How do I fix a boot (startup) problem?

In previous versions of Windows, a boot disk (sometimes called a startup disk) was a floppy disk or a compact disc (CD) that contained Windows startup files. If those same files on your hard disk were damaged, you could use the boot disk to get Windows started.

In this version of Windows, the Windows installation disc contains the files necessary to start Windows. You can use Startup Repair and the other tools on the System Recovery Options menu to attempt repairs or restore data from a backup. If your computer manufacturer has preinstalled recovery options, Startup Repair might also be installed on your hard disk. If your computer does not include Startup Repair, your computer manufacturer might have customized or replaced the tool. Check the information that came with your computer or go to the manufacturer's website.

To use Startup Repair

If you have a Windows Vista installation disc, you need to restart (boot) your computer using the installation disc. If you do not restart your computer from the disc, the option to repair your computer will not appear.

If you have a Windows installation disc:

  1. Insert the installation disc.

  2. Restart your computer.

    Click the Start button Picture of Start button, click the arrow next to the Lock button Picture of Lock button, and then click Restart.
  3. If prompted, press any key to start Windows from the installation disc.

    Note

    • 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. For more information, see BIOS: frequently asked questions.

  4. Choose your language settings, and then click Next.

  5. Click Repair your computer.

  6. Select the operating system you want to repair, and then click Next.

  7. On the System Recovery Options menu, click Startup Repair. Startup Repair might prompt you to make choices as it tries to fix the problem and, if necessary, it might restart your computer as it makes repairs.

If Startup Repair is a preinstalled recovery option on your computer:

  1. Remove all floppy disks, CDs, and DVDs from your computer, and then restart your computer.

    Click the Start button Picture of Start button, click the arrow next to the Lock button Picture of Lock button, and then click Restart.
  2. Do one of the following:

    • If your computer has a single operating system installed, press and hold the F8 key as your computer restarts. You need to press F8 before the Windows logo appears. If the Windows logo appears, you will need to try again by waiting until the Windows logon prompt appears, and then shutting down and restarting your computer.

    • If your computer has more than one operating system, use the arrow keys to highlight the operating system you want to repair, and then press and hold F8.

  3. On the Advanced Boot Options screen, use the arrow keys to highlight Repair your computer, and then press ENTER. (If Repair your computer is not listed as an option, then your computer does not include Startup Repair as a preinstalled recovery option.)

  4. Select a keyboard layout, and then click Next.

  5. Select a user name and enter the password, and then click OK.

  6. On the System Recovery Options menu, click Startup Repair. Startup Repair might prompt you to make choices as it tries to fix the problem and, if necessary, it might restart your computer as it makes repairs.

Be sure to keep your Windows installation disc in a safe place. If your computer came with Windows preinstalled and you do not have an installation disc, check the information that came with your computer to learn about recovery options.