A boot disk (sometimes called a startup disk) was a type of removable media, such as a floppy disk, CD, or DVD, that contained Windows startup files that your computer could use to start Windows if the Windows system files on the hard disk became damaged or unusable.
In this version of Windows, you can create a system repair disc that contains the System Recovery Options menu. This menu, also located both on your computer's hard disk and on the Windows installation disc, contains special recovery tools that can help get Windows running again. For more information, see Create a system repair disc. For more information about the tools available in the System Recovery Options menu, see What are the system recovery options in Windows 7?
If you use a Tablet PC or other computer with a touchscreen, you might need to connect a keyboard and mouse in order to use Startup Repair and the other tools in the System Recovery Options menu.
A boot disk (sometimes called a startup disk) is a type of removable media, such as a floppy disk or a CD, that contains startup files that your computer can use to start Windows. The startup files are also stored on your computer's hard disk, but if those startup files become damaged, you can use the files on a boot disk to start Windows.
In earlier operating systems that used the FAT or FAT32 file systems, such as Windows 95 and Windows 98, a boot disk was especially useful because it allowed a person to access files on a hard disk even if Windows was unable to start. This ability also represented a security risk, because anyone with a boot disk and access to the computer could start the computer and access any file. Hard disks formatted with NTFS have built-in security features that prevent using a boot disk to access files.
The Windows installation disc contains the files necessary to start Windows, so it is itself a boot disk. If a problem is preventing Windows from starting, you can use the installation CD to start Windows. The installation CD also contains Startup Repair, which you can use to repair Windows if a problem prevents it from starting correctly. Startup Repair can automatically fix many of the problems that in the past required a boot disk to fix.