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Clean Install Fixes Long-Standing Win10 Restart Issue

Sometimes, the march of progress can be both rewarding and infuriating, where Windows 10 is concerned. Case in point: a series of failed upgrades on my Dell Venue Pro 11 recently turned into a clean install. I switched from a default disk layout with the WinRE partition first, to MS’s preferred layout which puts it last. At the same time, a long-standing gotcha on that PC also fixed itself. It was introduced last January, when the first of several firmware patches for Spectre and Meltdown made an appearance. After installing that patch, my system no longer restarted properly. Only with battery removed, and AC power temporarily disconnected then reconnected, would it start back up again. But late last week, a clean install fixes long-standing Win10 restart issue finally banished this problem. If only I knew how or why this happened, I’d be much happier.

After 7 months with no normal restart ability, a clean 1803 install sets things right again!
[Click image to see full-sized view.]

Clean Install Fixes Long-Standing Win10 Restart Issue Remains Mysterious

I can only guess that something in the first firmware update damaged the boot structure somehow. Perhaps it affected the EFI partition. Because I couldn’t restart the machine properly after that, I couldn’t install the A24 BIOS update released in June, 2018, either. That’s because the BIOS installer schedules a rewrite of the BIOS after restart to give it a clean slate to work on. But no proper restart also meant no BIOS update, either.

When I rebuilt the boot environment from scratch, though, restart resumed working normally. This enabled a BIOS update, as shown in the preceding screen capture from System Information. Interestingly, the OS never lost its ability to restart while performing upgrades. Only when the installer returned boot control to the Windows 10 UI did restart cease working properly. So I knew a fix of some kind was possible. As it happens, a clean install did the trick.

Vindicating Conventional Wisdom on Periodic Clean Installs

This machine had previously been through over 100 Windows upgrades, a sequence uninterrupted since I installed a Technical Preview in early 2015, about five months into that program. Conventional wisdom on Windows is that it’s a good idea to perform a clean install on PC’s periodically. It’s viewed as a clean-up for “behind the scenes” buildup of trash and detritus. I see this welcome return to normal restart operation on the Venue Pro 11 as vindication of such wisdom. Kind of makes me wonder why I didn’t try it sooner, rather than later. But better late than never!

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