August 12th, 2008  |  

How to Avoid or Fix “winload.exe corrupt” in Windows Vista

ATTENTION: This case/solution applies only when this error was caused by partitioning with older versions of partition software which does not support vista partitioning. Although NTFS, vista partitions are different than XP, and require specific amount of space reserved before the primary partition, so most partition software applications available at this point, do not support Vista. These include: all versions prior Acronis Disk Director Suite 10.0 build 2160, all versions prior and including Norton’s Partition Magic 8.0.. and since these two are the leaders, I shouldn’t even mention others. That’s why Vista has its own built-in tool for resizing partitions now.

This is one common problem that I see pretty often lately. It was a while ago when a customer brought me his new notebook with Windows Vista installed, and he wanted to resize the partitions, because his primary c: partition was 10GB by default (some genius installed it that way). Although Vista has unfriendly interface for PC Technicians, it does have some basic but pretty useful tools built in which XP lacked, like searching online for drivers, working imaging tool, fast and useful OS repair. So I figured it must have the option built in for resizing partitions, and guess what, I was right! Right click on “My Computer” -> “Manage” and then Disk Management. All of the installed drives can be seen there. With right click on the partition I wanted to resize and I saw the new option Shrink/Extend your partition. Great, but this was somewhat confusing, I wanted to extend it, when I realized the whole hard drive was a mess, there were five different partitions on a 160GB hard drive, of which only three were formatted. So Vista’s tool wasn’t helpful here, I tried to shrink and extend a few times, but I only made it worse, and since they contained some important data, I decided to go with my standard procedure. I insert my hiren’s boot cd 9.5 and boot from it. I selected Acronis Disk Director 10 -> Manual mode. The image of the disk looked like shish kebab. It was so hard to determine what was what. I worked it out after some time, and when I was finally happy with the result I saw, I restarted my computer and boom! There it was:

winload.exe vista The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.

winload.exe vista The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.

File: \windows\system32\winload.exe

Status: 0xc000000f

Info: The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.

There wasn’t a solution through-out the internet, since Vista was considerably new at the time, so the only thing it came to my mind is a repair. BUT I only had a disk from Windows Vista Home Basic without the repair menu in it and I’m not sure why, but all of the notebooks do not include a windows disk with them even when you buy it with licensed OS. So I searched around and luckily found a download for only the recovery Vista DVD:

or here:

FIX: These are only the recovery tools from windows vista.

Burn the one for your Vista(32bit or 64bit) to a disc

Boot from it(restart the computer, at boot time after the logo is displayed you should press a button which is specific to every PC(usually Del, F2, F10 etc) which should bring you to your BIOS. Navigate to the bot menu, and change the priority of boot devices to your CD/DVD Optical Disk.

After Vista Recovery CD is loaded choose Repair and it should detect the problem automatically. Something like: “Your windows installation requires repair” will come up to which you answer yes and you are done.

If this doesn’t work, you could try choosing Command Prompt from the repair menu and then enter these commands:

bootrec.exe /fixmbr
bootrec.exe /fixboot

If I saved your day, please be kind and elaborate how did you do it exactly for the sake of other winload.exe sufferers.

Category: Vista Problems
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

80 Responses

August 12, 2008
Agent Smith

Niceone thanks, it solves alot of mysteries with the Vista partitions, I didnt know that it required empty space at the beginning of the partition in order to create a valid one.

August 17, 2008

Your blog is interesting!

Keep up the good work!

December 6, 2008

thanks man you are the shit

February 15, 2009

It would be really nice if we could get this on a thumbdrive. I tried mounting it and then copying the files over but my computer doesn’t see it as a bootable drive still. I don’t like burning cd’s for a one time fix (just a waste) so if there is a way to get this on a thumbdrive that would be helpful…I’m a linux user mostly because of stupid windows problems like this

February 16, 2009

Thanks alot it solved me the booting problem … ur the man !!! ;)

February 16, 2009
Linux user

Thank you, solved my problem.

