• askwoody: System Restore has locked me out of my Desktop!!

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    #2420210

     My son-in-law works as an IT for a large corporation. Don’t know which one. He built me a computer about a year and a half ago and it’s worked beautifully. It’s a gaming computer with a gaming keyboard and mouse I have NO idea how to utilize or fix it when my cat steps on it and it doesn’t light up or type anymore. It is a hit and miss that I do not even know how I get it working again. Like I even ‘game’!  I WISH I could tell you the specs but I recently have been locked out of my Windows desktop so I can’t bring up system information or anything. I believe it is Windows 10 Pro. For about a week or so there were no back or forward buttons in Chrome. It was very irritating and inconvenient. No way that I could tell of to take me back to pages I’d already been on in the same tab. I don’t know if I should have uninstalled, reinstalled Chrome, but I chose to use system restore. The restore point was for earlier this month of January 2022. If I had installed an app it was no big deal to lose. In fact, I wondered if it was from an app added to the toolbar (?) so I removed it from Chrome. Once I did the system restore, I was taken to the Automatic Repair page.  I’m using a very old laptop to troubleshoot. I had never known about this new Automatic Repair feature. I read how to use it. But it just keeps looping. I am unable to get into safe mode. I have always been unsure of the F numbers like F8. I know sometimes you have to press another key to make them functional. F8 was not doing anything. I read that in Win 10 they changed it to F4 or just 4 and the same with F5 and F6. I then read how to take it back to F8. I was able to do that using the command prompt. Still, nothing worked. In fact, most commands did not let me use them successfully. I then read where we usually use things as a standard user. You had to click on run as administrator. All the solutions offered for my situation did not apply as I cannot get onto my desktop or get to the start key to choose run as. I looked up to see if there was a command to run as administrator. The answer I came up with no matter how I phrased it, was NO. I can’t run sfc /scannow or chkdsc. Almost everything I tried came back as an error of some kind not allowing me to successfully use the command. I did not think system restore could do this. I am unwilling to reinstall Windows. there must be a way I can get to my desktop. Unfortunately, the computer did not come with a disc and I did not make one or backup anything. I am a 70-year-old disabled woman who does not remember things very well anymore. I used to get repair discs at a website that allowed me to fix things. This website just goes up to Win XP these days and I’ve read there is no way to find such a disc unless it was specific to my computer and its components. I have a portable floppy drive. I found before that this was essential to fixing my PC many times in the past. Using the command prompt from the Automatic Repair page Is a Windows shell. It is not a real DOS command prompt. I’ve never had luck using the shell. Only real Dos. My PC boots up fine and I’m assuming it is in Windows but just not allowing me on my desktop. Changing the safe mode F back to F8 takes you to the old DOS-looking option choices. They are exactly the same choices as the ones changed to F4,5,6. I am unable to get to safe mode and I am totally at a loss of what to do. I don’t give up. I’ll keep researching until I find a way. I really need some legal info that’s on my PC right now, so I’m stressed. ANY help or advice or suggestions would be extremely welcome. Thank you all.  P.S. Before I could click submit, the question popped up asking if I remembered to include the ver number for Windows I’m using. I have no clue if it is not Win 10 Pro. The actual ver info is in the computer that I cannot use until this is fixed. Sorry.

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    • #2420608

      F8 is the usual key for booting into Safe mode. Press F8 a lot when the computer boots and you should get a prompt to go into Safe mode.

      As your keyboard is not working properly, it’s possible the F8 key doesn’t work. Do you have another keyboard you can use instead? Maybe borrow one?

      We don’t use floppy disks anymore, it’s CD/DVD or USB stick.
      You should be able to create a bootable USB to help recover your PC, but if you can’t get into the boot menu (F8), then it won’t help.

      What can you do on the PC at present?

      cheers, Paul

    • #2420609

      If you have another W10 PC (laptop / friend) then you can create a boot USB from these instructions.
      https://www.diskpart.com/windows-10/create-windows-10-recovery-disk-from-another-computer-1984.html

      cheers, Paul

    • #2420649

      Windows 10 Pro version 21H2 build 19044.1682 + Microsoft 365 (group ASAP)

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2420671

        CAPS lock is considered shouting and rude on fora.
        Also contravenes da house rules 😉
        I would fix it but the editor is denying me editing rights..sigh

        "-rw-rw-rw-" extreme computing
        • #2420686

          FTFY! 🙂

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2421483

          Are you referring to the title? I did that to make it stand out and hopefully attract responses, so it would not just blend in with the description. I use all caps for a word that I would underline if I knew how.

