How-To Geek

Troubleshoot Startup Problems with Startup Repair Tool in Windows 7 & Vista

It can be a horrible feeling if your new Windows 7 computer doesn’t boot properly into Windows or startup at all. If it happens to your machine, don’t panic, and try out the Startup Repair Tools included with the OS.

Startup Repair in Windows 7 is a recovery tool that can fix some system problems that prevent it from starting. I will scan the computer for problems and try to fix them so it will boot correctly. It can fix issues like missing or damaged system files. It can’t fix hardware issues or installation problems, and it can’t recover any missing personal data files. It is however, a great place to start if your experiencing trouble booting into Windows.

Startup Repair Tool in Windows 7

A lot of times if Windows can’t boot properly because of a hardware change, unexpected shutdown, or other errors, it will come up with the Windows Error Recovery screen. This gives you the option to go into Startup Repair or try to boot Windows normally.


If Windows won’t boot properly and doesn’t give you the Error Recovery screen, you can get into it manually. Power the computer completely down, and when you power it up again, keep hitting the F8 key until you see the Advanced Boot Options screen. Once you get to this screen, highlight Repair Your Computer and hit Enter.


You will see the message…Windows is loading files


Next choose the right keyboard input method.


You’ll need to log on as a local user, or as administrator if you want to access the command prompt too.


Now you have different System Recovery Options to choose from. Click on Startup Repair to begin the troubleshooting process as it can detect and fix problems.


Startup Repair begins the scan and attempts to repair the system. Be patient while it finishes, sometimes it can take a while for it to complete.


In this particular instance a System Restore is recommended. You don’t have to use this option, you can cancel it and allow the tool to keep trying to fix the issue.


The System Restore process starts and returns system settings to a time when it worked correctly. You should have a few different date ranges to choose from, but you’ll want to select the most recent one.


After it’s been restored, you’ll get a message indicating it was successful and you need to Restart.


If the problem cannot be fixed, you’ll get a message indicating it can’t be fixed automatically, and you’ll get a summary of the error that can be sent to Microsoft. Depending on what the error is, sometimes you will get additional links to options or support. The manufacturer of the computer might also provide additional solutions.


The option to send the error details to Microsoft.


Startup Repair in Vista

You can also access Startup Repair in Vista by booting from the installation disc. Select your language settings and click on Next.


In the next screen click on Repair Your Computer.


The System Recovery Options windows comes up and finds the OS on your drive.


Then you can begin running Startup Repair or choose the other tools just like in the Windows 7 instructions we showed above.


Memory Diagnostics Tool

Another feature that’s there if you need it, is the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool which will check for errors in the computer’s memory. Unless you get a message indicating an error in the memory, or you’re an experienced user, there is not much of a reason for running this test.  The computer will restart and begin running the diagnostic before booting into Windows.



Startup Repair is a good place to start if your system starts acting up. If you can’t get the Advanced Boot Options screen by hitting F8, you can also access the tools by booting from a System Recovery Disc, or the Windows installation disc. While System Repair might not be able to recover your system in all situations, it’s a great starting point before getting into more detailed recoveries like Restoring from an image or clean install.

You might want to check out our other related articles:

How To Create a System Repair Disc in Windows 7

Fix “BOOTMGR is Missing” Error in Windows Vista


Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 12/21/09

Comments (17)

  1. rbailin

    A common problem with Intel motherboards is that after updating the system BIOS, it reverts to default BIOS settings. If you’re using Intel RAID, defaulting back to IDE results in an unbootable system that can’t be fixed by Startup Repair, because there’s no IDE driver in the Windows configuration. It will go through the motions, scan the entire disk for partitions, but won’t/can’t fix the problem.

    It doesn’t help that the default setting for Win 7 and Vista is still to automatically reboot after a blue screen, so you never see the STOP 0x7B INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVCE error that appears shortly after the initial Windows logo animation screen. I strongly suggest that you go into System–>Advanced Startup Options and uncheck the box to automatically restart.

    The solution is to go into BIOS setup and change the disk controller back to RAID before you even attempt a Startup Repair.

  2. AbdurRehman

    my pc restarts after “Windows is loading files…” screen
    i tried recover option with my recovery disk and without it as well… but it always restart.
    i tried using F8 menu, and tried most of the option like safe mode, normal start, last know good configuration but it still restarts. please help me…. i am trying to fix my pc for hours :(
    please help!

  3. Jeff

    My Startup Repair (Win7) kicks an application error with each of the tools:
    the instruction at
    referenced memory at 0x00000008 that could not be read.

    How do I repair the repair tool?


    yang seperti itu sudah saya coba ,
    tetapi hasilnya nihil.
    alias gagal,
    bagaimana solusi selanjutnya?

