Occasionally, whether by malware, a failing hard drive, or careless mistake, the boot environment for Windows becomes damaged and the operating system will no longer come to life. If due to the first or last reason, there is a pretty good chance the damage can be repaired. In the case of a failing drive, you might have some luck, but be prepared for potential data loss (or at least an un-bootable drive you will have to recover data from another way).

To completely rebuild and repair the boot environment:

  1. Obtain installation media for the OS you are running (Windows Vista, 7, and up)
  2. Boot the computer from the CD/DVD drive containing the installation media
  3. Follow the installation prompts until you get a “Repair your computer” option; select that
  4. Select the operating system install you want to repair
  5. Open a command prompt from the “System Recovery Options”
  6. Run the following commands:
    • bootrec /fixMBR
    • bootrec /fixBoot
    • bootrec /rebuildBCD
  7. Allow the commands to complete, reboot, and hope for the best!

For more information on the bootrec tool, check out this Microsoft KB article.