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How to Fix a damaged MBR (Master Boot Record)

If you computer does not boot up normally and you receive an error message similar to the following:

  • Error loading operating system
  • Missing operating system
  • Invalid partition table
  • Hard disk boot failure
  • Operating system not found
  • Black screen with no information

That means the MBR on your hard disk may be corrupted.

What is the ‘MBR’? The ‘MBR’ is the abbreviated form of Master Boot Record. It is the first sector of your hard drive that basically tells the BIOS where to look for the operating system on your computer.

If the MBR is broken, you computer will not boot. You need to fix the MBR to make your computer boot again normally.

If you computer is Windows XP based computer, you can use Windows XP installation CD to repair the MBR. The following are the detailed steps:

  1. Insert the Windows XP setup CD in the CD/DVD drive and reboot your computer from it.
  2. When you are prompted "Press any key to boot from CD", press a key. If you do not get the message, you need to set BIOS and use boot menu to ensure boot from the CD.
  3. Once the welcome screen appear, press 'R' to enter 'Recovery Console' not Windows setup process.
  4. After the Recovery Console loads, select the Windows installation which needs repairing. If a single Windows installation is listed, you just need to press 1.
  5. After selecting a Windows installation, press <Enter> and then type in the administrator password. The administrator password is blank by default.
  6. Type ‘fixmbr’ and press <Enter>. The MBR on your Windows installation disk will be replaced with a new Windows MBR.
  7. Type ‘Exit’ to quit the Recovery Console and reboot.

If you computer is Windows 7 based and you have a Windows 7 installation DVD, you can use Windows 7 installation DVD to repair the MBR. The following are the necessary steps:

  1. Insert the Windows 7 installation DVD into your DVD drive and reboot from it.
  2. Enter the required settings when requested.
  3. Important: Click the <Repair Your Computer> button NOT <Install now> to enter Windows 7 'Startup Repair' tool.
  4. When the "System Recovery Option" Options tool comes up, choose the <Command Prompt>.
  5. Type 'bootrec.exe /fixmbr' in the command console press <Enter>. This initiates the 'bootrec.exe' startup repair tool in Windows 7.
  6. Follow the instructions to repair your Master Boot record.

If you do not have a proper Windows installation disc or you are not familiar with the command prompt, you can use our freeware, Lazesoft Windows Recovery Home Edition, to easily repair any MBR problem with just four steps and a few mouse clicks.

  • Step 1: Install Lazesoft Windows Recovery Home Edition and run it to burn a new Lazesoft Windows Recovery bootable CD or USB drive
  • Step 2: Insert the new created bootable USB disk or CD into your computer. Restart, setting BIOS to boot your computer from the new medium. You can usually press F12 or an other appropriate key to select a particular device used for starting Windows.
  • Step 3: Perform the MBR repair steps as listed on the Lazesoft Windows Recovery medium. You will be instructed to follow the steps "Windows Recovery -> Boot Crash -> Repair MBR".
  • Once you are working in the 'Repair MBR' module, you should click on the <MBR Repair> button to repair your corrupted master boot record.
  • Step 4: Remove the repair medium and reboot your computer. You should reset the boot device sequence, designating your original hard drive as the first boot device at this point. See step 2 above.
The MBR repair tool in our software is safe. All of your data, applications, settings, etc, are still intact on the drive and once the MBR is fixed, the computer will load normally.




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