Automatic Repair kicked in after Windows Update problems and now stuck

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  1. Posts : 53
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       #1

    Automatic Repair kicked in after Windows Update problems and now stuck


    Not sure where to start or where to post or if this laptop should just be trashed at this point, but here goes.

    I have a work Lenovo E545 Thinkpad Windows 10 Pro that is old. It was purchased by my company & refurbished from W8->W10 about 4-5 years ago. It had Bitlocker encryption setup when I inherited it when I started there 3 years ago. That was a work requirement. No recovery key is available. (consider that a sneak peak to the end of the story!) There isn't much data on it. I think it is a 256G drive. Whenever I've looked at diskspace, always minimal. The laptop is mostly used for internet apps and cloud storage.

    Monday a Windows Update came along (ran out of pauses!). I can't tell you the build # or anything about my version. After it finished, things were extremely bogged down. Chrome was not able to load restored tabs and the status bar said something about "cache...". I hovered over the Task Manager icon and expected to see CPU 100% but I saw DISK 100%. I tried to open explorer and look at task manager and a couple of other things and then it died and/or maybe I did a hard power down or both. I don't remember all the intervening steps but nothing was going right and any command took forever to occur. There were a couple of crashes/reboot. Then all of a sudden it went into Preparing Automatic Repair. I was hopeful that it would rollback the Update, but it quickly threw up a Encryption Recovery Key request. First of all, I don't have one. Second, the box field would not accept keyboard input even if I had one.

    Is there hope? I easily convinced my boss we needed a new laptop for my work and luckily that's all set. It is so much better. It was long overdue! But there are some things I really want to get off of that laptop. Is there a way to boot in safe mode and roll back that update? I don't know that I'm capable of that myself, but I would pursue that if it seems hopeful to you experts out there.

    Automatic Repair kicked in after Windows Update problems and now stuck-20230417_122438.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Automatic Repair kicked in after Windows Update problems and now stuck-2023-04-17-12.23.20.jpg  
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  2. Posts : 42,890
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #2

    Monday a Windows Update came along (ran out of pauses!).
    I would have thought a work requirement might have been to keep your PC up to date- or do you mean that any update caused your PC a problem?

    Just for info- pausing updates isn't the only way to manage Windows Update. As I've mentioned many times here, as you have Pro, you can set updates to Notify in Group Policy, which allows you to choose when an update or upgrade is applied.

    Want to stay on a particular major build but get updates for that build? Use 'target feature update' (see searchable Tutorials section).

    As I've never used Bitlocker, I can't comment further. There are relevant tutorials of course.
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  3. NMI
    Posts : 1,095
    Windows 11 Pro, Version 22H2
       #3

    hershey4 said:
    No recovery key is available.
    Did you visit the link recommended in your screenshot?

    Where to look for your BitLocker recovery key

    Here are the places you can check to locate the key:

    In your Microsoft account: Sign in to your Microsoft account on another device to find your recovery key. This is the most likely place to find it.

    Note: If the device was set up, or if BitLocker was turned on, by somebody else, the recovery key may be in that person’s Microsoft account.

    ...

    In a work or school account: If your device was ever signed into an organization using a work or school email account, your recovery key may be stored in that organization's Azure AD account associated with your device. [Also applies to any Active Directory.] You may be able to access it directly or you may need to contact their IT help desk to access your recovery key.

    aka.ms/recoverykeyfaq
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  4. Posts : 53
    Windows 10 Pro x64
    Thread Starter
       #4

    NMI said:
    Did you visit the link recommended in your screenshot?
    Thank yo for the link, No I did not look at it because I can't imagine there is a recovery key. There was no microsoft account when bitlocker was setup. If it was set up under a previous laptop user, that account is long gone. But I will check with admin just in case. I think my microsoft account on that laptop (and any previous users) was not a full fledged MS account. It was just an email on some sort of shared license for outlook mail. Not really sure how it worked, but on my replacement laptop, I tried that account for logging in on the new W11 where they insist on a MS account and it did not recognize it. Oh maybe the IT guy who refurbished it set up bitlocker??? That might be a lead.

    fwiw, on the new laptop I went to preserve the recovery key (we learn the hard way), however, it's Windows 11 Home so bitlocker is not enabled. Whatever I preserved is bitlocker's key. I think the Home encryption is on, but doesn't seem active. No keys involved. I have to look into that still. More to go in setting up this new laptop.

    - - - Updated - - -

    dalchina said:
    I would have thought a work requirement might have been to keep your PC up to date-
    Yes, it is, but I guess they don't dig too deeply on pauses and the details. I think it was listed that Auto Update is enabled, so old technology!!

    dalchina said:
    or do you mean that any update caused your PC a problem?
    Nope, just this last one.

    dalchina said:
    Just for info- pausing updates isn't the only way to manage Windows Update. As I've mentioned many times here, as you have Pro, you can set updates to Notify in Group Policy, which allows you to choose when an update or upgrade is applied.

