Repair Windows® 7 MBR

Do you want to know the role of Master Boot Record (MBR) in a Windows 7 system and how to fix issues that can occur?

Master Boot Record (MBR) is utilized to hold the hard disk's primary partition table, recognize particular disk media, and the operating system. The first sector of the hard disk is located at the MBR area and contains entries for primary partition in the partition table. Any sort of corruption in MBR can be caused due to plenty of reasons like improper system shutdown, operating system malfunctioning, malicious software and human errors. MBR, when gets corrupted, halts the booting process of Windows operating system, resulting in inaccessibility of data stored on the hard drive. A suitable way to access the lost hard disk data is by restoration of data from an updated backup.

Various issues related to MBR and tips to fix them are discussed in the following points:

  • Issues associated with MBR

  • Reasons for the issue

  • Tips to resolve the issues

Issues associated with MBR

Upon starting your computer with the Windows 7 operating system, you might receive the error message that the "Operating System is missing or not found." This error typically indicates a damaged or missing MBR in your computer or could also be a sign of non existence of an active (bootable) partition on the hard disk of your system. The BIOS is not able to shift the control to a suitable boot record and exhibits this error message. Upon starting your Windows 7 based system you shall sometimes receive the error message that "NTLDR is missing." This error points out one of the frequent potential problems, but often point towards a corrupt or missing MBR.

Reasons for the issue

There are hard drive errors and inappropriate installation of multiple operating systems happening at times that lead to MBR corruption. The effects of corrupted MBR are problems in starting the computer, lack of ability to boot computer in safe mode and other accessible safe mode options etc. Another cause would be some kinds of viruses called MBR viruses which are capable of damaging the Master Boot Record of your PC by substituting the original MBR with new one created by them. The original MBR sector will be shifted to some other spots in the hard disk. These MBR viruses will start when the computer boots up.

Tips to resolve issues

To resolve MBR corruption and to get access to hard drive data, you will need to follow some steps. First, insert Windows 7 installation CD and select the default 'time,' 'date', 'language' and click 'Next.' Then go to 'Repair Your Computer' option for opening System Recovery window. Now click command prompt and run 'bootsect.exe' utility. Run 'bootsect /nt60 C:' (if Windows 7 is installed in C partition). Now you can restart your computer. If the above option fails to resolve, the hard drive data remains inaccessible as any of the error messages pop up while booting your system. It is advisable to format the hard drive partition. Even though formatting resolves both the error messages and MBR corruption, it will also delete the data saved on the hard drive partition.

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