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Previously, we showed you how to download Windows 7 and Burn it to a disc/put it on a thumb drive.

Having the whole operating system on disc isn’t necessary if you just need to repair your Windows installation. Recovering or repairing your current installation of Windows is favorable because most recovery software that comes with brand name PCs will wipe your PC back to factory settings.You should have a repair disc on hand to deal with the following situations:

  • You’ve made a change to your PC and it now won’t boot into Windows
  • You get a message such as NTLDR is missing but your hard drive has not failed
  • You get a virus on your PC and need command line access to fix the issue
  • Windows starts to boot and then your PC power cycles

In this guide:

  • How to make a Windows 7 repair disc yourself
  • How to make a Windows 7 repair USB drive
  • How to boot from a disc/USB drive and use it to repair your PC

Note: A repair disc cannot be used to install Windows and provides no functionality beyond that of a Windows installation disc. If you already have an installation disc, you can use that for system recovery.

Burn a Windows Vista/7 Repair Disc

To burn your own Windows repair disc you’ll need to be using Windows 7 or Windows Vista SP1 or later release:

1. Click Start, type create and click Create a System Repair Disc (Windows 7) or Create a Recovery Disc (Windows Vista)

2. Insert a CD/DVD, choose the DVD drive in which the disc resides and click Create Disc

Once the disc is finished, I recommend booting from the disc to test it—before you really need it.

Make a Windows Vista/7 Repair USB drive

If you own a netbook, don’t have an optical (CD/DVD/Bluray) drive etc., you should create a bootable USB repair drive.

To make a bootable Windows repair USB drive you’ll need to:

  1. Download the Windows recovery disc
  2. Make your thumb drive bootable
  3. Copy the recovery files to your thumb drive

1. Download the Windows Recovery Disc

Do a web search for and download one of the following recovery discs

  • Windows 7 32-bit Recovery Disc torrent
  • Windows 7 64-bit Recovery Disc torrent
  • Windows Vista 32-bit Recovery Disc  torrent
  • Windows Vista 64-bit Recovery Disc  torrent

How to use torrents.

2. Make your Thumb Drive Bootable

To prepare your USB thumb drive, you will need to delete all the drive’s files, create a FAT32 active partition, and copy over the Windows recovery files. To do this:

2.1. Press Windows Key+R to open the Run dialog

2.2. Type diskpart and press Enter (If you don’t have diskpart, get it here)

2.3. Type list disk and press Enter

2.4.  Type select disk 3 where the “3” is the corresponding number of your USB drive

2.5. Type clean and press Enter

2.6. Type create partition primary  and press Enter

2.7. Type active  and press Enter

2.8. Type format fs=fat32 quick  and press Enter

2.9. Type assign and press Enter to assign the USB drive a letter in Computer

3. Copy the Recovery Files to Your Thumb Drive.

To copy the files to your thumb drive:

3.1. Open the file you downloaded in step 1 with a utility capable of browsing ISO images (7 zip works well)

  1. Download 7zip and install it
  2. Right click the ISO file and select 7-Zip > Open Archive

3.2. Extract the contents of the ISO to the USB drive you formatted in step 2

Boot from a Disc/USB Drive and Use it to Repair Your PC

So now you’ve either downloaded a burned the Windows Vista/7 recovery disc, created your own Windows 7 recovery disc, or made a bootable Windows Vista/7 recovery thumb drive.

To boot from your disc/USB:

1. Insert your bootable repair disc/USB drive

2. Reboot your PC

3. When your BIOS is loading (if you have a brand-name PC, this is usually when you can see the brand’s logo), press the key that loads the boot options menu (this is usually displayed as an option on the screen and is typically the ESC/F8 key)

4. Arrow down to “CD-ROM Drive” / “DVD-ROM Drive” / “Removable Media” / “USB Media” and press Enter

The recovery software will take some time to load:

5. Now select your default keyboard layout:

6. After the software detects your installation of Windows, click Next:

What Can You Do with a Repair Disc?

A repair disc cannot be used to reinstall Windows but can perform many repair tasks. Here is just a small list of what you can do with a repair disc:

  1. Startup Repair
  2. System Restore
  3. System Image Recovery
  4. Windows Memory Diagnostic
  5. Command Prompt

The most commonly used function (for me at least) is the Startup Repair. I use this when I get an error message like “NTLDR Missing”, “Unable to boot” etc. The startup repair checks the MBR, GPT etc for common errors and repairs them.

If you cannot boot into Windows because of corrupted settings, a virus etc, then you may find using a previously-created System Restore point will help you get back to Windows.

If you created a system image using Backup and Restore, you can use it to completely restore your computer to a previous state.

The memory diagnostic is used to check for bad memory sectors (more about the memory diagnostic tool.)

Finally, the command prompt can do (almost) anything the full command prompt can do while using Windows. This can be very useful to run tools like chkdsk to find out why your hard drive is suddenly not working.

For what functions have you used a system repair disc?

Click Start > Control Panel > System and Security >Backup and Restore.

Click “Create a System Repair Disc”

Read more: How to Create a Windows 7 System Recovery Disc | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_5735259_create-windows-system-recovery-disc.html#ixzz167ngP4ze

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix them.

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32 thoughts on “Use a Windows Repair Disc or USB Drive to Fix Your Broken PC [Updated]”

  1. Angel says:

    Great post Rich, very useful and easy to read.

