What To Do If Your Computer Says “No Bootable Device”

What To Do If Your Computer Says “No Bootable Device”

no bootable device

Do you ever wonder how the Windows system loads on the computer? Well, the short answer is that it uses a bootable device. But, what’s a bootable device? Let’s see.

A computer/laptop requires a set of files and codes that allows the machine to start, also providing users with many pre-installed programs and software to utilize for various works. You would usually call these files and codes an operating system (OS), without which a computer can simply not function. So, the computer manufacturers usually install the OS on the hard drive which is a bootable disk, allowing Windows to load.

You can always install Windows on your computer using a CD-ROM, USB flash drive, DVD or a floppy disk in case of a Windows crash as all of these can be used as external bootable devices.

Why do I get the “no bootable device” message?

“No bootable device” detected or found is actually an error message that the computer shows you after it fails to find the system files. The BIOS is in-charge of loading the OS from the hard drive as it controls the boot sequence. The primary partition on the hard drive is where the OS is located. So, any issues in components involving the hard drive and BIOS can lead to this type of complication.

The reasoning behind this error could be:

  • The boot sequence got messed up and needs fixing. It could be possible that your computer tries to boot another device before the hard drive which leads to such an error. You’d have to fix the order for Windows to start successfully.
  • The primary partition became inactive. If you have installed more than one operating system on your computer’s hard drive, it could be that the primary partition, containing Windows, becomes inactive. And probably your attempt at installation also failed, that’s why you got a “no bootable device” message.
  • The CMOS battery that powers the BIOS malfunctions due to which the BIOS can’t load the system files.
  • A virus attack corrupts the hard drive. If malware damages the hard drive successfully, the system won’t recognize it let alone use it to boot the OS. Or the natural wearing out also leads to hard disk failure which would again allow the Windows to start.  
  • The operating system gets corrupted. In this case, you can reinstall Windows from an external bootable drive like a DVD or USB drive.
  • The MBR (master boot record) sector contains a problem and needs repairing.

Solutions for repairing the “No bootable device” impediment:

There are a bunch of solutions that may work for you. However, in case of a hard drive failure, you’d have to replace it and get the Windows system files installed on it. If the failing CMOS battery is the cause, you’d have to get a new one to fix the BIOS. You could visit a good PC repair shop to get the required parts replaced.  

1- Ensure your computer boots the hard drive first:

Given that your PC’s hard drive contains the OS, you’ll have to ensure that it’s set as the default for starting Windows unless you’d want to boot the OS from a flash drive or a floppy disk. So, you may enter the BIOS settings to select the boot order manually.

  • Restart the computer. You may press “Esc” for Windows 10 to enter the BIOS setup. Other versions might suggest the “F2” or “Del” key navigate to the said system.
  • The system will display all the key shortcuts you’d need to know for fixing the boot order. For instance, you may use right and left arrows to move the tab, up and down arrows to select the bootable device of your choice e.g. the hard drive, and “+” and “-” keys to change order. Also, the “F10” key would allow you to save the changes and exit the setup. You may restart the computer once again and see if it boots normally.

Note: You may want to disconnect any external peripherals before you try out this solution. Restarting right after removing other types of bootable devices like a USB or a gaming console may directly help the computer recognize the hard drive and launch Windows. But, if this doesn’t work, then you may proceed with the above instructions.

2- Repair the MBR:

Any complications in the MBR could lead to read and write errors in the hard drive. That’s why the Windows won’t load as the system would fail to identify the bootable drive.

  • Use an external drive to install the operating system on the computer.
  • Enter the BIOS and manually select your device to boot from it.
  • You’ll be prompted to select the language and region after which the next step would be installing. However, on the “install now” prompt, you select the “Repair your computer” option.
  • Choose “Troubleshoot” and select “Command Prompt.”
  • You’ll one by one put commands in the “Command Prompt” and press the “Enter” key as you type them. Below are the commands you may use to repair the MBR.
  1. bootrec /fixmbr
  2. bootrec /fixboot
  3. bootrec /scanos
  4. bootrec /rebuildbcd

Note: You could be asked to add a new installation to the boot list, if so, type “Y” and push “Enter.”

After you’re done, exit the Command Prompt setup and start the computer again.

3- Activate your disk’s primary partition:

We explained to you above how the primary partition of a hard drive can become inactive, but there’s a way to activate it for the boot process to go smoothly without any complications.

  • Follow the same steps we described in the second solution to open the “Command Prompt.”
  • From there on, type “diskpart” and push “Enter.” Next, put in “list disk” and push “Enter” again.
  • Put in the next command, “select disk 0” and thumb “Enter.”
  • Type “list partition,” thumb “Enter.” Then put in, the “select partition 1” command and as usual push “Enter.”
  • Finally, type “active” and thumb “Enter” to make the primary partition functional during the boot process.
  • Lastly, exit the setup by entering the “Exit” command. Restart the computer and check if the problem has resolved itself.

Final Thoughts:

The bootable device not being found isn’t a complication you should worry about unless your computer’s hard drive has failed and needs replacement. One of the above-mentioned methods may work for you. And if not, contact a PC repair shop to get the computer checked.