Restore Master Boot Record (MBR) in Windows 7 & XP

Is your computer Master Boot Record damaged or corrupted? Here is the tutorial to fix or restore the MBR. Master Boot Record or MBR is a special type of boot sector that basically informs the BIOS where to look for the operating system on your computer. It is located at the very beginning of partitioned computer mass storage devices like fixed disks or removable drives intended for use with IBM PC-compatible systems and beyond. The MBR contains the information on how the logical partitions, containing file systems, are organized on that medium. Besides that, the MBR functions as an operating system independent chain boot loader in conjunction with each partition’s Volume Boot Record (VBR).

fix restore mbr

If, for any reason, the MBR has been damaged or corrupted, then the operating system will fail to load. You will normally see error messages and some of the computer user may assume that their computer are dead. But, if you are computer expert or have good knowledge about computer, then you can easily fix the problem. The error that commonly appears on MBR corruption are:

  • Error loading operating system
  • Invalid partition table
  • Missing operating system

Fix the Master Boot Record in Windows XP

To fix the MBR all you need to do is load up the Recovery Console and run a simple command. All the data, applications, settings, etc are still intact on the drive and once the MBR is fixed, the computer will start loading normally.

To achieve this follow the steps described below.

  • Reboot your computer with the Windows XP setup disk in the CD drive. If you don’t have the original disk, you can either download an ISO image online or borrow from someone.
  • When prompted, boot from the CD drive by pressing any key. If the Windows loads automatically, enter into the system BIOS setup and select or change the order of the boot devices to start with the CD drive.

mbr boot setup utility

  • After the setup loads, you can see the option to press R to repair a Windows installation.

mbr repair

  • Once the Recovery Console loads up, you will have to type in a number that corresponds to your Windows installation. This is normally just 1. Press Enter and then type in the Administrator password.

Windows xp Recovery Console

  • Open the command prompt, type fixmbr. Your damaged MBR will now be replaced or restored with a new master boot record and your computer should now be able to boot properly. Make sure to run the fixboot command in order to repair the boot sector with a new one.

recovery console fixmbr

If you have installed more than one OS then the commands fixmbr and fixboot could mess up everything.  Use this command only on the system loaded with one operating system.

Fix the Master Boot Record in Windows7

  • Boot your computer with the Windows 7 DVD or to a Repair CD. When the install now screen appears select it.
  • Select your preferable language and click next
  • Click the button for “Use recovery tools”

system recovery option

  • Then select “Command Prompt”
  • The command to be used is bootsect.exe, is in a folder (named boot) on the DVD
  • To access the boot folder you need to know what drive letter has been assigned to the DVD drive. To know the drive letter type the following commands.
  • Open the Command prompt and type diskpart and press Enter
  • Type select disk 0 (zero) and press Enter
  • Type list volume and press Enter. here you can see the drive letter assigned to the CD drive.
  • Type exit and press Enter to close Diskpart
  • Type the assigned letter of your DVD drive and press Enter
  • Type cd boot and press Enter
  • Type dir and press Enter
  • To restore the MBR or the bootsector code, type the following commands
  • Type bootsect /nt60 SYS /mbr and hit Enter. If this method fails to restore the MBR, you can try the bootrec command as it is also a tool for repairing the MBR.

Upon completion type exit and press Enter to close the command prompt window. Restart your computer and you will be able to boot your computer into Windows.

The above stated instructions will restore or fix the Master Boot record (MBR) concerned issue.

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