How Do I Automatically Repair Windows Problems?

Fix problems with Startup Repair, Repair Install, or Reset This PC

Depending on the version of Windows you're using, there are several different ways to automatically repair major Windows operating system problems without resorting to a destructive process, like a Reset Your 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.

The Advanced Options Menu in Windows 10
Advanced Options (Windows 10).

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 10 or Windows 8

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 10 or Windows 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 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 Windows 10 & Windows 8 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 is nothing like Reset This PC (Windows 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.