How to repair Windows 10's Master Boot Record

PCWorld | Oct 24, 2016

You should know how to repair your Master Boot Record, because if ransomware or some other disaster bricks your PC, you just might be able to save it. Here’s how.

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You should know how to repair your Master Boot Record, because if ransomware or some other disaster bricks your PC, you just might be able to save it. Here’s how.


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One option is setting up a Windows 10 recovery drive, which you can do at any time and keep handy. Just remember that you also need to adjust your BIOS to boot from USB, or your recovery drive will be useless.


The other option is to let Windows repair itself. In fact, sometimes when it recognizes a problem it’ll automatically go into repair mode.
Because my PC isn’t actually bricked, I’m going to get into repair mode manually. If you turn the computer on and off with the power button a few times, it will go into repair mode.


In the Automatic Repair screen, click Advanced options.


The next screen is Choose options, and you want to hit Troubleshoot, then choose Advanced options again.


Here you have a couple of options. Startup Repair will try to find and fix the problem itself, but it could take a while for it to find everything. But if you click Command Prompt, which takes you to the good ol’ DOS prompt, you can use the Bootrec command.


At the DOS or command prompt, type this:


bootrec.exe /fixmbr


Note the space between “bootrec.exe” and “/fixmbr.” the two words--you need that or it won’t work.


Press the Return key and wait. If all goes well, the prompt will eventually announce, “The operation completed successfully.”


Now, before you get into this mess again, make a recovery drive, and please, back up your PC regularly. For more PC survival tips, write to us at answer@pcworld.com.
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