SOLVED - Windows "Preparing Automatic Repair" boot loop of death
In a nutshell, I was having a Microsoft techie try to solve a minor Homegroup issue on my wife's Windows 8 computer (her user picture wouldn't show up in the Homegroup listing like mine did/does). Again, minor problem...but I can be a perfectionist like that.
She was remote desktop'ed into my wife's computer. She triggered a restart. The Lenovo splash screen came up...then it said "Preparing Auomatic Repair". It never went away and just sat there. I eventually powered down. Same message. Same result. She was in a loop. I google searched it. A LOT of people have had this issue (in Windows 7 and/or 8) and few, if any people, were able to resolve the issue. Microsoft told them (from what I read) that the only fix was a reinstall of the OS.
After some tinkering around, I fixed it. Some random steps in between, but....
So here is the total procedure as best I recall.
1) Had the issue (loop with "Preparing Automatic Repair").
2) Changed the BIOS so I could boot from a DVD. Used a Windows 8 DVD and booted into the repair/restore/reinstall options. Selected "repair". It said it couldn't repair it.
3) I booted the DVD again. Selected the command prompt and entered these three commands:
4) Tried booting without the DVD. It didn't work. It just went back into the loop.
5) Booted with the Windows 8 DVD again. Tried the repair option from the DVD menu again...and this time, when I selected my OS, it repaired it...and booted into Windows successfully/fully.
I know I'm not asking for help, but I've yet to find anybody on the interwebs post a bulletproof solution. I figured if anybody else from this site (or other sites) had this issue, they could find my "solution" helpful. I can't guarantee it will solve their problem, but again, I didn't find anybody who said "this fixed it for me" other than somebody who did a reinstall.
I'm just stoked I dodged a bullet. Time to make a full image backup of her computer.