The combined effect of a crack with unbalanced force vector orientation in cracked rotor-bearing-disk systems on the values and locations of critical whirl amplitudes is numerically and experimentally investigated here for starting up operations. The time-periodic equations of motion of the cracked system are formulated according to the finite element (FE) time-varying stiffness matrix. The whirl response during the passage through the critical whirl speed zone is obtained via numerical simulation for different angles of the unbalance force vector. It is found that the variations in the angle of unbalance force vector with respect to the crack opening direction significantly alters the peak values of the critical whirl amplitudes and their corresponding critical whirl speeds. Consequently, the critical speeds of the cracked rotor are found to be either shifted to higher or lower values depending on the unbalance force vector orientation. In addition, the peak whirl amplitudes are found to exhibit significant elevation in some zones of unbalance force angles whereas significant reduction is observed in the remaining zones compared with the crack-free case. One of the important findings is that there exists a specific value of the unbalance force angle at which the critical whirl vibration is nearly eliminated in the cracked system compared with the crack-free case. These all significant numerical and experimental observations can be employed for crack damage detection in rotor systems.