Windows 10 repair / re-install

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I have a Windows 10 laptop that has "spinning dots" upon bootup.  I have tried a number of suggested fixes with no luck.  I am thinking it is time to repair or re-install.  What is the recommended way to do this?  Machine is backed up as of 3 days before issue began.  It was Windows 8 and upgraded to 10, so I am thinking I should be OK to run an install on top.  I used to work on PCs pretty regularly but stopped right before Windows 7 became common.  Any tips would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance!

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Check and repair disk with a QUALITY (eg SpinRite) hard drive repair program This is not a Windows provided product

Windows 10 activation is automatic with Microsoft, they have your serial numbers of your CPU , HD , and Memory (Digital footprint).

When you install, it should authorize automatically.

gremln007 said:     Machine is backed up as of 3 days before issue began.
 

  Restore your backup.

If that fails download the MCT for Windows 10 and install.  As forbin4040 said, it will automatically activate - just click Skip when asked for a product key.

I'm concerned about the potential of a disk failure

ellory said:   I'm concerned about the potential of a disk failure
  
Hmm. I assumed the 'spinning dots' were more of a "Windows took a dump" issue.  Is it often related to disk issues?

Thanks to everyone for the advice.  I'll let you know how it turns out.
 

gremln007 said:     Is it often related to disk issues?


 

  Not always. But often  Windows stalls are almost always related to disk read issues

ellory said:   I'm concerned about the potential of a disk failure
  Luckily he has a backup.

Yes, but simply reinstalling won't necessarily cause the bad spot to be bypasse

ellory said:   Yes, but simply reinstalling won't necessarily cause the bad spot to be bypasse
  I had meant that he won't lose his data once he replaces the drive.  If it is bad.

Or he could try SpinRite to ensure those disk areas are never used again

I'm not a fan of that. Once a drive starts developing bad spots I prefer to just replace it. Drives are cheap so, IMO, it's just not worth taking a chance.

That works too. I would still run SpinRite. Its surprising the number of drives, out of the box, that have defects

Thanks again for the great responses.

This is resolved. I had created a Windows 10 repair / install disk using Media Creation Tool shortly after it happened for troubleshooting. I tried many of the options and a few from the command line. Unfortunately, none of that worked. I was able to use the Win 10 disk to reinstall without issue.

I did notice that the install process now has voice prompts. I don't remember that from my last Windows 10 upgrade or install. Perhaps, that was added in the big update for 10 a while back. Interesting addition..

I have run a few disks check before and after install. No issues found. Since I back it up regularly, I am going to keep the existing HDD. No reason to believe it has issues at this point.

Hopefully, this post might help others in the future with "spinning dots".

minidrag said:   I'm not a fan of that. Once a drive starts developing bad spots I prefer to just replace it. Drives are cheap so, IMO, it's just not worth taking a chance.
  New drives are just as likely to have bad sectors as older ones.  I have drives I've been using for years after running SpinRite.   Once a bad sector is ID'd, it's spared out via the drive firmware.  

drodge said:   
minidrag said:   I'm not a fan of that. Once a drive starts developing bad spots I prefer to just replace it. Drives are cheap so, IMO, it's just not worth taking a chance.
  New drives are just as likely to have bad sectors as older ones.  I have drives I've been using for years after running SpinRite.   Once a bad sector is ID'd, it's spared out via the drive firmware.  

  I suppose I am just too used to the business mind set, not the home one.  The risk, to me, is just too high.  I spent over 20 years working with drives and watching them fail soon after developing bad spots.  Based on that I simply don't trust them to not develop more, once the process starts.  I understand Spinrite will mark the existing spots, but that doesn't prevent more or prevent other problems.

Like any other risk it's up to the user to decide if it's worth it or not.  Once the price of HDDs started dropping the risk (in my mind) made no sense.

The reason they have that failure pattern is typically because there are a few adjacent sectors that are bad and prevent a read that can't be recovered by the drive. Using a tool, you can see the map and look for large scale clustering that suggests a major issue. If I saw that, I'd trash the drive too. A couple of bad sectors can easily be swapped out and the drive will likely be fine, though. The truth is that for the last decade or more, the drives have been doing that for you in the background and you never see it happening. Drives expect sectors to go bad and when they ID them, they simple swap sectors silently and in most cases you can't even see it was done, or how often. I now run SpinRite on all new drives before I do an installation. I haven't seen any that didn't have at least a few issues right out of the box. Manufacturers have stopped QC'ing drives the way they once did because they rely on the underlying drive firmware to do maintenance on the fly. SpinRite is simply exercising the drive to accelerate the detection process.

SpinRite as well keeps reading the bad sectors to recover the data



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