There are huge numbers of files and folders on your PC that are involved with the system itself rather than with your personal data files. They work together to ensure that the PC runs smoothly and efficiently and that all connected devices are accessible. At the heart of the PC is the registry, and the MBR is intimately associated with the workings of a computer because it is the first file that the PC tries to locate when you start it up.
When the MBR is located, the PC reads some information from it including the location of the operating system, without which nothing further can be done. If the MBR is corrupted or has gone AWOL, the PC will grind to a standstill and you will get only a blank screen staring out at you. If you're lucky, you may get an appropriate message such as ‘Boot failure: System halted' or ‘Boot MBR missing'. Either way, the missing MBR will have to be found and restored.
Most people will have a backup of the registry to hand, but even so it can be tricky getting the right files from the backup disk. There is certainly no need to restore the entire operating system, which would probably result in the loss of all your files if you hadn't backed them up beforehand.
To repair the MBR, you would go to the Windows Recovery Console. When you get to the command prompt, type "fixmbr" and then press Enter. The utility will go on to write a master boot record onto the hard drive which can then be booted into Windows XP. You would then remove the CD, type exit and press Enter to restart the device.
With your MBR missing, the Wondershare PowerSuite Golden is an advanced set of tools for dealing with registry and other issues afflicting PCs, and is ideal for assisting you in finding and restoring a healthy MBR so that you can quickly get up and running again.
Put the CD into the CD drive and follow the self-explanatory instructions for restoring the missing MBR, starting with ‘Windows Recovery' from the main menu and working down to ‘Recover MBR from backup'. If the MBR is missing, this is the easiest way to get it back.