Using Regedit to Repair a System That Wont Start

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Another handy Startup Repair feature in Windows 7 is the capability to run the Registry editor (Regedit) from the Command Prompt window. If you cannot start your system because of driver or service problems or other Registry-related issues, you can use Regedit to work on your system and repair problems.

To start Regedit from the Choose a Recovery Tool screen in the System Recovery Options dialog box (refer to Figure 25.1), click Command Prompt. When the command prompt window opens, type regedit and press Enter.

Before making any changes with Regedit, export the current Registry with File, Export so that you have a backup copy, in case of problems. By default, Export saves only the current branch. To export the entire Registry, select All in the lower-left corner of the Export Registry File dialog box. Provide a name for the exported Registry, such as the computer name and current date, and click Save. You can use USB flash memory drives and other types of storage to save the exported Registry. However, you should not save it to the hard disk, espe cially if you suspect that you might need to perform data recovery operations on it later. (You don't want to overwrite any recoverable data.)

Sometimes, services running at startup crash, preventing a system from starting. Here's how to use Regedit to disable these services:

A caution

If you need help running Regedit, see Chapter 28, "Editing the Registry." Don't tinker with the Registry unless you know what you're doing. And if you do tinker with it, make a backup first. Improper editing of the Registry can result in a dead computer.

3. Browse into the services key and look for the likely offending service. Most service keys have a value named Start, with one of the following values:

• 0 Boot driver loaded by Ntldr (Boot)

• 1 Driver loaded at kernel initialization by Windows 7 (System)

• 2 Driver loaded at system startup by Session Manager or Service Controller (Auto Load)

• 3 Driver or service loaded manually from Services, Control Panel, and so on (Load on


4 Driver or service that is not running or started (Disabled)

Services with a Start value of 0 or 1 are used to boot Windows, and you shouldn't touch them. Services with a Start value of 2 start about the same time as the Login dialog box appears in Windows. If your Windows system boots and then promptly crashes without your help, try setting the Start value of any suspected service(s) to 3 or 4. Be sure to write down the names of the services and their original Start values before you change anything.

4. Exit Regedit.

5. Type exit and press Enter to close the Command Prompt window.

6. Remove the Windows 7 DVD and click Restart to restart your system normally.

7. If your system restarts correctly, you're finished!

You might need to repeat this process a few times, disabling a different service or two each time. In some previous versions of Windows, this procedure required installing a parallel copy of Windows and some loading of the old installation's Registry into the new system's Registry editor, but thanks to the integration of Regedit into the souped-up Command Prompt in the System Recovery Options menu, that's not necessary in Windows 7.

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  • jonas
    How to repair the registry from the command prompt in windows 7?
    9 years ago

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