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How to repair Windows 7 and Vista startup problems

Heading out to a computer repair shop because your computer won’t start?

You might be waiting for some time due to long queue of those who have the same problem as you. Not this time, because you are the only repair crew for now. Just sit in front of your computer and let yourself perform some simple tricks that will make your machine humming smoothly again.

 Snapshot was taken last April 30, 2011.

Does your computer disobey your order of turning on your computer by displaying a protest screen? I mean the ‘blue screen of death’?

If yes, there are different problems associated with it whether these are hardware related problems or software related problems. You need a technician for hardware related problems, but you may need yourself for software related problems.

Create a Windows Rescue Disk

If you have your original Windows installation disk or if your recovery options are stored on a recovery partition, then you can start repairing your computer. If you don’t, you need to create a rescue/recovery disk first from another computer running the same Windows operating system as yours.

    1. Simply type Create Windows Recovery Disk on the Start Menu or
    2. Go to Start – All Programs – Maintenance – Create Windows Recovery Disc
    3. Insert a blank disc into the disk drive on your computer. You can use either a CD or a DVD.
    4. Choose your Disk Drive on which you will burn your recovery data. Some computers have more than one disk recorders. Choosing the wrong one will result in an error.
    5. Click Next to start the burning process.
    6. When the burning process is complete click Finish and you may remove the disk from its drive.

To repair your computer using a Recovery Disk or Windows Installation Disk

    1. Insert your recovery disk into the disk drive.
    2. Restart your computer from the CD or DVD. Press the Boot From button (ESC, Del, F12, etc.) as indicated by the BIOS display then select CD/DVD/BD.
    3. Proceed with the process below.

If your computer came with a recovery partition,

    1. Restart your computer then press F8 repeatedly until Windows boot options appear.
    2. Select Repair your Computer then press Enter.
    3. Proceed with the process below.

To repair Windows startup problem,

4. The system will discover which operating system you are using and which location it is installed.
5. Select Startup Repair from the list.
6. The system will now detect any problem which prevents your system from starting properly.
7. If the setup finds any problem, it will replace missing, corrupted or modified system files which are necessary in starting Windows.
8. When the process is complete, click Finish.
9. Select Restart button to test whether everything is fine.
10. When your computer starts successfully, you may now remove the disk and store it in a safe location.

You may also be informed that setup did not discover any problems. If the above process did not work, then it is time to consult a technician or call customer support from your machine’s manufacturer.

How to turn a CD-R into CD-RW (with no erasures)

A photograph of a freshly burned DVD-R that cl...

Image via Wikipedia

Who said that a CD-R (compact disc – recordable) which has burned data already in it cannot be recorded again?

Actually, you can burn data (the process of writing data into a disk) on a CD-R including DVD-R (digital versatile disc – recordable) as many times as you want as long as it has not yet reached its full capacity. You can rewrite data again and again on a recordable disk in a sense that you cannot take or change anything from it.

Why waste your money and effort in buying a new disk to burn some data on another disc if you can burn all of them on a single disk at different times?

Honestly, you can use a CD-R like a flash drive if you want except that you cannot remove or change anything from it like what their RW (rewritable) siblings do. So, you can add data on it today, another data tonight, some data tomorrow, another next week, and some next month or next year without deleting or modifying any of its existing contents.

How is that possible?

Most CD/DVD recorders can track in which part of the CD has the recording session ended. It’s like finding a page where you have last ended so you can resume reading. Once the recorded has kept track of the last burning session, it can set a new data burning session for it can start recording a new set of data. After the new set of data is recorded, the recorder will close the session so that other CD/DVD can read where the current recorder has stopped recording. Most CD or DVD drives and players don’t read or play a CD or DVD that is not properly closed.

Do all recorders resume recording a CD/DVD where what other recorders has finished recording?

It is not actually the recorder that has the problem, it is the program that you are using. For example, Nero burning tools can’t add additional data into a CD/DVD-R that has already burned data in it while Windows Data Burner and Toshiba Disk Creator can.

How can I determine whether I can still record additional data into a CD-R that is already recorded?

It’s simple. Just put the disk into the drive and Windows will start reading it. I’m not sure about Macs. Open the Computer icon on your desktop or start menu and you can see the available space to be written just like your hard disks. If you are using Windows XP, right-click on the disk, then select properties. Consumed and available space will be displayed there.

How will I add additional data into the CD-R or DVD-R?

If you are using Windows Explorer (My Computer), just drag the files or folders you want to burn then click the Burn button on top (toolbar). In some instances, Windows will automatically burn the files and folders as soon as you drag them into the CD or DVD icon or window. You can also send files and folders into the disk by selecting them, right clicking, pointing to Send To and selecting CD/DVD drive. You can do this as many times as you like.

Before ejecting the disk, make sure to click the Burn button on the toolbar (if it appears) and Close Disk to close the burning session so that it will be usable on another computer or player.

What if I am using different program?

Just put the disk into the drive and open the disk utility program you like. It will read the disk and displays its contents in gray shade. It indicates that these files and folders are already burned into the disk and cannot be removed or modified. If you wish to add more data into the disk and the program allows you to do sa well, just drag your files and folders into the CD or DVD window. There might be bars that will indicate how much of the disk is currently occupied, how much data is to be recorded and how much space is vacant. After you are done adding some stuff into the disk’s window, hit the burn button to start the burning process. The program will compare the data recorded as well as closing the burning session. Most drives eject the disc from its drive after the burning session is completed.

What if the disk is already full, can I still add additional data into it?

The answer is no. Because the recorder cannot find additional space that can be recorded, it will mark the disk as full and final. You cannot modify, remove, format or erase the disk because of its characteristics. Moreover, a mastered disk cannot be rewritten even if the disk has not yet consumed is full capacity because it is already marked final.