February 19, 2009

Jebana kurwo, ten pierdolony śmieszny tutorialek jest chuja warty, Twoja matka mogła by się nim podcierać zamiast używać do tego własnych cycków ;]

April 23, 2009

en 我试试看 不知道行不行啊

April 23, 2009

非常的感谢啊 问题解决了 哈哈 太好了 thanks very much good guy

June 4, 2009

This worked perfect!!!! Thanks so much very good answer, and very fast fix!

June 15, 2009

I had the same error come up about winload.exe missing or corrupt, but it has nothing to do with partitions, as no one has done that to the computer. We have ordered a set of recovery disks, hope that fixes the problem since it is not even a 2 year old computer, barely used for only email and word processing.

June 15, 2009

I had the same error come up about winload.exe missing or corrupt, but it has nothing to do with partitions, as no one has done that to the computer. We have ordered a set of recovery disks, hope that fixes the problem since it is not even a 2 year old computer, barely used for only email and word processing.

June 18, 2009

Well i have a problem. Mine is messed up really bad. I booted up Mac os and vista and xp and linx. At the end i figured out to boot it all correct but i accidentally removed my mac version and now the message comes up while i am trying to get into bootloader. I can’t access to bootrec.exe it won’t let me. Any idea on how to help me?

June 20, 2009

Thank you very much. It has solved my booting problem. Very nice work!

July 17, 2009

Thank you so much man, I was starting to get headaches trying to solve this problem. I was even confused at times believing that an actual recovery disk had come with my notebook when I bought it. Anyways, nice work!

August 9, 2009

when the cd is put in. and it does not show you have an operating system, you probably do not have your operating system set as active. Good software to do such is paragon boot cd. it will boot your computer in the worst of conditions. go to harddrive manager and you can right click your hard drive and set it back to active.

This site is wonderful. lol its a cheesy slogan at the top. BUT THE CONTENT is great.

August 25, 2009

You saved the day! Cheers…. This works well and you deserve a bit of praise

August 27, 2009

how can I “under the boot options menu, change the priority of boot devices to yours cd/dved optical disk.” I dont know how to do it can you show me by some picture please?

September 17, 2009
PC Arbor

We saw something like this in our corner of Michigan recently.

Can’t wait all these XP systems to start needing upgrades.

Thanks for the post.

October 22, 2009
Quan Phi

Great post, man.
I’m getting the headache with this. I exactly got the same problem.
Downloading the boot DVD. Hope it’ll work. Thanks a lot

October 22, 2009
Quan Phi

I get over this problem, thanks again, guy

November 3, 2009

Excellent blog with clear instructions. My Vista Ultimate after a clean install had the winload.exe error message and all attempts using a valid install disk failed. Only after I used the command prompt with your instructions did I success. Keep up the good work!!

November 30, 2009

I followed these steps but the boot disk will not boot. I get the black screen loading files, then the small green bar at the bottom, then it’s a black screen and the disk stops spinning. I changed my boot order to read the cd-rom first (optical disk drive was first before) and that still didn’t help. I’ve got work files on my laptop that I desperately need to get to. I hope someone out there can help me with this. Greatly appreciated!

January 27, 2010

Thank you very much dude!
This was exactly my problem…
After installing a new bigger harddrive and cloning my Vista-System via Acronis TI 10 I got the above error.

Fised it using this Vista Recovery repair Image

January 29, 2010

Didn’t work for me.

February 22, 2010

hmmm problem still exists. Any other help on this?

March 22, 2010

Ran into this problem last night… trying to GHOST a Vista32 installation from a 160gig drive to a 250gig drive (keeping partitions same size) … found and downloaded the Vista32 Recovery CD.. and used it to “Repair” the boot problem… WORKED!… Thanks! ;)

April 1, 2010

Hi Dude!

Thanks a lot for you info above.
I had som rundll32 problems and was changing some settings in “windowsconfig” and then I got the same screen as you….
I had no idea that it was possible to download the recoveryd CD but when I found your site everything went well!!

April 14, 2010

cheers bro… looked this up on my PS3 so i could only try the cmd prompts and WOW! your a genuis… it was fixed in 5 seconds =P

April 20, 2010

Thanks for this, you’ve saved my sanity …

I’d bought a recovery program (success guaranteed) which didn’t work. I then found this advice, which I followed with a completely successful outcome.

thanks again.

