Was someone asleep when they came up with Windows 8's "F8" behavior?


  • So, I'm a mid-low level Windows internals geek. And in playing with solving a problem, much of the time I take a calculated risk in cracking-off part of the OS and relying on a chain-reaction of calculated failures to see if something fixes it. Like cutting off ndis.sys knowing that services that rely on it will fail to start and stay out of the way as well.

    Well, so I changed ndis.sys from start value 0 to start value 3 (manual) - not remembering that value 4 is "disabled" until I tried restarting and got a ":(" boot screen of IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL (ndis.sys). Crapola. Well, there's a quick fix for that... reboot, F8, "repair computer, cancel that horribly annoying "Startup Repair" before it locks me into "attempting repairs" for 2 hours, and use regedit to load the hive and tweak that back to 4 and try again.

    ... Except there is no more F8 menu. It just goes to "Please wait"... (hmm, a new graphical menu?)... then "Diagnosing your computer"... (HEY! I didn't tell you to do that! Shut up and give me my options!) ... and now "Attempting repairs" for the past half hour!

    NO! I don't want you to "attempt" repairs, dammit! You have no idea what the problem is! I do - one byte value! Get out of my way! Ctrl+Alt+Del... Ctrl+Shift+Esc... Shift+F10... Alt+F4... SDOVIUHIUSFHNIBEUNOW@RU)#JF*(C_)(IC... RAUGHH!

    This is ridiculous. No way to cancel it. No way to stop it. No way to get back to doing what I knew I was doing, because Windows takes it upon itself to ignore my F8, ignore my "cancel", and make its own pathetic, useless, worthless attempt at "repairs" without even telling me what it's trying.

    This "forced repair" crap has actually cost quite a bit of IT resources over the past year I've worked with Windows 7. Twice, it automatically performed System Restore to a PC that had System Restore disabled at the group policy level, but the GP didn't delete past restore points - so it actually erased ALL the user data and installed applications, rolling back months of work, and left us with a bare-install Windows system and one very dumbfounded IT guy (me) when I first saw it sitting at a plain Windows logo with no software or drivers installed. Second time, someone switched off the computer while it was starting, and didn't catch the startup options in time, so we had to stand there awkwardly and wait for over 15 minutes for its "attempting repairs" to finish failing in order to get back to work again.

    I'm still waiting for my computer to finish "Attempting Repairs" against my will.

    Please get rid of this, or make it at least *ASK* before doing so. Without a timer. Without forcing it.

    edit: Follow-up: I ended up just having to force power it off while it was "attempting repairs" into oblivion without progress or reporting, then boot my Windows 8 installation USB, and use Command Prompt/regedit that way, and fixed the problem myself in less than 5 minutes. Piece of garbage.

    • Edited by FalconFour Monday, March 12, 2012 2:09 AM
    Monday, March 12, 2012 1:55 AM


  • Add this to your BCD store and you'll be able to see the safe boot menu:

    Bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu yes

    --Joseph [MSFT] http://blogs.technet.com/b/joscon/

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:02 AM

All replies

  • +1 agreeded.
    Monday, March 12, 2012 6:23 AM
  • Some idiot thought it would be fun to change the F8 hotkey to a (gasp) combination hotkey of Shift+F8!!
    • Proposed as answer by Per Salmi Monday, March 12, 2012 7:38 AM
    Monday, March 12, 2012 7:04 AM
  • Add this to your BCD store and you'll be able to see the safe boot menu:

    Bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu yes

    --Joseph [MSFT] http://blogs.technet.com/b/joscon/

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:02 AM
  • Anyway, we should be capable to halt this process at any time in a good manner and reboot or switch to manual repair mode/cmd prompt instead of being forced to force power down the system or wait felt hours.

    In most cases with Windows 7 it was a user, force powering off Windows at a bad time and then getting presented the unnecessary choice to launch startup repair. As users are, they hit enter and then start to wonder, why it takes for ever to boot the system.

    So really please - do not take all out of our hands to perform some blackbox magic non fixes! Also inform the user, what you are currently checking, which check is completed or which failed etc. Remember - communication is something good, and software communicating with the user is better than software locking the box he is intended to work with.

