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Message 1 of 9
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HP Pavilion stuck at "Preparing Automatic Repair"

HP Recommended
Pavilion X360

I followed the instructions in another thread and my results are not quite the same as found in the instructions.  I am having an issue with the laptop getting stuck on the "Preparing Automatic Repair" screen on startup.

 

So far I have:

  • Powered on the computer
  • Hit the esc key
  • Hit the F2 key
  • System Test >> Quick Test

My results say "PASSED" however one step in there shows the following:

  Hard Drive SMART Check:  RECOMMENDED ACTION - Executing DST

  Hard Drive Short DST Check:  NOT AVAILABLE

 

I don't know if that means there is an issue with the Hard Drive or not (but it still says passed).  The instructions further state to restart the laptop and open System Diagnostics (F11).  When I press F11, nothing happens.

 

I'm just trying to figure out if it's a software or hardware issue - I don't want to buy a new laptop if it's a quick fix.  Thanks in advance!

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Level 16
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Message 2 of 9
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@BigD_NC 

Unfortunately, this message nearly always means that a recent Windows Update failed and Microsoft then tried to recover from that, but that failed, so it's trying over and over again -- and will never succeed because Windows Update got corrupted in the process.

These problems were reported with KB4532693 back in February of 2020, and more recently, with KB4556799. Unfortunately, this is NOT a new issue with Win10 Windows Updates.

First thing you need to do is see if you can restart in Safe mode -- by doing these steps: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/2304-boot-into-safe-mode-windows-10-a.html

If you don't know how to start using Advanced Startup Options, then read this: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/2294-boot-advanced-startup-options-windows-10-a.html

Then, follow these steps to reset Windows Update: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/24742-reset-windows-update-windows-10-a.html

If these work, when you finally reboot, you should then be able to login to a working Windows desktop.

 

If you can't start in SAFE mode, then your drive probably has failed -- and it did so while trying to do a recent Windows update. Since pressing F11 does not work, try pressing the Esc key repeatedly while rebooting and when the HP Startup Menu appears, press F2 (not F11) to run diagnostics.

***If my post helped, click the White thumbs-up symbol to say thanks***

***Please mark Accept As Solution if my post solved your problem***

I am a volunteer and I do not work for, nor represent, HP
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Message 3 of 9
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Thanks WAWood for the reply.

 

I cannot boot into safe mode.  Unless I'm reading it wrong, all of the methods on your link, except one, require Windows to have booted.  As soon as I power on my laptop I get the message "Preparing Automatic Repair" with the circling dots.  This does not go away.  I attempted to boot in safe mode by following HP's advice (Power on >> repeatedly hit esc >> F11) but the laptop goes back to the black screen, HP logo and the circling dots.

 

The last paragraph in your post references diagnostics, which I provided the results of in my original post.  Were you suggesting running some other diagnostic?  I am able to run the diagnostics with the exceptions noted in my original post.

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@BigD_NC 

Unfortunately, it looks like you really can't do an extensive test on the drive and the short test says it passed.

 

So, your only real option now is to reinstall Windows from scratch -- and hope the drive is in good enough condition that the reinstall will complete.

 

If you're faced with reinstalling Windows 10 onto your PC, there are several options, not all of which necessarily will be available to you:
- Factory reset using external HP image you make
- Factory reset using external HP image you buy

- Windows reinstall using media you make

Each of these is discussed in some detail below ...

---------- Factory reset using external HP image you make ----------
HP provides a Cloud Recovery tool that you can use, together with a 32GB USB stick, to create your on HP reset media.

Here is the link: https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c06162205

This works the same as the factory reset described above.

---------- Factory reset using external HP image you buy ----------
For those PCs not supported by the Cloud Recovery, in some cases, HP offers Recover Media for sale. This can not be downloaded; instead, it must be ordered from HP.

HP Recovery Media is a set of DVDs and a CD, or USB stick, that will erase the hard drive (removing all data, settings, and applications, reinstall the original OS, drivers, and some HP Utilities.

In some cases, you may be able to order a USB stick instead of disks.

