Start by stress-testing your desktop to verify that everything works as it should – sometimes the repair can introduce more problems than it solves, in which case if you’re running Windows 8.1 or 10 you can undo the changes. Go to Start > Settings > ‘Update & recovery’ > Recovery and look for an option to go back to your previous version – click ‘Get started’ and then follow the prompts.
If the repair doesn’t appear to fix your underlying problem, Windows 8.1 and 10 users can take one more intermediate step – the reset or repair. It will see you waving goodbye to all those desktop programs you’ve installed (including MS Office and your third-party security software), but it will preserve your Microsoft Store apps, files and Windows settings. Leave your install media inserted, then head over to the ‘Update & recovery’ > Recovery section under Settings. This time, click the ‘Get started’ button under the Refresh (Windows 8.1) or Reset (Windows 10) option and follow the prompts.
If this more drastic approach doesn’t work, or you’re running Windows 7, then to page 72 for destructive reinstall options.
Windows 8.1 and 10 users can perform a more drastic repair install via the Reset or Refresh option – be warned, you’ll lose your desktop apps.