    Best greetings from Germany

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:25 AM
  • Add this to your BCD store and you'll be able to see the safe boot menu:

    Bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu yes

    --Joseph [MSFT] http://blogs.technet.com/b/joscon/

    Good one Joseph. I use that command on my WinPE disks so i can choose Memtest during boot.

    A good BCD reference: Boot Configuration Data (BCD)

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012 1:08 PM
  • Not exactly a valid solution since I don't want to force to display the boot menu just for chance diagnostic purposes... I'm talking about default behavior here. All geeks know about F8 (not shift+F8... without prompting, who the heck would try holding shift when that's never been a valid key combo in all the history of Windows?), and it should at least do *something* worthwhile, like perform the action as if "displaybootmenu" were temporarily set to "yes".

    As Olaf said, we should at least be presented with the ability to halt this "automatically attempting to get nothing done" process and get back to reality. It was bad enough with Windows 7 that we really only got a 2-4 second window to cancel the unwelcomed, unprompted, and occasionally auto-destructive "startup repair" process before it locked itself in "attempting repairs" mode (Oh, you know how infuriating it is to see the message "the current process can't be stopped"?). But now we don't even get the option to stop it?

    BTW, I even tried Shift+F8, and I never could get it to give me a menu. Ridiculous that geeks have to keep getting ever more creative and intuitive just to get to a place where we can do what we did with ease in the last version. Now we've got to know ahead of time that "Please wait" really stands for "I'm about to start doing something you don't want me to do!", and to kill the power before "startup repair" begins...

    Thursday, March 15, 2012 5:55 PM
  • I should mention, I'm more than plenty familiar with BCD options. They're just a pain in the arse to utilize with only a command-line tool (that only works from an elevated command prompt) to work with. It would be much easier to work with if, like most parts of Windows, it had a proper management interface like an MMC snap-in to work with. I've done some pretty elaborate tricks with bcdedit, but it is seriously a PAIN to work with the GUIDs and long, verbose, redundant wording used in it on the command line. It's definitely a case of "one step forward, two steps back" compared to boot.ini/ntldr, IMO... solved a lot of boot-time management issues, introduced a ton of potential failures and configuration nightmares. :/
    Thursday, March 15, 2012 5:59 PM
  • hi Falcon4, did you fix this issue?  because I have the same problem i reinstalled windows 8, but when I restart, I got the same issue as a loop


    Wednesday, April 04, 2012 4:39 PM
  • It's a design flaw, not a "fixable" issue. The issue here is that the F8 functionality is broken, and the "autorepair" (mal)function has gotten dramatically worse and more intrusive - by design. That's what this topic is addressing...
    Monday, April 09, 2012 7:02 AM
  • I just got this in the Release Preview. I have read this: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/05/22/designing-for-pcs-that-boot-faster-than-ever-before.aspx but booting fast doesn't the system should do automatic repairs. I DO NOT WANT IT TO DO AUTO REPAIRS MICROSOFT, DID I TELL IT TO? AT LEAST ALLOW AN ESCAPE TIMEOUT OF FEW SECONDS LIKE THERE IS FOR CHKDSK AND THEN START AUTO REPAIRS. I DO NOT WANT AUTOMATIC REPAIRS. AND ONCE IT STARTS AUTO REPAIRS, THERE IS NO WAY TO BOOT INTO WINDOWS 8 WITHOUT IT COMPLETING WHICH TAKES SEVERAL MINUTES!!! APPARENTLY, IT ALSO DOES SFC /SCANNOW WHEN IT DOES AUTO REPAIRS.

    The AutoChk timeout value (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/191603/EN-US) is set to 1 second btw in Windows 8 so you don't any chance to skip Chkdsk. Set it to 10 or higher or the evil OS will be stuck on "Attempting repairs".

