Fixing the Microsoft Windows 10 1709 post upgrade restart loop

October 23, 2017 – 10:48 pm

Fixing the Microsoft Windows 10 1709 post upgrade restart loop

server storage I/O data infrastructure trends

Updated 1/21/2018

Recently I needed to upgrade one of my systems to Microsoft Windows 10 1709 (e.g. the September 2017) release that post upgrade resulted in Windows Explorer, desktop and taskbar going into an endless loop. For those not familiar with Windows 10 1709 learn more here, and here including on how to get the bits (e.g. software). Windows 10 1709 is a semi-annual channel (SAC) Microsoft is following to enable a faster cadence or pace of releases making new features available faster. Note that there is a Windows 10 1709 SAC, as well as Windows Server 2017 SAC (more on that here).

All was well with the 1709 install on Windows 10 until post upgrade when I logged into my account on my laptop (Lenovo X1). Once logged in initially everything looked good until about 10 to 20 seconds later, the screen flickered, the desktop refreshed as did the taskbar. All was well for about another 10 to 20 seconds and again the desktop refreshed as did the taskbar. Trying to use the Windows key plus other keys was no success, likewise trying to use command prompt, Powershell or other tools was futile given how quick the refresh occurred.

Powering off the system and rebooting seemed normal, until once logged in and again the desktop and taskbar reset in the same looping fashion. Once again did a shutdown and restart, logged in and the same result.

The Safe Mode Fix

Unless you can access a command prompt or Powershell with administrator privileges, boot into Windows Safe mode.

The solution to the post Windows 10 1709 upgrade desktop and taskbar restart loop was to boot into safe mode and run the following three commands.

sfc /scannow

dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /scanhealth
dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

Before you can run the above commands, access Windows Safe Mode. Tip if your Windows 10 system presents a login screen, in the lower right corner select the Shutdown, Restart icon holding down the SHIFT key and select Restart. Your system should reboot presenting you with the following options, selecting Troubleshoot.

Windows 10 Troubleshoot

Next select Advanced options shown below.

Windows 10 Advanced Repair Options

Next select Startup Settings shown below. Note that this sequence of commands are also used for other troubleshooting scenarios including boot problems, restore image or to a previous protection point among other options.

Windows 10 System Repair Options

The following Startup Settings screen appears, select Restart to enter Safe Mode.

Windows 10 Startup Settings

Your system should then present the following options, select Safe Mode with Command Prompt (option 6).

Windows Safe Mode Options

Next your system should display a Command Prompt where the following three commands are run:

sfc /scannow
dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /scanhealth
dism.exe /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth

Windows Command Prompt in safe mode

Exit, shutdown, reboot and all should be good.

Some Tips and Recommendations

Before any upgrade, make sure you have good backups to enable various recovery points if needed.

If you have not done so recently, make sure you have system restore enabled, as well as underlying hypervisors or storage system snapshot.

If you have bitlocker enabled, before you do any upgrade, make sure to have a copy of your keys handy if you need to use them.

If you rely on PIN or fingerprint for login, make sure you have your real password handy.

If you have not done so recently, make sure your secondary standby emergency access account is working, if you dont have one, create one.

Where To Learn More

Learn more about related technology, trends, tools, techniques, and tips with the following links.

Additional learning experiences along with common questions (and answers), as well as tips can be found in Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials book.

Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials Book SDDC

What This All Means

For those who are planning on upgrading to Windows 10 1709 or any system for that matter, being ready for the unexpected can help when the unexpected does occur. While the above is focused on Windows 10 1709 upgrade, the tips and tools including safe mode are used for many other situations. Keep in mind that if something can go wrong sometime, sometime it will go wrong, so be prepared. As for Microsoft Windows 10 1709 post upgrade, all is good and it is running well on my different systems including physical as well as virtual devices.

By the way, if you have not heard, its Blogtober, check out some of the other blogs and posts occurring during October here.

Ok, nuff said, for now.


Greg Schulz – Microsoft MVP Cloud and Data Center Management, VMware vExpert 2010-2017 (vSAN and vCloud). Author of Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials (CRC Press), as well as Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press), Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier) and twitter @storageio. Courteous comments are welcome for consideration. First published on any reproduction in whole, in part, with changes to content, without source attribution under title or without permission is forbidden.

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