How to Repair Windows’ Master Boot Record and Fix A Bricked PC

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We all have heard about Ransomware and how hackers are encrypting the users data. In return to the decryption key, affected users have to pay the hackers ransom in the form of Bit coins. During few of these ransomware attacks the victim’s Windows PC’s master boot record (MBR) is also corrupted.

The MBR is a key part of your PC’s startup system. It has the information about the computer’s hard disk partitions and also helps in loading the operating system. Without a properly working MBR, your PC simply won’t work.

If your MBR is damaged, here is how you can fix it.

How to fix the MBR

The main way to fix the MBR issue is to run the bootrec.exe command using the command prompt. In versions of Windows prior to Windows 10 and 8, you usually accessed the command prompt through a recovery media like a USB drive. That will still work in Windows 10. But in the latest versions of Windows, we have an easier method for running recovery commands without the usage of any external media.

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If there is a problem, your PC will recognise it when it is booting. Your Windows 10 PC will enter “automatic repair” mode. When it does, you will see the sentence  “Preparing Automatic Repair” appear under the blue Windows logo.

If this doesn’t happen, and you see only the blue Windows logo, turn off your PC using the hard reset/power button. Keep turning it ‘on’ and ‘off’ until you see your computer booting into automatic repair. It will only take a few reboots.

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Once the automatic repair mode is ready, you will see the Automatic Repair screen. From there select Advanced options.

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On the very next screen, select the Troubleshoot and then select Advanced options once again.

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You will see a screen with six options. You can select Startup Repair before turning to the command prompt and Bootrec, if you want to do so. Startup Repair is an automated program which will try to fix any problems it finds on computer disk without any intervention of the user.

It is a good utility which may fix the problem in  hand but it takes too much time to complete its task than simply running the Bootrec.

To use the Bootrec option, click on the Command Prompt tile. This may ask your computer to reboot once again and then ask you to login with your password. Kindly do so.

Once the command line appears, all you have to do is just type the following, then press Enter:

bootrec.exe /fixmbr

Note space between “exe” and “/fixmbr”—it is critical to include that space for the command to run properly. The first part tells the PC to run the Bootrec program, while the later part  “/fixmbr” option tells Bootrec exactly what we want it to recover.

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If all goes well, the command prompt should print out, “The operation completed successfully.” When you see that you can reboot your PC.

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William Fieldhouse

I currently work full time as a penetration tester and have been involved within the IT security industry for over a decade. I also love to pioneer any forms of new technology and ideologies for future advancements. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

William Fieldhouse

I currently work full time as a penetration tester and have been involved within the IT security industry for over a decade. I also love to pioneer any forms of new technology and ideologies for future advancements. Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

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