Microsoft

Startup Repair Tool will automatically diagnose and fix startup problems

If a startup problem is detected, the Startup Repair Tool will launch an automated, diagnostics-based troubleshooter that requires little if any user intervention and will resuscitate an unbootable system.

We've all encountered startup problems with previous versions of the Windows operating system and Microsoft has always provided us with lots of tools for fixing the problems. For example, in Windows NT we had the Emergency recovery utility, in Windows 98 we had the MSConfig tool, in Windows 2000 we had the Recovery Console, and in Windows XP we had System Restore, just to mention a few. Of course there were many other operating system native tools, but they all involved a manual, user initiated operation. Not so with Windows Vista!

One of the many new features in the Windows Vista operating system is a utility called the Startup Repair Tool. What makes this new tool stand out among its brethren is that is designed to intercede at the first hint of an operating system startup problem. When a startup problem is detected, the Startup Repair Tool will launch an automated, diagnostics-based troubleshooter that requires little if any user intervention and will resuscitate an unbootable system.

What types of problems does it repair?

As you probably know from firsthand experience, startup problems are some of the most difficult to troubleshoot and sometimes it seems that the best way to fix the problem is to just reinstall the operating system. While this method offers a sure fire resolution, it's time consuming. It could also be avoided because, more often than you might think, the solution is as simple as replacing a single file or altering a single setting. This is the type of problem that the Startup Repair Tool will take care of.

For example, the Startup Repair Tool can automatically repair the following problems:

  • Missing/corrupt/incompatible drivers
  • Missing/corrupt system files
  • Missing/corrupt boot configuration settings
  • Corrupt registry settings
  • Corrupt disk metadata (master boot record, partition table, or boot sector)
  • Problem update installation

How does it work?

When Windows Vista's initial loading sequence detects a startup failure, it automatically fails over to the Startup Repair Tool. Once the Startup Repair Tool takes control, it begins analyzing startup log files for clues as to the source of the problem and then launches a series of diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the startup failure. Once the Startup Repair Tool determines the cause of the failure, it attempts to fix the problem automatically.

If the Startup Repair Tool successfully repairs the problem, it will then reboot the system. It then notifies the user of the repairs and files a detailed report in the new and improved Windows Vista event log that clearly identifies the cause of the problem as well as the solution.

If the Startup Repair Tool can identify the cause of the problem, but can't repair the problem by itself, it will provide access to a set of tools that you can use to manually troubleshoot the problem further.

If the Startup Repair Tool is unsuccessful in its attempt to identify or repair the problem, it will roll back the system to the last configuration that was known to work. The Startup Repair Tool will then add detailed information about the problem to the Windows Vista event log.

Saving time and money

As you can imagine, the automated system provided by the Startup Repair Tool will save administrators and help desk personnel from expending valuable time fixing simple problems. In addition, the event log reporting feature will help administrators and help desk personnel to quickly understand the problem for further troubleshooting as well as enacting preventative measures.

Additional options

Another way that the Startup Repair Tool will be a boon is via Group Policy. In Windows Vista Group Policy settings provide full control over built-in diagnostics, such as the Startup Repair Tool. These Group Policy settings will allow administrators to disable portions of the default resolutions, provide a enterprise-specific resolution, and even customize the tool to prompt the user to seek assistance, and display enterprise-specific contact information.

Conclusion

Windows Vista's Startup Repair Tool is designed to make it easy for user and administrators to solve simple and complex problems.

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

24 comments
mimrifas
mimrifas

I am really sorry to inform you that I have startup problem with vista. it is like doing something finally it did not solve the problem. I have been waiting for 2 days to solve this startup problem. Vista operationg system does not work properly. It is worse than other operating system so I dont believe these all about startup repair tool is good solution. so I m looking alternate solution otherwise I better format and install other operating system.

lindajojojo
lindajojojo

I haven't had the issue of a start up problem yet in Vista, but this repair tool will automatically run if there is a problem? That seems pretty slick if that is the case.

elvis.altherr
elvis.altherr

Sorry to say: but in my oppion the tool is worthless.. I shot down my XP and the Vista Bootloader. So far so good: restored an functional image (Trueimage) of the bootdrive, but Vista Bootloader dosen't start --> i choosed repair function in Vista Setup and then i saw the whole MBR gone away.. what a mess.. Now it seems that i need to reinstall Vista from scratch (but for the moment i will wait, till Vista is more stable enough)

whatzupty
whatzupty

this article is good but one thing that bothers me is; how can i implement these processes when my system can not even come on. the safemode doesnt work and there is no way the system gets into thwindows environment at all. As soon as it almost goes into the windows environment, it shows you logging off and the system logs off, it even shuts down some times

wilrodiz
wilrodiz

If Vista does what you say it does, it is going to be a good investment!

blarman
blarman

I'm curious if it will "fix" dual booting. I have Linux as well as XP on my system and I don't particularly want Microsoft determining which are "valid" operating systems. As long as Vista stays on its own side of the fence...

viveka
viveka

The fixes may be superficial, by including some of the "winternal tools" into the OS. I need to see the follwoing be never reported to ever make such a claim... (people will disgree with me, for sure) 1. CHKdsk equivalent problem - that starts on every boot on XP - this is not a fixable error without reinstall when the MFT and the bit image file are out of sync 2. Missing profile issues under various circumstances - moving from a domain with group profile alterations to a workgroup, missing when multiple logins exist on the same workstation and local group policies are modified...

sabiodun
sabiodun

i am yet to try out the window vista but with this kind of tool i can hardly wait to lay my hands on one. my question: would this also be available on LONGHORN. Anyway thanks a million.