  5. marietha van huyssteen

    Ihave GIGABYTE 1000C NETBOOK – I tried to load windows 7 professional as i bought it with windows 7 starter edition – I tried all sorts of things such as backup and restore – all I now get is BOOTMGR is missing press Alt+CTRL+DEL to restart – I desperately just want to go back to windwos starter edition as Windows 7 professional gives me an error message – The netbook does not have a dvd-drive so I am using and external drive – PLEASE HELP ME!!!! I have loads of work to finish
    Thank you

  6. sherani

    thanks for your great support.
    when i hit the option “REPAIR YOUR COMPUTER” it again takes me to the first error.
    please help me out.i am trying from last 11 hours and my head is blowing.please do it.

  7. Gabe

    Please help me! My problem is that when I use Startup Repair and I put in my KeyBoard Input Method and click “next” nothing happens. I just sit there and wait looking at the Windows Backround waiting for something to pop up. Is there something I did wrong? Please reply via E-mail, or here if more convenient. I really need my labtop to function. Thank you in advance.

  8. Sam

    I have the exact same problem as the person above, after i click next nothing happens!

  9. Cody

    Mine just goes from Windows Error Recovery to a solid blue screen. Won’t do anything

  10. Todd

    WINDOWS STARTUP REPAIR or START WINDOWS NORMALLY are my only two options after powering on. Normal windows fails quickly- and sends me back to the original screen to choose again. Statrtup Repair loads up then goes blank, then eventually goes to a blue screen with flowers and the cursor and sits forever.

    All this was a result of updating Firefox. I actually got through a startup repair before, and got online with Safari, only to stupidly download Firefox again after uninstalling and it killed my Acer.

    REPAIR YOUR COMPUTER ends in the same blue screen that STARTUP REPAIR Does.

    I have followed the advice on the following thread.

    Although I’m running Windows 7 I was able to follow this advice from Dena B pertaining to a Vista user:

    Hi lschoen114,

    Remove all CDs/DVDs and restart the computer. Tap on the F8 key, as soon as you restart, until you reach the Advanced Boot Options menu. Select Disable automatic restart on system failure so that you can capture the stop error code when startup fails. Post the details on the screen.

    The details I learned from that are: (on a blue DOS screen)

    A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.

    unmountable_boot_volume (in caps)

    If this is the first time seeing this stop error screen, restart your computer. If you see this screen again follow these steps:

    Check to make sure any new hardware or software is properly installed or bla bla bla ask for updates you might need.

    If the problem continues (YES!) disable any new hardware (none) of software (HOW???). Disable BIOS memory options such as shadowing or caching (HOW???). If you need to use safe mode to remove or disable components, restart your computer, press F8 to select Advanced startup options, and then select safe mode.


    *** STOP: 0X000000ED (0x84cfc5b8, 0xc0000185, 0x00000000, 0x00000000)

    NOTE: those letters with all the zeros appear to be in caps.


    Unfortunately, safe mode leads right back to startup repair, which never finishes, it just ends in the dead blueish screen.

    The Windows boot manager screen allows a Windows memory diagnostic which actually completes, then restarts the computer, then goes right back to STARTUP REPAIR, which again, fails!!

    The only option that shows any other progress is SAFE MODE WITH COMMAND PROMPT in the Advanced Boot Menu. It begins to list files JUST LIKE startup repair did when it worked the one time. But it gets stuck at the same file and goes to– you guessed it STARTUP REPAIR. I found another screen called EDIT BOOT OPTIONS (F10 tapping?) and tried CHKDSK : /F on someones advice but it rebooted and I ended up back where I started.

    This is and endless loop and I do not have a disk drive but from what I’ve read in the threads pertaining to this problem, it doesn’t even matter because discs don’t work either.

    If anyone wants to take a crack at this I’m sure by finding the answer you will help some people with dead computers come back to life.

    Thanks in advance,


  11. Josh

    My problem is it always reboots back to system repair, i even restored it back to factory settings, i was going to restart the laptop to finish the updates, and bam back into start up repair, why? what the hell? anyone understand why ?

  12. ET

    Thanks for your great support.
    I follow up exactly as you explained and it works!!!!

    Thank you

  13. Casey

    I have the same problem as Josh. The only thing I did recently was download Skype. I was going to uninstall it again because it suddenly recovered the last Skype account I had and I have NO IDEA HOW!? What the crap do I do? I can’t just recover because I’d love my photography!

  14. Casey

    lose my photography…sorry using the dinosaur and I can’t connect to my network to get at them either.. >=( GRRRR.

  15. lancer

    thanks for the info you save my day…

  16. Elke

    I can’t believe it! YOU are the ONLY one that has ever actually helped! Thank you so much! I got my laptop running again, it was stuck in some kind of “startup repair” loop that went on and on. I couldn’t do a thing with my laptop. Because you showed me how to bypass that, I was able to get it to reconize my external hard drive and restore my computer.

  17. Jason

    My computer continuosuly gets the start up problem where i have to restore to factory settings as system restore will not work, Everytime my pc turns off then back on it happens once again? I need help please, is it hard drive or something? :? Cheers Guys.

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