windows from starting normally.¬†¬†¬† Chkdsk /?¬† will give you additional options to use.¬†¬†¬† You will most likely use Chkdsk /f or Chkdsk /r (includes f).
For Windows XP users, you need to access Recovery Console via a Windows CD or have previously installed or downloaded it.¬†¬†¬† If you have the CD, insert the CD into your looping system and reboot it via the CD.¬† Some machines may need to be told to boot from a CD, so you may have to go into your Boot menu to change it.¬†¬†¬†¬† When prompted choose to use Recovery Console to Repair your Computer.¬† Be very careful when making decisions in these screens.¬†¬† Recovery Console will boot into a Command prompt style environment from which you can run commands such as Chkdsk /P.¬†¬†¬†¬† If these additional fixes still fail to boot the machine properly, then you can try a few additional steps.
You can try to Restore the System to an earlier date by using System Restore.¬†¬† You may lose some data from your last Restore point but it may fix the problem for you.¬†¬† You may have to do a Repair install on Windows.¬†¬† This will save your data but replace all of your Windows system files.¬†¬†¬† Some infections will target the Boot file or WinLogon file for Windows and modify it.¬† If you can access or replace these files via¬† a Command prompt, that may also get the system to boot normally.¬†¬†¬†¬† Again these later fixes are not recommended for the average user.¬† If you are unsure of yourself then do not try to fix it as you could potentially wipe out everything on your PC.¬† There are some issues that are best left to the professionals.
Try the easy fixes first, Safe Mode, Last Known Good Configuration, or System Restore.¬†¬†¬† If those don't work for you it is probably best to contact a professional unless you are tech savvy enough.¬†¬†¬† Looping of Windows is a scary issue as there are multiple causes and multiple cures but they don't always work and it depends on what is causing the problem.¬†¬† If it is mechanical or hardware failure there isn't much you can do except to try and get as much data as possible on the Drive before it goes Kaput.¬†¬†¬† Have a good Backup of your PC is essential and can prevent even disasters like the Looping of Windows from becoming a Worst Case Scenario.
If your PC is looping and the easy fixes won't work you can always call on the Pros at ZolexPC to get your PC up and running again.
Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.