    Is MS is reading this, please, there needs to be a registry setting / Group Policy to completely disable all automatic repair. Under no circumstances do I want automatic repairs to be done. I always know what is wrong with my system and I want to be in control. Please change this before RTM or in SP1 if RTM is already on the way. On my system, Chkdsk gets stuck in a loop due to automatic repairs and even during the grace period, pressing any key doesn't cancel it. PLEASE LET THE FEEDBACK BE LOUD AND CLEAR TO THE SYSTEM/PERFORMANCE TEAM: I DO NOT WANT AUTOMATIC REPAIRS TO BE DONE!!

    A Google search for this problem shows hundreds of PCs stuck in a loop doing "automatic repairs". How not to design an OS.

    • Edited by xpclient Wednesday, June 27, 2012 6:15 PM
    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 2:04 PM
  • Yeah MS really was thinking outside the bun on that one.

    If you do enable the BCD option and you keep tapping the F8 key, like many people do, you can go too far and start the system without the anti-malware driver.  Good choice of keys that enable the menu options guys.  :-/

    Again, horrible defaults.  It looks like having a USB key with WinPE or DaRT will be required in many instances.





    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 7:19 PM
  • Even if you disable the graphical boot and enable the old text based loader, there is simply no way to stop automatic repairs from starting. As the blog post referenced above says, if the system fails to boot twice in a row, automatic repairs will take over and there is no way but to let them complete or you can boot into Safe Mode and then into normal mode to skip them. The automatic repairs also do a "SFC /scannow" meaning any system files you may have replaced or hacked get restored to default versions shipping with the OS.
    Thursday, June 28, 2012 3:34 AM
  • I'll give you my perspective on this....

    1. Yes, we're reading this (well, I am) in response to the earlier question
    2. Some things, like CHKDSK, SFC, etc, should be allowed to run without user interruption.  They run for a reason, attempting to disable or circumvent them isn't a good idea.
    3. I appreciate the feedback and we take it seriously, just because you don't see a fix (or a fix implemented in the way you'd like it to be), doesn't mean we're not paying attention.

    --Joseph [MSFT] http://blogs.technet.com/b/joscon/

    Thursday, June 28, 2012 10:37 AM
  • No they should NOT run without interruption. Since the earlier design days of NT, Chkdsk always has had a timeout to prevent it from running and in Windows 8, the value of that timeout value is set to 1 second. Plus, there is now way to prevent automatic repair. This is a case of "Microsoft knows what's best for you" instead of "user in control" principle. Please provide a reg key to disable automatic repair. Under no circumstances I want auto repairs to my PC done.
    Thursday, June 28, 2012 11:05 AM
  • Thanks, joscon! The point of writing this was not necessarily to force a fix, but rather to help influence the design of what we're all going to have to live with - users and geeks alike - for some years to come not too long from now. So it'd better be better than the last version!

    Which, so far, unfortunately it's taken a gargantuan step backwards in usability and functionality. So that's why myself and others are trying to explain the problems we see... not necessarily to find a hard-and-solid "fix", but to help direct the design in a better way.

    The biggest problem I find is that the process is either default-action behavior (as in Windows 7) or, as it is now, it's forced-action behavior. That would be OK in most cases, except for one difference here: it's falsely triggered almost 90% of the time I encounter it, and in any instance it has failed to resolve the problem about 100% of the time. The false triggers come from anything from a known low-level hack gone wrong and a known way to revert it and boot up again (like us geeks do)... to a granny trying to turn the computer on, the monitor doesn't turn on quick enough (or it turns off while it flashes between POST screens and the Windows logo), and she hits the button a second time and powers it back off during the "pre-kernel" loading phase - which is after Windows triggers "incomplete startup" checking, but before Windows takes over ACPI control of the power button.

    The other problem I see is that the status of the process is not visible *at all*. Those "mocking" progress bars (so-called because they just "mock" their own existence by serving no purpose) are highly annoying and horribly lazy coding practice. That's all we ever get with "startup repair", a swirling progress bar that makes IT people look like IDIOTS when they encounter this unwanted process during a computer startup, and can't tell the user how long it'll take. Optimally, the "this operation cannot be canceled" phase SHOULD include a functioning progress bar at the very least (it's not that hard. come on. Anyone that graduated a programming course should know how to find approximate progress from multiple sub-operations). Even better would be to have a "Details" drop-down slider that reports the log of the tools being run (so I could watch the Chkdsk status, or know what it's trying to do).