You can look online for Recovery Media starting with the linked paged: http://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers

Once there, input your Product name or number. On your Software and Drivers Download page, select your Operating System and and Version. Click &quot;Update&quot;.<br><br>If HP Recovery Media is available for your machine, down near the bottom of the page, you will see an entry for Order Recovery Media-CD/DVD/USB. Click the &quot;+&quot; symbol to expand that entry and click on Order Media for details.

Or, if you prefer, you can do the same by contacting HP Customer Support.

HP contact info: https://support.hp.com/us-en/contact-hp?openCLC=true

If HP no longer carries the media you need, another site you should check for HP Recovery Media is: http://www.computersurgeons.com/

These work the same as the factory reset described above.

---------- Windows reinstall using media you make ----------
If there is no HP recovery media and Cloud Recovery is not an option, then your only option is to creating your own media using the Microsoft Media Creation Tool (MCT).

Use this link to download and create that media: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

You may see the option to download an ISO file or create media; choose the option to create media. This will take a while because it has to download over 4GB of data and then has to format and create installation media from those files.

Insert that media into your PC, boot from it, and run through the installation. When you get the window asking for a product key, look down near the bottom of the window for the link you can click to skip that step.

When done (the PC will restart several times), you boot into Windows and you get back online, it will contact the MS activation servers and automatically reactivate Win10.

 

***If my post helped, click the White thumbs-up symbol to say thanks***

***Please mark Accept As Solution if my post solved your problem***

I am a volunteer and I do not work for, nor represent, HP
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Message 5 of 9
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OK I downloaded windows to a USB drive and attempted to boot from the drive.

 

Boot Option Menu >> USB Hard Drive (UEFI) ....

 

I have one of the USB drives with the light on the end so I know it accessed the USB it but then the laptop immediately went to the HP screen with the circling dots.  The Windows installation windows never appeared.

 

Not my image but this is what my laptop screen looks like.

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Message 6 of 9
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I spent hours looking online for a very similar issue and found a solution. Let me know if this helps:

 

Open Command Prompt 

Enter: rstrui.exe /OFFLINE:C:\Windows

[note: there is only a space after rstrui.exe]

{replace C with the drive letter where Windows installation is located, if different.

The way I check this is to type:

C: \

Press Enter

then type: 

dir 

If you see the Users and Program File directories listed, it’s C.

If not, check D or E drives.}

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Message 7 of 9
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No, that did not work either.  The computer won't boot and I can't get to a command prompt.

 

I posted the conundrum in the hardware forum and the consensus there is that the hard drive needs to be replaced (hence the inability to run a SMART test on it).

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@BigD_NC 

From your description, it sounds like the PC tries to boot from the USB stick, fails, and then resorts to booting from the hard drive.  Since you mentioned UEFI, this means you need Win10 media boot stick that was configured to use UEFI -- which from the actions, it looks it it was not.

 

So, download the Win10 install ISO file, then download and install RUFUS (a free utility for making boot media) which you can get from here: Rufus - The Official Website (Download, New Releases) 

 

Then create the boot media to support UEFI mode -- and try again.

***If my post helped, click the White thumbs-up symbol to say thanks***

***Please mark Accept As Solution if my post solved your problem***

I am a volunteer and I do not work for, nor represent, HP
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Message 9 of 9
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@WAWOOD

 

I am still having issues with this.  These are the steps I have taken (and the result is at the end).

  1. Downloaded Windows ISO file to my hard drive on my good computer
  2. Formatted USB drive to NTFS format
  3. Ran rufus 3.13.exe. and created the bootable USB drive
  4. On the broken laptop, I went into BIOS and disabled Secure Boot (per rufus instructions)
  5. Restarted bad computer and enter boot options
  6. Selected boot from USB Hard Drive (UEFI)
  7. The screen listed various items beginning with [Info} and when this process was done it went to the logo screen (hp logo and then under it the circling dots).  It stayed in this state for about 2 hours.  I'm assuming that the boot didn't take.

Is this symptomatic of a failed hard drive?

 

Thank you for sticking with me through this!

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