This article explains how you can recover the bootloader for the following Windows versions: Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 using the setup DVD (installation DVD).

If you don’t have the original installation DVD or can’t boot into Windows, go to Attempt Four: Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows.

Recovering the Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 Bootloader

If your Windows Vista or Windows 7 bootloader has been damaged or corrupt in some way, you’ll have to get it reset before you can use EasyBCD to configure a dual-boot.

If you can boot into Windows, we highly recommend using our Recovering the Windows Bootloader with EasyBCD guide instead.

If you’re on an EFI/UEFI machine or have GPT disks, you will need to use Easy Recovery Essentials (one-click Windows recovery CD) instead.

Booting from the Windows Installation DVD

If you can’t get these instructions to work for you, don’t have the Windows setup CD/DVD, are worried something might go wrong, or are just looking for a safe & reliable way of fixing your boot problems with just a single click, download a copy of Easy Recovery Essentials (our recovery discs) and use it to get your PC back up and running in five minutes. It supports Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows Server editions.

Install Now

Select “Repair your computer” to continue.

Put your Windows setup DVD or your System Repair Disc in the drive and restart your PC.

Assuming you’ve properly configured your BIOS to boot from CDs/DVDs before hard drives (or you can press F12 if your PC supports it to boot from the CD), you should get a prompt asking you to “Press any key to boot from the CD/DVD…

Press a key, and the CD will begin to load.

If you are using your Windows Installation CD, you’ll see a dialog asking you want to Install Now, or in the lower left corner, an option to “Repair your Computer,” which you’ll want to click.

If you’re using our recovery CD, Easy Recovery Essentials, just go to the next section. If you’re having problems booting from the recovery CD, see our guides on creating a bootable CD and setting up your PC to boot from the CD-ROM drive.

After selecting your language, the recovery CD will scan for operating systems on your drive. Select the operating system to repair from the list displayed on the screen, then press Next to continue.

Depending on which version of the CD you’re using, you’ll see a welcome screen like the ones below:

Recovery Essentials screen Startup Repair lists all available recovery options, choose a recovery tool

Step Zero: Scan the disk

From the menu, choose the “Launch command prompt” option.

We will use the command line feature to a run a filesystem scan, designed to find and fix problems affecting data integrity and reads/writes from/to the disk, that can be caused by viruses, hardware failures, unsafe shutdown, power surges, and more.

Once the command prompt has launched, execute the following command:

chkdsk C: /f
exit

Note that you may need to replaced C: with a different letter if it complains that the partition was not found.

Attempt One: Automated Repair

Clicking on the “Attempt automated repair…” text with the green arrow at the top of the screen will cause the recovery CD to attempt to repair your bootloader and boot menu.

Assuming your boot files have not been too badly corrupted, this step should conclude with a “Issues resolved” message and prompt you to reboot. It could literally be this easy to fix your PC.

If the automated repair feature is not successful, or after rebooting you discover that your PC still does not work, read on.

The Automated Repair only fixes one thing at a time, and you might need several things fixed (MBR, bootmgr, boot folder). So boot from the recovery CD again and repeat the whole process.

If it’s still not working after repeating the automated repair 3 times, carry on with the following manual steps:

Attempt Two: Manually Repairing the Windows Bootloader

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

This time, we’re going to select the “Launch command prompt” option and try to manually tell the Recovery Console what needs to be fixed. Chances are, this is as far as you’ll have to go; hopefully it’ll get the job done.

Go ahead and select “Command Prompt” from that list, and you should get a window not dis-similar to the one you see when run cmd.exe from Windows.

Let’s start by telling the recovery console to fix our MBR and bootsectors:

bootrec.exe /fixmbr
bootsect.exe /nt60 all /force

Then ask it (nicely!) to try and rebuild your BCD data from scratch:

bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd

If you’re lucky, this’ll work and you’ll see a message telling you everything went OK.

