How can I repair Windows Vista?

Thomas S July 20, 2013

Can I repair a corrupted Windows Vista system? Can you tell me how to go about this – what do I need?

  1. Tsf O
    September 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Boot your computer into Safe Mode, especially if you can't access the regular Windows Vista desktop due to a missing system file. Shut off your computer and wait a few seconds, then turn it back on and tap "F8" before the Windows splash screen loads to access the Advanced Startup Menu. Use the arrow keys to choose "Safe Mode" and press "Enter." This loads a driver-sparse version of Windows that is useful for troubleshooting.
    Click "Start" and choose "All Programs" and then "Accessories." Right-click on "Command prompt" and choose "Run as Administrator." Click "Allow" if Windows prompts you to confirm that you are the computer administrator. The command prompt opens: this is a DOS-like interface where you can enter commands to run utilities for troubleshooting and repair.
    Type "sfc /scannow" at the prompt (the flashing cursor) and press "Enter." This starts Windows System File Checker, which scans the Windows installation directory for any corrupt, missing or non-authenticated versions of the Vista files. By default, the program replaces the files that don't match with System File Checker's record of your Vista install. When dealing with a virus this is particularly helpful, since some viruses replace system files with lookalikes that have the same name but destructive purposes.
    Type "Exit" when the System File Checker completes it diagnostic and press "Enter" to return to Safe Mode. Shut down the computer normally -- by using the "Start" button -- and then restart it and let it load to Vista regularly.

  2. Oron J
    July 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Following on from Bruce's comment, if you don't have the Vista DVD, you can download and burn an repair disc (which will do pretty much everything the install disc can do apart from a fresh installation or upgrade). You can get download the disc image from
    There are images there for most recent versions of Windows.

  3. Chunduri D
    July 21, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Install repair with a Vista disc. If u don't have the then download it from windows forum.

  4. Alan W
    July 20, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Install repair with a Vista disc?

  5. Hovsep A
    July 20, 2013 at 8:21 am

    well you can try to upgrade to windows 7 because there is upgrade feature so you keep your files intact?

    Access Files On Your Vista Install DVD

  6. Bruce E
    July 20, 2013 at 2:54 am

    You may be able to do a repair install if your have a Microsoft version of the Vista installation disc (the ones you get with OEM machines generally cannot do a repair installation). it should be the service pack level as what is on the machine for the best results but isn't absolutely necessary. If you boot from the DVD, you will get a menu of options to either install or repair the machine. IIRC (it's been several years since I've done this on Vista), there is an option to try to correct some of the more common boot issues and other minor things automatically and another to do a repair install. If the damage you wish to fix is extensive, just do the repair installation. All of your data files on the machine should be unaffected by this process but you really should back them up first if possible (even if it requires using a Linux live CD to copy your files to an external drive). Most of your programs will not be affected but some may need to have their default extensions reassigned again. Others may need to be reinstalled if they hook into the operating system functionality (downloaders, some antivirus, etc). Once the reinstall is done, you will need to run Windows Update repeatedly until there are no more critical and important updates for the system.

    If the corruption is not major, there are other much faster ways to accomplish the task, but you need to have a fairly good idea about what is wrong. I've had neighbors call me about what initially sounds like a catastrophic problem but when I get a look at it, it takes less than 2 minutes to have the machine running perfectly again. If you can provide more details about the existing problem, we may be able to provide a much quicker solution to resolve it rather than a repair install (or worse yet, a clean install).

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