Repair Startup Errors in Windows Vista and Seven with Bootrec.exe

Back in the days of Windows XP bootrec.exe did not exist. Fixing the master boot record in Windows XP is a bit different. In this article I will show you how to use the Bootrec.exe tool to repair boot problems in Windows Vista or Windows 7.

The bootrec.exe tool can be used to fix:

  • A master boot record (MBR)
  • A boot sector
  • A Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store

Please note that this tutorial presumes you have your original operating system disc so you can troubleshoot and repair startup errors. You will also need to make sure that the boot options in your BIOS are set to boot from your cd/dvd drive. If your dvd does not boot up and you do not see the option to “press any key to boot from dvd” then you need to enter into your BIOS and change boot options.

If your PC cannot enter Windows, or your Windows has problems, this CD can help!

The first thing you should try if you are having boot problems it to start Windows Recovery Console and choose the Startup Repair. Then if that does not work you can try some more advanced options such as using the Bootrec.exe tool.

To run the Bootrec.exe tool, you must start Windows Recovery. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Place the Windows Vista or Windows 7 installation disc in the disc drive, and then start the computer.
  2. Press a key when you are prompted.
  3. Select a language, a time, a currency, a keyboard or an input method, and then click Next.
  4. Click Repair your computer.
  5. Click the operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next.
  6. In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Command Prompt.
  7. Type Bootrec.exe, and then press ENTER.

Bootrec.exe options

The Bootrec.exe tool supports the following options. Use the option that is appropriate for your situation.bootuppc300X250

Note Use the Bootrec.exe tool to troubleshoot “Bootmgr Is Missing” issue. If rebuilding the BCD does not resolve the startup issue, you can export and delete the BCD, and then run this option again. By doing this, you make sure that the BCD is completely rebuilt.

To do this, type the following commands at the Windows RE command prompt:

  • bcdedit /export C:BCD_Backup
  • c:
  • cd boot
  • attrib bcd -s -h -r
  • ren c:bootbcd bcd.old
  • bootrec /RebuildBcd


The /FixMbroption writes a Windows 7 or Windows Vista-compatible MBR to the system partition. This option does not overwrite the existing partition table. Use this option when you must resolve MBR corruption issues, or when you have to remove non-standard code from the MBR.

Command: bootrec / fixmbr


The /FixBoot option writes a new boot sector to the system partition by using a boot sector that is compatible with Windows Vista or Windows 7. Use this option if one of the following conditions is true:

  • The boot sector has been replaced with a non-standard Windows Vista or Windows 7 boot sector.
  • The boot sector is damaged.
  • An earlier Windows operating system has been installed after Windows Vista or Windows 7 was installed. In this scenario, the computer starts by using Windows NT Loader (NTLDR) instead of Windows Boot Manager (Bootmgr.exe).

Command: bootrec /fixboot


The /ScanOs option scans all disks for installations that are compatible with Windows Vista or Windows 7. Additionally, this option displays the entries that are currently not in the BCD store. Use this option when there are Windows Vista or Windows 7 installations that the Boot Manager menu does not list.


The /RebuildBcd option scans all disks for installations that are compatible with Windows Vista or Windows 7. Additionally, this option lets you select the installations that you want to add to the BCD store. Use this option when you must completely rebuild the BCD.

Command: bootrec / rebuildbcd

Watch this video tutorial showing hot to fix startup errors with Bootrec.exe

This won’t work if

1.  If your computer is not configured to start from a CD or DVD, check the information that came with your computer. You may need to change your computer’s BIOS settings as stated above.

  • Choose your language settings, and then click Next.
  • Click Repair your computer.
  • Select the operating system you want to repair, and then click Next.
  • On the System Recovery Options menu, click Startup Repair

2.  If you added anything that your PC hardware will recognize as a hard drive (USB external HD, memory card reader & maybe even a MP3 player), then Win7 will install /Boot/BCD to one of these.

3. I’m also assuming that you don’t have multi-partitioned HD with dual-booting OS’s. Just reconfigure your hardware & BIOS to the same as when you installed a working Win 7. If it works, then do the utility thing.

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.



  1. Uchenna says

    Yes, with Windows XP, I would use the recovery console on the installation CD to boot into DOS. You can install that to the OS, something many people are unaware of. Anyway, excellent tutorial, never actually used the Bootrec.exe to recover a damaged master boot record.

  2. Simon says

    Oops… I should have found this page a few days before… I screw up the MBR by installing partition magic (unbelievable it’s able to screw up my mbr anyway….)
    I also tried some other programs to recover the MBR, but now when I insert the disc back into my dell laptop it keeps coming with some dell diagnosis… Strange enough the harddisk is recognized in the BIOS… I just screw it up… at least i was able to back up the harddrive…

  3. Rodger says

    Bootrec.exe is definitely more useful than the old recovery console on Windows XP, most of the commands on that tend not to too much, though there are commands that you can use to fix your master boot file.

  4. says

    Nice, never used bootrec.exe to fix a startup issue with any computer I’ve ever used, though I have my methods, its always good to learn more.

  5. says

    Like other Windows errors, bootrec.exe is also famous for it’s error type and the situation it creates after which, it’s too difficult for daily user to get over from it.
    Great article indeed.

  6. adi helmi jaini says

    fix’s a hardware problem..mine using acer 4540 and recently the cd/dvd player won’t i tried to let the player open while my laptop is turned off and tried to turn it on..and the blinking problem is gone…tried it for several times and my laptop didn’t have the blinking problem..

  7. says

    Hi !
    Very useful article.I hope you are doing very hardwork.One quality article need lots of research.We all webster hoping lot more from you in future.

  8. Mika Castro says

    By the way Mitz, Thank you for all of your articles. It always helps me in any aspects of technology. I hope to see some of your useful information. Have a nice day.

  9. Cinny18 says

    Some how i can say that error is just a natural thing that happens in a activities but then why you will stay suffer if you can solved these simple problem.