CMB from Omaha
CMB from Omaha

My Vista laptop had been crashing repeatedly, and it finally wouldn't start at all. Startup Repair Tool got me going again, but how can I find out what changes it made? I'd really like to know what kept hanging my 'puter up so I can keep an eye on it, if not uninstall it outright.

frank_s
frank_s

I'm running Vista on a dual boot system. Vista handles dual booting differently than previous versions. I messed up the Boot directory--don't ask, but I know better now--and was left with a computer that wouldn't boot either operating system the way it was. But Vista detected the problem and offered to fix it. It only took seconds and the problem was fixed. If not for that I would have had to reimage the drive which would have taken considerably longer.

Kiltie
Kiltie

[b][u]especially[/u][/b] if that paper is a press release just before launch. However, I am a cynic, and suspicious of this. It looks too good to be true, so probably isn't (as the saying goes). Then why is this "nugget" of information released so late in the day, only days away from the commercial release? I share the other posters concerns that it will probably be useless in the real world, especially paraphrasing what someone said, it may fix a symptom, but what was the cause? [b][i]Sorry, it still won't get me to buy Vista.[/i][/b] Another thought occurs to me..... If this tool is so good, why isn't it available for all the other Operating Systems? The cynic in me smells something going on here, that we can only speculate on.

smallbiz-techwiz
smallbiz-techwiz

makes you wonder... everything needs some type of bootstrap loader. If your O/S won't start up, then this Startup tool is supposed to fix it. What if the startup tool can't startup? I'll admit it's nice to have on Mom's PC when I'm not there to help her, but problems that go away by themselves usually come back by themselves. You have to determine WHY the problem occurred in order to make sure it doesn't reoccur. Hardware problem? A/C power problems? Let's see the Startup tool fix those. I think it sounds like another one of those "helpful" Microsoft features that just gets in my way.

Peon
Peon

..all the questions I never even dared to ask. This is better than sliced bread !! ;-) PS: This message is computer-generated. Computers are perfect ! They never go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, go wrong, ......

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

I have tried up to RC1, and it still failed to find ntoskrnl.exe was missing from the system completely. So far, I do not think that it was worth it, if one of the main system files could not be found as missing.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

About Vista before the first coding release. It was hyped to look good about fixing startup issues and keeping tech support out of it mostly. But as I have stated for months, I tried it with 1 common startup error (ntoskrnl.exe is missing or corrupt), in 2 different releases of the code, and it could not detect that the kernal of the OS was missing. I suspect that it will be about as useful as system restore, which means it will work sometimes, but not when really needed. I think that I share your cynicism (is that the right spelling?) about it, and most of the features. And, like you, I have no plans for Vista at all.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

Can you go into more detail here? Did you delete the NTOSKRNL.EXE file? What happened when you restarted the system?

brockadam
brockadam

Microsoft provides Scanpst.exe tool to help repair problem related to .pst files. This tool scans the .pst file directory structure and item headers to restore all items and folders. If scan.exe tool recovers .pst files it means it can solve your problem. If scan.exe cannot able to solve your problems, you should try outlook pst repair software. So many outlook repair tools are available in the market. Search a best one according to your choice and solve your problems easily.

dhamilt01
dhamilt01

Since the days of DOS, over 90 percent of recovery attempts failed for me because there was always one or more hidden, system or other file that the damn backup failed to ... backup. I concluded long ago that Microsoft wisely built-in a fabulous recovery tool in every OS ... format and reinstall. Takes forever but if you do it often enough, ya can automate most of it. And it works every time too! Derek

moira
moira

I have to say I agree with Mike. System Restore could never be relied on, as it had a habit of letting you down just when you needed it most. I lost count of the number of times it was "unable to restore" to a previous recovery point. For me, in the event of a serious problem the best solution was a regular backup of the C drive using Acronis.

Mike
Mike

The ONLY thing that ever fixed 2000 or XP, for me,was re-installing it on top itself. NEVER did any of the other tools work in the field except in a laborious, time consuming, geek sort of way. Needless to say I am very sceptical of ANY automatic repair claims.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

NTOSKRNL.EXE to NTOSKRNL.OLD then I rebooted, it failed to boot (missing NTOSKRNL.EXE file. It asked to perform a boot fix, and to follow the instructions -- so far, so good. After a 5 minute wait while it inspected the startup environment it suggested a system restore. I passed on system restore, because it saves system state data not filenames/files. I wated another 5 minutes and it told me that there was nothing wrong with my boot environment. This happened on all pre-release versions that I used (I stopped downloading them after RC1). This is because I totally lost interest in the OS all together and had already moved many tasks over to SUSE Linux (after playing with several distros).

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