    Even BETTER would be to PROMPT the user if they want to attempt automatic repairs, BEFORE it enters the "cannot be canceled" phase. For God's sake, the most elementary thing it should do (and should have done in Windows 7) is first automatically prompt for startup repair - this is the part most people miss, resulting in an unwated "forced repair" mode. So it'll then boot the PE environment, which detects the failed startup and begins the "startup repair" mode operation. But the FIRST thing the operation should do is introduce the user: "Windows failed to start... etc...", and ask the all-important question: "Would you like to perform startup repair, or exit and attempt to start again?". That way, I have the option to catch it before it pointlessly attempts to run repair operations I can't cancel for up to 15 minutes.

    Now, there is the potential intended design of "startup repair": to be "unattended". But that always falls short: in Windows 7, the repair operation always ends with a confirmation of some kind, which prevents it from being "unattended" - you always have to click something to get it to exit and reboot. However, making the process automated is potentially a data loss situation: automatically invoking Chkdsk is known to delete files involved in error conditions it finds, and the startup failure may be due to faulty hardware - which would cause unnecessary data loss if Chkdsk /f is run automatically on a system with unstable memory or I/O interfaces. SFC can overwrite customized system files for geek users like us (but, admittedly, isn't a risk for normal users). Above all, System Restore is routinely the most destructive - it doesn't save a backup to "undo" the restore, it automatically chooses the latest restore point, even if that restore point is weeks or even months ago. Yes, it's happened - if you use a GPO to disable System Restore on an AD domain, it shuts of SR but doesn't delete the restore point shadows! So if Startup Repair is invoked, the system may actually be rolled all the way back to the time that GPO was enabled. I've had a system at the office roll all the way back to the moment I joined the domain, due to a "startup repair" operation when someone pushed the power button twice. That is dangerous. That is why "unattended" startup repair should NOT be a goal of its design. It should be user-initiated every time, and repairs should have granular control, not just "this is repair = autofix everything".

    • Give us the option to decline startup repair.
    • Give startup repair a brain, and report what it's doing and what its progress is.
    • Have startup repair prompt before making a potentially destructive "repair" operation.

    Also, the F8 thing really needs to be addressed. Being common knowledge to anyone that's had a moderate tech knowledge in the past 30 years, you ought to be taking "F8" forward, not backward. F8 should be the "Before you start, please let me change some things" initiator. F8 should bring up a menu offering options to change the boot device/selection, modify the startup options, boot from a manual device string, Safe Mode, startup repair, last configuration, etc... perhaps not like the old-school text mode menu it is now in Win7, but something that provides those options.

    Otherwise, it's all a step backward, and it may as well have stuck with the Win7 boot flow.

    Thursday, June 28, 2012 11:15 AM
  • I complained LOUDLY about the progress indicator being dumbed down too right from Developer Preview. They keep saying "We're listening" but the truth is that actual proactive action taken is zero on all our feedback. The OS is essentially finalized when they reveal it to the public. The Chkdsk screen in Windows 7 shows what it is doing and in Windows 8 it just shows "Scanning and repairing". It's like Vista's defragmenter which just showed the Aero spinning donut, and nothing else and how that made people furious. With each release of Windows beginning with Vista, we have to fight this extreme dumbing down and it is SO stressful and infuriating - we users are not dumb and we need as much troubleshooting info as we can. What's the obsession with hiding progress bars and detail screens? I was smart enough to figure out that it also did a SFC /scannow, someone else may not figure that out too and his system is stuck in a loop, and this OS which is expressly designed to be extremely difficult to troubleshoot because it's utterly dumbed down and shows the user nothing about what's going on behind the scenes.

    I will tell everyone I know to skip Windows 8 because it is a dumb OS engineered for dumb people. Maybe the people who played Cut the Rope got scared of seeing all those Chkdsk verbose details at startup and complained to MS to dumb it down.

