It is one of the worst feelings when you try to boot up your Laptop or PC one day and get the Boot Device Error. The first thought is of fear – “Is my computer damaged?”. The “Reboot and Select Proper Device Error” could mean an issue with any number of things. But, the fixes are usually simple and easy.
This error actually signifies that the boot up process has encountered an error. The BIOS or Basic Input Output System is unable to find a proper bootable device. Unfortunately, unless this error is resolved, it is impossible to move forward and complete the boot up process.
The causes that can give rise to this issue can be broadly categorized in terms of:
- Hardware: Whatever device that you are using to boot up your computer might be damaged or incorrectly connected to the motherboard. This includes things like a damaged CD Drive or a corrupted hard drive. It could also mean that the SATA connector or cable is faulty.
- Software: There could be many different software causes behind this issue. It could be a corrupted or inactive boot sector, incorrect boot sequence in the BIOS settings, or missing boot files.
Fix the Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device Error
Method 1: Check the Power Cable Connecting Your Hard Drive Disk
Most computers normally use the hard disk drive as the primary boot device. Therefore, if there is an issue with boot device selection, the cable providing the Hard Drive with power should be the first thing to check. Follow the steps given below to do this safely:
- Shut down your computer and open its casing to expose the hard drive. This could be the rear cover for a laptop or the side plate of a cabinet in case of a desktop.
- Inspect the power cable entering your hard disk. Try removing and reinserting it.
- Try to boot up again and if you get the same error, then try out the same cable on another computer. Alternatively, you could try out a different power cable.
If the power cable is causing this issue, the above steps will resolve the problem, and your computer will boot normally again.
Method 2: Clean Your RAM
Dust is an old enemy of electronic components. In case you are not someone that regularly cleans the internal components of your computer, then cleaning the RAM should be the next thing on the list. RAM Test is one of the essential boot up tests that are performed by the BIOS. Hence, any interruption in the RAM’s connectivity may cause this issue.
To clean your RAM, follow the steps given below:
- Shut off your computer and remove the side plate or backplate to expose the RAM.
- The RAM stick is usually fixed into grooves without any screws. Wiggle it out slowly.
- Clean the RAM using a microfiber cloth. Focus on the pins at the end of the RAM as these actually form the connection.
- Insert the RAM back into the slot. Make sure you insert it in the original direction. Do not apply too much force at any point.
- Reboot your computer to see if this fixes the problem.
Method 3: Check if Boot Drive is Detected in BIOS
BIOS or Basic Input Output System is a firmware that is responsible for the boot up process and loading the operating system. The BIOS settings also govern which boot device is selected and with what priority. If Boot Drive is not selected, then it will lead to the “Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device” Error.
To check your computer’s selected boot device in the BIOS settings menu, follow the steps given below:
- Check what key has been designed by your motherboard manufacturer to enter into BIOS. Usually, this key has to be kept held down or pressed repeatedly as soon as the computer starts. Once you know this, reboot the computer.
- As soon as the computer starts again, start pressing the key to enter into BIOS menu.
- Inside the BIOS menu, you should find a list of all the connected devices. This list should include your Hard Drive.
- If you don’t find your hard drive listed, turn off your computer and change your hard drive’s SATA slot or SATA cable and try all the steps again.
Method 4: Check Boot Order in BIOS
Sometimes tinkering with the BIOS settings or changing boot devices may mess up the Boot Sequence. The Boot Sequence is what determines which boot device has what priority. The BIOS will try to load the OS from whichever device has the highest priority first. It is imperative to ensure that the correct boot device is marked with the highest priority. To check this, follow the steps below:
- Use the designated key to enter the BIOS menu just as your computer starts.
- In the BIOS menu, look for Boot Device Sequence
- In this list, your primary boot device should be selected as the highest priority. If not, make the change.
- Save and exit BIOS. The computer will restart automatically.
Method 5: Disable/Enable Legacy Boot.
Some motherboards provide a feature known as “Legacy Boot”. If this feature is enabled in your BIOS settings, then you will require to disable it. Follow the steps given below to achieve this:
- Enter your BIOS settings by pressing the designated key.
- Look for the Legacy Boot option and check to see if it is enabled. If it is enabled, then disable it.
- Save the settings and exit BIOS. Your compute will restart automatically.
Method 6: Set BIOS to Best Defaults
In case none of the other BIOS settings are working, you should reset all the BIOS settings to default. Open your BIOS settings and look for an option like load optimal defaults. Save and exit the BIOS after the default settings have been loaded.
Method 7: Use Command Prompt to Activate an Inactive Partition
Sometimes, the boot partition of your hard drive may be inactive. Even when your computer does not boot, you can access the command prompt. However, you will require a USB recovery drive. Then, using the command prompt, you can activate the inactive boot partition. The following steps will show you how to do this:
- Create a USB recovery drive from Microsoft’s official tool for this purpose.
- From the BIOS settings of your computer, select USB boot device as the highest priority for booting. Save and exit BIOS settings.
- The on-screen instructions will guide you henceforth. Choose any option out of repair, recovery, or restore.
- After choosing an option, you will see System Recovery Options. Select it and chose command prompt.
- Type the command list disk to get a list of the available disks.
- Select the disk that has the inactive partition using the select <disk name> command and press enter.
- To select the inactive partition, type list <partition name>.
- Type the command active and press enter. Diskpart will now activate this partition and notify you.
- Exit command prompt and restart to check if the issue has been fixed.
Method 8: Fix Windows Boot Files
If none of the above methods have worked for you, then the problem may not lie with your Hard Disk or BIOS settings. It could be possible that some missing or corrupted boot files are causing this issue. In that case, you will need to repair Windows. Follow these steps to repair Windows:
- Insert a windows repair disc or USB recovery drive and restart your PC. It is may require you to change the boot order priority from the BIOS settings.
- You should find an option called Repair Your Computer on the Windows installation screen. Select it.
- Run command prompt.
- For old BIOS users, type the below commands and hit enter after entering each command: bootrec /fixmbr, bootrec /fixboot, and bootrec /rebuildBCD
- UEFI BIOS users should use the following commands: bcdboot C:\windows (Assuming that ‘C’ is the drive with the boot partition)
- Exit the command prompt and reboot your system to see if this method works.
In worst-case scenarios, a dead Hard Drive may be the cause of this problem. In that case, none of the above-listed methods will work. But, chances are that the fix is easy and will require only a few minutes of your time. It is also a good idea to always keep a recovery USB drive or repair Disc handy for such situations.