How to Prepare for Boot or System Problems by Creating a Windows 7 Repair Disk

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One fine day you sit down at the computer to turn it on and suddenly the day is not so fine anymore—Windows won’t boot. Or maybe you get a screen full of error messages.

There are many possibilities for the cause of this unhappy event, including a malware infection.  Assuming it isn’t from malware, the problem can often be fixed if you happen to have a full Windows installation disk. The procedure for Windows XP is discussed at this link and an example case for one type of problem in Windows Vista / 7 is given here.

But what if you don’t have a full Windows installation disk? Cost-cutting OEMs often provide only a restore disk or perhaps just a hidden restore partition. These return the system to the same state it was in when you bought it but won’t help fix a problem. Microsoft finally wised up to this common dilemma and has provided a way in Windows 7 to create a system repair disk. This handy disk can be used to fix many problems. Here is what all Windows 7 users should do before an emergency strikes:

  1. Open the Start menu
  2. Enter "repair" (no quotes) in the "Search programs and files" line
  3. Choose "Create a System Repair Disc"
  4. A dialog box opens listing your CD/DVD drive and instructing you to insert a blank CD (image below)
  5. Click “Create disc”

An alternate path is: Control Panel—System and Maintenance—Backup and Restore. In the left pane, click Create a system repair disc and then follow steps 4 and 5 above.

After it has been burnt, put the disk  (or "disc" as Microsoft spells it) in a safe place and hope you never have to use it.

Creating a Windows 7 repair disc

If you have trouble creating a disk (or "disc"), you can download an ISO copy at this NeoSmart link. Unfortunately, this is a torrent download and requires a  torrent manager.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs a Windows blog called The PC Informant and also operates a computer education website.

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