Windows 7 includes the ability to create what’s called a “System Repair”
disc. On the created disk are placed a set of tools that can be used to repair
several different types of system failures or problems.
Creating a repair disc is actually very easy, if you have the right
Unfortunately there’s also a lot of confusion as to what a system repair
disk is, and is not.
For example, it’s not something you can be assured will in fact repair your
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How to create a Windows 7 System Repair disc
We start in the Windows 7 Control Panel, selecting the Back up your
Off to the left side in the resulting Backup and Restore window is a link
to Create a system repair disc:
Click that, and we run into our first problem:
Windows 7 can only create a System Repair disc if you actually have a CD or
DVD burner on your machine. If you do not, Windows 7 cannot be coerced into
creating a disc some other way.
With a CD or DVD burner, Windows will simply ask which drive you want to use
to burn the disc (typically, there is only one – the drive that is your CD or DVD
burner). Once you insert blank, writable media into the drive and click OK,
Windows proceeds to burn the disc.
When done, you now have a System Repair disc for your computer.
A System Repair disc might not be all you think
Reboot your machine from the System Repair disc that you’ve just created.
After confirming your preferred language, the repair disc will search your
hard disk for any Windows installations and then present you with this
In most cases, you’ll have the option to choose the single Windows
installation found on your machine or to restore the hard disk using a
previously created system image.
Select the correct (or only) Windows installation and click Next.
This is the list of things that a System Repair disc can do.
- Startup Repair – If your computer is having problems booting
due to issues with the hard disk’s boot sector, master boot record or other
low-level items, this process can often fix them.
- System Restore – If your computer is having problems running
due to recent changes made or programs installed, System Restore may
be able to restore parts of the system back to a working state.
- System Image Recovery – You can use this option to replace
the system currently on your hard disk with a complete system image backup
taken previously using Windows own backup program. (Note that this only works
with Windows own included backup program. If you use a different backup
program, then you’ll need to make sure to make a System Rescue disc for this
purpose using that program.)
- Windows Memory Diagnostic – If you suspect that your RAM may
be causing problems, this diagnostic can determine if there are in fact
- Command Prompt – The Command Prompt is meant for advanced
usage and allows access to several command line utilities that can be used to
examine, diagnose, and possibly repair certain types of issues.
A System Repair disc is not a System Installation disc
You cannot use a System Repair disc to reinstall Windows or install it from
scratch on this or any other machine.
A System Repair disc can only work on an existing installation, or
restore a backup image of an installation.
If you actually need to reinstall Windows, a System Repair disc will not
help. You’ll either need to restore to an image backup of the system when it
was working or boot from an actual System Installation disc.
A System Installation disc IS a System Repair disc
If you actually have the original installation media for your system, then
you may not need to create a System Repair disc.
When you boot from your System Installation disc, after choosing your
language, you are given an option to Install Windows or you can click the link to Repair near the bottom of the screen:
Click that link and you’ll be taken to the same set of tools that are
available on the System Repair disc.
Thus, if you have your original installation media, you can probably skip
making a repair disc. On the other hand, if you don’t have the original CDs or
DVD from which Windows was installed, making a System Repair disc before you
need it can be very helpful later, should your system be in need of repair.