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Fix the Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device error in Windows

You need stability for a large session. You turn on the computer and an error appears: Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device. What does that mean? Did the computer work fine when you turned it off, and now it doesn’t work? If your system shows a Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device error, see the fixes below.

What is the Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device error?

The Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device error is your computer’s way of telling you that it can’t find the operating system.

During the boot process, the system BIOS/UEFI will find out which hard drive the operating system is using. It then boots the operating system and takes you to the Windows 10 login screen.

If the BIOS doesn’t recognize where the operating system is, it won’t load.

Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device error can stem from several causes:

  • Broken BIOS/UEFI settings
  • Damaged hard drive
  • The bootloader has failed
  • Damaged hardware

This is not the only cause, but the source of Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device errors is usually related to one of these areas.

So how can you fix the Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device error?

How to fix the Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device error

1. Checking connection

The connection between the computer’s motherboard and hard drive (or SSD) should be examined first. The operating system won’t load if the hard drive is not in proper communication with the motherboard or has been fully unplugged.

Examining the inside of a computer case can seem a bit complicated. You must remove the cover, then check the disconnected cables.

While opening your computer, you should take this opportunity to clean your computer.

2. Select the wrong drive in BIOS/UEF

If the hard drive is properly connected to the motherboard, you will have to try another fix. The next step is to check if the BIOS/UEFI recognizes the hard drive and the system boot order. From here, you can understand whether the hard drive is the first thing the computer looks for when it tries to load the operating system, or if something has taken its place.

To test this, you will have to enter the BIOS.

Step 1: During the boot process, you must press the BIOS/UEFI access key. The specific key will vary from computer to computer, but commonly used ones include F2, F10, DEL, and ESC.

Step 2: After the BIOS loads, look for a menu or tab called Boot or similar. Check the menu called Boot Device Priority, Boot Option Order or similar. The name will vary depending on the different motherboard manufacturers and BIOS being used, but the menu content is the same.

Step 3: In the device preferences menu, you need to check two things. First, check if the hard drive is on the list. If it’s there, that’s a good sign. The second thing to check is its boot location. The hard drive containing the operating system must be the first to be loaded and should therefore be Boot Option 1 or the equivalent BIOS. Make sure the operating system hard drive is in the first boot position.

Now, save the BIOS settings and reboot the system. After rebooting the system, the operating system should load properly.

3. Windows Startup Repair

If there is no problem with the BIOS and boot order, you can try two other solutions.

Windows Startup Repair from Advanced Options

Use Windows’ built-in Startup Repair feature. Windows Startup Repair will automatically repair your startup problems—but only when it’s running.

Windows Startup Repair will automatically repair your startup problems
Windows Startup Repair will automatically repair your startup problems

When Windows has boot problems, it automatically launches Startup Repair. When this happens:

Step 1: Menu Advanced boot options will open.

Step 2: Go to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Repair.

Step 3: You will have to enter your password, then the Startup Repair process will begin.

The Startup Repair process may take a while to complete, but it should fix the boot device error.

Fix boot errors with the Command Prompt and Windows installation media

If the advanced boot options don’t open automatically, you can still access them using the Windows 10 installation media. It’s a USB or disk with Windows 10 on it. If you don’t have Windows 10 on a USB or disc, see instructions on how to create Windows 10 installation media, then return to the next section of the guide.

Once you have the Windows 10 installation media, you can force your system to load the installation process.

From there, you can repair the boot process manually using the bootrec.exe tool.

Step 1: Insert the Windows 10 installation media, then turn on the computer.

Step 2: Press F2, F10, F12 or ESC to enter the system boot menu. These are some common keys, but may vary from system to system.

Step 3: The Install Now button will appear. At this point, press Shift + F10 to open the Command Prompt.

Step 4: Now you have to type the following commands in order, pressing Enter each time:

exe /fixmbr
bootrec.exe /fixboot
bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd

Once the process is complete, you can restart your computer, erase the Windows 10 installation media, and boot as usual.

Export and rebuild Master Boot Record

There is a third fix you can attempt if none of these work. Microsoft advises recreating the BCD repository after exporting it (where your boot data is kept). Using the Windows 10 installation disc and the procedures in the preceding section, you must open the Command Prompt.

When you get to the Command Prompt, you must enter the following commands in order:

bcdedit /export c:bcdbackup
cd boot
attrib bcd -s -h -r
ren c:bootbcd bcd.old
bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd

The export and rebuild processes will fix the Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device errors.

4. Set active partition

While you are using Command Prompt through Windows 10 installation media, there is another fix you can try. Windows DiskPart is a built-in system tool that you can use to manage your hard drives and drive partitions. In this case, you can make sure your OS hard drive is working.

Again, enter the Command Prompt using the Windows 10 installation media, following the steps in the previous section. When the Command Prompt opens, complete the following process:

Step 1: Type diskpart to enter the Diskpart tool.

Step 2: Now enter list of drives to see a list of drives on the machine. You need to find out which drive contains your operating system. The drive name for the operating system is usually C.

Step 3: When you find the correct drive, enter disk X (where X is the corresponding drive number).

Step 4: Type list partition to list the partitions on the drive. You need to select the system partition containing the bootloader (the bit code that launches the operating system). In the example case, select partition 1 will be imported.

Step 5: Now, type active to mark the system partition as active.

Set active partition
Set active partition

Reboot the system and you should no longer get the Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device error.


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