    Thursday, June 28, 2012 11:27 AM
  • What's the reasoning? I discussed this briefly with another Microsoft blogger a while back. Code laziness. It's easier to spawn a sub-process like chkdsk in the background and wait for it to simply "return", than to actually run it, pipe its output, interpret (and display, even!) its status, and produce a proper progress bar. So instead of actually taking the time to code properly and monitor process status and provide the "idiot user" with some option of control over the process... they just run it like a poorly-formatted, no-error-checking batch file that directs everything to nul:. It's the Easy Way...

    Then the project managers think "ooh, it doesn't Overwhelm the User with Too Much Information", "it's simple!", "the idiot user can't mess it up!". And the lazy code flies.

    Thursday, June 28, 2012 11:31 AM
  • Like I said, I'm all for feedback and actionable feedback at that.  Falcon4, you make fair points IMHO and I'll bring them up internally. 

    I will say that I think its hard to strike that fine line between user control and giving users an experience they desire.  I personally feel we've done an excellent job with Windows 8 overall and I think as people use it, they'll enjoy that experience over previous operating systems.

    --Joseph [MSFT] http://blogs.technet.com/b/joscon/

    Thursday, June 28, 2012 12:18 PM
  • Okay guys there is no way i could stop the automatic repair from starting just beause windows 8 does the driver integrity/signature check and thinks something is wrong, but in truth when i manage to start it without the check (rebooting twice after 2 failed auto repair attempts wich take each like 20-30 minutes and then hitting advanced boot (7- disable Driver signature check)) due to the upcoming boot menue wich i cant acess otherwise, everything works fine and the device manager says so too. So basicly everytime i reboot i have to wait an hour. 
    Any Ideas how to fix that???
    Tuesday, November 06, 2012 11:16 AM
  • I'm having the same problem as XCCMatrix, I have all my drivers supposedly signed, yet it fails driver integrity check. So then i disable integrity check, and can get to testmode after awhile. After i reboot it resets and tries to 'fix' my drivers even though driver integrity check is OFF......WTF is going on here? Why cant i get rid of this auto'fixing behavior that win8 pushes. 

    This is making Windows more akin to OSX in that its a PITA to fix (except now its worse!?!), and dumbed down so much that it wont let intelligent people fix simple problems while treating their users like morons.

    Tuesday, November 06, 2012 2:04 PM
  • basicly everytime i reboot i have to wait an hour. 

    I don't understand your procedure.   Do you get the boot screen and the transition to the login menu?  Then, you should be able to see the Restart button that you are supposed to use with a Shift- key (pressed via On-Screen Keyboard if necessary) as described and demonstrated here:


    Hint:  see the video at the bottom and skip to the "second way" about 30 seconds in.


    Good luck

    Robert Aldwinckle

    Tuesday, November 06, 2012 10:16 PM
  • basicly everytime i reboot i have to wait an hour. 

    I don't understand your procedure.   Do you get the boot screen and the transition to the login menu?  Then, you should be able to see the Restart button that you are supposed to use with a Shift- key (pressed via On-Screen Keyboard if necessary) as described and demonstrated here:


    Hint:  see the video at the bottom and skip to the "second way" about 30 seconds in.


    Good luck

    Robert Aldwinckle

    I'm seeing this behavior as well.

    After running these commands:

    bcdedit -set loadoptions DDISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS
    bcdedit -set TESTSIGNING ON

    Windows 8 will not start. It just gets stuck during boot. I left a test machine all weekend, and it never finishes. The only way to get back into Windows is to power off, power on, power off again, power on again, wait for auto-repairs to fail twice, then finally be presented with the advanced startup menu where we can manually select to disable the driver signature check. Then Windows will boot, and everything runs fine until the next time.

    Unfortunately, 200 milliseconds is not a long enough time window to reliably get the boot menu to appear. Why not bring back "holding the Ctrl key" during boot to trigger the boot menu?

