Recently I’ve had to fight my way through several significant problems to repair Windows after a bad windows update experience.

With my computer I normally hibernate it instead of shutting it down. As a result, rebooting the computer occurs infrequently. On the odd occasions when I do reboot the computer there is invariably a request from Windows to update as part of the shutdown procedure.

Here I track the troubles that I had and the solutions that were found, in the hopes that it will be of beneficial use for others too.

Failed update

The windows update wasn’t able to fully complete, and when the attempted rollback failed, it resulted in endless reboots as the computer fails to update.

No safe mode, no boot options, my only realistic options are to interrupt it by booting from the dvd drive or a usb stick.

After creating a bootable Windows 10 disc, the information from Fix Automatic Startup Repair Loop in Windows 10, 8 and 7 was my first attempt to fix things. Unfortunately it resulted in a new error, which would promise to be a recurring theme throughout he repair.

Searching Google for the error “Critical Process Died” resulted in many related articles, including the following with 8 Solutions to Fix Critical Process Died in Windows 10 . The partitioning tool was the most useful advice, for the remainder of the advice depends on having access to safe mode or other boot options, which wasn’t an option available to me.

I needed to run the partition tool from a bootable dvd or usb drive, so ended up paying to get the MiniTool Partition bootable version of it.

Small boot partition

From the partition manager I saw that the system partition was only 100MB from a previous Windows 7 install. The computer was upgraded to 8, and then to 10, which I find needs to be at least 350MB but no more than 500MB. The following Microsoft article Error: We couldn’t update the system reserved partition has some good details about the partition size and how to adjust it.

Unfortunately the 100MB system partition wasn’t allowed to be resized, so the next step from there was to remove the old system partition and create a new one. I could have relied on a new install to create a suitable system partition, but I didn’t want to risk losing my user account, or the many useful programs that I had installed.

Element not found

With a new 400MB system partition and plenty of free partition space to resize it later as needed, my next challenge was to create a Windows 10 install disk so that I could use the recovery console to fix the boot process.

The trouble here is that the attempts to fixboot and rebuildbcd were failing.

> bcdrec /fixmbr
The operation completed successfully.

> bcdrec /fixboot
Element not found.

> bcdrec /rebuildbcd
Element not found.

The only other clue that I had was from the bcdboot command.

> bcdboot e:\windows
Failure when attempting to copy boot files.


This problem had me stuck going in circles for a few days, until I stumbled across the final key to the puzzle using information from the BSOD on Boot 0xc0000034 article. Using diskpart to assign a drive letter to the system partition, so that I could tell bcdboot about the location of the system partition, I was able to make further progress from there.

After trying the bcdrec commands again, the computer now knows which partition to boot from, and I am getting boot content when starting the computer.

Need to repair

The next problem is where I’m told on boot:

Your PC/Device needs to be repaired

So, reboot to Windows 10 disc to attempt the Startup repair once more, to configure the boot options.

The operating system version is incompatible with Startup repair.

The apparent solution is disabling driver signature enforcement and then rebooting your computer,  but I would need to get to startup settings to do that, which is an option not yet available to me.

It looks like I do have to reinstall windows after all, but all is not lost. When I attempt to move over the old user account folder windows fails to log in with it active.

No permissions

I instead create a new user and move over documents/pictures/music/videos, and have permissions trouble.

Finally I take ownership of the folders using instructions from the How to take ownership and get full access to files and folders in Windows 10 article, and I now have a working computer.

Some final progress

After all this trouble to get the computer back up and going again, all I need to do now is to install useful programs, and everything else related with setting up a new computer. There’s no end to the work ahead of me, but I feel more positive about the outcome now.