HP laptop restarting loop after Windows 10 upgrade

This morning I got a call from a customer who had tried to do an overnight online in-place upgrade from Windows 64bit OEM 7 Pro to Windows 10.

They have a HP laptop i7/8GB RAM and when they checked their “confuser” this morning they discovered that it was stuck in a worrying restart loop!

First thing that I tried, was to force a shutdown and then take out the battery. Then I pressed the power button for a few seconds to drain the capacitors. I turned the laptop back on and there was still the same problem of the restart loop.

1) The customer had about 30 applications that he had installed. Many install discs were missing and their respective passwords forgotten. Therefore, doing a F11 factory reset was not an option.

2) I wondered whether I should try using a Windows repair disc. Which disc would I use: W7 or W10 as I wasn’t sure what stage of the upgrade that the laptop was at. If I used the wrong one, it would make things worse. This is the same dilemma if I created a W10 ISO (installation programme image) using the Windows Media Creation tool.

3) Maybe try a system restore rollback or last known good option, but tapping the F8 key repeatedly didn’t work to get me into the safe start-up menu. The laptop would boot straight into the restart loop.

Then I remembered a post from HP support that you can force the safe start-up menu, by doing a force shutdown of the laptop during bootup a couple of times. Sure enough, after doing this, I was presented with the F8 safe mode screen. However, in the list of presented options wasn’t a “Last Known Good” choice for some reason. Crossing my fingers instead I chose the “Safe Mode With Networking”. I was hoping that maybe a driver had corrupted the upgrade process. Sometimes problems can happen when the laptop goes to sleep or loses power during the upgrade process, but the power options on the laptop were to not allow sleep mode when plugged in.

The laptop then did a reboot. This time however, there were messages about “starting services” and “getting things ready” which I had not seen before!

My hope was short lived as after a few minutes, I was presented with the options that would be presented with a clean install; rather than an in-place upgrade that had been attempted. This are questions such as setting a username & password for the new user account. I gulped as I thought about the 30 apps that would need reinstalling!

After entering the same username with no password and choosing a local account, the laptop finally booted into Windows 10! More amazing was that his 30 apps were there. So an in-place upgrade had been successful after all!

I then went into the control panel to check for updates to see a message that the W10 OS wasn’t activated. Each time I tried to activate it I got a failed message. I then chose to choose another key and entered the W7 OEM key. After what seemed like an eternity Bill Gates told me that the customer’s copy of Windows 10 had been activated!