Repairing WS4 or WS8 Windows 10 Operating System

Tech Note: TN2003
Product: WS4, WS8
Version: All
Date Added: 2020-10-09


If Windows starts "Preparing Automatic Recovery" or enters the Aptio Setup Utility screen, try these steps to repair the Windows operating system.


Create a recovery USB drive

Insert a USB flash memory drive with 8+ GB capacity into a computer running Windows 10. It is preferably a USB3 drive, inserted into a USB3 port. Windows will say 16+ GB is required but 8+ GB is sufficient.

Click on the Windows start menu or the search box next to it. Type 'recovery', click on the search hit 'create a recovery drive'.

On 'create a recovery drive', check 'back up system files to the recovery drive', click on 'next'. On 'select the USB flash drive', make sure the correct USB drive is selected. Click on 'next', 'create' until a progress bar appears on 'creating the recovery drive'. Wait until 'the recovery drive is ready' then click on 'finish'.

Safely eject the recovery USB drive. One method is to click on the USB drive icon in the notifications area on the task bar to open a list of connected removable devices. Then click on the recovery USB drive.

Enter BIOS setup

Insert the recovery USB drive into the WS4/WS8 (powered off). Press the power button on the front panel to turn on the WS4/WS8. Press the Del key repeatedly until the computer enters Aptio Setup Utility.

Check boot drive

Press left / right to the 'boot' tab. Make sure the correct drive is 'boot option #1'. In most cases, it will be a Crucial SSD. Proceed to the next section if 'boot option #1' is correct.

If not, press down to 'boot option #1'. Press enter to bring up a list of drives. Press up / down to highlight the correct drive, then press enter to select it. Press right to the 'save & exit' tab. Press down to 'save changes and reset'. Remove the recovery USB drive from the computer. Press enter to restart the computer.

See if Windows now boots properly. If not, return to BIOS setup (recovery USB drive inserted into the WS4/WS8) and proceed to the next section.

Boot recovery USB drive

Press left / right to the 'save & exit' tab. If the recovery USB drive is listed under 'boot override', press down to highlight it and press enter.

If not listed as an override, press left to the 'boot' tab. Press down to 'boot option #1'. Press enter, highlight the recovery USB drive, press enter again to select it. Press right to the 'save & exit' tab. Press down to 'save changes and reset'. Press enter.

Automatic repair

'Choose keyboard layout' is the first screen loaded by the recovery USB drive. Press enter ('US' layout should be selected by default). Using the arrow keys and the enter key, select 'troubleshoot', 'startup repair'. If startup repair is not successful, select 'advanced options', 'troubleshoot', then 'command prompt'.

MBR repair


This applies to WS4/WS8 with serial number 1xxx only. There should be 1 USB2 port on the front panel. If using WS4/WS8 with serial number 2xxx, see EFI repair step below.

On the prompt, type each statement below then press enter to execute one at a time.

bootrec /fixmbr
bootrec /fixboot
bootrec /scanos
bootrec /rebuildbcd

If the above commands succeed, type exit on the prompt to return to the options menu. Select to 'turn off your PC'. Remove the recovery USB drive and turn on the WS4/WS8.

EFI repair


This applies to WS4/WS8 with serial number 2xxx only. There should be 2 USB3 ports on the front panel. If using WS4/WS8 with serial number 1xxx, see MBR repair step above.

On a different computer, open this article. Follow 'How to repair your EFI bootloader', 'Windows 10', 'If you do have the installation media'. At this point, you should be ready to start at step 6-i.

After step 6-i (diskpart), run list disk to get the correct number for the Windows drive. The Windows drive will be about 250 GB. Use the correct number for step 6-ii.

For step 7-i (sel vol), the EFI partition will be FAT32 under the fs (filesystem) column, and may indicate 'hidden' under the 'info' column.

For step 7-ii (assign letter), N or V is commonly used. Can be anything that is not already in use.

Step 8-i (cd) will fail if you selected the wrong disk and / or the volume.

After step 8-ii (bootrec), if the command is successful, remember to skip over the section for 'if you do not have the installation media'. Continue at 'The next step is the same across all systems: 1. Rebuild the BCD store'. Enter exit on the command prompt after bcdboot is successful, then select to 'turn off your PC'.

If step 8-ii (bootrec) failed, e.g., 'access denied' error triggered, execute the following on the command prompt one at a time. Remember to replace with the letter assigned in step 7-ii.

format <drive letter>: /fs:fat32
    press enter when prompted for volume label
bcdboot c:\windows /s <drive letter>: /f UEFI

Enter exit on the command prompt, then select to 'turn off your PC'. Remove the recovery USB drive from the WS8. If you modified the 'boot option #1' BIOS setting previously in order to load the recovery drive, you must now change it to boot the Windows drive.