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Russell H.
Russell H., Computer System Tech
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Laptop not booting windows 10 system restore says not enough

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laptop not booting
windows 10
system restore says not enough space
32GB store
4.5GB free
system restore failed
can open cmd prompt. tried bootrec.exe...
C:/boot/bcd not found
disk checks fine

Hi, thank you for contacting My name is***** will do my best to provide the right answer to your question.

I suggest that you (through Command Prompt) start the Disk Cleanup program. (Its command prompt name is


and it should be good to use.) Use it to clean at least the Temporary Internet Files and the Temporary Files.

Once those are removed, also look for files you just plain don't need that are *large*: video files especially. Delete them.

By these means, get at least 2 GB to 10 GB off your hard disk.

Then try restarting the computer.

If this answers your question, please rate my answer. A five-star rating would be appreciated!

If you need more info, or have any comments, use Reply To Expert to respond.


Customer: replied 10 months ago.
i tried that but there were no temporary files in any of the drives; c, d and x to remove. in the users folders there was only a public folder

So how big is the hard drive in total?

Did you have an anti-virus program active on it before this happened, if so, what was the program?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
hard drive is 32gb! i know what you're going to say...
there seems to be a mcafee folder there. not sure if it was active. laptop belongs to my sister

Well, more disk space is needed, if startup of the whole OS is to be achieved.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
ok, what do you suggest?

Can you get a USB flash drive working with the system as it now stands?

If so, locate large data files, and copy them off to the USB flash drive ... then delete the originals on the hard disk (they will be able to be restored to it later.)

If that cannot work because there are no locatable data files, then there is surely something that can be removed for sure. Programs? or more likely Hidden files...possibly quite a lot of them.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
i have removed a lot of stuff but still only have 6.5gb free. what can i delete from the following;
perflogs, program files, programs files (x86), users, windows, windows10upgrade, quardata, $
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
just seen the windows folder is 26.6gb. what can i delete from there?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
also, do you know where is the bcd file? i cant seem to find it to rebuild it.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
not sure how this is possible; i have 33.7 gb of files on the c drive and 6.5gb free. storage is supposed to be just 32gb?

Don't delete from Program Files, either one. Don't delete from Windows. Don't delete from quardata (because I don't know what that is exactly, I admit, so play it safe...).... Do delete from Users/YourAccountName ... those are your user files, it's your data to lose (or whoever's data to lose) if they are deleted. Perflogs *might* be deleted from. Don't delete from $, though - that might be a very bad idea.

If you can run Disk Cleanup, be sure to run it and delete Temporary Files and also Temporary Internet Files.

Go to ThisPC

then right-click on the C: icon at the left. Select Properties from the menu that appears... it will show you a pie chart of the hard disk, used and unused space. What does that indicate, please?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
windows does not boot so im doing all this via cmd prompt
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
ive copied all user data to a usb drive so i can reset the whole pc now is needed

OK, good. Reset the whole PC meaning 'reinstall Windows' I would guess - or something similar, using the Safe Mode boot menu perhaps? if so good idea - but some programs installed on the disk at present may need reinstalling, be it noted, barring the use of certain of those Safe Mode options.

System Restore would do also - it preserves all installed programs prior to the Restore Point changed to.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
pc does not boot in safe mode either; tried hard boot and through advanced options. cant reset or refresh as it says 'additional free space is needed on the drive where Windows is installed. Free up some space and try again'

That's too bad. You may have to delete something unused in Program Files (x86) then. Choose wisely... deleting rather than Uninstalling, can lead to a program hanging around in 'ghost' form, not removed and not removable... which can obstruct reinstalling it.

Also, look in

\Windows\Temporary Internet Files

and don't delete any folders there - they are not deletable properly anyway but it might cripple the system. Delete the files in the folder (Temporary Internet Files) itself, rather than in subfolders of that folder. Those are really deletable temp files.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
there are no big files there. programs files 86 is just about 1.5 gig max. the main culprit seems to be the windows folder; 26.6 gig. nothing in temp

Deleting Windows files (that are not Temporary Internet Files) can cripple the system.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
no, i havent deleted anything in there

Good... I made a mistake (I learned Windows back in the 1990s, so my knowledge occasionally slips to the archaic, sorry...) the Temporary Internet Files folder is in

"C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files"

and that's a place where (if not in subfolders) there are files that definitely can be spared!

