I need to fix a Windows 7 machine that can only boot into Safe Mode. I cannot use a DVD or take out the hard disk, and there are no dates available for System Restore to restore to.

With Windows XP or Vista, I would've done the following:

  1. Switch on, tap F8, select "Advanced Boot Options", then "Repair your System", then "Command Prompt"
  2. cd c:\windows\repair
    copy * ..\system32\config**
    replace? [yes|no|ALL]

Is there any equivalent series of steps for fixing a Windows 7?

3 Answers 3

  • Press F8 during boot

  • Select "Repair my computer"

  • Select the hard drive that windows is installed on

  • Choose Command Prompt from the next menu

  • Run these commands to make a temporary copy of your registry

    cd /d c:\windows\System32\config
    xcopy *.* c:\RegBack\
    cd RegBack
  • Examine the last modified dates of the Software, System and SAM files. Were the files created before your problem started?

  • If they were created before the problem started then type these commands:

    copy /y software  ..
    copy /y System  ..
    copy /y Sam ..

    (the two dots are part of each command)

  • Reboot. If things don't work, you can restore the original registry by copying the files from C:\Regback to C:\Windows\System32\config.


Click the Windows button and type the word run. Click on run at the top of the list. Type in msconfig in the open bar. Under the General tab select normal startup. Under the Boot tab, double check to make sure that safe boot is not checked. Click OK and restart your computer.


For the benefit of others: I could not reach a DOS command prompt by pressing F5 or F8 when windows tried to load, so I had to create a start-up disc using the working Windows 7 installation on my work laptop.

I used this to boot from, and was able to open a command prompt window, and type in the sequence of commands listed.

On re-booting everything worked.

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