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Going to Windows Recovery Environment
If your computer crashes and you don’t even have access to uninstall or disable programs or components that are causing problems, you'll need to turn to the Windows Recovery Environment (RE) on the Windows Vista DVD. You need to Insert the DVD into the computer and turn it ON. You will be asked to press any key to boot from CD or DVD. After you boot from the Installation DVD you will have to select the language. Select US English and click next to go to the optional windows where you will be asked whether you want to continue installing a new window or you want to repair the existing system. Initially, try repairing and select the option Repair your computer to see the different options.
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Accessing Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool
The first trick to try when needing to repair Windows is the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool, because if a computer is behaving unpredictably with unexplained crashes, the problem could be a faulty memory. Windows is capable of coping with many hardware problems, but a faulty memory chip always lead to a system crash. The problem might be at the chip level which may not cause problems during installation, but will later on when you try running several applications at the same time.
In the RE screen, click on the Windows Memory Diagnostic Tool and select the option Restart now and check for problems, which will lead to a system restart. Now the memory checking utility will launch automatically and work its way through all of the memory installed on the computer and check all system memory. The computer will restart again when it has finished and Windows will report any memory problems you might have. If you have a faulty memory chip, you will have to get it replaced by another one.
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Accessing Startup Repair
One facet of Windows that can be fragile is the initial booting process because the file that controls booting can become damaged in a number of ways. But, repairing the startup file is a very simple process. Boot to the Recovery Environment as described above and click on Startup Repair. This Repair software will look for errors in the boot process and fix them automatically. If the boot problem is due to the installation of your old Windows XP that is running side by side along with Vista, then the older operating system (OS) will be added to a new boot menu and you will be given an option at the startup to select whichever OS you want to boot with.
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Continue on to the second part of this series for more tips on repairing your corrupt Vista installation
How to Repair a Corrupt Vista Installation - Part 1
A brief description of tips and tactics to repair a corrupt Windows Vista installation when you face a system crash.