To repair the boot sector by fixing the master boot record, there is no doubt, you will have to be technically minded to proceed. You can sometimes fix the boot sector of a hard drive and your computer will magically start as normal.
Your computer may continually restart, sometimes load the Windows logo screen, or even just have a black screen. There are a number of symptoms that occur when you have a damaged boot sector such as the master boot record.
What is a boot sector of a hard drive?
Your hard drive is split into small sectors and the first of these is the boot sector. It is the most important and is obviously accessed first when the computer first boots up. If your hard drive is not partitioned it will have a Volume Boot Record.
What is the master boot record (MBR)?
The Bios looks for a boot sector of your hard drive. If the hard drive has a partition it will go to the Master Boot Record. This tells BIOS about your partition table and where the operating system is that you want to boot up.
What can damage the Master Boot Record in the Boot Sector?
- Having problems when installing Operating Systems can damaged the master boot record. Stopping half way through installation is the most common cause.
- Changing the Windows Registry entries.
- Getting a virus that infects the MBR. Many viruses are built to attack the MBR.
What you will need to Repair the master boot record (MBR) of a hard drive
- An original Full Version Windows XP. The one you used to originally put Windows on your computer. An OEM version may not have this option, it depends on the company it came from. ( Dell, Acer, HP, etc)
- You will need to know the administrator password for your Windows installation.
- Put your original Windows XP CD into the cd drive of your computer. If your PC cannot enter Windows, or your Windows has problems, this CD can help!
- Restart your computer and hopefully it will come up and say press any key to boot from the cd.
- So therefore you must press any key on your keyboard to start from the cd.
- If this does not come up you need to enter your bios and change the boot order or sequence. See How to get into Your BIOS and change settings.
- A blue screen will appear and you are on your way..
- You may need to press F8 to agree to the Windows Setup agreement.
- After that the setup options will appear (see screen shot below).
- Do not press ENTER as it will start installing Windows from scratch and you will loose all of your data on your hard drive.
- Press the letter R on your keyboard to enter the Recovery Console.
- When Recovery Console starts you will have to enter the number that corresponds with the installation you want to repair. For example if you have only one Windows installed on your computer then you would press the number one key. If you have two operating systems on your computer and you want to repair the second one then press 2.
- Enter your Administrator password for that windows installation. You must enter an admin password here and if you do not, you cannot continue.
- At the Recovery Console command prompt, type fixmbr.
- You will be asked to confirm that you want to do this by pressing the Y key for yes.
- Now your Master Boot record will be fixed.
Now if that did not work you can also repair the Boot sector by following the same steps but typing fixboot instead of fixmbr.
Fix the boot sector of a hard drive in Windows Vista and Windows Seven:
This screen shot below shows what you will see when you insert the Windows Vista or Seven operating system cd. You can try to do a Start up repair first. Generally this repairs Windows problems. If you want to fix the boot sector of a hard drive you will need to choose the Command Prompt option, as we did for Windows XP. Type Bootrec.exe, and then press ENTER. This will let you into the Bootrec.exe tool where you can type try to repair the boot problems.
Please see more options on how to repair startup using the Bootrec.exe tool.
Using software to recover the Boot Sector of your hard drive
You can easily buy a boot disc to repair your computer for you, however if you are going to fork out your money you might as well do it properly with something you can use for more than just one purpose. Before buying anything you should look at paying $49.95 for The NO.1 Boot Utility Disk – praised by PC Magazine! This program will:
- Boot up computer even if it is infected with virus.
- Fast recovery from crashes such as bluescreen and blackscreen.
- Fix booting problems and random crash.
- Fix missing file crash such as “ntldr is missing”, “bootmgr is missing” etc.
- Repair partition table, corrupt registry, registry key value infected by virus, and crashed MBR even it is infected with virus.
- 1-click system file recovery.
- Rescue Windows 98/ME/2K/HOME/2003/XP/NT/Vista/7.
It will also recover files from a damaged hard drive, format, clean, clone and backup. Need I say more? This is what the computer techies use to fix your computer and charge you loads of cash per hour for their labor.
- For earlier versions of Windows you can type in Fdisk /mbr at the command prompt.
- Before typing fixmbr or fixboot you can type chkdsk and this will check your hard drive disk for bad sectors and offer to repair them.
- A hard disk only has a MBR if it has been partitioned. If it is a new hard disk drive it will have a Volume Boot Record (VBR). When it has been partitioned it will have a MBR instead.
- Also see more about your computer has a black screen or a black screen with a flashing cursor.
I am sorry I cannot help everyone here case by case but I do appreciate your comments and questions. If people share their experiences below we will all learn more about this problem.
Please comment below and let us know how you repair or fix your boot sector?