How to perform a clean install of Windows 7

Deploying a Windows Operating System into your machine is not that complicated than you think.

Snapshot was taken last April 1, 2011.

All you need are:

  • A Windows 7 capable laptop or desktop
  • Installation disk,
  • DVD Drive,
  • genuine product key,
  • internet connectivity,
  • And a cup of coffee

Check first if your pc is capable of deploying Windows 7. Download and run Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. This will guide you in determining some hardware and software incompatibilities to be taken into consideration. Read your manufacturer upgrade instructions from their website as well.

Performing a clean installation can result into loss of data, installed applications and settings. It is recommended to create a backup of your important files and documents by burning them into recordable DVDs. You need a lot of these as much as the amount of information you want to save. If you don’t want to burn them into DVD, you may store them into your external hard drive, USB flash drive, separate disk partition or restore from a previously made backup.

  1. Place the Windows 7 installation disk into the DVD/BD drive.
  2. Wait for the Install Windows window to appear. If Install Windows did not appear, restart your computer from the DVD. Press the Boot From button (ESC, Del, F12, etc.) as indicated by the BIOS display then select CD/DVD/BD.
  3. Click Install Windows. Wait for the setup to load.
  4. Choose the country you belong as well as the language you are using then select next. On the next screen, Select Get Important Updates if network connectivity is available. Otherwise, select the second option. Connecting to the internet ensures successful installation as well as getting important Windows updates.
  5. Read and accept its Terms and Conditions.
  6. You will be prompted to enter your Product key to activate windows. It can be located on the sticker placed your laptop/desktop, Windows retail package or e-mail. If you plan to activate later, select Activate Windows when I’m online checkbox.
  7. To install Windows from scratch, choose Clean Installation.
  8. You will be asked where to install the operating system. You can either select the drive of your correct operating system if you plan on replacing or a separate drive or partition if you plan to keep your current operating system, applications and settings.
  9. Select Next when done. You will see Installing Windows as well as its progress. Installation time depends on the speed of your machine as well as system configuration. Your computer may restart frequently during the installation process.
  10. After the installation is completed, Windows will check video card performance and prepare Windows for first use. Follow instruction to get you started. Some of them are creating administrator account, setting correct date and time, turning Windows Update on and so on.

And that’s it.

Windows 7 Installation documents
Help and Support
Microsoft Online

How to recover a Toshiba Laptop into its “out of the box” factory settings

Do you have multiple complicated computer problems that only reinstall can solve?

The good news is that you can reinstall Windows on your Toshiba laptop into its out of the box factory state.

Snapshot was taken last March 30, 2011.

How does it work?

Everything is done by the setup from installing windows to installing its pre-configured applications with minimal user intervention. The first time I used it, I was surprised how it installed everything automatically from the operating system to device drivers and software as well as its pre-bundled applications without installing them manually one by one. All I have done is inserting the recovery disks into the disk drive, choosing some recovery options and entering my User Account credentials including some basic information and I’m done. It is like having the laptop taken into a service center and letting the crew install all the drivers and applications for me.

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To recover using the built-in recovery partition,

  1. Create backup copies of all important files and documents on your computer as everything in it will be completely erased.
  2. Restart your computer.
  3. Press and hold number “0” on your keyboard as the systems boots up.
  4. If the Toshiba recovery window did not appear, press F8 repeatedly until Windows Recovery Options Appear. Select Repair Computer then choose Toshiba Recovery Options.
  5.  Proceed below for continuation.

To recover using recovery disks,

  1. Create recovery disks using Toshiba Recovery Disk Creator.
  2. Create backup copies of all important files and documents on your computer as everything in it will be completely erased.
  3. Insert the first recovery disk on the DVD drive and restart your computer from the DVD. Press the Boot From button (ESC, Del, F12, etc.) as indicated by the BIOS display then select CD/DVD/BD.
  4. Press any key to boot from DVD.
  5. Proceed below for continuation.

To start the recovery process,

6. A warning which states that all data stored will be deleted. Plug in AC power supply to prevent interruption in case the battery gets empty. Click next to continue.

7. Select the operating system type (32 or 64 bit) if applicable.

8. Select recover to out-of-the-box state then click next.

9. Follow instructions.

10. To begin the recovery process, confirm the prompt in doing so.

11. The system will begin preparing the disk for recovery. It will take a while even the system does not respond for long. After that, the system will copy setup information from the disk. Remove first recovery disk and replace with second recovery disk when prompted to do so. After everything is copied, you may remove the second disk from its drive. You will see the message”Now recovering… Please Wait” when the system installs Windows. Next, “Creating CRC File… Please Wait” will be displayed then the system reboots. After startup, Windows will access video performance. You will see “Applying Final Configuration Please DO NOT INTERRUPT” message in full screen will be displayed as the setup installs all the device drivers and pre-bundled applications. You can minimize the window to see which application is being installed. Your computer will restart after each installation session. Final Configuration takes about three to five restarts.

12. When everything is completed, Windows will check video card performance and prepare Windows for first use. Follow instructions for you to get you started. Some of them are creating administrator account, setting correct date and time, turning Windows Update on and so on.

Don’t forget to activate Windows.

An internet connection is needed for the activation process.

13. Turn off your computer and flip it to locate the Windows sticker.

14. Copy the 25-character product key on a piece of paper.

15. Flip it back and turn it on.

16. Connect it to the internet.

17. Right click the Computer icon on your desktop or start menu then select Properties.

18. On the Properties window, scroll down then click Change Product Key.

19. Enter the 25-character product key then click the Activate button.

20. Wait until activation is complete. “Windows is successfully activated.” message appears. Click Finish to get started with an out of the box feel of your Toshiba Notebook.

Toshiba recovery manuals
Windows Help and Support