Martin Wroblinskis Homepage

Windows Rescue

You get the best presentation of this page with a browser supporting Cascading Stylesheets (CSS).


This is only a reference list of available commands or utilities. All are used at your own risk. It is assumed that you have expirience working with the tools described here.

I'm not a windows specialist and the hints here are only what worked for my PC after crashing the MBR or the partition allocation.

Some commands for the XP repair console

The Windows XP repair console can be started from th XP Install CD.

Repairs the Master Boot Record. May end up with a default that differs from the original one.
repairs the boot record.
bootcfg /rebuild
Restore the boot.ini. Tries to detect Windows installations on your system and restore the boot.ini in a kind they can be started again.
fdisk /mbr
(undocumented parameter) rewrites the master boot record of disk 0 in a way it boots from the first partition (usually c resprectively hda0). If there was a bootloader installed or anyhting elsed used the MBR, this will be gone!

Last try if everything else fails

If everything else fails to boot your windows, this steps may help. They helped me after destroying my MBR and not beeing able to restore it using the options above. The short version is:

Installing windows from scratch restores the boot capability of C. This stays intact after restoring an working image back to it. And now the longer version:

Most important thing here is to have an image of your boot partition (usually C) available. If you do not have one, that's bad, but there may be stil a chance to get windows working back if the actual partition is still ok and the problem is outside (e.g. MBR).

Remember for the future: Be sure to have an image of your working boot partition. Be sure to have it from a point where you want to go back (and not one where you need to spend more days on installing all the missing software). If you have your system working again, regardless how you got there, make an image first!

Regardless wether you have an image or not, it's a goot idea to make (an additional) right now. If you do not have an image, it is imperative to do one now! You can use a tool like Norton Ghost or PowerQuest DriveImage if you want to buy one (in this case you should already have bought one because you need the image right now), but there are also free alternatives. Unix or Linux fans boot a Linux (e.g. Knoppix) from CD and use dd, but they probably wont be reading this article.

If you are wondering what I'm talking about and would like to ask why to make a picture of your hardrive, don't touch anything anymore and bring your PC to a professional computer shop ;-). After you have a working image it's becoming quite straighforward. However it may take some time, so make yourself a cup of coffe or get your gameboy:

You may try to restore the image you made in the steps above to ge ta most recent system. If this does not work, try your older image from the last known stable state.

If it still does not work take yourself some time and instal your PC new from scratch :-(

Please sent any comment per e-mail to:

(c) M. Wroblinski

Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!