HOW TO FIX BOOTMGR IS COMPRESSED

The following error message may
appear at startup: BOOTMGR is
compressed Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to
restart. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del just
restarts the computer and redisplays
the same message. I saw this error
recently on a customer’s computer
and though I’d share how to fix it – it
can affect XP, Vista or Windows 7
computers.
BOOTMGR refers to the Boot Manager
– an important Windows system file. If
it is compressed, it can’t be used. The
file must therefore be uncompressed
for Windows to be able to boot up.
File compression used to be a good
way to save hard drive space – back in
the days when hard drives were only
1 or 2 GBs in size… However, modern
drives offer hundreds (or thousands)
of GBs storage so there is no need to
compress files. There are two likely
reasons that it got compressed:
1. The user installed a ‘Speed Booster’
or ‘System Optimizer’ type of program
– perhaps one with grand claims of
boosting performance and with a
super duper registry cleaner thrown
in… See ‘do I need a registry
cleaner ’ – the short answer is No.
Such a program may have caused the
problem by compressing the whole of
the system partition (usually the C:
drive) to save space – including the
crucial BOOTMGR file. This is what
happened in my customer’s case.
Note: file compression (even when
done properly) may slow down
system performance anyway so it is a
lousy thing for a ‘speed booster’ utility
to do…
2. The user manually compressed the
whole of the system partition (via the
drive’s Properties window).
Bootmgr is Compressed error
How To Fix It? There are similar fixes
for XP and Vista/Windows 7 – both
require you to recreate the boot
record:
XP – You will need to have a bootable
XP installation CD available.
1. Log into the Recovery Console
command prompt by following steps
A to F in my article on fixing ntldr .
You should now be in the C:
\Windows directory.
2. Type fixmbr and press Enter. Press
y to accept the warning and proceed:
Fixmbr
3. Type fixboot and press Enter. Press
y to to confirm and proceed:
Fixboot
4. Type Exit and press Enter to restart
the computer. The error message
should not appear and Windows
should start up normally.
Vista/Windows 7 – Boot into the
System Recovery Options using the
preinstalled Advanced Boot Options
or a Vista/Windows 7 installation/
recovery DVD – see the illustrated
tutorial at Sevenforums for
instructions if required.
Select ‘Startup Repair’ and wait until
the repair attempt completes. If
successful you can then restart the
computer and Windows may boot up
normally. If the repairs fail and/or the
computer does not restart into
Windows normally, proceed as
follows:
1. Boot into the System Recovery
Options again but this time select
‘Command Prompt’ instead of Startup
Repair – this will take you to a
windows command prompt.
[Note: if using RAID for multiple hard
drives you may not see your version
of Windows listed in System Recovery
Options, during the loading of the
recovery process. In this case you
would need to press ‘Load Drivers’
and browse to your RAID drivers so
that your version of Windows can be
listed]
2. Type bootrec /fixmbr and press
Enter.
3. Type bootrec /fixboot and press
Enter.
4. Type bootrec /rebuildbcd and press
Enter. Type Y and press Enter if asked
to add the installation to the boot list:
Bootrec commands
5. Type Exit and press Enter to restart
the computer. The error message
should not appear and Windows
should start up normally.
If Previous Fixes Fail – This step
should not be required but, if the
previous fixes failed to resolve the
problem, you may need to
uncompress all files on the system
partition manually.
Log into the Recovery Console
command prompt (XP) or the System
Recovery Options \ Command Prompt
(Vista/Windows 7)
Type compact /u /a c:\*.* and press
Enter. The command may take a long
time (hours) to complete on a very
large drive – leave until finished
Note: if your system drive is not c:
then change the c in the command to
your drive letter.
The command uncompresses (/u) all
files (*.*) on the c:\ drive including
hidden and system files (/a). Once the
command finishes uncompressing all
files, type Exit and press Enter to
restart the computer. The error
message should not appear and
Windows should start up normally.
Conclusion
Unfortunately Windows does nothing
to prevent an ‘optimizing’ program (or
a user) from compressing the boot
manager – even though it means that
Windows will not boot. However, this
problem is relatively straightforward
to fix and easy to avoid in future –
don’t use system optimizing utilities
that may compress the system
partition and don’t try to compress it
manually.

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