Microsoft’s Windows falls far short of the corporation’s desired “unbreakable operating system” image. Accompanying every new release package is an ongoing publicity attachment that displays statements such as: “Better data protection”, “New level of reliability”, and “Most secure Windows ever”. This is why Windows Vista and Windows 7 include the Startup Repair Tool. This is also why we must know how to troubleshoot the improved startup problems.
The quickest and most complete source of Windows problems can be located at the Microsoft support website, http://support.microsoft.com/. Therefore, whenever this article would result in a restating of already detailed procedures I will provide a link rather than redundancy. Please understand that I am seeking to provide a greater long-term help; not push sites.
What is Startup Repair?
Originally released with Windows Vista, and now carrying over, with a new front-end, into Windows 7, the Startup Repair tool is designed to help recover from several specific OS boot errors. The repair focus is set for missing or damaged system files; yet, by its very failures, Startup Repair can provide technicians with inadvertently acquired hardware recovery pointers. However virus attacks, data recovery, and system installation repairs are beyond the scope of this software. If you are having any system startup problems, and your system manages to come up even once, perform an immediate data backup: http://support.microsoft.com/search/default.aspx?mode=r&query=backup&spid=global&catalog=LCID%3D1033&1033comm=1&res=20.
In Vista – unless a manufacturer custom installed it to your hard disk — Startup Repair is located on the Windows install CD. The Windows 7 install routines go a step beyond Vista; Startup Repair is included on the hard disk under the System Recovery Options menu. The procedure for opening the SRO menu is detailed at a later point in this document.
Methods for accessing Startup Repair.
If Startup Repair is installed on your hard drive, it acts as an automatic part of the Windows recovery mechanism. This means that any detected startup problem will trigger a default sequence of repair efforts. However, the severity of some boot errors will hinder automatic system correction. In that event, a direct approach is necessary.
Still assuming that Startup Repair is installed on your hard drive, and additionally assuming a conditional system boot, you may be able to access Startup Repair through the System Recovery Options menu. For detailed, version specific Windows SRO menu instructions, start here: http://support.microsoft.com/search/default.aspx?qid=19432&query=system+recovery+options&catalog=LCID%3D1033&mode=r.
However, whenever faced with a full system startup failure, you will need to boot from a Windows installation disc or a custom repair disc. Exact procedures are located at the following links:
· Vista: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/Startup-Repair-frequently-asked-questions.
· Windows 7: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Startup-Repair-frequently-asked-questions.
The infamous blue screen of death is not necessarily related to missing or damaged system files. The problem can just as readily belong to a faulty device driver, a virus, or some hardware related issue. For additional help on this matter, check out the following link: http://www.chicagotech.net/vista/vistabluescreen.htm.
Is Startup Repair the right solution for your system boot problem?
Troubleshooting Windows system startup problems can be time-consuming, frustrating, and fruitless. Knowing basic cause and effect is of primary importance. Here are a few simple shortcuts:
· For initial Windows installation problems, check here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/Troubleshoot-Windows-installation-problems.
· Other problems may relate to memory, hard drives, device drivers, software, hardware compatibility, or system loop conditions. Before jumping directly to the Windows CD which may lead you into an unnecessary full system reinstall, check here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/What-to-do-if-Windows-wont-start-correctly.
An overview of the Windows recovery options.
The Startup Repair tool is but one of several features available on the Windows System Recovery Options menu. Here is a brief rundown of that menu.
· Startup Repair: helps correct system files.
· System Restore: backs away some of your latest system changes. Leaves certain data intact and untouched.
· System Image Recovery: uses a previously created partition image to replace the currently damaged hard disc data. Kills it all back to the point in time when the partition image was first created.
· Windows Memory Diagnostic: tests various features of hardware memory.
· Command Prompt: permits in depth recovery and diagnostic operations.
For greater details, access: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/What-are-the-system-recovery-options-in-Windows-7.
Vista contains some differences in terminology and appearance but there is really no value in repeating the above Windows 7 list. For Vista specific System Recovery Options, see: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/What-are-the-system-recovery-options-in-Windows-Vista.
Should your system fail, you may not have access to any of this information. Now is the time to get ready. If your system is currently running and has Internet access, open a word processor and then paste each of these included links into a blank document. Print out the document. Next, go to every included link and sub link that seems valuable to someone trying to repair a crashed computer. Print them one by one. It is the old saying, a bird in hand…
The “unbreakable operating system” seldom fails to break. Get prepared while you can.