        • #2421548

          And what if Everyone used all caps in their titles?
          It’s not allowed in most fora.

    • #2420688

      I’m a bit stumped here as to what you actually have.

      When you get to first screen where Windows is loading with the Windows icon centre screen, is the background there blue (which implies Windows 7), black (Windows 10) or implausibly green (Vista) or text on a black background as the logo disappears before the login screen or restart..(XP)

      For everything except Windows 10 the F8 key works but I would add to the “press it a lot if times” that you should press nothing until the caps lock light flashes (and possibly stays on) if you have just powered the machine on with the front panel button, then start pressing the f8 key but remember to be a new key stroke the key needs to come up again so aim for measured but frequent presses, along the lines of the pressing a TV remote would need to get a repeated response.

      What to do if you have Windows 10? It should take you to the recovery options after three failures. You can force that by removing power but its very likely you’ll break the file system, but its failure to fix itself indicates that needs to be checked and fixed before doing much else and Windows repair will do it but it takes a long time.

      You said “I was able to do that using the command prompt.” – was that booted from the hard disk?, and if so could you get to that again? – if so if you type “ver” and press enter it should give you a version number which would give the rest of us a better idea of the system we’re trying to help you with.

      From what I can make out I’m wondering if the situation that started all this wasn’t actually system restore at all – I’m tending towards that the restore has gone wrong, or that since the restore point was created the graphics card drivers have updated themselves, and now you have mixed versions due to the restore not completing, so the drivers supplied by the machine’s motherboard  when you switch it on work fine, but when Windows tries to add its desktop drivers, that process fails so you can’t actually get a display – and if that’s what you have the hard disk still thrashes and things like the caps-lock key light still operate as they should (which also means if you have one account you could try typing the password and pressing enter and see if that helps anything). Another remote but not impossible cause of the situation is that the monitor has a fault and is now simply unable to show the desktop resolution or Windows has misinterpreted the plug and play information and is supplying an unsupported display (basically Windows and the monitor have a disagreement about what you should be seeing!) . If you think it might be that and you have a TV with something connected to it by a HDMI lead (small rectangular plug, almost certainly labelled as such on the wire plugs and devices), unplug that cable from that “something” it’s connecting to the  TV at the something end, and look for a similar HDMI port to the one you unplugged from on the back of your machine – if you have, one plug the wire in, set the TV to display the “channel” the “something” was on and switch on the PC and see if you get a display on the TV. I’d hope the worst that could happen is literally nothing. as long as you don’t force anything but you might get an extended desktop instead in which case you need to look at resetting the monitor or enabling projector mode (Windows key and P, then down arrow, then enter on the keyboard as you’ll probably be flying blind). If you can key the mouse on a screen you can see, right click might give you chance to alter the display resolutions downwards that way..

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2421486

        I was able to get back to my desktop by using system restore in the advanced section and ‘undoing’ the restore that went wrong.

        I’m relieved it has reverted back to what it was but concerned as to why it happened in the first place and if there is a problem how to find out what it is so that does not happen again.

    • #2420881

      “I have NO idea how to utilize or fix it when my cat steps on it”
      — Don’t allow your cat to step on it even when you are not using the PC including even when the PC is shut off.

      “I believe it is Windows 10 Pro”
      The PC is only 1 to 1/2 years old. If it’s possible, booting up into the UEFI firmware settings might be helpful but someone else more adept than me would have to chime in on that.

      “For about a week or so there were no back or forward buttons in Chrome. It was very irritating and inconvenient. No way that I could tell of to take me back to pages I’d already been on in the same tab. I don’t know if I should have uninstalled, reinstalled Chrome, but I chose to use system restore.”
      — That should have been time to ask for help before deciding to uninstall, reinstall Chrome or use system restore.
      “Once I did the system restore, I was taken to the Automatic Repair page.”
      — That’s indicative that system restore isn’t the root cause.
      “I am unable to get into safe mode.” Naturally, not good.

      Instead of using restore, it would have been better to use a system image backup & have data backup also available.
      — That can be discussed at an appropriate time depending on what solution applies in your case.

      “I then read how to take it back to F8. I was able to do that using the command prompt. Still, nothing worked.”
      Does that mean you were able to get into Advanced Startup Options? If so, how?

