How to automatically repair problems in Windows

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

Windows logoFrom time to time, users experience issues with Microsoft Windows such as problems upon startup, slow performance or error messages. Luckily, most versions of Windows have a built-in tools called Startup Repair or Automatic Repair that can remedy these issues without reformatting.

Keep in mind that there may be better or faster solutions to your problem. Be sure to search our site before moving on.

To proceed, select your version of Windows from the list below, examine your options, and then follow the instructions.

Automatically repair Windows 10

Startup Repair - This option is for when your PC is having issues upon startup. To access it, follow the steps below.

  1. Press the Windows Key, type Change advanced startup options, and press Enter.
  2. Click on the Recovery tab.
  3. On the right-hand side under Advanced startup, click the Restart now button.
  4. One the new screen, select Troubleshoot, Advanced options, and then Startup Repair.
  5. Select your account and enter the appropriate password (if one is set).

Reset this PC - This option is your best bet for "refreshing" Windows, while still being able to keep your files.

  1. Press the Windows Key, type Reset this PC, and press Enter.
  2. Click on the Recovery tab.
  3. On the right-hand side under Reset this PC, click the Get started button.
  4. In the window that appears, select Keep my files.

Automatically repair Windows 8

Startup Repair - This option is for when your PC is having issues upon startup. To access it, follow the steps below.

  1. Press the Windows Key, type Change PC settings, and press Enter.
  2. On the left-hand side of the PC Settings window, select Update and Recovery, and then Recovery.
  3. On the right-hand side under Advanced startup, click the Restart now button.
  4. On the new screen, select Troubleshoot, Advanced options, and then Startup Repair.
  5. Select your account and enter the appropriate password (if one is set).

Reset this PC - This option is your best bet for "refreshing" Windows while still being able to keep your files.

  1. Press the Windows Key, type Change PC settings, and press Enter.
  2. On the left-hand side of the PC Settings window, select General.
  3. On the lower right-hand side of the window, select Refresh Your PC Without Affecting Your Files.
  4. Click the Get Started button, and then click Next.
  5. If prompted, insert whatever media you used to install Windows 8.
  6. Click the Refresh button.

Automatically repair Windows 7 and Vista

Startup Repair - This option is for when your PC is having issues upon startup. To access it, follow the steps below.

  1. Insert your Windows 7 or Vista disc into your optical drive.
  2. Restart or power on your computer and watch for the Press any key to boot from CD or DVD... message.
  3. Press any key to force Windows to boot from the disc.
  4. Choose your language settings, and then click Next.
  5. Select Repair your computer.
  6. Select the operating system you want to repair and click Next.

System Restore - Unlike the newer versions of Windows, Vista and 7 do not have a "refreshing" option. The next best thing is to run System Restore. Use this option for problems not pertaining to Windows starting up.

  1. Click Start.
  2. In the Start search box, type System Restore and press enter.
  3. After processing, a window appears with two buttons at the bottom. Click Next >.
  4. The following screen usually suggests a recent restore point and your last critical update.
    • If you know the date your problem started, check the box next to Show more restore points.
  5. Make your selections and click Next. Then, confirm your restore point and click Finish.

Automatically repair Windows XP

Repair Install - This process is used to "refresh" Windows while still being able to keep your files.

Warning: Although a repair installation shouldn't alter or delete any programs or data, we still suggest backing up any important files before proceeding as a precautionary step.

  1. Insert your Windows XP disc into your optical drive.
  2. Restart or power on your computer and watch for the Press any key to boot from CD or DVD... message.
  3. Press any key to force Windows to boot from the disc.
  4. After the necessary drivers and files load, press Enter to setup Windows XP.
  5. Read through the End-User License Agreement and press F8.
  6. Select which version of Windows you'd like to repair (there is usually only one) and press R.
  7. Wait through several screens as Windows deletes/installs the necessary files.
  8. You should now see a window that says Regional and Language Options, click Next.
  9. Name your computer, click Next, and wait for it to boot up.
  10. On the Welcome to Microsoft Windows screen, click Next.
  11. Choose whether or not you want to register, and then click Next.
  12. Type in each user you'd like to have access, and then click Next twice.