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
i cant navigate to there. there isnt a documents and settings directory

No wonder the Windows system is crippled.

Perhaps that folder is Hidden on your system... try this exact command:

cd "C:\Documents and Settings"

with the quotes included as stated.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
the system cannot find the path specified

It works on my system, therefore your system's Windows is badly damaged, if that directory is not even present!

Try going to

CD \

and then do

DIR Doc*

and see if anything shows up.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
file not found

Then try

CD \

and then

CD Doc*

which does get into any Doc.... named directory in the root directory.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
system cannot find the path specified
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
all i have on c is...

Then try

CD \

and then

CD Doc*

which does get into any Doc.... named directory in the root directory.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
all i have on c is;$
program files
program files (x86)

If I do a

CD \

then a

DIR *.*

I don't see a Documents And Settings folder either. But it should be there, and if it's gone, the Windows system was badly damaged, possibly by a virus attack, in which case, reinstalling Windows from scratch is advisable.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
ok, how do i reinstall windows. pcs these days dont come with install discs. can i create one?

A flash drive reinstall may be feasible - if you have Windows 10. Is that what is or was originally on the computer? if 'yes', then does the computer have a Microsoft hologram sticker with a readable code?

Or a CD disc can be burned from a download to install Windows 10 - see these two pages:


If this answers your question, please rate my answer. A five-star rating would be appreciated!

If you need more info, or have any comments, use Reply To Expert to respond.


Customer: replied 10 months ago.
it was windows 10. no readable code shown. can i get the code from the cmd line? would it be recorded there anywhere? if i do a clean install what happens about licensing. will it pick this up from the laptop or do i need to get the license from somewhere?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
also, how can i check if my machine is 64 or 32 bit? im guessing it is 64bit as it was bought about a year and a bit ago

It's probably 64-bit. If it's 32-bit, 64-bit will promptly refuse to run/install.

Let me look up the location of the install code for Win 10... just a moment...

You may not need it - see this page for more information:

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
ok will try those out

All right... let me know if/when you need any help or advice.

Russell H. and 10 other Computer Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hello,Ok, I have tried those two links. The first link started to reinstall Windows on the machine that I was downloading it on. I just caught it in time before it wiped my machine
the second link appeared to start to create the media onto the disk but then it failed many times. it just crashes and then the usb stick says unrecognized file system
Can you suggest anything else?

I'm sorry to hear that. As for the second one crashing, with 'unrecognized file system', that makes i sound as if the hard disk were corrupted or scrambled or unusable.

However, it might be that the hard drive needs an SATA driver to be loaded for the drive to be accessible. Let me know the maker and model #, or the hard drive maker and model, and I will instruct you further.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
the unrecognised file system is on the USB not the hard drive. I haven't been able to create the media file yet

That sounds peculiar. What was the source for the USB stick, please?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
not sure what you mean but I followed the second link you gave and tried to create this on 3 different USB sticks

Did the creation on the 3 USB sticks fail, or was it the use of them that failed?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
the creation failed

Perhaps they were not of large enough total capacity. How large were the 3 you have tried and failed with so far?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I tried 2 x 16GB and 1 x 8gb

8 GB should be sufficient. So, please tell me the exact and full error message that ends the attempt to create on a USB drive, so that I can tell what's going on.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
there is no error message on the fail. it just goes from increasing percentage up to about 29%. then the purple progress window just closes. when I then click on the USB it comes up with the unrecognised file system message. it seems like it's writing to USB and then corrupts the stick. If I format the USB after this it becomes usable again as a blank USB

What computer are you doing this process on, and what anti-virus does it have on it, please?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
windows 10 with defender

I suspect that something slipped past Windows Defender and has infected that system - if Defender is all it has. (Microsoft provides it with Windows nowadays - and it's good enough for a first week or two or month or two - I can't say how long and I'm sure it varies. But eventually you need something better.

If you're on a budget (and cannot afford $100 a year major names in anti-virus software), try this:

Your PC needs an anti-virus suite.

In this case, I would advise you to get

which provides (when I last heard) a free anti-virus (no-cost free, that is) for internet security.

