How to Fix: Windows Stuck in a Reboot Loop (Windows 8 and 10)

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Infopackets Reader Stuart G. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I recently upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and everything was fine for a few days - then all the sudden Windows 10 got stuck in a reboot loop. The error message is VIDEO DXGKRNL FATAL ERROR. The error is displayed on a blue screen for a few seconds, then the computer reboots and does the same thing ad infinitum. I have researched VIDEO DXGKRNL FATAL ERROR on Google and came across websites that suggest doing a malware scan or 'sfc /scannow' to fix corrupt operating system files, or downloading a utility to repair drivers but I can't get to the desktop to perform these scans because it's stuck in a reboot loop. Can you PLEASE help! "

My response:

For the record: any web page that promotes a "driver fix it" utility to fix blue screens is trying to scam you.

As for getting out of the reboot loop, I have done some extensive research on this issue and using the 'bcdedit' utility (which is part of Windows) was the only solution that worked. I'll explain more about that below.

How to Fix: Windows Stuck in a Reboot Loop (Windows 8 and 10)

  1. To begin: please note the Blue Screen error code you have, and write it down on paper. This is an important clue as to why your computer is crashing. Some example blue screens errors include: VIDEO_DXGKRNL_FATAL_ERROR, INTERNAL_POWER_ERROR, VIDEO_SCHEDULER_INTERNAL_ERROR, and DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE. If you don't know how to research these error codes I can do it for you using my remote desktop service (described further down) once your system is up and running.
     
  2. Next, download Windows install media using the Media Creation Tool for Windows 8 or Windows 10 - this will require access to another machine to perform the download.
     
  3. Boot the machine with the media inserted. If it doesn't boot from the Windows install media, you will have to go into your BIOS Setup and change your boot sequence in order to boot from DVD or USB - before the hard drive boots.
     
  4. The Windows install media should start to boot and eventually present you with a Windows Setup screen. Click "Next" to continue. On the following screen click "Repair your computer". Next, click "Troubleshoot" option on the proceeding screen. On the following screen click "Command Prompt" to open an administrative command prompt.
     
  5. Now it is time to run the bcdedit.exe utility to collect some information. Type in "bcdedit" in the command prompt (black window), then press Enter. Note the heading which says "Windows Boot Loader". Now, look at the "Identifier" field - it will either say "{CURRENT}" or "{DEFAULT}".

    If your "Identifier" says "{CURRENT}", type in the following into the command prompt; if successful it will report "operation successful":

    bcdedit /set {current} safeboot network

    If your "Identifier" says "{DEFAULT}", type in the following into the command prompt; if successful it will report "operation successful":

    bcdedit /set {default} safeboot network
     
  6. The command above will set your computer to boot into Safe Mode with Networking indefinitely - until the bcdedit safeboot switch has been removed (described further down). At this time you can reset the machine (or power off and turn it back on) to reboot into Safe Mode.

What to Do After the Computer is in Safe Mode

If your computer is able to boot into Safe Mode, you will now have access your desktop to perform a backup, or troubleshoot the Blue Screen error message using a web browser. You can do so by typing in the Blue Screen error code you wrote down earlier into a search engine. At minimum you should be able to use the computer (with almost all functionality) in Safe Mode until the problem can be resolved.

Explaining how to go about troubleshooting Blue Screen errors is beyond the scope of this article. If you don't know how to troubleshoot the Blue Screen error, you are welcome to contact me for remote desktop support, described further down.

In Stuart's case, I discovered he had bad sectors on his hard drive, which then corrupted his operating system, which then caused the reboot loop. I was able to backup his data as well, then he ordered a new hard drive to replace the broken one.

Removing Safe Mode (Safeboot) Using BCDEdit

If you think you have resolved the problem, you can remove the Safe Mode boot by doing the following:

  1. Click Start, then type in "cmd" (no quotes); wait for "CMD.EXE" or "Command Prompt" to appear in the list, then right click it and "Run as Administrator".
     
  2. Use your mouse to highlight the text below:

    bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot
    bcdedit /deletevalue {default} safeboot
    echo this is a dummy line

    Right click over the above text and select "Copy" from the dialogue menu. Next, right click in the middle of the command prompt window. The text you copied above should be output to the command line, and the Safe Mode boot will be removed from the computer. Once you reboot, it will boot Windows normally.
     
  3. If you receive more Blue Screens, you will have to follow the article from the beginning to go back into Safe Mode to troubleshoot further. If you don't know how to troubleshoot, you are welcome to contact me for remote desktop support, described next.

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If all of this is over your head, or if you need help in some way or another troubleshooting your blue screen error - I am more than happy to assist you using my remote desktop support service. Simply contact me, briefly describing the issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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