Clean Reinstall Unexpected Error Loop

Oct 18, 2015

I installed Windows 10 on my Win 7 HP Envy 4 laptop recently. A week later, the computer began running very slowly and the start menu and notification center stopped working.

Finally, I decided to do a clean reinstall of Windows 10, using the media creation tool and a USB drive. I was able to get the installation started fine, but after 20 minutes it hung on "the computer restarted unexpectedly or encountered an unexpected error." Attempts to hit "OK" and start again bring up the same message and the same circling dots. I've tried the regedit fix described on various sites, but regedit also hangs before I'm able to exit. Now the computer hangs on a screen asking for the Win 10 product key. No way to enter it even if I had it.

I'm at a loss on what to do now. The computer won't boot to safe mode. I can access the BIOS screen, but only the two first keys are responsive; trying to change boot order, for example, just results in the same reinstall error message.

Have I hopelessly bricked this machine? I'm not worried about losing files, but I'd sure like to get this thing running again.

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