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Old 01-15-2020, 12:23 PM
Musicat is offline
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Ideas on how to revive a bricked Win 10 laptop


I have a 2 year old 17" laptop with Win 10 home installed, a top-o-the-line gamer. Unfortunately, I let someone else use it and they permitted an automatic update to begin. It is now bricked.

Power-on, manufacturer's logo (not Win logo) for a few seconds, then the message, "Windows is attempting to recover", then "Undoing changes made to your computer", then a blank screen, and it cycles again from power-on. Continuously rebooting, for at least 8 hours.

F8 does nothing. I can't get to the BIOS, and it won't respond to any combination of CTL/ALT/DEL, ESC, ALT-F4, or any other key sequence I can think of.

I don't think the hardware is damaged (it was working perfectly until the Win update), so I could probably remove the 1TB hard drive, wipe it out or replace it, and reinstall the OS and all the apps. Obviously this is a time consuming task, and if I have to do that, this unit might just end up in the trash. It would be a better use of my time to buy a new one (~$1200).

Any ideas what I might try to revive it?
  #2  
Old 01-15-2020, 12:29 PM
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Do you have the manufacturer recovery disks?

They'll restore it back to factory settings.

But you will lose personal data. Hopefully it's backed up somewhere?

Last edited by aceplace57; 01-15-2020 at 12:30 PM.
  #3  
Old 01-15-2020, 12:36 PM
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Your other option is Win 10 recovery mode. I've had mixed results with it. It's certainly worth a try.

Easy steps
https://windowsreport.com/how-to-ent...in-windows-10/

Last edited by aceplace57; 01-15-2020 at 12:37 PM.
  #4  
Old 01-15-2020, 12:50 PM
Musicat is offline
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No recovery disks available. I think the recovery process is intended to be accessed thru a small partition on the HD, but I can't get to it.

No serious personal data is at risk. I don't store such data where Win 10 can get to it. I was in the middle of a 6 hour screen capture when the update process kicked in, so there's no backup of this file. Not a great loss.
  #5  
Old 01-15-2020, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Your other option is Win 10 recovery mode. I've had mixed results with it. It's certainly worth a try.

Easy steps
https://windowsreport.com/how-to-ent...in-windows-10/
Great idea. But if you can't execute a program on this unit, how can you follow any of those steps?
  #6  
Old 01-15-2020, 01:01 PM
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Pressing F11 to enter recovery mode does nothing. I don't think it is responding to any keys, yet it's unlikely to be a hardware defect; something in the update procedure disabled the keyboard.
  #7  
Old 01-15-2020, 01:11 PM
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Use another PC to create Windows install media with the Windows update assistant.

Find out what key is require to get to the boot menu (this is not standard from manufacturer to MFG, or from model to model).

Boot from the media created in step one and do a clean windows install.
  #8  
Old 01-15-2020, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf333 View Post
Use another PC to create Windows install media with the Windows update assistant.

Find out what key is require to get to the boot menu (this is not standard from manufacturer to MFG, or from model to model).

Boot from the media created in step one and do a clean windows install.
If the unit doesn't respond to any key press, then ?
  #9  
Old 01-15-2020, 01:30 PM
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This says a combination of turning it on and off will get you to safe mode.
  #10  
Old 01-15-2020, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Paintcharge View Post
This says a combination of turning it on and off will get you to safe mode.
Tried it. No response, so I can't enter safe mode or any other mode.
  #11  
Old 01-15-2020, 01:55 PM
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Do you have a spare USB keyboard? If there's something broken with the driver for the built-in keyboard, you might still be able to get to the BIOS via a USB keyboard.
  #12  
Old 01-15-2020, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
Do you have a spare USB keyboard? If there's something broken with the driver for the built-in keyboard, you might still be able to get to the BIOS via a USB keyboard.
Although it's unlikely that the keyboard alone failed for no reason, your suggestion is worth a try. Yes, I can grab a USB keyboard from my junk box, but I don't know if plugging it in will override the built-in KBD.
  #13  
Old 01-15-2020, 02:07 PM
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What do you mean "can't get to the BIOS" The BIOS keypress is before F8 or any of that other stuff, usually a few seconds before booting. Del is the standard key, but other manufacturers may use a different one, Dell is F2. Look up the manufacturer and find the BIOS key. If it's a custom build or non-major manufacturer, it's probably whoever made the BIOS or motherboard.

If you need to reinstall the OS, that's trivial and not really time consuming. It kind of sounds like you're looking for an excuse for a new one?
  #14  
Old 01-15-2020, 02:09 PM
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Check the manufacturer's website for the key stroke combination to get to the BIOS setup program. It's usually something strange like Shift-F1 or some such. When you know the proper key combination, start pressing it repeatedly as soon as you power on. If you can get into the BIOS, you can change the default boot device to something you can get a clean boot from then troubleshoot the Windows problem from there.

