What’s in the System Recovery Options Menu

Windows has a very important and highly valuable tool for repairing, restoring and diagnosing some system related problems called the System Recovery Options menu.

This tool is also known as Windows Recovery Environment or WinRE. If you have been experiencing some problems that cause your computer to hang and refuse to start properly then the System Recovery Options Menu will prove to be a very good tool in solving the problem.

System Recovery Options is replaced by Advanced Startup Options on the latest operating system developed by Windows (Windows 8). It has a different name but it functions very much the same with some added options for advanced users.

System Recovery Options: What’s it Used For?

All of us who are used to using computers are familiar of errors that suddenly appear on the screen. This is where you can effectively use the set of tools for. System Recovery Options is also used in repairing Windows files within the registry, restoring your system to a previous image or settings where it has been working properly.

Moreover, System Recovery Options can also be used for testing your machine’s memory and more!

How to Get to the System Recovery Options Menu?

There are three ways in accessing the System Recovery Options menu:

1. The first way is probably the easiest. You can access System Recovery Options by pressing the “F8″ key before the Windows splash screen appears. Doing this leads you to the Advanced Boot Options screen where you can select from a set of repair and recovery options by pressing on the arrow up or arrow down button to highlight an item. Take note that you can’t use the mouse to point on the option that you want so you need to use the arrow keys and the “Enter” key to execute any command.

For best results, you just have to keep on pressing the “F8” key before anything appears on the screen while your computer is starting. The Advanced Boot Options Screen looks like the screenshot below:

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2. If you can’t access the “Repair Your Computer” option from the Advanced Boot Options menu or pressing the “F8” key does not lead you to the Advanced Boot Options screen, you can then use the second option which can be done with the Windows setup disk. This is the disk that you (or someone whom you asked) used to install the version of Windows that you have on your computer.

All you have to do is insert the disk on your laptop or on a portable DVD-ROM (if you are using a netbook). You should then restart your computer and then keep pressing “F9” before anything appears on the screen while your machine is starting up.

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The Boot options screen will then appear, choose boot from DVD or CD-ROM Drive option by using the arrow keys and then Press “Enter”.

3. Finally, if the above ways did not work, you can then go to the last option which involves creating a system repair disk on a friend’s computer and then repairing your machine using the system repair disk you created. This is quite a complicated process but definitely an effective one however, this only works if both computers (your friend’s and yours) are both running on Windows 7.

Using the System Recovery Options Menu

System Recovery Options is just a menu containing tools in the form of options that you can choose from so it does not really do anything by itself unless you choose an option that will open an advanced tool for repairing or restoring your system to a working state.

In other words, System Recovery Options is a collection of tools that focuses on repairing system problems. Using System Recovery Options means that you are going to use any one of the tools that the menu contains.

Options Available in the System Recovery Menu

1. Startup Repair

This tool, as the name suggests, helps fix errors on Windows Startup that may have been preventing your computer from starting correctly. This is a life-saver tool for most computer users especially those who are using their machine for a lot of critical files needed anytime.

Startup Repair is undoubtedly one of the most valuable tools which are freely and readily accessible within the System Recovery Options Menu.

2. System Restore

System Restore makes some functional copy of your system just in case you need it in the future. This means that if your machine refuses to function well or it hangs then you can access a copy of your system settings that is working by using system restore to make everything work again.

The advantage of having this option within the System Recovery Menu is that it is also accessible from outside Windows (through the Windows Setup Disk) so if you ever lose access to your machine’s control panel or if the system itself is in terrible condition then you can use the System Restore Option through a Setup Disk to solve the problem and literally save your day!

3. System Image Recovery

System Image Recovery helps you restore your computer to a backup of your hard drive that was previously created. This means that if some of your current settings cause your system to fail then you can access a backup on your hard drive and use that image to restore your computer to its previous state without the settings that affects your system’s normal functions and processes.

Using the System Image Recovery tool is a very good remedy if all the other steps fail however, this would only work if you proactively saved a complete system image backup at some point when your system was still working properly.

4. Windows Memory Diagnostics

Also known as WMD, Windows Memory Diagnostics is a program that helps you test your computer’s memory. Since problems on your machine’s memory hardware produces all sorts of issues on Windows, having a tool that helps you test your RAM from within your Windows system is a very useful addition.

This tool cannot be run from within the System Recovery Options menu. If you click on this option, you are given two options. First is restarting your computer right then and start the memory diagnostics once your system starts and second is you can run the memory diagnostics on a later time when you already decide to restart/reboot your machine.

5. Command Prompt

The Command Prompt that is available from within Windows is the same as the one available in the System Recovery Options Menu. The Command Prompt option opens a Window with a black screen where you can input commands to change values and settings on your system. Doing this requires knowledge in commands and scripts.

The commands available on the command prompt from within Windows are the same and are also available on the Command Prompt option in the System Recovery Options Menu.

Differences in Drive Letters

If you try to check the drive where your operating system is installed while you are working within Windows, you will see that it is on drive (C:) by default however, if you use any of the tools like the System Restore option, it might indicate that the operating system is on drive (D:).

It is important to take note of this especially on the Recovery Options that are available on the System Recovery Menu. You should not be confused if for instance, the recovery tool you chose says that the operating system is on Drive (D:) but checking it from within Windows it is on drive (C:).

Menu Availability

System Recovery Options Menu is available on Windows Vista, 7 and other versions of Windows Server. On Windows 8, System Recovery Options is replaced by Advanced Startup Options which is a more centralized tools menu.

On Windows XP, a “Repair Install” and a “Recovery Console” are available in the Windows XP Installation Disk. These tools are similar to Startup Repair and the Command Prompt tool available on Vista and Windows 7. Windows Memory Diagnostics can also be downloaded on a computer running on any version of Windows Operating System.