Emergency repair disk

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  • For information about generic boot/recovery discs, see Recovery disc

A Microsoft Windows Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) is a specially formatted diskette that creates backups of important system files and settings and is used to troubleshoot and repair problems in Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000 systems. An ERD is used in conjunction with the Windows repair option. The Emergency Repair Disk provides only the ability to restore the system to a bootable state. It is not a replacement for system and file backups.[1] Note: The emergency repair disk is not to be confused with a standard boot diskette as it cannot be used alone.

Unlike the ERD in Windows NT 4.0, the Windows 2000 ERD does not store registry information. Rather, Windows creates a copy of registry files in the \Winnt\Repair\RegBack directory when the ERD is created.[2] The ERD is not bootable. The original Windows NT or Windows 2000 setup disks need to be used to boot the computer. From there, choosing the option to repair the system will prompt the user for the ERD.[3]

In Windows NT 4.0, the option to create an ERD is available during setup. It can be used for the following:

  • Replace damaged system files
  • Restore damaged or incorrect registry information
  • Rebuild the startup environment[4]

In Windows 2000, an ERD can be created by clicking "Backup" under "System Tools" (Start->Programs->Accessories->System Tools->Backup). It can be used for the following repair functions:

  • Inspect and repair the startup environment.
  • Verify the Windows 2000 system files and replace missing or damaged files.
  • Inspect and repair the boot sector.[5]

Microsoft Windows operating system (OS) installation disks (beginning with Windows 2000) include the Recovery Console, which allows the user to perform administrative operations on services, drives, and local data.[6]


  1. ^ "Emergency Repair Disk". Microsoft Technet Library. p. cc976733. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  2. ^ Maples, Wayne (3 January 2005). "Windows 2000 ERD and Recovery Console". TechGenix Ltd. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  3. ^ "emergency repair disk (ERD)". The Network Encyclopedia. 2006.
  4. ^ "Description of Windows NT Emergency Repair Disk". Microsoft Support Knowledge Base. 1 November 2006. p. KB156328. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  5. ^ "How to Create an Emergency Repair Disk in Windows 2000". Microsoft Support Knowledge Base. 26 February 2007. p. KB231777. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  6. ^ "How to install and use the Recovery Console in Windows XP". Microsoft Support Knowledge Base. 24 April 2012. p. KB307654. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)