Trying fresh install of Windows 7 but stuck in stuck in system repair screen

My son's laptop is stuck in the system repair screen and just stays there. Here's the background. His laptop was dog slow when he came home from college. The only way to boot it was in safe mode. I suspected a virus and ran multiple AV checks recommended on the Windows 7 support forum. No virus was found. Checkdisk and sfc/ scannow from cmd also failed to complete. Based on additional Forum info, I then tried to repair using the restore disks I made when I bought the Dell laptop. It worked fine until starting the repair and then hung at 1%. Eventually I turned off the power. Next I tried doing a custom Win 7 installation from a new disk (a fresh copy of Windows 7). It still tries to repair from the fresh Windows DVD and hangs on the system repair screen. I have powered off and tried to get back to safe mode unsuccessfully. How do I get out of this loop? BTW, it has not blue-screened at all. Thank you.


Extraordinary Member
If you cannot set back to an earlier restore point, save your data with a live Linux CD - e.g. this one - and reinistall from the recovery partition.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
If it would only boot in safe modem, that normally means it is some type of driver, or some utility that only starts in normal mode.

What anti-virus did you run?

Can you still boot into safe mode? The fact the SFC would not complete, assuming you ran it using an administrative command prompt, is not a good sign.

Can you get into a command window offline (using the DVD) so you can run the SFC? If you can, go down in the referenced page to the part about running off line where the 7 steps are. Maybe running it offline will repair something. If you can only get the the repair window ( I assume you mean during an install operation) try hitting Shift+F10 to get into a command window.

How old is this system? Any chance some hardware just broke?

Thanks for your suggestions. To reply to the questions:

I followed the AV steps at Purpose of doing a virus scan after booting Windows in safe-mode? - Microsoft Answers

I also tried the option two using the Dell restore disks I made at System Recovery Options - Windows 7 Forums

When the Dell restore disks hung at the start of repair, I tried the same thing using the new Windows DVD. That's when I got stuck in the system repair loop. Since my initial post, the repair process completed with the Windows DVD in the drive, but ended with a message that it was unable to complete it. Hence it failed.

The laptop is about 18 months old. Since it hasn't blue-screened, I've assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that it's not a hardware issue.

I can't get the laptop to boot to safemode. No matter what i do, it boots directly to trying to repair windows. It doesn't matter if I have Windows DVD in the drive or if it's empty.

Right now I would like to get to a point where I can do a new installation of Windows.

Thank you.


Fantastic Member
Did you remember to change the boot order so that the CD is the first boot device?


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
The fact the repair is telling you it could not repair might be a problem and indicate something, but have you run the Startup Repair at least 3 times, rebooting back into the DVD and running it again after it completes?

I had tried repairing it twice from the Windows DVD, so I just ran it a 3rd time. It failed again. I copied down the Problem Signature info, if that's useful. From the screen saying it failed, I was able to reach the Systems Recovery Options screen this time. I already tried using the Dell restore disks, which failed. I would like to do a fresh install my new Windows DVD. Which option should I choose and do you have any other suggestions? Thank you for your help.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
I don't have a system with a restore system built in, but your user manual, or the Dell site should describe what you need to do. There may be a special F key you need to hit during boot or a utility in the bios used to restore the system.

There have been situations where a bad battery was causing a problem. You might take the battery out and try without it.

And remember, hitting an F key during boot can be very touchy. If you are not tapping it at the right time, you will not get the screen you need, but I have seen you situation before. In my case I was able to delete a driver from the command prompt to get the system working again.

Before I reboot again, which has been the source of my repair loop, the system restore options include cmd. Can I use that to navigate to the the drive and run set-up to install Windows?

I will also try your battery suggestion if I need to reboot again. Thanks


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Cmd is just the command window. You can do things from there, like run certain commands such as bootrec.exe, but you can't reinstall windows. You can also run an offline version of the System File Checker.

Have you found the Dell directions for restoring your system? If not, what model is it?

I found directions for the Insirion N5010. I'll try that next and see if it works.

BTW, can I roll back my system to an earlier version using the Windows CD from the drive? I tried rolling back the system early in my efforts to fix the problem or at least get to a more stable state, but Windows said there was no earlier restore point available. That's when I suspected a virus.

Thank you.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
The Dell site does not mention Windows 7 for that system. Did it come pre-installed or did you install Windows 7?

Hard to say why it does not any restore points. That option can be turned off so you would not have any, or some type of corruption, or the restore cannot find the actual install, and some others probably, including a virus or hard drive problems.

I was able to find info to get it to boot from the DVD drive first and started the reintallation of Windows 7. I assume this will work and eventually solve the issue.
Thank you for your support!

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