Hey IT Nerd! My Windows 7 System Won’t Boot. What Can I Do?

First of all, lets assume you have a current backup (You do backup your data? If Not, read this). If you do, you have one option to try. Assuming that the actual hardware (like the hard disk for example) is fine. Then what might be wrong is the MBR (Master Boot Record) is somehow screwed up. If that’s the case, you’ll need to dig out your Windows 7 DVD and try these steps to see if you can fix the damage:

  • Boot from your Windows DVD
  • Choose Repair Your Computer
  • Choose Command Prompt
  • When the command prompt appears, type bootrec.exe /fixmbr and hit enter.

Assuming that the MBR is the problem, this will fix it. But you’re not done yet.

  • Type x:bootbootsect.exe /nt60 all /force and hit enter. (replace x: with the drive letter that corresponds with your DVD drive).

This will apply boot code that is compatible with boot manager on all partitions. Of course, boot code will not be updated in partitions which don’t have any Windows installations (in other words partitions which are not bootable). But there’s one more step.

  • Type bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd

This will scan all partitions for Windows installations. When detected, it will give you the option of selecting the installations you want to add to the bootloader.

Assuming you’ve done all of that correctly, you can reboot and see if your Windows 7 computer works. Now, what if it doesn’t? The problem might be the fact that your Windows system files might be bad. If that’s the case, try this:

  • Boot from your Windows DVD
  • Choose Repair Your Computer
  • Choose Command Prompt
  • When the command prompt appears, type sfc /scannow

This will scan your Windows files and try to make any repairs that that are required. You might want to grab a coffee as this typically takes some time.

Now I will admit that Startup Repair tool is available when you boot from the Windows 7 DVD automates the above functions. But I prefer to do this sort of thing from the command prompt so that I can see what’s going on. I guess I’m a member of the old school when it comes to these sorts of things. Oh year, I should also note that these commands work with Vista as well. So if you have a Windows 7 (or Vista) system that doesn’t boot, you can give these tips a try to get yourself up and running again.

One Response to “Hey IT Nerd! My Windows 7 System Won’t Boot. What Can I Do?”

  1. I agree with your ideas. I’ll dig out your Windows 7 DVD and try these steps to see. Thanks boss 🙂

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