Windows 7 / Getting Started

System Recovery

Windows Vista and Windows 7 replace the Recovery Console troubleshooting tool with the new System Recovery tool (part of WinRE). Typically, you will start the tool by pressing F8 before starting Windows and then choosing Repair Your Computer from the Advanced Boot Options screen. If that choice is not available because the hard disk has failed, you can start the tool by starting from the Windows 7 DVD and then clicking Repair Your Computer (after configuring the language options). This loads a specialized version of Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) and then displays the System Recovery tool. For step-by-step instructions on how to load the System Recovery tools, see the section titled "How to Start the System Recovery Tools" later in this tutorial.

The System Recovery tools provide access to the following tools:

  • Startup Repair The Startup Repair tool can solve many common startup problems automatically. Startup Repair performs an exhaustive analysis to diagnose your startup problems, including analyzing boot sectors, the Boot Manager, disk configuration, disk integrity, BCD registry file integrity, system file integrity, registry integrity, boot logs, and event logs. It will then attempt to solve the problem, which may involve repairing configuration files, solving simple disk problems, replacing missing system files, or running System Restore to return the computer to an earlier state. Because Startup Repair performs these tasks automatically, you can solve startup problems much faster than performing the analysis and repair manually.
  • System Restore Windows automatically captures system state before installing new applications or drivers. You can later use the System Restore tool to return to this system if you experience problems. Because System Restore is available from the System Recovery tools, you can use System Restore to repair problems that prevent Windows Vista or Windows 7 from booting. Startup Repair can prompt you to initiate a System Restore, so you might never need to access this tool directly.
  • System Image Recovery You use this tool to initiate a complete restore of the system hard disk. However, because any files saved since the last backup will be lost, you should use this only as a last resort.
  • Windows Memory Diagnostic The Windows Memory Diagnostics tool performs an automated test of the reliability of your computer's memory.
  • Command Prompt From the Command Prompt tool, you have access to many standard command-line tools. Some tools will not work properly, however, because Windows Vista is not currently running. For example, because WinRE does not include networking capabilities, network tools will not function correctly. However, several tools in WinRE are useful:
    • BCDEdit.exe for making changes to the BCD registry file
    • Diskpart.exe for viewing and changing disk partitioning
    • Format.exe for formatting partitions
    • Chkdsk.exe for finding and resolving some disk problems (note that Chkdsk cannot add events to the event log when started from System Recovery tools)
    • Notepad.exe for viewing log files or editing configuration files
    • Bootsect.exe (available on the Windows 7 DVD in the \Boot\ folder) for updating the master boot code for hard disk partitions to switch between the Windows 7 Boot Manager and Ntldr, used by Windows XP and earlier versions of Windows
    • Bootrec.exe for manually repairing disk problems if Startup Repair cannot fix them
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In this tutorial:

  1. Configuring Startup and Troubleshooting Startup Issues
  2. What is New with Windows Startup
  3. Boot Configuration Data
  4. BCD Stores
  5. System Recovery
  6. Windows Boot Performance Diagnostics
  7. Understanding the Startup Process
  8. Power-on Self Test Phase
  9. Initial Startup Phase
  10. Initial Startup Phase for BIOS Computers
  11. Initial Startup Phase for EFI Computers
  12. Windows Boot Manager Phase
  13. Windows Boot Loader Phase
  14. Kernel Loading Phase
  15. Control Sets
  16. Values for the Start Registry Entry
  17. Value Descriptions for Type Entries
  18. Other Registry Entries in the Servicename Subkeys
  19. Session Manager
  20. Logon Phase
  21. Important Startup Files
  22. How to Configure Startup Settings
  23. How to Use the Startup And Recovery Dialog Box
  24. How to Use the System Configuration Tool
  25. How to Use BCDEdit
  26. How to Interpret BCDEdit Output
  27. How to Back Up and Restore Settings
  28. How to Change the Default Operating System Entry
  29. How to Change the Boot Menu Time-Out
  30. How to Change the Order of Boot Manager Menu Items
  31. How to Create an Entry for Another Operating System
  32. How to Remove a Boot Entry
  33. How to View and Update Global Debugger Settings
  34. How to Remove the Windows 7 Boot Loader
  35. How to Configure a User Account to Automatically Log On
  36. How to Disable the Windows Startup Sound
  37. How to Speed Up the Startup Process
  38. The Process of Troubleshooting Startup
  39. Startup Troubleshooting Before the Starting Windows Logo Appears
  40. How to Start the System Recovery Tools
  41. How to Run Startup Repair
  42. How to Use BootRec.exe
  43. How to Diagnose Hardware Problems
  44. How to Use System Restore
  45. How to Manually Repair the Boot Sector
  46. How to Manually Update the BCD Registry File
  47. How to Manually Replace Files
  48. How to Reinstall Windows
  49. Startup Troubleshooting After the Starting Windows Logo Appears
  50. How to Restore the Last Known Good Configuration
  51. How to Enable Boot Logging
  52. How to Start in Safe Mode
  53. How to Identify Failing Drivers and Services
  54. How to Analyze Startup Problems in Safe Mode
  55. Event Viewer (Eventvwr.msc)
  56. System Information
  57. Error Reporting Service
  58. How to Use Device Manager to View or Change Resources
  59. How to Analyze Boot Logs
  60. How to Roll Back Drivers
  61. How to Temporarily Disable a Service
  62. Troubleshooting Startup Problems After Logon
  63. How to Temporarily Disable Startup Applications and Processes
  64. How to Disable Startup Applications Using the Shift Key
  65. How to Disable Startup Programs Using the System Configuration Utility
  66. How to Disable Startup Applications Configured Using Group Policy or Logon Scripts
  67. How to Permanently Disable Startup Applications and Processes
  68. Manually Remove the Entry