Repair Windows 7 Boot Problems Without a Windows 7 Disc

I had a fairly bad crash on a Lenovo Thinkpad running Windows 7 Professional the other day. After it happened I was just stuck with a blinking cursor and couldn’t load Windows at all. Not good. It seemed like a booting problem that would hopefully be fixable. To complicate matters Lenovo does not provide you with a Windows disc when you buy your computer. I suppose it’s to keep costs lower. They only give you the ability to create a recovery DVD. I’m going to share what I did here in case it happens to me again or anyone else runs into a similar problem.

Luckily when I first got the laptop I was responsible enough to create a recovery DVD. I popped in the disc to see if it could help me. Unfortunately I realized the disc will only let you reformat and I’d lose all my data and settings. There may be an option also to return to an earlier state, but that wouldn’t work for my needs so I didn’t go that route. I ran the HDD Diagnostic Program from the BIOS to see if my hard drive seemed ok. It ran successfully, which solidified my theory that it was just a booting problem.

What I really needed was the actual Windows disc which provides an option to repair Windows. I’d attempt to repair the boot process. I contacted Lenovo for suggestions since they didn’t provide a CD. They agreed I needed a Windows disc but could not provide me one nor was there anything I could pull off the web from them. While I’m all for keeping the price tag low, this is a pretty big flaw in the way they sell their product. Microsoft also does not offer anyway to download a copy of Windows unless you previously bought it from their store. It was up to me to come up with a Windows 7 disc and until I got my hands on one I was without the use of my laptop. It was kind of annoying but after thinking about it I realized I have could probably poke around the web and find a copy of it. I wouldn’t need to register it because all I was going to do was boot from it and run the repair process.

Sure enough after a few minutes I found an .iso image of Windows 7. I used ImgBurn to burn the image to a DVD and voila I had my boot disc. I restarted and booted from it. When the Windows 7 screen came up I chose “Repair Your Computer.” You then get a list of System Recovery Options. I tried “Startup Repair” and “Command Prompt”.

Windows 7 boot
Windows 7 system recovery options

I did Startup Repair first, but it didn’t work. After some Googling I used the DOS Prompt to run the following three commands:

bootrec.exe /fixmbr (fix Master Boot Record)
bootrec.exe /fixboot
bootrec.exe /RebuildBcd (rebuild Boot Configuration Data)

This time I restarted and boo-ya, my Windows 7 was back! What a relief, back in business.

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