May 17, 2010
sabrina sarino

will this work in windows 7? if not, what should i do about it?

July 1, 2010

I have the same error “winload.exe missing or corrupt” but in my case it can’t be because of partitioning because I don’t have any partitions. Do you have any idea what else could be causing this problems because I have been searching the internet for hours and I can’t seem to fix it. I’m getting a little desperate!

July 6, 2010

gosh i’ll gonna try this one…

August 29, 2010

Wow this really works!!!Just copy the 2 commands 1 by 1 then, restart ur computer and problem solve. This is 1 of 100 websites that solvess this problem!!! Actully only website that has it. Thank U!!!

September 2, 2010

big big help thx allot, on the 2nd web there is idd a recovery iso witch u shud burn on a cd insert and problem solved

October 4, 2010

I found that with my mates netbook, the cpu wasnt compatible with the operating system that i was installing for him. He had a cpu built for 32 bit OS and bought a 64 bit edition of windows 7. I got the same error message.

October 13, 2010

Nice one Cheers m8

October 17, 2010
Wayne G

Thank You, After much work I managed to clone a drive only to have the error you have listed here. Your fixed worked !!! Just know that it only takes a second and looks like nothing happend but now I have a perfectly working Vista OS.
Thank You Again

November 22, 2010

type on command prompt (recovery console)

bootsect.exe /nt60 all /force

it works on both Vista and 7

iNetwork Computing

December 19, 2010
veterinary assistant

Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

December 22, 2010

Hello I tried to make this work but when I repaired my system worked but I got another ones account. I can’t make anything of this work and now my computer is more messed up than before. what should I do?

December 22, 2010

And how do I get up my recovery console? Thanks I appreciate all answers

December 24, 2010
James G Despain

I really love your post. Hope this blogpost will help other people. Sorry for the short review.

January 5, 2011
Anthony Renda

Thank you for your help. The repair disk worked. It was the easiest thing I ever had to do on a PC. Thanks again.

February 4, 2011

Thanks for this tip.
Thank god the second link was still on air.
You made my weekend a lot easier.

You rock, respect. -0- _0_ -0-

February 10, 2011

Thank you for your help : it solved the “winload.exe corrupted or missing” issue on a vista PC.
Bravo et merci !

February 12, 2011
mark twain

Awesome! I had a customer come in this week with a failing HDD in his laptop and a replacement drive still in the box. What was a normally simple operation (pull old drive, insert new drive, slow mirror) turned into a nightmare. No manner of ghosting / mirroring / acronis imaging was causing his new drive to be bootable. Vista repair disk said there was nothing wrong, but all I got was a flashing cursor.

The ‘bootrec /fixmbr’ and ‘bootrec /fixboot’ saved the day. This customer had so much unusual stuff I was truly dreading a wipe and reload.

March 6, 2011

You fuckin rock dude thanks so much, helped me alot!! :)

March 10, 2011

I followed these steps but the boot disk will not boot. ( I got 2 DVD’s – recovery disks from Gateway (laptop) I get the black screen -loading files -, then it’s a black screen with curser, the disk stops spinning. It use to lock up on welcome screen (disk full) now were stuck on black screen and curser
Any Help would beGreatly appreciated!

On boot without DVD in drive, stops at – windows/system32/winload – missing or corupt
Trying to install XP Pro -just to get it to boot, says no hard drive!
Is there tools on the Vista recovery DVD’s that I can get to without it locking after loading files (boot to comand prompt: ?

March 10, 2011
Ken is my email for above message from Ken

March 10, 2011

Just started CD recovery, went to loading windows files, then went to welcome green bar loading, then went to black sceen with mouse curser Lock or stopped Ken above messages thank-you for any help start school soon

March 12, 2011

I have dual OS.I have Vista and XP.If i ll get the file “winload.exe”i will be able to boot it.i ll just boot XP, copy the fie to the desired floder and then boot Vista.So if possible please give a URL for the file to download for free

April 2, 2011
Yefim Timofeiovitch

Booted with Windows 7 installation disk, found command prompt and executed the following:
bootrec.exe /fixmbr
bootrec.exe /fixboot

April 14, 2011

I’m kissing your ass!