Reboot your PC and try booting back into Windows to see if it worked. Don’t forget to remove your Windows Vista DVD or Recovery DVD from the drive, or you’ll end back in the repair center!

If your PC still doesn’t boot, read on to Attempt Three for a more powerful recovery option.

Attempt Three: Nuclear Holocaust

Back at the main page of the recovery center, go ahead and select “Command Prompt” yet again from that list.

The first order of business is to make sure the MBR and bootsector contain the right references to the Windows bootloader:

bootrec.exe /fixmbr
bootsect.exe /nt60 all /force

Now we get rid of the old BCD registry, and create a new one instead.

Note: We’re assuming that the boot drive is drive C: below. If your computer is configured differently, be sure to use the appropriate drive letter here instead.

attrib -h -s C:\boot\BCD

del C:\boot\BCD
bcdedit /createstore c:\boot\bcd.temp
bcdedit.exe /store c:\boot\bcd.temp /create {bootmgr} /d "Windows Boot Manager"
bcdedit.exe /import c:\boot\bcd.temp
bcdedit.exe /set {bootmgr} device partition=C:
bcdedit.exe /timeout 10
attrib -h -s C:\boot\bcd.temp
del c:\boot\bcd.temp

The first two commands may fail. Assuming you entered them correctly, that is fine; it simply indicates the BCD does not yet exist.

Now we have a clean, working Vista bootloader. But we need to add a Windows entry to it:

bcdedit.exe /create /d "Microsoft Windows" /application osloader

bcdedit.exe should return a message with a GUID for the newly-created entry, something like this:
The entry {c0dfc4fa-cb21-11dc-81bf-005056c00008} was successfully created.

You’ll need to use the value that bcdedit.exe returned for you below, along with the drive letter for the drive that Windows is installed to:

Again, make sure to replace C: with whatever the correct drive is for your Windows Vista/7/8 installation.

bcdedit.exe /set {c0dfc4fa-cb21-11dc-81bf-005056c00008} device partition=C:
bcdedit.exe /set {c0dfc4fa-cb21-11dc-81bf-005056c00008} osdevice partition=C:
bcdedit.exe /set {c0dfc4fa-cb21-11dc-81bf-005056c00008} path \Windows\system32\winload.exe
bcdedit.exe /set {c0dfc4fa-cb21-11dc-81bf-005056c00008} systemroot \Windows

And, last of all, tell the bootmgr bootloader to list the new entry or else it’ll remain hidden:

bcdedit.exe /displayorder {c0dfc4fa-cb21-11dc-81bf-005056c00008}

Now your bootloader has been completely removed and rebuilt from scratch. If you got this to work, feel free to consider yourself one of the finest graduates of the NeoSmart Technologies Institute of BCD Learning.

At this point, you have a clean, untouched, and (hopefully) fully-working bootloader with one entry for Windows.

Go ahead and reboot your PC, get back into Windows, and use EasyBCD to further tweak the bootloader to your heart’s content.

We advise backing up the BCD registry immediately with EasyBCD before making any changes.

Attempt Four: Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows

If the above instructions did not work for you, you should give our Windows recovery disks a try.

Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows was developed as a one-click bootable repair CD that will automated all the above steps and more.

Download Easy Recovery Essentials

Easy Recovery Essentials (EasyRE) will:

  • Check for and correct partition configuration problems
  • Correct errors in the UEFI/EFI firmware configuration
  • Remove bootsector viruses prevent Windows from starting
  • Reinstall the MBR and bootsector
  • Recreate all bootloader files from scratch
  • Correctly configure NTLDR and BOOTMGR to boot into Windows
  • Configure Windows to work correctly with any partition/bootloader changes that were made

The entire EasyRE repair process is fully automated, and really is just point-and-click. A video demonstration of EasyRE can be seen in the YouTube video below:

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Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows Vista (all editions)
  • Windows 7 (all editions)
  • Windows 8 (all editions)
  • Windows 8.1 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2008 (all editions)
  • Windows Server 2012 (all editions)