What to Know
- Run Startup Repair if Windows isn't loading properly.
- It's available from the ASO menu in newer Windows versions, and the setup disc in older versions.
- Or, "refresh" your PC (Windows 11/10/8) to reinstall Windows and keep your files.
This article explains the automatic repair options available in Windows.
Windows Automatic Repair Options
Depending on the version of Windows you’re using, there are several ways to automatically repair major Windows operating system problems without resorting to a destructive process, like a Reset This PC or a Windows Clean Install.
The newest versions of Windows feature easy, automated ways of repairing problems that you might have tried to fix manually but were unsuccessful at, like random error messages, overall slowness, or even problems that prevent Windows from starting at all.
It's a mixed bag with older versions of Windows, with some automatic repairs for certain types of issues or all-or-nothing repair processes that, while sometimes might seem like overkill, are certainly welcome when you need them.
How Do I Automatically Repair Windows Problems?
The best way to automatically repair Windows is to boot from recovery media, or the original Windows setup media, and choose the correct diagnostic option.
The specific steps involved in performing a Startup Repair, a Repair Install, or a Refresh Your PC can differ considerably depending on the operating system used.
See What Version of Windows Do I Have? first, if you’re not sure which of the versions of Windows listed below is installed on your computer.
Automatically Repair Windows 11, Windows 10, or Windows 8
Windows 11, Windows 10, and Windows 8 have the greatest number of automatic repair options, which is no surprise considering they’re the newest versions of the Microsoft Windows family.
A Startup Repair (formerly called Automatic Repair) is your best bet if Windows 11, 10, or 8 isn’t starting correctly. Startup Repair is available from the Advanced Startup Options menu.
If a Startup Repair didn’t do the trick, or the problem you’re trying to fix isn’t related to Windows starting properly, then Reset This PC is your next best bet.
The Reset This PC process in Windows 11 and Windows 10—called Reset Your PC or Refresh Your PC in Windows 8—is like a "copy over" of Windows.
You have the option of saving your personal data with Reset This PC or have it removed, too.
Automatically Repair Windows 7 or Windows Vista
Windows 7 and Windows Vista have nearly identical processes for automatically repairing important files. This process is called Startup Repair and functions similarly to the Startup Repair in newer Windows versions in that it only fixes problems related to Windows starting properly.
See How to Perform a Startup Repair in Windows 7 or How to Perform a Startup Repair in Windows Vista for tutorials specific to both of those versions of Windows.
There's nothing like Reset This PC (Windows 11, 10 & 8) that overwrites all important files, processes that tend to be very helpful when you have particularly stubborn problems in Windows but don't want to lose your important data.