Difference Between Fixboot and Fixmbr (With Table)

A computer or laptop may require a reboot at times or in cases when the Windows stopped working. There is a feature present in Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows server 2003, called Recovery Console. It has a command-line interface that allows a limited range of tasks to perform.

Its main function is to help administrators get enabled to be able to recover from situations when Windows doesn’t boot. It uses a command prompt to help assess the hard drive in cases of emergency. The recovery console can be installed in two ways. First, through original installation same as Windows and second, installed on hard drive followed by addition to NTLDR menu.

Fixboot vs Fixmbr 

The difference between fixboot and fixmbr is that fixboot helps in updating a specific partition of boot sector code while the fixmbr command helps in updating the master boot record. Both of them are compatible with Windows 2000, XP, and Windows server 2003. They are now replaced with Windows vista new commands. 

Fixboot is the command present in the Windows recovery console which helps to update a specific partition of the boot sector code. The command can be used to update the desired partition and not all of them. The fixboot command makes use of the DriveLetter to carry out its function.

Fixmbr is a command available in the Windows recovery console whose primary function is to update the master boot record. The command makes use of a specific path known as DrivePath to carry out its function. The master boot record is responsible for the initialization of the partition in the hard drive. 

Comparison Table Between Fixboot and Fixmbr

Parameters of ComparisonFixbootFixmbr
MeaningA command of the Windows recovery console that is used to update a specific partition of the boot sector code.A command of Windows recovery console used to update master boot record.  
Used in Updating the partition boot sector code with the help of the drive letter.Used when one wants to update the master boot record (MBR) code.
Initiation Commandfixboot {DriveLetter:}Fixmbr
Windows-7 CompatibilityCompatibleIncompatible
Windows Vista Replacement Commandbootrec.exe/mbrbootsect.exe/mbr

What is Fixboot?

Fixboot command is used to update a specific partition of the boot sector code. The Windows Recovery Console has the fixboot command. It helps to update partition boot sector code whose main function is to load and run the NTLDR bootloader. The fixboot command is available in Windows 2000 and Windows XP. The fixboot command can be processed as fixboot {DriveLetter:}.

The fixboot utility shows 1 in cases of occurrence of an error while it shows 0 in cases of success. The fixboot command updates the partition boot sector code with the help of the drive letter. One can use this command on the partition desired. The boot sector code won’t be updated in cases where the volume doesn’t exist with the specified letter or it isn’t connected to the primary disk partition.

The labeling of the fixboot command for a drive labeled F is written as fixboot F:. The command is also compatible with Windows server 2003 along with Windows 2000 and Windows XP. It was replaced by Windows Vista’s bootrec.exe/mbr. Bootrec/fixboot command’s main function is to write a new boot sector for the system partition. In the case of Windows 7, the fixboot command writes a boot sector that is compatible with the Windows 7 system.

What is Fixmbr? 

Fixmbr is used in cases when one wants to update the master boot record (MBR) code. The master boot record is present in the hard drive of any system. The Windows recovery console consists of this command can and can be installed on the device via original installation media, the same way one installs Windows. The second option is installation to a hard drive and addition to the NTLDR menu. The second option is quite risky, as the computer can boot up to the point of loading of NTLDR and should be avoided.

Fixmbr command can be used in Windows 2000 and XP. This tool is used when one needs to update the MBR (Master boot record). One of the main features of the master boot record is that it is responsible for the initialization of the partition in the drive. The fixmbr command updates the Master boot record code of the hard drive of a system using a specific path called as DrivePath. The user has to clearly specify the DrivePath before using the fixmbr command. Map utility is used to obtain the DrivePath. 

Fixmbr should be used with caution as it may damage the partition tables in case of detection of invalid or non-standard master boot records. Apart from Windows 2000 and XP, fixmbr is also compatible with Microsoft server 2003. It was replaced by Windows Vista’s bootsect.exe/mbr.

The command shows 1 in case of errors and 0 in case of success. Command to update master boot record of your hard drive: fixmbr. Command to update the master boot record for a partition1 of harddisk0: fixmbr\Device\ Harddisk0\Parttion1.

Main Differences Between Fixboot and Fixmbr

  1. Fixboot is used to update a specific partition of the boot sector code, while Fixmbr is used to update the master boot record.
  2. Fixboot can update a specific partition, whichever is desired by user, but fixmbr cannot. 
  3. Fixboot uses DriveLetter, while fixmbr uses DrivePath to carry out their specific functions. 
  4. Fixboot is compatible with Windows 7, while fixmbr is not.
  5. The Windows Vista replacement command for fixboot is bootrec.exe/mbr, and for fixmbr, it is bootsect.exe/mbr.

Conclusion

Fixboot and fixmbr are commands used to boot the system. They both are commands available in the Windows recovery console. Fixboot can be simply understood as fix+boot, used when one needs to fix a specific partition in the boot sector code. Fixmbr can be simplified as fix+mbr (master boot record), used when one needs to update the master boot record. However, these two commands have been obsolete and are now superseded by the new command of Windows Vista. The Windows Vista commands for fixboot and fixmbr are bootrec.exe/mbr and bootsect.exe/mbr, respectively.

References

  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/1294046.1294076
  2. https://www.fpcug.org/files/backup_recovery-08052008.pdf
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