Windows 8 Automatic Repair Loop

Dell XPS 8700 with 1 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM drive

Windows 8 boot:
1. Preparing Automatic Repair
2. Windows Ran into a problem (very brief)
3. Repeat

I've done some dilligence.
1. Legacy boot to that hard drive (same result)
2. Boot to Dell Diagnostics (passes all tests/extended tests)
3. Boot to repair disk/repair USB - Files loading then BSOD with ntfs.sys error
4. Placed HD as a secondary HD in another system running Windows 7 - that also BSOD's with ntfs.sys (I'm not even booting to that drive when this happens)
5. Booted to Spinrite (6) - Invalid Partition for Drive size - The partition exceeds the size of this drive as defined by the system's BIOS or BIOS extension
6. Boot to Acronis Drive Image doesn't find that drive, but some of the tools within DI show its there. Bottom line, cannot create image.


I highly suspect this is a Hard Drive issue. System is out of warranty and I have no way of restoring system to original state (no media, replacing the HD will not give me that restore option).

Any suggestions appreciated.
D KasdorfAsked:
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

x
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Booted to Spinrite (6) - Invalid Partition for Drive size - The partition exceeds the size of this drive as defined by the system's BIOS or BIOS extension simply means that it is a GPT drive and not a MBR drive. SG has been really dragging his feet on the update to 6.1 or is it 7,0 he hasn't even added AHCI support and now NVME is showing its head.
McKnifeCommented:
You should clarify 4) - what are you doing to provoke this? Does it crash right on connecting it, or...?
D KasdorfAuthor Commented:
As odd as this sounds, 4 is pretty clear.

I take the SATA drive out of the problem machine and add as a secondary drive to a working machine running Windows 7.
When I boot that machine, I get the "Starting Windows" message and then Blue Screen indicating ntfs.sys. I don't even get to the logon screen.

If I then disconnect that drive, the working machine reverts back to booting normally.
10 Tips to Protect Your Business from Ransomware

Did you know that ransomware is the most widespread, destructive malware in the world today? It accounts for 39% of all security breaches, with ransomware gangsters projected to make $11.5B in profits from online extortion by 2019.

D KasdorfAuthor Commented:
I should also clarify point 2 in Windows Boot.
2. Windows Ran into a problem and needs to restart.

Should be

2.Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We're just collecting some error info and then we'll restart for you (xx %).

This screen is on for half a second and then the machine reboots. I had to watch it reboot a few times b/c the screen goes by so fast. The counter never gets above 0 %
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
>>  I take the SATA drive out of the problem machine and add as a secondary drive to a working machine running Windows 7.
>>  When I boot that machine, I get the "Starting Windows" message and then Blue Screen indicating ntfs.sys. I don't even get to the logon screen.

Are you sure that it is not the secondary drive (the one you added) becoming the primary drive and the message you are seeing is that because the added drive is trying to boot?
nobusCommented:
it certainly seems that way that dbrunton describes -so check the  boot order, or priority in the bios

can you boot from a DVD ?
try UBCD - and test the drive with it (long test
Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD

go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, eg ubcd527.iso - so you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
 
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                        ultimate boot cd
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html             download page

**  you can make a bootable cd - or bootable usb stick
D KasdorfAuthor Commented:
Actually it doesn't seem the way dbrunton describes - Booting into Windows 7 and booting into Windows 8 look very different. I can tell its booting into Windows 7 when the blue screen occurs (this is when I add it as a secondary drive)

Can I boot from a DVD (or a USB for that matter) - Results differ
- When I booted to Sea Tools with DOS yes I can (but it doesn't find the drive) If I add that drive as a secondary HD to the another machine, Sea Tools does find it and does an extended test and passes.
- If I try to boot to a Windows 8 Repair Disk with the HD out, it will boot but that does me no good as it can't find anything to repair
- If I try to boot to a Windows 8 Repair Disk with the HD in, it goes through the "Loading files..." progress bar, gets to the end and goes back to the Automatic Repair Loop
- I was able to boot to UBCD but all those tests passed

So yes it can boot to a DVD/USB but when I try to boot to anything Windows Repair related, Automatic Repair Loop

Memtest passes

If I attach the HD to a different SATA port on MB, same results as original post (Automatic Repair Loop).

