Windows Stuck at choose your keyboard layout screen or blank screen with a Recycle Bin

This is guide is about Fix Windows stuck at choose your keyboard layout screen or blank screen with a recycle bin. On a system with Avast antivirus installed, when upgrading to Windows 10, version 1803, Windows automatically restarts and one of these two conditions might be experienced:

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  • The upgrade appears to complete, but after signing in, you observe a blank screen with only a Recycle Bin and a taskbar.  The mouse cursor is present, but the Start menu may not function.  Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del runs the Task Manager, but the Task Manager may not be helpful.
  • During the upgrade, Windows restarts to a screen that prompts you to “Choose your keyboard layout“.  From there, troubleshooting options can be selected, but none of them appear to resolve the issue.  For example, if Windows Rollback is selected, the entire process repeats.

Windows Stuck at choose your keyboard layout screen or blank screen with a Recycle Bin

Fix Windows Stuck at choose your keyboard layout screen or black screen with a recycle bin

In cooperation with Avast, Microsoft has identified an element of the Avast Behavior Shield that conflicts with the April 2018 Update, and that may result in this experience.  Avast has released an update to prevent this issue from occurring.  Once you’ve restored your system, make sure your Avast antivirus is up-to-date.

You can use one of the following methods to restore Windows.  If your system currently boots to the Choose your keyboard layout screen, please try Method 1 first.  Otherwise, skip to Method 2, which is a variation of a solution posted on the Avast forums.

Method 1:  Use Command Prompt to repair Windows Rollback

  1. At the “Choose your keyboard layout” screen, select a keyboard (such as US).
  2. At the “Choose an option screen”, verify that the top left tile reads “Continue – Exit and continue to Windows Rollback“. If this is not the case, please do not proceed further and use Method 2 instead.
  3. Select Troubleshoot.
  4. Select Command Prompt.
  5. In the cmd.exe window, type bcdedit and press Enter.
  6. There should be 4 entries displayed.  Ignore the first entry, called {bootmgr}.  The next entries should all have an attribute called “device” or “bootstatdevice“, which will have a value similar to partition=E:
  7. In the cmd.exe window, switch to the drive letter you noted in the previous step.  In this example, you would type E: and press Enter.
  8. Type the following command and then press Enter:

copy \Windows.old\Windows\System32\OOBE\SetupPlatform\SetupPlatform.exe \$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources

9.  When completed, you should see the output, “1 file(s) copied“.  If you see any other output, please do not proceed further and instead use Method 2

10.   In the cmd.exe window, type exit and press Enter.  This should return you to the Choose an option screen.

11.  Select Continue – Exit and continue to Windows Rollback.

12.  Your device should restart and Windows Rollback should then successfully restore your system to the previous version of Windows.  Once you are successfully restored, Microsoft recommends that you do not attempt to manually install the April Update – please wait until Windows notifies you that the update is ready for your device.

Method 2:  Perform an in-place upgrade

To restore your system, you will need:

  • A blank USB drive with at least 8 GB of disk space
  • Another working Windows PC that you can use briefly (for example, a 2nd computer in your home, a friend’s computer, or one at a library or print shop)
  1. On a working PC, go to the Microsoft software download website.
  2. Download the media creation tool and then run it.
  3. Select Create installation media for another PC.
  4. Choose a language, edition, and architecture (64-bit or 32-bit).
  5. Follow the steps to create installation media on your USB drive, and then select Finish.
  6. On the computer that is experiencing the problem, use the power button to restart until it boots to the blue recovery screens.  (You do not need to boot to the USB drive you just made.)
  7. At the Choose your keyboard layout screen, choose your keyboard layout (e.g., US).
  8. At the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.
  9. Select Command Prompt.
  10. In the cmd.exe window, type C: and press Enter.  (If Windows is saved to a drive other than the C: drive, type the appropriate drive letter.)
  11. Type the following command and press Enter.  This command renames the Windows.old folder to protect your personal files from being overwritten in certain scenarios.

Ren Windows.old Windows.old.bak

12.  In the cmd.exe window, type exit and press Enter.  This should return you to the Choose an option screen.

13.  Select Use another operating system.

14.  Select the second option, “Windows 10 on volume X“, where “X” will be a number.

15.  Wait for Windows to load the desktop.  (If necessary, enter your password to sign in.)  You may have to wait a long time for the desktop to appear while the “update” gets ready.

16.  Once the desktop attempts to load, close any error messages that appear (such as “C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop is unavailable”).

17.  Right-click any blank area on the taskbar, and then select Task Manager.

18.  If necessary, select More details, so that you can see the Menu bar.

19.  Select File, then Run new task.

20.  In the dialog box that appears, check the box for Create this task with administrator privileges.

21.  Select Browse…

22.  Insert the USB drive you used to create installation media on the working computer.  Navigate to your USB drive and select setup.exe.

23.  Run the setup.exe file and follow the steps to “upgrade” Windows.  Uncheck the boxes for “check for new updates” and “help make this version better”.  If you are asked what you want to keep, make sure you tell it to keep everything!

24.  Setup may take some time to run.  Once completed, your system should be restored and fully up-to-date.  You may need to sign in again to your Microsoft Account.

25.  If you lost any personal files during the upgrade process, you can retrieve your files from the Windows.old.bak folder you created in step 11.  Open File Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows.old.bak.  Select the Users folder, and then your user account name.  Open the folders that contain the files you want to retrieve and copy/paste the files into a desired location.

“Microsoft is currently investigating potential solutions and workarounds and will update this thread once they are available. Source Microsoft Community. Let us know your questions below in comments or in Forum. Learn how to reset or refresh Windows 10

Arun Prabhakar has written 159 articles

Arun Prabhakar immensely interested in following Windows and other technology developments. Being passionate Windows blogger, he loves to help others on fixing their computer issues.