Windows Server: How to Repair the Boot Files in Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 if the Server Won't Boot

Windows Server: How to Repair the Boot Files in Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 if the Server Won't Boot

There are a number of possible causes for the failure of a server to boot into Windows. This article deals with a problem in the boot files and demonstrates how to repair them.


When booting to the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE), the drive letters are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. For example, the C: drive in Windows will often have a different letter in WinRE. The DiskPart utility can be used to keep track of the drives and what is stored on them.

  • First Partition: 100 MB System Reserved (No drive letter)

  • Second Partition: 60 GB (C:) OS

  • Third Partition: 1.5 TB (D:) Data

  • DVD Drive: E:

Figure 1: Illustration of Drive lettering in Windows and WinRE (English only)
Note: If there is no System Reserved partition. It is okay to select the drive containing the Windows folder.

Restoring Boot Files

  1. Boot to the Windows Server DVD.

  2. Open the command prompt.

    1. Server 2008 R2:

      1. If no driver is needed, press Shift-F10 to open the command prompt.

      2. Continue with step 3.

    2. Server 2008 (or 2008 R2 if a driver is required)

      1. Click Next at the first screen.

      2. Click Repair your computer.

      3. If no driver is needed, click Next and proceed to step vii below.

      4. If a driver is needed, click Load Drivers.

      5. Insert the media containing the needed driver.

        Note: The media can be a CD, DVD, or USB storage device

      6. Navigate to the folder containing the driver, select it, and click Open.

      7. Click Command Prompt.

  3. The command prompt appears.

  4. Type DiskPart at the command prompt.

    Figure 2: DiskPart result (english only)

  5. Type List vol at the DiskPart prompt.

  6. Write down the drive letter of the DVD drive. In this example, it is F.

  7. Write down the drive letter of the system reserved drive. In this example, it is C.

  8. Type Select vol 1 (assuming volume 1 is the System Reserved volume, as it is here).

  9. Type active. This sets the selected volume as active.

  10. Type exit to return to the command line.

  11. Type Copy f:\BootMgr c:\ at the command prompt. One of two things will happen:

    1. If the file Bootmgr already exists on C:, type N to avoid overwriting it.

    2. If the file Bootmgr doesn't already exist on C:, it will automatically be copied.

  12. Type Bootrec /Fixmbr at the command prompt.

  13. Type Bootrec /Fixboot at the command prompt.

  14. Type Bootrec /rebuildBCD at the command prompt.

    1. If no OS is found, the following appears:

      Figure 3: Result when no OS is found (English only)

      This means that one of the following is true:

      1. The boot configuration database (BCD) already exists.

      2. The OS is not there.

      3. The OS is damaged beyond the ability of BootRec to recognize it.

    2. If BootRec /RebuildBCD succeeds, it will list any installations of Windows that it found. Press Y to accept and add them to the BCD.

  15. The server is now configured to boot from the proper partition. Close the command prompt and reboot the system into normal mode.

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Quick Tips content is self-published by the Dell Support Professionals who resolve issues daily. In order to achieve a speedy publication, Quick Tips may represent only partial solutions or work-arounds that are still in development or pending further proof of successfully resolving an issue. As such Quick Tips have not been reviewed, validated or approved by Dell and should be used with appropriate caution. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in the Quick Tips.

Article ID: SLN167714

Last Date Modified: 02/28/2020 04:35 PM

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