Configuring Startup and Troubleshooting Startup Issues
Diagnosing and correcting hardware and software problems that affect the startup process require different tools and techniques than troubleshooting problems that occur after the system starts because the person troubleshooting the startup problem does not have access to the full suite of the Windows 7 operating system troubleshooting tools. Resolving startup issues requires a clear understanding of the startup process, the core operating system features, and the tools used to isolate and resolve problems.
This tutorial covers changes to the Windows 7 startup process, how to configure startup settings, and how to troubleshoot problems that stop Windows 7 from starting and allowing a user to complete the interactive logon process successfully.
What is New
Windows 7 includes a few improvements to startup. Most significantly, setup now automatically installs Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). WinRE, which includes the Startup Repair tool, was available for Windows Vista, but it was not automatically installed. IT professionals could configure the required partition and install the tools to the computer's hard disk, but this was not done by default. Therefore, most users started WinRE from the Windows Vista setup DVD. With Windows 7, users can start WinRE directly from the hard disk if Windows cannot start, and Windows startup will automatically open WinRE if Windows fails to start. If the hard disk is damaged, users can still start WinRE from the Windows 7 DVD.
Other than the automatic installation of WinRE, Windows 7 also reduces the time to start up, shut down, and resume from sleep. Because the changes to startup are minimal with Windows 7, most of this tutorial focuses on changes introduced since Windows XP. These changes are all available in both Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
Several aspects of the Windows Vista and Windows 7 startup process have changed when compared to Windows XP. Most significantly, Ntldr (the feature of Windows XP that displayed the boot menu and loaded the Windows XP kernel) has been replaced by the Windows Boot Manager and the Windows Boot Loader. The Boot.ini file (a file that contains entries describing the available boot options) has been replaced by the boot configuration data (BCD) registry file. Ntdetect.com functionality has been merged into the kernel, and Windows Vista no longer supports hardware profiles.
In fact, hardware profiles are no longer required: Windows will automatically detect different hardware configurations without requiring administrators to explicitly configure profiles. Finally, the command-line recovery console has been replaced by the graphical WinRE, which simplifies troubleshooting. This tutorial discusses these changes in more detail.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Boot Configuration Data
- BCD Stores
- System Recovery
- Windows Boot Performance Diagnostics
- Power-on Self Test Phase
- Initial Startup Phase for BIOS Computers
- Windows Boot Manager Phase
- Control Sets
- Values for the Start Registry Entry
- Other Registry Entries in the Servicename Subkeys
- Logon Phase
- Important Startup Files
- How to Use the System Configuration Tool
- How to Use BCDEdit
- How to Change the Default Operating System Entry
- How to Create an Entry for Another Operating System
- How to Remove a Boot Entry
- How to Remove the Windows 7 Boot Loader
- How to Disable the Windows Startup Sound
- The Process of Troubleshooting Startup
- How to Start the System Recovery Tools
- How to Use System Restore
- How to Manually Replace Files
- How to Reinstall Windows
- Startup Troubleshooting After the Starting Windows Logo Appears
- How to Restore the Last Known Good Configuration
- How to Start in Safe Mode
- Event Viewer (Eventvwr.msc)
- System Information
- How to Analyze Boot Logs
- How to Temporarily Disable a Service
- How to Disable Startup Applications Using the Shift Key
- How to Disable Startup Applications Configured Using Group Policy or Logon Scripts