After the vista recovery fails I’m trying:

bootrec.exe /fixmbr
bootrec.exe /fixboot

and it saves my day. Literally.

April 29, 2011

after i put in in command promp, do i exit and press restart? or do i just switch it off from the button

May 7, 2011

Running the commands from the restore CD worked for me, I tried that after just using the cd repair option.

I had a problem with windows not being able to verify signature on winload.exe

May 26, 2011

You did a great job with this post. This is very helpful.

June 1, 2011
Ronald Medlicott

The recovery disk repaiur option “failed’ to fix problems. Having acess to an identical computer, I pulled the hard drive out and placed in an external drive casing and copied Bootmgr.exe to the root directory and winload.exe to the Windows\system32 directory. Bootmgr copied OK but winload.e.xe only installed as winload(2).exe. Reinstalled and rebooted but the dreaded winload.exe really stuffed things up. Plan B was refit drive back in external casing, plug into s Linux system and then winload.exe could be deleted and the #2 copy renamed as winload.exe.

Note, ‘root’ user access the command line when using Linux was required to delete the original copy of winload.exe as Linux puppy did not delete from a graphical file manager

June 6, 2011
Attack Llama 909

Works! Got my Vista box up and running again. thanks very much!

June 17, 2011
Mohammad Esmail

thank you very much. it worked for me even my problem’s reason was a little different.
I’ve bought two new Hard disk WD Caviar Black 1 TB and I’m trying about 18 hours continuously to raid0 this new drives. My previous OS was Vista 64 and I wanted to keep the OS and ad the raid array to the current system but I couldn’t do that despite of reading several manuals and articles. Finally I’ve made a new Vista installation but unfortunately after successful installation and before first start of new windows the winload.exe error smashed my head but your solution worked very good. It should be mentioned that the “startup repair” menu of system repair didn’t work at all.
Thanks again

June 18, 2011
Longer Way

I recently faced this issue but I restored the OS from the backup drive insteading fixing the MBR. Will try it next time. Thanks!

July 14, 2011
Ruben r

Omg thank thank you!!!! I was trying to find a fic for over 2 hours!! All i did was run those 2 commands you gave me in the command prompt, restarted the computer and wah la!! Back to the desktop! :) thank you!

July 25, 2011

All’s up, great it worked too for me, really saved my day.

August 12, 2011

It Work!!!!!!

August 14, 2011

u freakin legend, i love you :D

August 26, 2011


August 31, 2011


September 3, 2011

“bootrec /fixmbr” and “bootrec /fixboot worked perfectly for me. Thanks

September 6, 2011

it doesn’t work please help!!!!!!!!! :(

September 16, 2011
Johan Lindström

Thanks it saved my LAN where one of my guest got this error! Thanks very much

September 27, 2011

U da MAN !!!

September 27, 2011

Got the same problem when resetting a Lenovo x200 to factory default (win7) using its own build in software.

Booting from a homemade win7 usb-key and choosing the repair option solved the problem for me.

September 29, 2011

When I put the commands in and Restart. Do I boot from another source or from the disk again?

September 30, 2011

whats happens to the files currently on the hard drive?

October 4, 2011

UNREAL!! I have spent hours on re-starts and googling repairs to the winload problem.

THANK YOU. You saved my week!!

October 16, 2011

sorry did everthing step by step still did not work at all waist of my money

November 16, 2011

thanks a lot bro!
fixmbr and fixboot
I have helped to restore Wiv 7even after installation of the activator.
With love from Russia;)

December 20, 2011

wooww…you are number 1…fix my problem with these commad:

1/ bootrec.exe /fixmbr
2/ bootrec.exe /fixboot

saved my time – God bless all you guys…

October 13, 2015

What’s up all, here every one is sharing such familiarity, so it’s fastidious to read this webpage, and I used to go to see this blog everyday.|

October 13, 2015

At this time I am going away to do my breakfast, when having my breakfast coming over again to read other news.|