    Want to stay on a particular major build but get updates for that build? Use 'target feature update' (see searchable Tutorials section).
    Thanks. but the new laptop has Win Home. I will look into that for my personal laptop though! Sounds good. I'm risk-averse with new software breaking functioning software (seen time and time again over 20 years.) That model fits my vibe. Although I prefer just security and critical updates, not sure if new "features" are needed. I haven't seen a checkbox for security/critical updates in a while.

    dalchina said:
    As I've never used Bitlocker, I can't comment further. There are relevant tutorials of course.
    My primary question regards booting in safe mode to unwind the update? But if the disk is truly full (ty MS), that may be problematic too.
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  5. Posts : 42,890
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #5

    Just to be clear, is Bitlocker encryption presently applied? I had assumed that's so as it's asking for a key.

    If so and your PC is unbootable your disk is inaccessible.

    But if the disk is truly full (ty MS)
    - what makes you think that? You mentioned 'disk 100% in task manager' - that means disk access is as high a rate as it can be- nothing about capacity...
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  6. Posts : 53
    Windows 10 Pro x64
    Thread Starter
       #6

    dalchina said:
    Just to be clear, is Bitlocker encryption presently applied? I had assumed that's so as it's asking for a key.
    Yes encryption is applied. I have the key and apply it every day. I think the recovery key is something quite different.

    I did try to input the regular key but the field was not enabled for keyboard input. The cursor was there but nothing was happening.


    dalchina said:
    If so and your PC is unbootable your disk is inaccessible.
    what about safe mode? I don't even know how to try safe mode. I remember I once had a problem with another laptop and needed safe mode and it was impossible because the function keys don't work quite the same. Dell came up with a workaround to fix something remotely and avoid needing safe mode.

    dalchina said:
    - what makes you think that? You mentioned 'disk 100% in task manager' - that means disk access is as high a rate as it can be- nothing about capacity...
    Ha ha! I googled it. I guess disk access rate makes a little more sense. maybe a true hardware failure at the same exact time after a WIndows Update? Not likely, but hard to fathom how an Update could go that far sideways!!!!
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  7. Posts : 42,890
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #7

    As the drive is unlocked, the normal ways to boot to Safe Mode are:

    Boot into Safe Mode on Windows 10
    (from the searchable Tutorials section) - note blue text is usually clickable (a link).

    However, you can't presently boot anyway as I understand it.

    One way to boot to Advanced Startup options - assuming you have a valid Recovery partition is (from the link to Advanced Startup Options in the above tutorial is:
    Boot to Advanced Startup Options in Windows 10
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  8. Posts : 53
    Windows 10 Pro x64
    Thread Starter
       #8

    Those look a bit advanced at first glance, but maybe I can work through it slowly! Thanks for the links.

    Are you suggesting that when I saw "preparing Automatic Repair", that was an attempt to boot with WinRE?

    I am going out today to pick up a new USB drive and make sure I make a recovery disk for my new laptop!!!

    On my old laptop, my only reason to want to restart it is to remove any personal bookmarks/passwords I may have left behind before I give it back to the company. If it is 100% hosed, that's okay as long as no one else can get into it either who is more knowledgeable than me. They have no IT and would have to bring it to an IT place -- unless the owners genz-ers offspring takes a stab at it. Its too old to justify sending it out for repair IMO, but ya never know.
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  9. Posts : 42,890
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #9

    Oh, then don't bother repairing it- clean install it... assuming there's no data on it you need.

    Anyway, surely there's an IT admin?

    As for Safe Mode on a working PC I typically simply SHIFT click a Restart button, then navigate thru the screens and restarts...
    (Advanced Startup).

    https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/wi...iew=windows-11

    (Sorry, the Win 11 refs pop up first now.. but you get the general idea..)

    The Recovery partition supports automatic repair and the Advanced Startup menus.
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  10. Posts : 53
    Windows 10 Pro x64
    Thread Starter
       #10

    I'm afraid I wouldn't know how to do a clean install or where to get installation media, but that would solve my current dilemma. Can that be done on an encrypted drive? It would be interesting to see if I have any data on there that I need, but so far this week, I haven't missed anything.

    Getting back to the WinRE part, I read those links and I do see that WinRE is what tried to kick in and it is what I want. It shows a menu option to uninstall updates. But the bitlocker thing is getting in the way. A blog pointed to in that link says this about bitlocker:
    BitLocker
    Depending on the combination of your entry points to WinRE, how BitLocker is configured (auto-unlock), and what WinRE option you select, you may be prompted for the BitLocker recovery key to unlock your Windows partition. As an example, when launching a command prompt, you will be prompted to unlock BitLocker. If you skip the unlock process, the Windows installation drive will remain locked, but you will have access to the X:\ drive, where WinRE runs in RAM.


    Can you explain the last part... what is the X:\ drive and can I still get to the uninstall update menu?
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