Repairing Your System Using a System Repair Disk

by Barry Dysert
(last updated May 25, 2019)

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Assuming you've created a system repair disk (which is covered in another tip), you can use it to get your system up and running if it crashes and cannot be booted via normal means. The first thing to do is to insert your repair disk. Now, power up your system and have it boot from the device containing the repair disk. You may have modified your BIOS to automatically boot from your CD/DVD drive, in which case you'll be booting from your repair disk. If your BIOS is not set to boot from CD/DVD, then shortly after you power up your system, you'll see a message to the effect of, "Press Any Key to Boot from CD or DVD". Immediately press a key. When prompted, click the Next button.

Next, the system looks for a valid Windows installation. Since your disk is a repair disk and not an installation disk, you should click Next to get to the next screen. At this point, select "Use Recovery Tools That Can Help Fix Problems Starting Windows" and click Next. You are now presented with the System Recovery Options dialog box which lists available tools you can use to assist in repairing your system. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The System Recovery Options dialog box.

The dialog box lists several different tools you can use:

  • Startup Repair. This is a good initial attempt at repair. By selecting this option you're directing Windows to automatically try to fix what's preventing a normal reboot.
  • System Restore. This will present you with a list of "restore points" that have been made during the normal operation of the system. By choosing a recent restore point, you're essentially rolling back system changes that may have caused the problem. With this option, you will probably lose program changes (e.g., driver installations), but your data will be safe.
  • System Image Recovery. This will recover your system to the point where you initially made the repair disk. If your image disk is fairly old, though, you'll end up potentially losing a lot of data.
  • Windows Memory Diagnostic. This checks your system for memory errors. No data will be lost, and if it discovers memory errors the solution is as simple as replacing the bad module(s).
  • Command Prompt. This is for experienced Windows users who may have a toolbox of command-line tools that help them diagnose and repair problems.

Beginning with Windows 8, the System Recovery Options were replaced with Advanced Startup Options. To navigate to Advanced Startup Options if you are using a Windows 10 system, type "Settings" (without the quotes) in the search box and press Enter. Select Update & Security and then select the Recovery option. (If you are using Windows 8 system, go to PC Settings | Update and Recovery | Recovery.) (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Recovery tab of the Update & Security section of the Settings window.

Click the Restart Now button under the Advanced Startup heading. After the system asks you to "Please Wait" a Choose an Option screen is displayed allowing you to choose from a menu of three (or four) options:

  • Continue. Exit and continue to Windows 10. This option closes Advanced Startup Options and the computer will then restart and Windows will start in normal mode.
  • Use a Device. This option is only available on UEFI systems and may not be listed on the Choose an Option screen.
  • Troubleshoot. Reset your PC or see Advanced Options.
  • Turn off your PC.

Click the Troubleshoot option to open a menu with the following options:

  • Reset This PC. Lets you choose to keep or remove your personal files, and then reinstalls Windows.
  • Factory Image Restore. Restore your system software to a saved system image.
  • Advanced Options. This is the option to choose if you want to do anything other than close the Advanced Startup Options menu.

Click Advanced Options to open up a menu with options similar to those found on the System Recovery Options menu listed above for earlier versions of Windows. There a few new tools that are not found in the System Recovery Options menu:

  • Startup Settings. Change Windows startup behavior. This tool will restart your computer and bring up the Startup Settings window displaying a menu with various methods to boot Windows.
  • Uninstall Updates. Remove recently installed quality or feature updates from Windows.
  • UEFI Firmware Settings. Change settings in your PC's UEFI firmware.

 This tip (12671) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

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Comments

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What is 6 + 9?

2015-12-30 06:47:49

Barry

I'm not Allen, but yes, you can use a USB drive as your repair medium. There is a tip on this. See
http://windows.tips.net/T012645_Creating_a_System_Repair_Disk_on_a_USB_Flash_Drive.html


2015-12-30 06:44:30

Dave

Allen,
Can a system repair disk be created with a USB Drive?


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