Computer Recovery- Your Guide to Restore Your PC

There is a difference between computer recovery and system restore. Recovery restores your computer to factory settings; there is a chance when using computer recovery that your personal documents are removed as the computer re-formats during the reinstall. System Restore restores the operating system files on your computer back to the state they were for the day you choose; it does not delete your personal documents.

Computer Recovery – Operating System Specific

If you have a brand-name computer or laptop, it usually comes with a recovery CD or DVD provided by the manufacturer instead of the regular Windows Setup CD. This CD will have drivers that are specific to your computer that you will be able to use if you need to reinstall the operating system or perform a computer recovery. For some brand-name computers, the hard drive contains a hidden recovery partition that can be used to reinstall Windows; sometimes this hidden partition contains a utility that can be used to create a recovery CD. The CD must have already been created if it is going to be used to restore a hard drive that has failed.

Computer Recovery with Windows XP

Windows XP contains a Recovery Console which can be accessed from the Windows XP setup CD. You can use this CD to boot up the operating system when you cannot boot from the hard drive. You can also use it to troubleshoot a Windows XP startup problem and to recover data from the hard drive. The Advanced Options menu can assist you if the problem is a faulty device driver or system service. If the problem is more complicated than that, there is another tool called Recovery Console. You can use this tool when Windows XP does not start properly or hangs up while it is loading. You can use Recovery Console to repair a damaged registry, system files or file system on the hard drive; you can also use it to enable or disable a service or device drivers. Recovery Console can be used to repair the master boot program on the hard drive or the boot sector on the system partition, to repair a damaged boot.ini file, and to recover data when the Windows installation cannot be prepared.


Computer Recovery with Windows Vista


To recover lost or corrupted data with a computer that has Windows Vista or Windows 7 operating system, you might be able to recover it using Windows tools or third-party software.

If Windows will not boot up on your computer, you can try booting from the OS setup DVD; if you are able to, when the Windows screen appears, click Next and then click Repair Your Computer; this should launch Windows RE. Windows RE attempts to locate an OS installation on your hard drive. If it cannot locate an installation DVD but the BIOS setup recognizes the hard drive, then the drive partitions and file systems might be corrupted. If Windows RE can locate the installation, the problem may be missing or corrupted system files.

Run Startup Repair; this can sometimes correct critical problems with system files and boot records. Restart the computer after this step. You could also try running System Restore, but this process will not help if the file system is corrupted. Restart the system and press F8 during the boot to bring up Advanced Boot Options menu. If the boot menu does not come up, the problem may likely be a corrupted boot sector. If you do see the menu, you need to enable boot logging and reboot. Check the boot log for the last entry; this may indicate which system file is missing or corrupt.

You can attempt to repair the boot sector using Windows RE if the boot menu appears by using specific commands. The Diskpart command followed by the command list volume is also a useful tool. You can also sometimes repair a corrupted file system by using the command prompt windows and the chkdsk c:/r command.

Recovering data and backing up data are very important tools in the computer recovery process. If you have a Complete PC backup using Vista or Windows 7, you can use it to restore the system to the last backup. Make an effort to copy the data to a safe place if there is any on the hard drive that has not been backed up prior to restoring the system.

There are different types of computer backup systems which include a system backup or just a backup of data. If you do not have a Complete PC backup but you have backups of data that is on the hard drive, you can install Windows Vista or 7 on the partition and format the hard drive during the installation process. If you don’t have either types of backup, try to copy the data and then reinstall the operating system. You might still be able to recover the data after the re-installation.