Restore and recover a Windows PC How to create a system repair disc

If your PC won’t even start, a System Repair disc can be used to boot into a special repair mode to fix faults and get your computer going again.

From here you can restore backups and System Restore points and use other PC repair tools such as virus and malware scanners. Make sure you keep your disc handy; although you’ll only need it in emergencies when your PC won’t start.

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Creating a Windows system repair disc

Creating a system repair disc is easy. Insert a blank CD or DVD into your PC’s drive. Click Start and type repair disc, then click the Create a System Repair disc link that appears in the menu.

In the window that opens, make sure your disc drive is selected, then click the Create disc button. Click Close > OK when the process is complete.

Create repair disc

Using your Windows system repair disc

If Windows won’t load up at all, insert the System Repair disc you created into the disc tray of your PC and restart the computer.

After a while you should see a black screen with the words Press any key to boot from CD or DVD – tap a key to launch the disc.

Select your keyboard layout (UK English) from the dropdown menu and click Next. In the next screen you should see your Windows installation highlighted. Click Next.

System recovery options


The next screen will offer a selection of five tools for repairing your PC. Click Startup Repair first. This process will automatically try to fix the problem stopping your PC from starting. Your PC may restart during the process. If this doesn’t work first time, then try it again, as it can sometimes take several attempts for this fix to work.

System recovery tool


Alternatively, you can boot to the repair disc and then click System Restore, using the tool to restore your PC’s settings to a time before the problem started. The System Image Recovery option can restore your entire hard drive from a system backup.

System restore


More on this…

  • How to back up your data – our guide to safely backing up your data
  • Speed up a slow computer – how to make a slow computer run faster
  • Best hard drive brands – customer satisfaction revealed in our Which? survey

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