  2. Taylor Ling says:

    Good tips. I was once encounter the ‘NTLDR missing’ issue and luckily I had a copy of WIndows 7 Recovery Disc, solved the problem without problem. Considering nowadays thumb drive are so cheap, I think PC users should just have a dedicated recovery thumb drive for WIndows.

  3. Minipower says:

    this is the most comprensible and complete guide ever, it is very clear and useful thank you very much, i don’t have a optical player so i must use USB card reader to boot for problems inherent startup. Hay i tried to post with my facebook credentials but it returns an error.

  4. Mrchris Chris says:

    If you still get stuck with your netbook not booting read this!


  5. Felixben says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this really complete guide. This is very useful specially for netbook users w/c i am going to fix now. More power to you guys!! 

  6. Justin Henderson says:

    Wow! this was a very comprehensive guide. thank you so much! I use the system repair disk to remove GRUB. It’s the easiest way I know of

  7. XaperZ says:

    Everyone is saying great post but your missing details such as what if the startup repair does not work AND i have no system image to restore to :( any help?

  8. Du Marron says:

    Thanks a lot.
    My Xps 1530 has its dvd broken and during SP1 installation it happened a problem…. After that no boot…  With the USB drive I was able to recovery to a previous backup ..

    Thanks a Lot ..again …

  9. Du Marron says:

    Thanks a lot.
    My Xps 1530 has its dvd broken and during SP1 installation it happened a problem…. After that no boot…  With the USB drive I was able to recovery to a previous backup ..

    Thanks a Lot ..again …

  10. Rich says:

    I’m glad you got your laptop working again!

  11. Olmighty says:

    Looks great but I got stuck at the stage where you write “Clean”…I got the message:

    “DiskPart has encountered an error: The remote procedure call failed. See the System Event Log for more information.”

    What should I do? tia

  12. Lhowell says:

    same here

  13. sadasdasdsad says:

    Not working!

  14. Lisa says:

    You just saved me paying $150 an hour for computer help. This was awesome!  I followed all of your directions, and I repaired my work Netbook. Great, great directions and help. THANK YOU!

    1. Rich says:

      Nice job! Glad we helped.

  15. Joel Johnson says:

    Just wanted to add that sometimes, especially if you have ever formatted your usb using the ntfs file system, that fs=fat32 quick will produce an error. If you receive this error re-type the command leaving out “fast”. It will then format the usb.

    Great article! Thanks.. :)

  16. Judy483 says:

    Don’t know if I should laugh or cry–I’ve spent 4 days trying to figure this out, read your instructions and did it in about 2 minutes. Wish I’d seen this 4 days ago. Thank you.

  17. PC Repair Watford says:

    A very good article – thanks, it’s great that you included the download link for the repair disks – very handy especially when manufacturers rarely supply discs with new PCs or laptops nowadays! 

  18. Partknockz says:

    Guess Rick has a sense of helping thanks

  19. Neoninstinct says:

    Reading your article,and doing what you wrote to repair my computer,and it worked perfectly….You Sir,are genius,and i thank you.

  20. Joshua Mwika says:

    My Problem is NTLDR Missing Error on Windows XP. The Computer was bought from a third party and did not have bootable CD/DVD. kindly, assist me

  21. sdfsdfsadfsadf sdfsdfsdff says:

     this is fail, list disk doesnt show my U3 usb disk at all

  22. Anders Irghost says:

    i get “invalid boot image”
    what to do?

  23. Alex Acevedo says:

    My pc is pretty screwed right now, I tried to install a custom win 7 theme and messed with shell.dll, I cant login to windows, all i get is a black screen so I will try to solve this via the recovery point with a bootable pendrive, hope it works. btw I’m writing this in my iPod xD

  24. Anthony says:

    I plan on using my repair media to restore hard links from one physical drive to another (my program files don’t all fit on my SSD). A recently installed program broke my link!

  25. rpjc2003gmail.com says:

    can you tell me how to reboot my laptop all i get when i power on is a brief flicker of the power light and then nothing else this all happened after i installed and ran spy bot can you help please

  26. Rich says:

    Did you get it working? Anything over 20 minutes is too long. Sometimes, the process gets held up (especially when poor hard drive health is a factor) but 5 minutes isn’t necessarily a bad sign. Good luck!

  27. Kayla C. Kipp says:

    I am getting to the part where I can choose cd-rom/dvd, once I click on it, it goes to a black screen saying “CD-ROM boot priority….Boot Ready_” but thats it? does nothing when I press enter or anything? what Do I need to do now?

  28. Pradeep Biswas says:

    Excellent boss .. thanks a lot . I had used easy bcd editor and unknowingly deleted my boot record and my laptop a sony VAIO was not Booting telling no OS .. i didnot want to format my laptop to its factory settings & your article was 10000% helpfull to me . I just had to do the process once and my laptop is working fine . Thanks a lot . Keep up the good work.

  29. Bax says:

    You Sir are, as already noted in this thread, a genius of the first water. Many, many thanks

  30. darkangelights says:

    My laptop keeps fuckin up on me and i do not have a repair cd one did not come with my laptop i have been searching all day where can i get a download?

  31. darkangelights says:

    Help me fix my laptop i hate using this stupid desktop computer >.<

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