Back when I first started playing with different Linux distributions, like Ubuntu, I’d accidentally wipe out the boot loader. I had been through this scenario in Windows XP countless times and I knew how to restore the Windows master boot record.
This time, it happened to me in Windows 7. I was playing around with a Linux boot loader utility and I accidentally trashed the MBR (master boot record). I ended up with a really weird message when I went to restart the machine. It wasn’t Operating System Not Foundbut I knew what had happened.
Fortunately, I had created a Windows 7 Repair disk. If you haven’t done this yourself, take a few minutes and do it now.
Create a Windows 7 Repair Disk
- Insert a blank CD
- Click on the Start button and type repairinto the search box.
- Click on Create a System Repair Discand follow the instructions.
Repairing a missing or corrupted boot record
Let’s assume that you have either a Windows 7 Installation DVD or a repair disk. Here’s the scoop on how to fix a missing boot record, or some other weird boot error.
- Set your BIOS to use the CD/DVD drive as the primary boot device.
- Boot with your Windows 7 installation disk or the Windows Repair disk.
- Press a key when the message indicating “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD â€¦” appears.
- (Skip to step 6 if using a repair disk) Select a language, a time and currency, and a keyboard or input method, and then click Next.
- Click Repair your computer.
- In the System Recovery Options dialog box, choose your installation and click Next.
- In the System Recovery Options dialog box, click Startup Repair.
- If step 7 fails, click the Command Prompt and enter the command bootrec.exe /fixmbr(without the quotes)
- Reboot the computer with your fingers crossed.
Below are the images for the steps above.
Step 7 or the beginning of Step 9
If you have multiple partitions with different operating systems on them, this may not help you recover anything but Windows 7. Your best bet is to use a method to back up your boot settings before the inevitable problems occur. Another good safety measure is to completely back up your hard disk.
Even the smartest geeks mess up now and then. That’s how they learn. I’m hoping that your learning experiences don’t make you start swearing at the computer.