5. FixMBR and FixBoot
These tools usually don’t work unless you have found there to be errors on the drive after running CheckDisk. Using them will repair what may have been a corrupt Boot sector or Master Boot Record to hopefully allow the system to start.
1. Boot with the XP CD and at the setup screen press R to load the Recovery Console.
2. Choose the installation number which is usually 1 and enter the Administrator password.
2a. If you haven’t checked the drive already for errors, type chkdsk /r.
3. At the Command Prompt type FixMBR to repair the Master Boot Record on the hard drive.
4. Type FixBOOT to repair the Boot sector and make sure the boot files required to start the system are present.
5. Type Exit to quit the Recovery Console and reboot.
For Vista and 7:
1. Boot with the Windows Vista or Windows 7 installation disc.
2. Click Repair your computer.
3. Click the operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next.
4. In the System Recovery Options window, click Command Prompt.
4a. If you haven’t checked the drive already for errors, type chkdsk /r.
5. Type Bootrec /fixmbr to repair the Master Boot Record .
6. Type Bootrec /fixboot to repair the Boot sector.
7. Type Exit and then click restart.
Here are some other tools to restore the Master Boot Record to your system
6. Defragging the Hard Drive
Although it sounds rather odd could be a long shot, apparently this fix can actually work in certain circumstances and has cured the problem for some users. Either while the drive is connected up to another machine, externally or using a utility boot CD, defrag the drive in question. When finished, try to boot from it.
You should only do this IF you have backed up your important data from the drive already or there is nothing you’re worried about losing.
7. Changing the Partition Size
Similar to the defragging method above in that I believe there might be only a slim chance of success, but the aim here is to simply to rewrite the partition table for the C drive which may have become corrupted. This is achieved by altering the size of your Windows partition by a small amount so new partition data is written onto the drive overwriting any possibly corrupt data. It only needs to be by a few Megabytes, just enough for the change to register and and the partition table is changed to reflect this.
This is probably best left for users who know how to use partitioning software as one wrong move could wipe off all your data! Or this is the last try at a fix before a reformat. There are a few tools such as Gparted and Partition Wizard Home on the excellent Hiren’s Boot CD which you can use, or you can download the Partition Wizard Boot CD from their website. Simply burn either ISO (from another machine), boot it and then slightly change the size of the partition in the software and apply the changes. If it works, you can always change the size back again afterwards.
8. If all else fails…
If you have confirmed to yourself the hard drive and your other hardware is not faulty and you have no luck with any of the above fixes, there maybe no other option than to wipe off all partitions, then re-partition, format and then re-install Windows.
If you have had any luck with with other fixes you have found, please let us know.