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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?

Several solutions

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.

  1. Click “Load Drivers”.
  2. Click OK

    This will open a “mini explorer” window letting you browse for a system image, but wait – here’s the clue.

  3. In the Driver Pulldown list, RIGHT-Click your main Hard Drive (C:) and choose Properties.
  4. In the General Tab, you will most likely see that the “Compress Drive to save space” option is checked.
    UnCheck it.
  5. 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.

  1. Open Command Prompt (choose it from the menu)
  2. Type: compact /U C:\bootmgr, Press Enter
  3. Type: compact /U C:\ntldr, Press Enter
  4. Reboot

Now your computer should boot just fine.

About Thomas

Computer geek from the age of 7, which amounts to 30 years of computer experience. From the early days (when every computer company had their own OS) of DOS, Windows 1.0 through Seven...

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15 thoughts on “Fix Compressed Bootmanager Startup Problem [How To]”

  1. Uvais says:

    Hello Thomas is this method will fix boot problem
    Boot up the PC from your DVD
    Select the “Repair your computer”
    Select “Command Prompt”
    Input “bootsect.exe /nt60 SYS /force”

    Restart the PC

    If the above Command doesn’t fix your boot Problem then use the command
    “bootsect.exe /nt60 ALL /force”


    1. Thomas says:

      yes the bootsect command will also do the trick.
      However not on all windows versions.

      1. Uvais says:

        Thanks for Reply

  2. Stu says:

    What version of Windows does this method work on?
    UVAIS’ method (bootsect) works for XP, Vista & 7.

  3. Angelmakungu says:

    thanx it has worked on my windows seven

  4. Kezangrinchen says:

    thanks a lot thomas for sharin’ your trick, or else i would’ve lost all my official documents…
    !!! you’re just awesome..!! you saved me,, thanks once again

    1. Thomas says:

      you’re very welcome.
      That is why we’re here…

      1. benny says:

        Pleas help me can’t boot up ssying that bootmgr is compreesd

  5. Brittain barker says:

    thank you  thomas, it work you are the MAN , your friend brittain for ever

  6. Winxflux says:

    my problem is when i do click ctrl+alt+del the computer reboots and comes bak to the same place again. please help me email me on

  7. jake says:

    Will this work if the drive was mistakenly compressed using WinRAR?

  8. Kiran says:

    Thanks a lot. It worked for me

  9. Ben says:

    Hello. I have the problem where my Toshiba L640 shows TFGHT on start up and just keeps looping back when I press CTRL +ALT+DEL as I am using internet explorer Windows XP

    1. benny says:

      Same here? How can we fix it?

  10. Ben says:

    And I have no disc to refresh with.

Comments are closed.

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