Download it, install it, update the anti-virus part fully, then do a Deep Scan or Full Scan on your C: Hard Drive, and eliminate what it finds... this may take an hour or two, but should clean up your PC, and also leave it in a safer condition and less prone to be attacked successfully in future (esp. if you practice good internet practices, don't visit off-color websites, and also take care what emails you open, etc.)

I hope that this helps you get the flash-drive-building working properly, after that is done!

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ok wasn't expecting that but will give it a go! thanks.

It probably will help. Good luck! and thank you for asking your question here at

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ok, i have created the installation disk. now the problem i have is that i get to the installation menu on the faulty laptop with two options; repair and install now. going through the repair options; troubleshoot or shutdown; i choose troubleshoot. options are; system restore, go back to previous version, system image recovery. startup repair. command prompt. none of these options allow me to repair. so i choose install now; options are; upgrade or custom install. upgrade option comes up with an error; upgrade not available isnt available if you start your computer using the windows installation media. if a copy of windows is already on this pc, remove media and restart windows then run windows setup. (which i cant do as windows doesnt start). so i choose custom install; i run into an error messsage; windows cannot be installed to this disk. the selected disk is not of the GPT partition style. Any suggestions from here?

Backtrack a bit: you don't just need 'repair' as your only option. System Restore - if it works - would do.

But - are you trying to save data from being overwritten? If so, don't choose image recovery, and install now might well overwrite data also.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
System restore doesnt work. The error message that comes back is "To use system restore, you must specify which windows installation to restore. restart this computer selecting an operating system and then select system restore". there is no such option to select.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
im not trying to save to the data. i have removed any personal files so am trying a clean install.

You may have to start from scratch and install from scratch then. It sounds as if the Windows install is messed up in a very significant way, unfortunately, so there may be no other alternative.

Since the avenues of choices all end in 'this disk is not of GPT partition type', then you may have to repartition the disk before Windows can be installed on it.

But that error message (if it doesn't mean that your hard disk is simply 'dead' and needs replacing physically) might mean you need to tweak the BIOS Setup a bit, with relation to the hard disk:

which in terms of simple actions means, restart, get into BIOS Setup immediately after restart, then go into the hard drive options in the BIOS Setup, and configure it to UEFI instead of its current mode.

Then exit Saving Changes, then boot off your install drive/flash drive, then try an Install Now, then Custom Install, I think.

Let me know if there's a problem or uncertainty.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
i dont believe the hard drive is dead as i am able to use command prompt to navigate the files within.ive changed it to UEFI and changed boot order to 1 USB HDD, 2 USB FDD. but it still seems to be booting from windows boot manager. When i use F12 to go into Boot Menu it only shows 1 option; windows boot manager. secure boot is also showing as enabled. When I change to legacy, i get the option to select usb hdd and this is where i then am able to select the windows install.

OK, good!

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ok. so what do you suggest from here? to recap; if i use UEFI, i am unable to select boot from USB. If I choose Legacy I can boot from USB but i get the error saying the partitions are not of the type GPT

You will need to partition the hard drive then, with a suitable utility. Would you like to try that?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
is there no other way to do a simple install over what i have already without any repartioning?

By all appearances, no. But partitioning is fairly easy once you get it started.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
i would like to try to install using uefi settings, before partioning, but i am just unable to select usb when using uefi. do you know how to change the boot to show that?

Try disabling Secure Bootup, then UEFI will allow booting from USB drive... hopefully. (This is a huge summary, so there's a chance it will be wrong.)

You look for Secure Bootup in the Security section of the BIOS Setup, often.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
disabled secure boot and changed the order in bios but it still boots in windows boot manager and boot menu just shows one option; windows boot manager

There's only one boot system on the flash drive, I guess.

Now try using Setup to install (Custom), see if it works this time.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
the problem is that it doesnt boot to flash drive. just windows boot manager
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ok, i have managed to boot from usb in uefi mode. i have an error message saying that i need 9259mb free space and i only have 6475mb free. so it looks like i need just 2784mb to clear. all i seem to have is program files (2.5GB), programs file (x86) (O.5GB) and windows (26.5GB) that are taking up all the space. anything i can safely clear from those?

You can clear


most likely. Other files you mentioned... not so much, unless there's a big Program under the Program Files directory... but don't remove any basal directories!

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
no temp is empty. the partitioning you mentioned, will that essentially wipe everything anyway?

Yes, repartitioning does wipe everything out pretty much.