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I have just repaired a friends computer (replaced motherboard) and now I am trying to repair the Windows (Windows Vista) partitions.

Unfortunately, probably due to the fact that he tried to start it several times after the old motherboard had stopped working (no signal on video) now the partition table or the file systems (or both?) appear to be damaged.

I managed to boot Windows a couple of times but could not complete the boot. I tried to repair the partition table and file systems using Linux RIP (booting from USB stick) but the Linux utilities say that the file system is damaged and I should run chkdsk /f from Windows.

So I now need a Windows boot CD from which I can boot and run chkdsk or any other Windows utilities that can repair the file system.

Is there an easy way to create such a CD? Or can I download it for free somewhere? All the links to Windows Vista boot / repair CD's I have found on the internet refer to non-free stuff. Any hint?


I have a working laptop with Windows Vista installed. So one solution would be to make a bootable CD or USB from it so that I can boot the desktop and run the repair utilities. However, I do not have the Windows Vista installation DVD, because both computers were bought with Windows pre-installed.

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migrated from Jun 29 '12 at 17:45

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

If you need a repair disk, and not an installation disk, you are still in luck.

From your running system, open the Start Menu, and search for "Backup and Restore". In the Control Panel applet that appears, one option on the left or bottom of the screen is to create a Recovery Disk. This disk that it makes will boot the recovery tools for Vista or Windows 7 that you can use on any other Vista or Windows 7 system (depends on which version you create though). You can then boot the CD and access the same Recovery tools as the standard Windows disk would allow you to use.

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I have solved the problem a while ago. But: I could not boot the system so I could not make a repair disk. Of course, it would have been good if my friend had made a repair disk when his computer was still working. – Giorgio May 29 '13 at 6:07
@Giorgio I figured because of the age... I saw the edit that you had a working Vista system, so I thought I'd explain this quick procedure. Hopefully it helps someone else :) – Canadian Luke May 29 '13 at 6:11
Yes, it is definitely useful information (+1): better prevent problems than trying to recover when too much of the file system has been damaged. Thanks. – Giorgio May 29 '13 at 7:32
BTW, I managed to recover the MBR by following the ideas described in… (Linux came to the rescue!) – Giorgio May 29 '13 at 7:35

I remember fixing my MBR with a Windows XP CD which lets you boot with Command Prompt.

Problems with the master boot record (MBR) of a system may prevent the system from booting. The MBR may be affected by malicious code, become corrupted by disk errors, or be overwritten by other boot loaders when experimenting with multiple operating systems on a host. This recipe describes one method of repairing the MBR for an XP host using the recovery console.

Boot with the XP installation CD.

When prompted, press R to repair a Windows XP installation.

If repairing a host with multiple operating systems, select the appropriate one (XP) from the menu. If you have only one operating system, enter 1 to select it.

Enter the administrator password if prompted.

To fix the MBR, use the following command:


This assumes that your installation is on the C:\ drive. You will be presented with several scary warning lines the reading of which will make you want to say no. Microsoft is exceptionally vague regarding the conditions under which fixmbr can cause problems although they are clear about the consequences (losing all data on the hard drive), so use this at your own risk.

Type y and ENTER to fix the MBR.

Type exit to leave the recovery console and reboot.

Source: Fix MBR Record Using WinXP

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I have a Windows XP CD but it is not bootable. I have a working Windows Vista on my laptop: can I make a boot CD from it? I cannot imagine that this is not possible. – Giorgio Jun 29 '12 at 17:30
You can – Rhyuk Jun 29 '12 at 17:33
I mean, I have a running Windows Vista. Isn't there are command to make a bootable CD or USB image? In MSDOS it was just format A: followed by SYS A:. Isn't there something like that for Windows Vista? – Giorgio Jun 29 '12 at 18:30
Not that I know of... but since you have already a WinXP CD I suggest you to just make that one bootable. Since you tried Linux already I believe this is the only legal solution you have left. – Rhyuk Jun 29 '12 at 18:37
It is difficult to believe that such a basic functionality like booting and repairing a file system is not included in Windows or downloadable for free. However, thanks for the link, I will try to make a bootable Windows XP CD. – Giorgio Jun 29 '12 at 18:43

You can use the Falcon Four Boot CD to restore a Vista MBR so you can boot Vista again:

Choose "MS DaRT 6.5" from the main Boot screen, and then hit cancel after a screen or two, and it'll give you a list of tools, one being Boot Commander, which is the tool from Microsoft for restoring the boot record for Vista.

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