      “I am unwilling to reinstall Windows” Please know, there are many times that is the solution especially since a PC in a serious situation is willing to be resolved.

      oldguy post #2420688 “What to do if you have Windows 10? It should take you to the recovery options after three failures. You can force that by removing power but its very likely you’ll break the file system, but its failure to fix itself indicates that needs to be checked and fixed before doing much else and Windows repair will do it but it takes a long time.”

      Create Bootable USB Flash Drive to Install Windows 10 on another pc that’s running well
      — Once it’s created, it can also be used for troubleshooting.
      https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/2376-create-bootable-usb-flash-drive-install-windows-10-a.html#option1
      Use Option One
      Use Media Creation Tool to create Bootable Windows 10 USB for Legacy BIOS and UEFI

      On “What to do if you have Windows 10? It should take you to the recovery options after three failures.”
      — Sometimes it takes 4 failures.

      Visit Boot to Advanced Startup Options in Windows 10
      https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/2294-boot-advanced-startup-options-windows-10-a.html#option5

      In some situations, Windows RE automatically tries to repair the system. Also, these situations automatically cause a failover to Windows RE:
      Two consecutive failed attempts to start Windows.
      Two consecutive unexpected shutdowns that occur within two minutes of boot completion.
      Consider Option 5: Boot to Advanced Startup Options from Windows 10 Installation USB

      HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

    • #2421632

      comptrgy – maybe a little too well done with the précis, and a little under done with the noticing in the initial post ” I am a 70-year-old disabled woman who does not remember things very well anymore.” which I read as possibly meaning we need to take smaller steps?

      Must admit I’m known for not knowing when to cut things short. I’m probably about to prove that.

      That said I’m looking at post https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/askwoody-system-restore-has-locked-me-out-of-my-desktop/#post-2421486 and wondering if that’s the same user, who’s forgotten to log in, and what we should really suggest is she schedules a chkdsk (by right clicking drive C, clicking on properties, changing to the tools tab, and clicking the “check” button at the top and maybe tries crystaldiskinfo in case the hard disk is more worn than age would indicate as the machine was built by her “son-in-law works as an IT” possibly in part from bits of his old rig which were good then, but something’s gone wrong since) and that before trying each individual fix for the issues which caused her to try system restore in the first place, that she creates a restore point first, and restarts before testing the effects of the repair attempts and attempting the next fix.

      Hopefully typing “control sysdm.cpl 0,4” in the run box (left windows key and R) opens system properties open at the system protection tab so a restore point can be manually created using the create restore point button at the bottom, and changing to the advanced tab there and then clicking  “startup and recovery”, and making sure the second box down from the top is ticked is suggested should enable the F8 to be accessible.. I found in fact it was permanent (possibly as I disabled fast start-up..) until I deselected the box again.

      I have no older Windows versions to compare now – some might like to adjust the instruction if it isn’t good sub Windows 10..

    • #2421673

      I was able to get back to my desktop by using system restore in the advanced section and ‘undoing’ the restore that went wrong.

      I’m relieved it has reverted back to what it was but concerned as to why it happened in the first place and if there is a problem how to find out what it is so that does not happen again.

      I agree with oldguy with taking smaller steps.



      @dwtjan

      If that, is you, it’s good to know.
      It was smart to use “system restore in the advanced section and ‘undoing’ the restore that went wrong.”

      HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

    • #2421757

      Try to not take this as an insult, but if you are not capable of backing up your data and knowing how to install Windows or restore a backup image, you might be better served with a Chromebook.  They are meant to be auto-repairing and most data is automatically saved to your account.  – Marl

    • #2421841

      Chromebooks are fine, just don’t break the screen – come models use the expensive HD variant of a common part. Other than that I haven’t worked on one, which I guess supports your point.

    • #2421843

      That should have been “some models”..

    • #2422777

      Try to not take this as an insult, but if you are not capable of backing up your data and knowing how to install Windows or restore a backup image, you might be better served with a Chromebook.  They are meant to be auto-repairing and most data is automatically saved to your account.  – Marl

      “Try to not take this as an insult”
      There is a positive way to promote a Chromebook.

      Why do I say that? I remember my roots.
      Once upon a time when I was in the working world, I had to learn using PC’s OTJ w/o any training.



      @dwtjan
      , you’ve already mentioned,” I am a 70-year-old disabled woman who does not remember things very well anymore.
      I hope you are on the road to a successful outcome.

      HP EliteBook 8540w laptop Windows 10 Pro (x64)

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