Tech

Quick Fix Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device in Windows

The boot process of any operating system is an essential one. In those few seconds, all kinds of processes are getting started, and it is important that everything goes without a hitch. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

“Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device” is something that happens to a lot of people, so you are not the only one seeing it. Lucky for you is that if you are viewing it, I am going to give you a few quick tips on how to fix your problem.

What can cause an error like that?

As with most errors of this nature, the cause can either be hardware or software-related. The software causes range from wrong BIOS settings, to improper shutdown and mixed up active partitions or corrupted Master Boot Record. By the way, you might also encounter a missing operating system issue.

On the hardware side of things, you are looking at the most obvious one – drive going bad. It usually happens with older devices, but that is mostly the case. As an alternative, the cables are also something that you should check, even if you are a laptop user.

Let’s dive in.

BIOS settings

There are several options in your BIOS that can cause problems, so I’ll go over each one of them. To get into your BIOS, you will need to look into the user manual from your motherboard or laptop. All of them are unique, and it depends on the brand.

Boot order

The first and most obvious thing you should check is the boot configuration. If the disk where you have Windows installed is not on the list or is not on the top, then you may have a problem. Head over to the boot tab and make the changes so that the BIOS will pull the boot files from the disk first.

Proper Boot Device

Legacy boot

This may be a long shot, but it is worth trying out. Newer versions of Windows come equipped with a feature called Legacy Boot, which is part of the modern replacement for BIOS, UEFI. Even though there are a lot of advantages, this option is known to cause boot problems.

The idea behind this option is to reverse the setting you have at the moment. Locate the Legacy Boot option, and if it’s enabled, you should disable it and ice versa. If this doesn’t work, you can revert it back to the way it was.

Setting the correct partition as active

Something that may cause this error is the improper partition is active, so the BIOS has no idea where to look for the boot files. To set the correct partition active, you will need to get to the Command Prompt. Since you are not able to boot your Windows, you will need a bootable Windows installation USB.

Boot from the USB and wait for the installation wizard to begin. You can leave the language, time and currency settings and keyboard layout default, because you will not be installing Windows.

On the next screen, click on “Repair your computer.”

This will pull up a different menu where you will need to click on “Troubleshooter.”

From the troubleshooting options, select “Advanced options.”

Proper Boot Device

Finally, you will need to select “Command Prompt.”

Proper Boot Device

There is a set of four commands that you will need to enter to set a specific partition as active:

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk X (replace X with the number of the drive where Windows is installed)
  • list volume
  • select volume X (replace X with the number of the volume that contains the system files)
  • active
  • exit

Cables

With time cables can degrade and simply stop working. This usually happens when you move them around a lot, or they are twisted past their breaking point. Before you start thinking of the worst, check your SATA cables from your motherboard to your disk. Try and plug the connector to another SATA connector on your motherboard. While you are there, you can also check the power cable from your power supply. Try and plug a different connector.

These kinds of problems are not very common on laptops because the disk is connected directly to the motherboard. The problem is that notebooks get banged around, and if the disk is not tight in its place, it may get lost. Remove the bottom lid of your laptop and check if the disk is in the correct position.

Checking the disk for errors and fixing them

Disks can get damaged, and that may lead to the error you are getting. There is good news and bad news. The good news is that some errors and be fixed, the bad news is that bad sectors cannot.

To run the check process on your disk, you will need to get to the Command Prompt following the procedure I explained in the previous section. When you get there, enter the command “chkdsk C: /f /r.” This command will scan the C partition and will try to fix any errors it finds. The process will take some time, and it will depend on the size and type of your disk. When it’s done, you will get a detailed report outlining what it managed to fix and what it cannot fix. The unfixable errors are very likely mechanical damage to the disk or bad sectors, meaning that you should consider replacing it.

Conclusion

Not being able to boot your computer is problematic, and even though it’s not something that you should panic instantly, there is a reason for concern. You can learn more boot errors here. Before you start thinking about a new computer, try the quick fixes I outlined in this article and see if they manage to solve your problem. Even if they don’t and the problem is with the disk, replacing it will get you back on track without spending a fortune on a new computer.

And as always, don’t forget to backup everything to avoid more significant problems in the future.

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