The other day I was working on one of my computers that has Vista installed. As it turns out I accidentally deleted a pretty important system file, oops! When I rebooted the computer I was presented with a message that said "BOOTMGR is missing. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart."

That’s when I began thinking "what the heck did I do?" I searched the Internet for a fix and came across an article by Lifehacker that talked about solving the problem. Their solution said to insert the original Vista installation DVD and boot it up (also works with a recovery disc). Normally you would do this to reinstall an operating system, but in this case I was going to use the DVD to repair the problem.

Here’s what I had to do after booting up the Vista DVD:

  1. Pick your language and continue onto the next screen.
  2. Choose the option in the bottom left corner entitled Repair Your Computer:
    BOOTMGR Repair
  3. Choose the Windows installation you want to repair.
  4. Choose the Startup Repair option:
    BOOTMGR Repair
  5. Kiss your "BOOTMGR is missing. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart." error goodbye!

You could have probably done a System Restore in step 3 instead of the Startup Repair, but the Startup Repair literally took seconds to complete and was successful. My computer rebooted, and I was back to Vista in no time at all.

To be honest, Microsoft has actually made a useful suite of recovery tools available in Vista, unlike XP. Anytime there was a bootup error in XP I was always had to resort to the command prompt to fix the issue, but now Vista did all of the dirty work for me.

Not only that, but in XP if you wanted to perform a System Restore you had to bootup into Windows first and run it from there. Now you can actually do it from the DVD, which is something I always longed for in XP.

I guess this is one of those overlooked Vista features, because I didn’t even know it existed until I needed it. The next time I have any problems I know the first place I’m going to turn now!