The “Boot Device Not Found” error is a critical issue that occurs when a computer’s Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) fails to recognize the bootable drive during startup. This problem is commonly encountered across various Windows operating systems and can result from a range of software and hardware malfunctions. The error is typically presented as an error message during the initial boot process, indicating that the system cannot locate a storage device from which to load the operating system.

Understanding the Root Causes

Identifying the underlying causes of the “Boot Device Not Found” error is crucial for effective troubleshooting. 

The error can arise from:

  • Corrupted Boot Configuration Data (BCD): This vital database contains boot-time configuration parameters. Corruption within the BCD can mislead the boot process.
  • Hard Drive Connection Issues: Loose or faulty connections between the hard drive and the motherboard can prevent the system from recognizing the boot device.
  • Damaged Master Boot Record (MBR): The MBR is essential for booting Windows operating systems. If it’s damaged, the system cannot initiate the boot sequence.
  • Outdated or Incompatible Drivers: Drivers facilitate communication between the operating system and hardware devices. Incompatibility or obsolescence can lead to boot errors.
  • BIOS/UEFI Misconfigurations: Incorrect settings in the BIOS/UEFI, especially the boot order, can prevent the system from locating the bootable drive.

Physical Inspection and Connection Verification

To address potential connection issues, follow these steps:

  1. Power Down and Open the Computer Case: Ensure the computer is turned off and disconnected from any power source. Open the computer case to access the internal components.
  2. Inspect and Secure the Hard Drive Connections: Examine the cables connecting the hard drive to the motherboard. Ensure that the SATA cable is securely connected to both the hard drive and the motherboard. For desktop computers, check both ends of the cable; for laptops, ensure the drive is firmly seated in its bay.
  3. Check for Visible Damage: Look for any signs of physical damage to the hard drive or its connections. This includes checking for bent pins, damaged cables, or any sign of wear and tear that could impact connectivity.
  4. Reconnect the Hard Drive: Detach and then firmly reconnect the hard drive. This can often resolve issues caused by loose or poor connections.
  5. Consider Trying a Different Port or Cable: If the current connection does not work, try using a different SATA port on the motherboard or a different SATA cable to rule out hardware faults with the original port or cable.

By following these steps, you can ensure that physical connection issues are not the cause of the “Boot Device Not Found” error. This is a critical first step in troubleshooting this error, as resolving hardware issues is often simpler than addressing software problems.

BIOS/UEFI Checks and Configuration

The system’s BIOS or UEFI may not be configured correctly, leading to boot issues.

  • Access BIOS/UEFI: Restart your computer and repeatedly press the designated key (commonly F2, F10, DEL, or ESC) to enter the BIOS/UEFI settings.
  • Drive Detection: In BIOS/UEFI, look for a section that displays connected storage devices. Confirm if your hard drive is listed.
  • Boot Order: Ensure the boot order prioritizes the hard drive or SSD with the operating system. Adjust the order if needed.
  • Default Settings: If unsure about the correct settings, reset BIOS/UEFI to its default configuration. This option is typically found within the ‘Exit’ menu.
  • Save Changes: After making adjustments, save the changes and exit BIOS/UEFI. The system will reboot with the new settings.

Advanced Recovery and MBR Repair Techniques

Corrupted system files, including the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) and Master Boot Record (MBR), can prevent the system from booting.

1. Accessing Recovery Mode: Boot from a Windows installation media or recovery drive.

2. Enter Command Prompt: In the recovery environment, select ‘Command Prompt’.

3. MBR and BCD Repair Commands:

  • MBR Repair: Use bootrec /fixmbr to write a new MBR to the system partition. This is crucial when the MBR is corrupted.
  • BCD Repair and Reconstruction:
  • To repair the BCD, use bootrec /fixboot.
  • Scan for Windows installations not listed in the BCD with bootrec /scanos.
  • Rebuild the BCD, which is essential if it’s missing or corrupted, with bootrec /rebuildbcd.

4. Checking Results: After executing these commands, restart your computer to verify if the boot issue is resolved.

By following these steps, you can address a range of boot-related problems, from simple misconfigurations to more serious issues like corrupt boot records. These commands provide a powerful toolkit for restoring your system’s ability to boot correctly.

Preventive Measures and Best Practices

Prevention Strategy:

  • Regular System Updates: Keep your operating system and drivers up to date to prevent compatibility issues.
  • Routine Disk Checks: Regularly run disk checks for errors and bad sectors using tools like CHKDSK.
  • Backup Important Data: Regularly back up important data to prevent loss in case of drive failure.
  • BIOS/UEFI Firmware Updates: Periodically check for and install updates for your BIOS/UEFI, which can improve hardware compatibility and performance.
  • Maintain System Health: Use utilities to clean unnecessary files and optimize system performance.


In conclusion, resolving the “Boot Device Not Found” error involves a methodical approach to diagnosing both hardware and software issues. From checking physical connections to repairing the MBR and BCD, each step is crucial in its own right. Regular maintenance and preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of encountering such errors in the future. If the problem persists after following these steps, seeking professional technical support is advisable.