What repair options are available for Windows 7?
(These are also appropriate for Vista.)

sfc /scannow

Scans the integrity of all protected Windows 7 system files and replaces an incorrect, corrupted, changed, or damaged version with the correct versions if possible. Choose this option if you suspect a problem with the file system of the operating system (missing dll files or programs not loading.)

  1. If you are not able to boot into Windows, restart the computer to the Windows 7 DVD. After selecting language, click on Repair your computer at the Install now screen. At the System Recovery Options screen, select Use recovery tools….. and click Next. On the next screen, select Command Prompt. Type
    sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwinddir=c\windows (There is a space between the \ and / after the first c)
  2. From within Windows, Go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, Command Prompt right click on Command Prompt and select run as Administrator. At the Command Prompt type sfc /scannow

If this utility reports errors that cannot be corrected, the next step is a repair install

Chkdsk

Chkdsk Scans the hard drives for errors such as lost sectors, bad sectors, and corruption. You may want to run this if there have been system freezes or crashes or improper shutdowns. Hard drives weaken over time, so this is also a good utility to run on a regular basis, perhaps once a month. Once you see some initial errors and they are repaired, you can expect more errors in the future.

  1. If you are not able to boot to Windows, restart the computer to the Windows 7 DVD. After selecting language, click on Repair your computer at the Install now screen. At the System Recovery Options screen, select Use recovery tools….. and click Next. On the next screen, select Command Prompt. Type Chkdsk c: /F /R this is a full scan with an attempt to fix bad sectors if found
  2. From within Windows, Go to Start, Computer, Local Disk C. Right click on Local Disk C. Select Properties from the Pop Up. Select the Tools tab. Select Check now in the error-checking category. Place a check in each of the two boxes (Automatically fix file system errors and Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors.) Click Start. Windows presents a message that it cannot check the hard disk while it’s in use. Click on Schedule disk check. Checkdisk will run with the next restart.

If this utility reports errors it may be necessary to run a more thorough hard drive diagnostic and/or delete the partition, format the drive, and install a fresh copy of the operating system and drivers.

Startup Repair

This utility is used to repair a file that prevents Windows from completing the boot process and does not get to the log in screen or the desktop.

Restart the computer to the Windows 7 DVD. After selecting language, click on Repair your computer at the Install now screen. At the System Recovery Options screen, select Start Up Repair.

Startup Repair cannot fix all problems, such as those associated with missing or damaged system files, hardware failures, or issues with spyware or virus. If the problem cannot be fixed, you may see a list of possible solutions or it may be necessary to reload the operating system.

Bootrec.exe tool

This utility is a part of the Windows Recovery Environment. It is frequently used when startup repair does not resolve the problem with Windows boot.

If you are not able to boot to Windows, restart the computer to the Windows 7 DVD. After selecting language, click on Repair your computer at the Install now screen. At the System Recovery Options screen, select Use recovery tools….. and click Next. On the next screen, select Command Prompt. Type Bootrec.exe and then press Enter.

Type /FixBoot and press enter if you need to write a new boot sector to the hard drive or partition. Choose this option if one of the following conditions exists:

  • The boot sector has been replaced with a non-standard Windows boot sector
  • The boot sector has been damaged
  • An operating system prior to Vista has been installed

Type /FixMBR to write a new Windows compatible Master Boot Record. Choose this option to correct corruption of the master boot record. This option will not overwrite an existing partition table.

System Restore

This utility returns the computer to an earlier date. This may be useful if problems arise after Windows or driver updates or application installations. Documents saved between the restore point and current date/time will not be affected. Applications installed during that period will be removed.

Go to Start and type System Restore in the search box. Choose a restore point prior to current when you are comfortable that there were no issues with the computer.

Follow the onscreen directions. The computer will restart during this process.

If System Restore is not able to fix the problem, you will need to try a more advanced technique.

Repair Install / Inplace Upgrade

This option is used when a Startup Repair or System Restore does not fix the Windows 7 Problem. Select this over a Clean Install when you wish to preserve your user accounts, data, applications, and drivers.

  1. Boot to Windows 7 and log in to your administrator account
  2. Disable antivirus, firewall, internet security and other programs that may interfere with the installation
  3. Insert the Windows 7 disk. When autoplay opens, select Run setup.exe
  4. When prompted, select Install now
  5. When prompted, select Go online to get the latest updates for installation
  6. When prompted, select I accept the license terms
  7. When prompted, select Upgrade and not Custom (advanced)
  8. Continue to follow the onscreen directions.
  9. Once complete, verify that your files are intact and then run disk cleanup

 
Parallel Install

This option is the final technique before determining that a fresh install is required. It installs a second copy of Windows 7 on the hard drive. You will choose this option if it is critical that you access data files for back up on the hard drive. After selecting Install now, choose the partition or drive but do not delete the partition or format the drive. Near the end of this installation, it is critical that you use a new USER name so that your original files are not overwritten. Once booted to the new Windows 7, you may back up files to an external hard drive, a thumb drive, CD or DVD, or to a secondary internal hard drive. No previously installed programs will work.

Fresh Install

This option deletes the current partition, reformats the drive and loads the operating system. With a new hard drive, this is the only option.

  1. Restart the computer with the Windows 7 disk in the drive and boot to that DVD. It may be necessary to press a key to boot from the disk.
  2. There will be several screens (Windows is loading files, Starting Windows, selecting language) during the first few minutes.
  3. At the Windows 7 Install now screen, click the Install now button.
  4. Accept the license terms
  5. When asked which type of installation do you want? Select Custom (advanced)
  6. Select the Disk or Partition that you wish to install Windows on. If this is a new hard drive, then click Next. If this is a wipe and reload, select Drive options (advanced) toward the lower right. Then choose to delete the current partition. You will get a warning that you will be deleting all files on the drive. You will then proceed as indicated by the prompts