Windows 7 System Repair Disk Questions

What PC-specific information does Windows 7 put into its System Repair Disk that would make it machine-specific? I know the backup image that you create is machine dependent. I have been treating the System Repair Disk as a generic CD, similar to a retail Windows 7 media disk and just had a problem (the CD wouldn't boot, BIOS/EFI issue) because of this. I got it fixed but it was hair-raising, and I am also having some other odd things that may be because of this.

Does Microsoft document this somewhere, Is there best practices regarding system repair disks? For example, do you keep a disk for each PC, etc?

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Tom CieslikIT EngineerCommented:
The only one difference between original OEM setup disk and repair disk is that repair disk have drivers included, where OEM disk is using OEM Microsoft genuine drivers to simulate discovered hardware.

If you will generate repair disk, probably this disk will NOT WORK on other different systems (hardware) but it will (probably) work on very similar computers .

I've tested repair disk on y Dell Optiplex 755 and it worked on Dell Optiplex 790 since their hardware is very similar, but on Optiplex 1070 is not working at all.
I was able to recover computer but after first restart I've got blue screen and have no option to boot.

Problem with new OS and BIOS generation is that in 99% secure boot is enabled so by default you can't boot from CD / DVD or USB stick.
You must disable secure boot , then after restart go to BIOS again and change boot order to be able to boot from Recovery/Repair DVD / USB

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Look at this tutorial for a Startup Repair

and this tutorial for a Repair Install

A Repair Install is used to correct significant operating system issues and will normally leaving everything where you left it (save for some updates that need to be redone).

For Windows 7, it is more hair raising than for Windows 10. The latter is very easy to do.
yo_beeDirector of Information TechnologyCommented:
The Windows Repair disk is a disk with the drivers that are needed to run Windows in a PE mode. Your Repair disk is what the OS is booting from giving your the ability to install or repair the OS on the boot drive (c:\windows.).  This will be the boot.wim file that is loading up.

The image disk is the actually image (install.wim) that is going to be dropped on the machine.

As mentioned above this will contain all the drivers, applications and updates.

So to answer your question you just use the Repair Disk to get your system in a stage environment for installing or repairing your system. You should be able to use this Repair disk to boot any machine to help troubleshoot, diagnose and start a repair.  This disk will not contain the image of the OS. You will need that stored somewhere (dvd, usb or network).
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MikeBroderickAuthor Commented:
Thank you for the Repair Install info. XP had a similar feature that saved my bacon many times, but I never had to do this in Windows 7 and wondered if the feature existed.

The reason I am asking is I am just recovering from an issue I had.  I  got a Windows 7 PC restored using Windows 7 system image restore, but I managed somehow (long story) to get the C drive partitioned as GPT instead of MBR. I tried to restore again (long story), but it kept saying I couldn't use an EFI image on a BIOS system. I made another repair CD and my PC wouldn't even boot it (suspect old firmware). I used partition software to get the disk back to MBR and made a new image backup.

The point of all of this is, It appears that the "create a system repair disk" option will create very different CDs based on if your disk is partitioned as MBR or GPT. Not knowing this caused me a huge amount of headaches, and makes me wonder what other gotcha's are lurking out there. Thus my question: What PC-specific information does Windows 7 put (and image restore uses) on the system repair disk? This will help me answer things like:

Can you use the repair disk on other PCs? (probably not)
When should you make a repair disk? After every save? After BIOS changes? After hardware/software installs?
Does Microsoft have documentation/best practices regarding this?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You need the Windows 7 disk that matches your system. License is on the system so you just need the same type of disk. It is not like XP and Windows 10 is different again
yo_beeDirector of Information TechnologyCommented:
Repair disc vs Image Disk/ Recovery Disc

Here is a link that helps highlight the difference between the two.

I think John's reply is referencing the Image/Recovery Disc.  

Your reference to "create a system repair disk" is the Repair Disc feature.  This disc can be used for any W7 machine.  There is nothing tied to the hardware.
Tom CieslikIT EngineerCommented:
You must remember one think.
System repair disk is not System Backup Recovery.
System Repair/Recovery disk will help you to run WIndows after disk crash, or virus atack it will NOT recover all your applications.
So if you're looking for some option to restore system after disaster consider some full system image backup like AOMEI Backuper Free.
imo - it will save time if you do a fresh install
Be sure to copy your data first, or do the fresh install on another drive
MikeBroderickAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your help. I had another problem that was the result of doing a system image restore using a repair disk that I made on another, similar PC. Using a repair disk made on the same PC took care of the problem. I made a repair disk for each of my windows 7 PCs.

When you say "System repair disk is not System Backup Recovery.", I dont understand. On the repair disk there are several utilities, one being the image restore. Are you talking about the Hardware manufacturer's CDs? Well, anyways thanks. Your response helped me out.
Tom CieslikIT EngineerCommented:
You are very welcome.

It's a lot of to say what is a difference so please navigate to this article.
It will put some light on your question
MikeBroderickAuthor Commented:
OK. The hardware manufacturer's recovery disk. Gotcha.
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