In Windows there is a function that most users (experienced and “n00bs”) should use with the out most care: Compressing disk space to save space.
The idea is to let windows compress files much like ZIP or RAR to give you more storage. While it may seem like a good idea, doing so on your main drive (Where Windows is installed) will render your computer unbootable (if done wrong).
For some reason Windows – which will not allow you to accidentally format your main drive – does allow you to compress your boot manager and system-files. Causing an unbootable computer. Luckily there’s an easy fix, well as long as you have created a system Repair disk, that is. But sometimes even that fail – then what?
Not able to use the Startup Repair Tool ?
In an earlier post (this one) Rich explains how to create and use the “Windows Rescue Disk”, which allows you to boot the Startup Repair environment. Sometimes the Startup Repair, May return an error saying your “Windows is not compatible” with the Windows System on the Rescue Disk.
This can be caused by different system languages (using language packs or localized Windows versions), or different service packs etc. The list and cause may vary. So what do you do, should you encounter this error?
There are several options available should this fail, but I will concentrate on the simplest and fastest way to fix your problem.
When receiving this error, you will not yet see the Start Up Repair Console. The error occurs when your computer is loading the environment. You have two options, using a System image or get the Console Menu to load anyway.
Using System Image Option
Of course, you do not have a system image available. And that is okay, you don’t need one. Check the Radio-button called:” Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier” anyway.
- Click “Load Drivers”.
- Click OK
This will open a “mini explorer” window letting you browse for a system image, but wait – here’s the clue.
- In the Driver Pulldown list, RIGHT-Click your main Hard Drive (C:) and choose Properties.
- In the General Tab, you will most likely see that the “Compress Drive to save space” option is checked.
- Click Apply, confirm the pop-up (if any) and wait.
After a while (depending on the size of the disk, but usually within a minute or so) your computer should reboot on its own – or if you get tired of waiting just do so yourself. Just give it enough time to do the job.
Should this fail
Most likely it wont. But in the rare case it does, to get access to the main Recovery console menu, reboot the computer using the Startup Recover Disk. Once presented with the (now) famous error, press the “Load Drivers” button as stated above.
This time, click Cancel when asked for the system image driver. This should trigger the Boot Repair Console window to appear, giving you access to the tools you want.
- Open Command Prompt (choose it from the menu)
- Type: compact /U C:\bootmgr, Press Enter
- Type: compact /U C:\ntldr, Press Enter
Now your computer should boot just fine.