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Last edited by Stana Claus; 01-15-2020 at 02:11 PM. Reason: @#$% Ninjas
  #15  
Old 01-15-2020, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
Do you have a spare USB keyboard? If there's something broken with the driver for the built-in keyboard, you might still be able to get to the BIOS via a USB keyboard.
Just tried this. Although the external keyboard is getting power (as shown by the lights), the computer isn't recognizing any keypresses on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paintcharge View Post
This says a combination of turning it on and off will get you to safe mode.
From that link:
Quote:
Hold down the power button for 10 seconds to turn off your device.
Press the power button again to turn on your device.
On the first sign that Windows has started (for example, some devices show the manufacturer’s logo when restarting) hold down the power button for 10 seconds to turn off your device.
Press the power button again to turn on your device.
When Windows restarts, hold down the power button for 10 seconds to turn off your device.
Press the power button again to turn on your device.
Allow your device to fully restart. You will enter winRE...
All done, but the device doesn't "fully" restart and doesn't enter winRE, just continuing to reboot endlessly.
  #16  
Old 01-15-2020, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
What do you mean "can't get to the BIOS" The BIOS keypress is before F8 or any of that other stuff, usually a few seconds before booting. Del is the standard key, but other manufacturers may use a different one, Dell is F2. Look up the manufacturer and find the BIOS key. If it's a custom build or non-major manufacturer, it's probably whoever made the BIOS or motherboard.

If you need to reinstall the OS, that's trivial and not really time consuming. It kind of sounds like you're looking for an excuse for a new one?
A new unit would wipe out much of the work I put into configuring this one, so that is not my first choice.

This unit ("Republic of Gamers" says the signon screen) has an odd BIOS entry sequence, hold F2, press power, wait until something displays, then release the F2. That works, but the only boot option shown is the Windows Boot Manager, and there appears to be no way to select a USB drive for that function. Exiting the BIOS screen returns to the infinite rebooting sequence as before.

Reinstalling the OS may be trivial, and may be my only option now, but it will destroy any config data. And to install any OS will require removing or replacing the HD. If I do that, I will try to install Win 7 if the hardware supports it.
  #17  
Old 01-15-2020, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
That works, but the only boot option shown is the Windows Boot Manager, and there appears to be no way to select a USB drive for that function. Exiting the BIOS screen returns to the infinite rebooting sequence as before.
Have a look around in the boot manager. If you see an option that allows you to switch between UEFI and Legacy, change it to Legacy and have another go at the boot sequence.


Quote:
And to install any OS will require removing or replacing the HD.
I don't follow your thinking here?
  #18  
Old 01-15-2020, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
This unit ("Republic of Gamers" says the signon screen) has an odd BIOS entry sequence, hold F2, press power, wait until something displays, then release the F2. That works, but the only boot option shown is the Windows Boot Manager, and there appears to be no way to select a USB drive for that function. Exiting the BIOS screen returns to the infinite rebooting sequence as before.
I think that's pretty standard compared to Dell. You're pushing F2 at a specific time, and holding it to increase the chances of being that time. My go-to is to spam the key, as at least with older computers the keyboard would freak out if it had a key held down, and I haven't bothered to stop what works.

Finding a USB boot option is probably buried in there, but available.

Quote:
Reinstalling the OS may be trivial, and may be my only option now, but it will destroy any config data. And to install any OS will require removing or replacing the HD. If I do that, I will try to install Win 7 if the hardware supports it.
Why do you need a new HD? You mean because you don't want to wipe the data?

I prefer 7 too, but conveniently enough it was just yesterday that I got the popup telling me that Win7 support ends soon and to upgrade to 10. You will potentially lessen security by not updating.
  #19  
Old 01-15-2020, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
This unit ("Republic of Gamers" says the signon screen) has an odd BIOS entry sequence, hold F2, press power, wait until something displays, then release the F2. That works, but the only boot option shown is the Windows Boot Manager, and there appears to be no way to select a USB drive for that function. Exiting the BIOS screen returns to the infinite rebooting sequence as before.
Dumb question, but do you have a bootable USB drive inserted when you're looking for that option? The option only appears if you do.
  #20  
Old 01-15-2020, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Dumb question, but do you have a bootable USB drive inserted when you're looking for that option? The option only appears if you do.
Not a dumb question. I didn't know that. See below...

Quote:
Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
I think that's pretty standard compared to Dell. You're pushing F2 at a specific time, and holding it to increase the chances of being that time. My go-to is to spam the key, as at least with older computers the keyboard would freak out if it had a key held down, and I haven't bothered to stop what works.