So now I'm thinking something corrupt between MB communications with HD yet all Diagnostics pass.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
>>  So now I'm thinking something corrupt between MB communications with HD yet all Diagnostics pass.

Hmm.

If possible test using a Windows 8 machine.  Or/and use an Ubuntu Live CD and see if you can see or access the hard disk that way.
nobusCommented:
i suggest testing the drive with the seagate Diag - long diag plse !
you can find it on the UBCD :
Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD

go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, eg ubcd527.iso - so you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
 
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                        ultimate boot cd
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html             download page

**  you can make a bootable cd - or bootable usb stick
D KasdorfAuthor Commented:
nobus...no more exclamation marks please...it sounds like you're yelling

i already stated that I booted to UBCD and tried every relevant tool on there...all passed.
i also stated that i used memtest and it passed.
I also stated that I used the Seagate tool from their website and did the extended test ...it passed.

One thing I did notice is that the Seagate tool did not detect the drive in the problem machine; when I added it as a secondary drive to a working machine, both drives were detected and both passed extended tests.

Unfortunately I don't have another Windows 8 machine to test the drive on.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
>>  One thing I did notice is that the Seagate tool did not detect the drive in the problem machine

Try another SATA port.
Try another SATA cable.
D KasdorfAuthor Commented:
I have tried the alternate SATA port and cable to no avail but thanks
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Then that drive is toast.. I'm sorry to say
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
No, I don't think the drive is toast.  But there's something terribly wrong with it.  Or/and possibly the Dell.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The drive is recognized and can be tested on other machines.  Only using DOS and not Windows.
The drive is not recognized on the Dell XPS.  On any SATA port or with different SATA cables.

-------

Test to be done.  

First.  You'd need a USB caddy with SATA connections.  Insert the drive into the SATA caddy.  Boot your second machine and once it has started connect the USB caddy.  Is this drive recognized in Windows?

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
nobusCommented:
i never found an exclamation mark offending

by any chance - is your drive encrypted?

another thing to try is HDDRegenerator (not free) :  http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html      
it saved many disks for me
D KasdorfAuthor Commented:
You are correct about the drive being recognized on other machines (only using DOS)
I have ordered a USB caddy (actually I ordered this: http://www.ncix.com/detail/usb2-0-to-sata-ide-drive-adapter-a3-17762.htm)
I will let you know the results once it arrives.
nobusCommented:
i would have suggested an USB 3 adaptor -  for future use - 10x faster..

i still suggest running the manufacturer's diag for the drive
you may need to use another pc to run seatools for windows - maybe it's your disk controller that's bad...
D KasdorfAuthor Commented:
nobus - for the third time...Seagate drive... ran Seagate tool from their website,,,extended test...passed.
nobusCommented:
ok - sorry about that (running it once more can't hurt - lol)
D KasdorfAuthor Commented:
USB to IDE/SATA Kit arrived today.
Tested with a known working SATA drive first - success.

Tested with the problem SATA drive - blue-screened (BSOD'd) the host computer (ntfs.sys)

I've got to think this drive is toast for sure now. Unless anybody has any other suggestions that don't involve downloading the manufacturer's diagnostic tool and testing it cuz I've done that. (ahem)

My dilemma now is that this machine is no longer under warranty even if I replace the drive, how do I get the OS back? At least before I could restore to factory but I no longer have that option. The machine did not come with even an OEM OS disk.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
This is Windows 8.

You do have the product or serial number?  Might be on the case somewhere.  If you do then read the following:

Look at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media for the files concerned.

Your product number should work according to http://www.howtogeek.com/186775/how-to-download-windows-7-8-and-8.1-installation-media-legally/?PageSpeed=noscript
nobusCommented:
did you try the HDDregenerator?  - make a bootable cd, to boot from
you can run the trial, and see if it BSOD's also

and humahem - sorry about suggesting the diag a couple of times (but i follow losts of Questions,, and cannot read the whole string of posts everytime
D KasdorfAuthor Commented:
Bottom line: Hard drive was toast
Contacted Dell out of warranty support and they sent me a replacement drive for $100 and included a recovery USB, DVD and Driver disk.
Ultimately it was the suggestion of a SATA to USB connection kit that made my mind this drive was toast.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
The drive was toast, you were told that but accepted the comment that the drive wasn't bad?  Confusing
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows 8

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.