How to Manually Repair BCD when Windows Won’t Start


You can automatically solve most startup problems with the Startup Repair tool. If you prefer a more manual approach, you can use the BootRec.exe tool in the Windows Recovery environment.

First, follow these steps to load the Windows Recovery Environment:

1. Restart the computer from the Windows Vista DVD (the computer must be configured to start from CD/DVD), and start setup.

2. Configure your language preferences.

3. When prompted, click Repair your computer.

click-repair-your-computer.png

4. Startup Repair will automatically detect a problem. When prompted, click Repair and restart, and then restart your computer from the Windows Vista DVD. If Startup Repair does not automatically detect a problem, continue to the next step.

5. When prompted, click Repair Your Computer.

6. Click Command Prompt from the System Recovery Options.

click-command-prompt.png

BootRec.exe provides the following command-line paramters:

  • /FixMbr. Re-writes the master boot record (MBR) of the system partition to start Windows Vista. This won’t overwrite the existing partition table.
  • /FixBoot. Writes a boot sector onto the system partition to start Windows Vista.
  • /ScanOs. Scans all disks for Windows Vista installations and displays them to you. Oddly, this didn’t work for me, even on a test system that was starting just fine.
  • /RebuildBcd. Scans all disks for Windows Vista installations and prompts you to pick the ones you want to add to the BCD.

For more information, read Chapter 30 of the Windows Vista Resource Kit.

6 Responses to “How to Manually Repair BCD when Windows Won’t Start”

  1. Nigel says:

    Thank you for taking the time to pass on your knowledge, a power failure would not allow a reboot of my computer proclaiming a corrupt winlogon process and only displaying the files on my hard drive.

    I have now instructed this to reboot and my fingers crossed I have done this correctly after rebuilding the BCD.

    Thanks

  2. Brett May says:

    I am having a problem with repairing the files because my laptop didn’t come with a backup disk. Is there anything I can do?

  3. sam says:

    excuse me, i have a problem which is even i use the startup repair of windows vista, it still cant fix the problem. How?

  4. robert says:

    I HAVE A HP THAT HAS START UP CONFIGURATION PROBLEMS DONT KNOW IF THEY GIVE ME THE RIGHT DISK TO REBOOT (USED) AUTOMATIC FIX DIDNT WORK TRIED THE HOLE LIST NOTHING FIXED THE PROBLEM TRY TO START IN SAFE MOCE DIDNT WORK ANY HELP WOULD BE GREAT

  5. Witch says:

    Another good method if all else fails is to delete the bcd and rebuild it!! as It can get corrupt and beyond repair…
    also this is usefull if you have any boot commanders or loaders which you would like to leave intact. As its rare the whole mbr needs wiping.. As above so below….

    example.
    del c:\boot\bcd

    bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd

  6. Tanner says:

    I did this above, and rebuilt the bcd. When I tried to reboot and get to “Repair My Computer” it only give me options for Safe Boot, with certain options, none of which are “Repair”. This keeps me from the recovery process. How do I get to that part of the recovery disk?