Windows 8.1 laptop installing update and will not start
February 21, 2020 12:07 AM   Subscribe

Friend's laptop is hanging on start-up when installing a Windows update - gets to 95% and freezes. There doesn't seem to be an equivalent of safe start-up for Windows 8.1. The options are system reset or system repair, both of which require a password friend doesn't remember. Is there any other option short of taking it to a repair place? Thanks.
posted by paduasoy to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
There doesn't seem to be an equivalent of safe start-up for Windows 8.1.

It's still there, they just made it a pain in the arse to get to; simply pounding F8 doesn't work any more. Instead, you need to do most of the same dance that gets you to the point where you can trigger a system reset or repair, then take the road less travelled.

system reset or system repair, both of which require a password friend doesn't remember

You can reset the password on the inbuilt Administrator user account fairly easily with chntpw. Windows usually has security policies in place that stop you logging in as Administrator when Windows is started normally, but it usually works in Safe Mode and should also be OK to get you through system reset or repair. Try Repair first.

It might also be the case that Administrator already has an empty password and that the default security policy is the only thing stopping you from logging in with that account. Worth trying it from the Safe Mode login screen before even bothering with chntpw just in case.
posted by flabdablet at 12:30 AM on February 21, 2020 [1 favorite]


Also fairly common is a default security policy that stops you logging in as the local Administrator account if its password is blank or not complex enough. So if you've cleared the Administrator password with chntpw, and you've got into Safe Mode but still can't log in as Administrator, try using chntpw to set Administrator's password to ArsePain99! and see if that works better.
posted by flabdablet at 12:39 AM on February 21, 2020


Ever since Win 10 arrived, Win updates have been breaking all supported versions. Best source of fixes (and whether it's safe to update) is AskWoody
posted by Homer42 at 2:42 AM on February 21, 2020 [3 favorites]


Thank you very much - we have just managed to do this.
posted by paduasoy at 9:24 AM on March 10, 2020


Just out of interest, how much of what I recommended did you actually need to do?
posted by flabdablet at 9:34 AM on March 10, 2020


Under Get to Windows Startup Settings in the Windows Recovery Environment, we went through to stage 6. Didn't need to do stage 7. There was much relief.
posted by paduasoy at 9:10 AM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]


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