    • Edited by SSonik Wednesday, November 28, 2012 3:06 AM Spelling
    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 3:05 AM
  • [I guess this post is THAT long, because I'm THAT unhappy :)]

    When I first read this thread, I was thinking sth like ‘yeah, that's pretty weird way to implement it, but well – it doesn’t bother me that much - I'm no geek or IT guy after all'. But… I happened to experience some ‘unpleasant’ behavior from my gfx driver (at least reinstalling it from within safe mode fixed the issue so I guess it was gfx driver... I’m not that curious to check). What’s worth mentioning, the OS was booting ‘correctly’ to a ‘black blinking screen with cursor’ so I didn’t even get the auto-repair screen (not until I begun power-cycling the machine).

    So what’s the first thing I used to do when (Microsoft's) OS was playing tricks on me? Well... I attempted a boot into safe mode… How hard can it be after all?

    To give a little background, I have 64-bit Win8 installed on an SSD drive, UEFI–enabled BIOS, a display which changes source so slow that I’m way after POST when it displays anything and a wireless USB keyboard with no LEDs ;)  I have no optical drive in my system, and... NO, I DON’T have a bootable USB stick with Windows (seriously?) Ah… and my PC has power/reset btns well hidden inside chassis and I used to have PC speaker disabled.

    So with that setup I wanted to enter Safe Mode. I admit, Microsoft, this new Windows boots damn fast! The thing is… am I supposed to press… SHIFT, then F8 in <200msec timeframe not even knowing where it starts counting!? One key is a matter of luck, with a KEYSTROKE you make it virtually impossible! (yes, I enabled PC speaker and managed to get there. Once! I was sooo proud of myself! :) ). 

    To be honest… my way of entering safe mode before enabling ‘sound aid’ was like: wait for windows logo, power-cycle, wait for it to start repairs, power-cycle... and so on (yes, I know this is the BAD way of even thinking about doing something, but hey - two times failed recovery = boot menu! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!). Now, after a beep I hold SHIFT and just bash F8 on my poor keyboard (don't know what's worse - I was destroying software, now I'm destroying hardware)

    I can agree with all that ‘too much information/too much choices would confuse a regular user’, and ‘boot as fast as we can’ principles, but…

    1. If the system is lunching startup repair, we’ve already went off the track of a regular boot. Can’t you at least THEN increase the “grace” timer for hitting any ‘i-know-what-I-am-doing-you-damn-thing’ key combo to something more… realistic?
    2. Or maybe just embed a hidden keystroke INSIDE the ‘launch startup recovery’ prompt (why oh why am I not allowed to press F8 THEN)?  I don’t care if it would just reboot the machine and display the menu afterwards (ok. another reboot is frustrating, but not that much). Please… at least allow the process to be REPEATABLE!

    Honestly – fixing the driver issue took me like 10 minutes; booting to Safe Mode - almost an hour and a LOT of frustration. Now I am seriously considering adding displaybootmenu option to the boot loader (which pains me because I really enjoyed having a fast-booting vanilla system). As I stated at the beginning – I’m not a geek and I LIKE dumb interfaces. But having said that,there are times when you NEED to look under the hood (and not having a PREDICTABLE way of doing is just wrong). Plain and simple – If I didn’t know the SHIFT-F8 combo existed, I’d probably burn a WinPE USB stick and do things differently. This whole ‘but it HAS TO be doable in a humane way’ thinking just made me dissapointed.

    Pretty please - redesign it :)

    Best regards, Mateusz

    Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:52 PM
  • the OS was booting ‘correctly’ to a ‘black blinking screen with cursor’

    So do you think that you could have used your keyboard and assumed what you would be seeing then?

    E.g. what about this (a procedure hopefully to get to the Advanced Options boot screen)?



    Shift-Tab, Shift-Enter, wait.   If the drive light starts flashing, wait even longer for it to settle down. 


    FWIW I still don't know where the Shift-F8 idea is coming from.   Is it something that is available with UEFI?


    BTW earlier today I saw that someone had actually been brave enough to assume that his password could be typed and entered at that point and apparently that got him past this dark screen too.




    Friday, December 14, 2012 1:55 AM
  • Hello everyone,

    I am new to this forum and because of the issues I am having I feel obliged to add to this post. I bought a new laptop, an ASUS K75DE and it came delivered with Windows 8. All my other machines are Windows 7 but I decided to give W8 a try. First issue, UEFI! WoW, who came up with this. However I was able to overcome the issues here. Next jump is to replace the HDD with a SSD, seems simple enough but nooo with UEFI and W8 your disk has to be organized in a particular manner with Recovery and Restore partitions. Used True Image Home 2013 and this software able to overcome this hurdle. 