Finding a USB boot option is probably buried in there, but available.


Why do you need a new HD? You mean because you don't want to wipe the data?

I prefer 7 too, but conveniently enough it was just yesterday that I got the popup telling me that Win7 support ends soon and to upgrade to 10. You will potentially lessen security by not updating.
Since I have never received any support from MS for any OS, nor any upgrades, ever, I doubt if that frightful message will keep me awake at night. Forced upgrades are a much bigger threat, as this experience proves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baron Greenback View Post
Have a look around in the boot manager. If you see an option that allows you to switch between UEFI and Legacy, change it to Legacy and have another go at the boot sequence.

I don't follow your thinking here? [why a new HD]
The boot manager offers no options. However, I didn't have a bootable flashdrive in a USB socket, so that might be the next step...

I would prefer not wiping out the existing HD's data, although 1TB disks aren't expensive. But it looks like in order to get anything working at all, I'm going to have to start from square one, with a clean HD, since the existing one has an OS with problems that I can't bypass. Might as well use a new one.
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:11 PM
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I think you need to go to a more specialized forum, for example:
https://rog.asus.com/forum/forumdisp...ROG-Discussion

Windows update problems DO NOT DAMAGE HARD DRIVES. It won't do you any good to get a new hard drive. Note: the Bios information is stored on the motherboard, not the hard drive.

Your problem is that you need to change the BIOS information. You didn't tell us the exact model number; here is a method for one model:
https://www.asus.com/support/FAQ/1030858/
  #22  
Old 01-15-2020, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
I think you need to go to a more specialized forum, for example:
https://rog.asus.com/forum/forumdisp...ROG-Discussion

Windows update problems DO NOT DAMAGE HARD DRIVES. It won't do you any good to get a new hard drive. Note: the Bios information is stored on the motherboard, not the hard drive.
I didn't say that Win updates permanently damaged any drive, but they can corrupt HD data just like anything can. But installing an OS will probably wipe out any data in a existing drive, while using a new drive won't, and I might be able to save the one file (not critical, but I can't recreate it). 1TB drives aren't that expensive, so I'll use a new one.

Quote:
Your problem is that you need to change the BIOS information. You didn't tell us the exact model number; here is a method for one model:
https://www.asus.com/support/FAQ/1030858/
I'll have to check on the exact model, but if the BIOS points to a corrupted Windows boot manager, the problem isn't in the BIOS. Thanks, I'll take a look at your link.
  #23  
Old 01-15-2020, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
Since I have never received any support from MS for any OS, nor any upgrades, ever, I doubt if that frightful message will keep me awake at night. Forced upgrades are a much bigger threat, as this experience proves.
If you've never installed any upgrades before this, is it possible that nothing's "wrong"—it's just doing a lot of updating all at once, which takes a looooong time?
  #24  
Old 01-15-2020, 08:09 PM
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Figure out some way to get it to run out the battery, so it's really and for reals "off". This may reset the device back into a normal boot mode afterwards.
  #25  
Old 01-15-2020, 08:33 PM
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Figure out some way to get it to run out the battery, so it's really and for reals "off". This may reset the device back into a normal boot mode afterwards.
That's already been tried, accidentally, when I didn't plug in the charging cable and it went off. Didn't fix anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
If you've never installed any upgrades before this, is it possible that nothing's "wrong"—it's just doing a lot of updating all at once, which takes a looooong time?
Not a bad idea, but it's not updating, just recycling the boot. 8 hours on a 100Mb/sec internet connection with no progress shown? I don't think so; Windows has regular progress reports during normal updates, and most take far less than an hour on this kind of connection. None of the standard reports say, "Undoing changes...". My guess is it is stuck in some kind of recovery mode after a failed or aborted sequence, but it's definitely in an endless loop.
  #26  
Old 01-16-2020, 02:47 AM
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Create a live Linux Boot (I like Knoppix) on a flash drive, remove the hard drive, which may be a major PITA and install the flash drive. The BIOS should cycle through whatever devices, including the flash drive trying to find something to boot. If Linux doesn't boot, something in hardware is likely bad. Also, check if there's a way to reset the CMOS which will take your BIOs back to factory fresh.

Edit: While you're at it, unless your current drive is an SSD, now would be a good time to upgrade even if it's a smaller drive. An SSD will much faster and better for a laptop than a mechanical drive. If you have a slim optical drive, you can get an adapter to replace it with your 1TB drive.

Last edited by lingyi; 01-16-2020 at 02:50 AM.
  #27  
Old 01-16-2020, 12:45 PM
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Found this, https://www.asus.com/support/FAQ/1013074, might be worth a shot.
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