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Windows Error Recovery: Windows 7 failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq Desktop computers with Windows 7.
The following error is displayed when starting the computer:
Windows Error Recovery: Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.
The computer might restart to this same error after selecting Start Windows Normally.

Step 1: Remove recently added hardware

If you have added new hardware recently, use these steps.
If you have not added any new hardware recently, skip to the next step .
NOTE:If a new internal device (sound card, hard drive, or other) was added to the computer before the error message started to occur, you must remove it before continuing.
  1. Turn off the computer and unplug the power cord.
  2. Disconnect all non-essential peripherals attached such as a printer, scanner, webcam, zip drive, phone cord, network cable, and other devices. Leave only the mouse, keyboard, and monitor cable attached.
  3. Press and hold the power button on the front of the computer. Release after 5 seconds.
  4. Plug the power cord back in.
  5. Turn on the computer.
  6. The monitor displays the message again. Allow the timer to count down to zero.
  7. If the error opens again, skip to the next step .
    If the computer successfully starts to the Windows desktop and the error message is not displayed, reconnect one device and wait until Windows recognizes it.
  8. Continue connecting the devices, one at a time, restarting the computer each time, until you find the device that is causing the error. Do not use the device that causes the error.
    NOTE:Wait until Windows completely starts before reconnecting the devices. If you have a problem, check technical support for the problem device for known issues, resolutions, updated drivers, and troubleshooting information.

Step 2: Use Windows Start Repair

Use the following steps to let Windows try to repair its files and correct the problem.
  1. On the error screen, click Launch Start Repair (recommended).
    The Startup Repair window opens and automatically scans for startup problems.
    Figure 1: Startup Repair
  2. Perform the actions suggested by Startup Repair to correct damaged or missing files, or other action.

Step 3: Restore with System Restore

Use the steps in this section to restore Windows to an earlier date and time:
  1. Turn off the computer.
  2. Remove all attached devices except the mouse, keyboard, and monitor.
  3. Turn on the computer and press the F8 key repeatedly when the first logo screen is displayed.
    A Windows startup screen is displayed.
  4. Use the Up or Down arrow key to highlight Safe Mode with Command Prompt, and press Enter.
    If the error message displays again, skip to the next step to perform a system recovery .
  5. When the login screen is displayed, select Administrator, and type the password (if applicable).
  6. When the command window is displayed, type the following at the command prompt, and press Enter:
    cd restore
  7. At the new prompt, type the following: rstrui
    Then press Enter.
    The System Restore screen opens.
    Figure 2: Restore system files and settings window
    Restore system files and settings window
  8. Click Choose a different restore point, and then click Next.
  9. Select a restore point before the errors began to occur, and then click Next. Follow the on-screen instructions to restore the computer to a time when the errors did not occur.
    Figure 3: Choosing a restore point
    Choosing a restore point
  10. When finished, the computer restarts and tries to open Windows. If the error is still displayed after using System Restore, continue to the next step to recover the computer .

Step 4: Recover the computer

If the error continues after the using System Restore, perform a system recovery to reset the computer to its original configuration.

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