    Next hurdle, W8 tells me to restart for some change or other. I restart and now I am stuck in a "scanning and repairing drive" 100% complete loop. The message outputs the GUID of the drive which happens to be the Recovery partition which has no drive letter. I chkdsk'ed this drive a million times and no error was found.  I assigned a drive letter to the partition and tried again with no solution. I then started to search for ways to bypass the automatic repair. What a silly idea. Even a professional would not be able to bypass the automatic  repair! Who has decided that the user should not be given a choice to automatically repair or bypass the error. It is on my recovery partition and I have recovery turned off on my SSD drive. I, like many others in this post, know what I am doing. I do not want automatic repair, i know what is wrong and I can fix it. Automatic repair cannot fix it and now I have a very nice platter (the laptop). I can't imagine why MicroSoft would remove an alternative during boot for something like automatic repair. I guess the automatic repair is like the Help from MicroSoft, always providing an answer to the question you did not ask! .

    Am I frustrated, should I fork over another 190$ for Windows 7? Or bite the bullet and install Linux Mint and then have a VM with W8 in it. This is really time consuming and frustrating. 

    BTW, I have ACHI set. I cannnot start W8 without the disk like many have done as the disk with the error being scanned is the boot disk! I am now trying to recover using the disk backup when I moved the OS to SSD. I am going to recommend to my friends and colleagues to stay away from W8 until these issues are resolved. Could you imagine a newbie with a problem like this one!!

    Friday, January 04, 2013 8:15 PM
  • If you're attempting to reimage using the OEM provided version of Win8, that could be the cause for some of your issues.  Win8 logo'd machines have Secure Boot enabled on them to assist with potential malware infections (as well as other things).  When you start swapping out hardware from what the OEM included, two things can happen.  First, is the issue you're seeing with regards to how the UEFI boot options are configured.  Second is a potential activation issue because the digital marker for your activation is tied to the motherboard, hard drive combination.  Usually Windows will allow you to activate the new drive but it might require a call to your OEM.  Just a couple of thoughts for you.

    --Joseph [MSFT] http://blogs.technet.com/b/joscon/

    Friday, January 04, 2013 8:27 PM
  • Robert, my apologies, I must have overlooked your post.

    Regarding your suggestion about typing on the 'black' screen: I did try to do something trivial first (type password + Win-R + shutdown /s /t 0 ), but to no luck. I wasn't experimenting further with this, because:

     1. In this condition all my screens (I have a dual screen setup) were flashing constantly (was just worried how much screen ON-OFF cycles can the monitor handle). I could just turn them off, but...

     2. ...after a long while (like 5 mins) I actually got a BSOD I assumed (maybe wrongly) that the OS was not operational at the point of boot

    For now, the issue did not reocurr so I'm happy with that. If it ever happens again, I'll sure give your suggestion a try (as entering safe mode is still harder than working w/o screen :) ). Thanks for the pointers!

    Best regards, Mateusz

    Saturday, January 05, 2013 10:58 AM
  • "So if Startup Repair is invoked, the system may actually be rolled all the way back to the time that GPO was enabled. I've had a system at the office roll all the way back to the moment I joined the domain, due to a "startup repair" operation when someone pushed the power button twice"

    I am having this exact problem with growing frequency! What did you do to avoid this?

    Monday, February 04, 2013 9:53 PM
  • "So if Startup Repair is invoked, the system may actually be rolled all the way back to the time that GPO was enabled. I've had a system at the office roll all the way back to the moment I joined the domain, due to a "startup repair" operation when someone pushed the power button twice"

    I am having this exact problem with growing frequency! What did you do to avoid this?

    Automatic recovery will try rolling the system back incrementally until it's tried every available restore point.

    You could try running REAgentC.exe /disable but that will kill system restore entirely, not just the automatic startup repair.

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013 11:57 PM