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.

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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Yefim Timofeiovitch

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

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

  9. 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!


  11. 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.

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

    THANK YOU. You saved my week!!

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

  14. 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…

  15. Hebergement web

    The best thing you can do to prevent corruption is to avoid doing the actions listed above, and follow the advice given. There are a number of mods and programs, created by skilled modders, that can help reduce corruption.

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